Now I feel the pressure to make sure that this lives up to my "major genealogical find" statement on Facebook. It may seem small to some, and so background information is necessary to understand why this was such a great find for me.
I began my genealogical adventures in 2000. The surname I chose to begin with was Van Hoesen figuring that it was unusual enough that I wouldn't feel like I was looking for a needle in a haystack. Although I have to say now I would realize that all the possible spelling permutations can make the family difficult to find in census records. My maternal grandfather was Hugh Edgar Van Hoesen, born 1910 in Thayer, Oregon County, Missouri. I knew his father was Robert Lucky Van Hoesen and his grandfather was Albertus Van Hoesen. Most of the information came from Robert Lucky Van Hoesen's death record, so the names of his parents were given as well as his own place of birth -- Clarksville, Iowa.
I was very quickly able to move backwards in the censuses despite the possibilities for unusual spellings to 1850 in Cortland County, New York. Only the 1860 census was not to be found. I found that Albertus Van Hoesen's father was Robert C. Van Hoesen. Doing Internet searches on the Van Hoesen family turns up several genealogies which consistently place this Robert C. Van Hoesen of the right place, age, and time into the well-known Van Hoesen family which came to New Amsterdam in 1639 (this may be off by a year or two). However, he is a "dead-end" on all of those family trees with no children or death listed.
So the line looks like this:
Robert C. Van Hoesen, b. 1821 in Preble, Cortland County, New York; married to Electa Wells
Albertus L. Van Hoesen, b. 1847 in Pennsylvania; married to Carrie Burton; d. 1910 in El Reno, Canadian County, Oklahoma.
Robert L. Van Hoesen, b. 1879 in Clarksville, Butler County, Iowa, married to Dulcie Green; d. 1949 in Memphis, Shelby County, Tennessee.
I have also visited the graves of the three generations before Robert C. Van Hoesen in Preble, New York.
Parts of these three generations had moved from Preble, New York to Huntley, McHenry County, Illinois, to Butler County, Iowa to Willow Springs, Howell County, Missouri.
However, I had been unable to determine where Robert C. Van Hoesen had died. He appears in no cemetery records, probate records, or deeds indicating death in Butler County, Iowa. The last known piece of information I had on him is the Iowa state census in 1895 when he resides in Clarksville, Iowa.
Then about a year ago, I started looking at newspapers for Clarksville, Iowa. I obtained the microfilm through interlibrary loan from the State Historical Society of Iowa. It was a treasure trove for me and I found hundreds of newspaper items on the Van Hoesen and Burton families.
This item from the 28 May 1896 edition of the Clarksville Star indicated that Robert C. Van Hoesen had moved to Willow Springs, Howell County, Missouri. W.B. (Byron Wells, but he usually went by "Wells") is Albertus's younger brother who also lived for a time in Clarksville although he has been particularly elusive on censuses.
The Albertus Van Hoesen family followed shortly thereafter as indicated by this 9 July 1896 article.
Every issue of the Clarksville Star beginning in 1873 has been microfilmed except for those from the entire year of 1897. Albertus's father-in-law Hugh F. L. Burton died in the year 1897. Since his mother-in-law only twice, I think, appeared in the paper, I figured there was not much reason for me to continue to peruse the papers into 1898. I sent the microfilm back.
In the meantime, the Albertus L. Van Hoesen family shows up in the Willow Springs, Howell County, Missouri census in 1900. I discovered that Albertus's wife Carrie had died when I found the record of his second marriage! I eventually got the details on Carrie's death as I wrote here and subsequently found more information related to Carrie's death in Carrie's mother's widow's pension application. Through Albertus's pension file, I found the details of his location at death and subsequently found him in a cemetery listing for El Reno. For these three generations I had all birth, marriage, and death information except for the death information for Robert C. Van Hoesen. He did not appear in the 1900 census in Willow Springs. He did not appear in tax lists, probate files, or deeds in Howell County, Missouri. He did not appear in any cemetery listing just as his daughter-in-law Carrie had not (even though, at least in her case, she was indeed in a cemetery which had been read and should have been there).There was absolutely nothing to indicate that he had ever stepped foot in Willow Springs except the note of his leave taking in Clarksville.
So I wondered. Perhaps Robert never made it all the way to Willow Springs. Perhaps he died enroute.
Then it occurred to me. If he did die enroute or otherwise, perhaps the family had written back to Clarskville and sent the news. Of course with that missing year of 1897, there was the great possibility that it could have been that year and nothing would be found. I re-ordered the microfilm, and this is what I found yesterday in the 26 January 1898 edition:
You can click on the image to see the larger version. However, this is a letter that "Bert" Van Hoesen wrote back to the folks in Butler County, Iowa, to let them know how he was doing. Even though it's a wonderful find on its own merits of general information, specifically it contains the following :
So now I know: Albertus's father Robert Cravath Van Hoesen died in Willow Springs, Missouri, probably in 1897, and is buried in the Willow Springs City Cemetery where his daughter-in-law is buried. It sounds like he must have bought enough "room" for three which would indicate that Robert's grave must be next to Carrie's. I believe I looked at the tombstones around Carrie's at the time I was there, so it is probable that there is no headstone, although maybe it's a hard-to-read headstone.
Finally a resolution to this man's life.