This genealogist presents a case for mistaken identity or how to separate Lewis Couch from Lewis Couch. Fast, quick and easy describes an internet search. The family historian types in a name, location, and maybe a date and with one keystroke floods of information popup on the monitor. Everything from grave markers, photographs, death certificates, and newspaper articles clamor for the reader’s attention. Read each piece thoroughly! Only the researcher will be able to evaluate the material. Compare all information with a timeline and against other verified information. Is this the person of interest? Is this another person with the same name?
In this search example, Lewis Couch (1849-1937) was born in Oneida County, NY and died in Joliet, Will County, IL.
The headlines read “Fatal Ending of a Poker Game” and continue with “William Bowley Stabbed by Lewis Couch Who Was Caught Cheating.” The newspaper article is found on GenealogyBank.com (see photograph) a newspaper subscription site of America’s GenealogyBank or newsbank.
Similarities between search name and newspaper name:
- Same name – Lewis Couch
- Same generational timeline – newspaper article 1888
- Location – Lockport
- Occupation – blacksmith
Could this be the same person? The family historian must know more about the search person; the family historian must read every detail of the newspaper article.
The newspaper digital image is from the Daily Inter Ocean dated April 24, 1888, Erie, PA. The article reads “…at Lockport, this county,…” According to Samuel P. Bates, Lockport was a borough in Erie County, PA. The Lockport connected with the search subject is Lockport, Will County, IL.
According to the U.S. census, the search subject lived in Illinois from 1860 until his death in 1937. According to the LaSalle County, IL license, he married Susannah Kimberk on October 31, 1883 in Ottawa, IL. According to family records, his family started growing in 1885 and continued until 1889 with all children born in Illinois.
Given the above information, the researcher believes that two men named Lewis Couch existed at that time. The Lewis Couch in the newspaper article and the Lewis Couch search subject are not the same person.
Comments or questions, contact Selma Blackmon.