Here are six images taken from the hints provided by Ancestry for Emil's death. Each record contains the same information concerning his death. Some include more information than just his date of death. Are these actually six different sources or are they the same?
To answer that question we need to pop over to FamilySearch and use the Catalog search function. Here is what we can learn:
- FHL 3197: Hale Collection - Surname index, Death and Inscriptions SAV - SCOC
- FHL 3337: Hale Collection - Cemetery inscriptions of Guilford, Haddam, Hamden, Hampton and Hartford
That's interesting. Record number 1 actually points to an index that, in all likelihood, was created from record number 2.
Both record number 1 and 2 came from the Ancestry "Connecticut, Deaths and Burials Index, 1650-1934" record collection. If you hadn't checked the Source Information box on Ancestry or verified for yourself by going to FamilySearch you might have assumed that the information was from different documents.
How about number 3? It looks like there is an image we can view. There it is written:
Schoenberger, Emil, Father, born Feb. 14, 1850, died June 24, 1902.
Guess what? That is actually the page of the Hale Collection that the "Connecticut, Deaths and Burials Index, 1650-1934" source points to FHL 3337 in record number 2. Record number 3 is listed as "Connecticut, Hale Collection of Cemetery Inscriptions and Newspaper Notices, 1629-1934" in the Ancestry catalogue.
So just what is this Hale Collection? Here is the description from the FamilySearch catalogue:
"Charles R. Hale Collection of vital records (newspaper notices and cemetery inscriptions) with surname index to cemetery inscriptions referring to places and newspapers; index to death notices from newspapers (not included above); index, marriages by newspapers; general index to marriage notices arranged alphabetically; cemeteries by localities; newspapers."A good guess is that the information for Emil Schoenberger might have been transcribed from his grave marker.
Record 4 is interesting since it gives a burial plot and a few other bits of information about the cemetery. Record 4 is found in the Ancestry catalogue as "JewishGen Online Worldwide Burial Registry (JOWBR)". This was created from the information in the JewishGen Online Worldwide Burial Registry hosted by JewishGen. Their description of this database is it:
"...is a database of names and other identifying information from Jewish cemeteries and burial records worldwide, from the earliest records to the present. It is a compilation of two linked databases: a database of burial records, and a database of information about each particular cemetery."So this information might have either been taken from the burial register of the B'Nai Shalom cemetery or transcribed from the grave marker by someone that recorded the burial plot number in additional to what is one the stone. We just don't know.
What about Record number 5? That comes from the "Web: Connecticut, Find A Grave Index, 1636-2013" collection on Ancestry. We can easily click on the URL or the "Go to website" button to visit the Find A Grave memorial for Emil Schoenberger.
But guess what? Record number 6 is from the generic "U.S., Find A Grave Index, 1600s-Current" record collection on Ancestry. The exact same place that record number 5 points to. We are fortunate enough that for this Find A Grave memorial, someone has provided a picture for us to view.
But can we trust what is on that memorial. It is important to note that Find A Grave allows contributors to add additional information that isn't recorded on the stone. For me, I only use what is on the stone and use any additional details as possible clues to chase down.
Even though Ancestry has presented us with six difference records out of five different collections they all seem to point to one single source...the grave stone for Emil Schoenberger. And who provided the information for the stone? We just don't know!
What have we hopefully learned from this little exercise? It is important to know the original sources of where the various indexes and record collections come from so that we can make an informed decision as to the trustworthiness of the records presented to us online, in libraries (public and private), and archives. In Emil's case I would suggest checking for newspaper articles about his death7 and possible see if you can find a probate file that might shed additional information. If he took trips abroad could passport applications or passenger lists have his birth date mentioned?
1. Ancestry.com, "Connecticut, Deaths and Burials Index, 1650-1934," database on-line, Ancestry.com (http://www.ancestry.com/ : accessed 28 Jun 2013), entry for Emil Schoenberger, died 24 Jun 1902, citing FHL Film 3197
2. Ancestry.com, "Connecticut, Deaths and Burials Index, 1650-1934," database on-line, Ancestry.com (http://www.ancestry.com/ : accessed 28 Jun 2013), entry for Emil Schoenberger, died 24 Jun 1902, citing FHL Film 3337
3. Ancestry.com. Connecticut, Hale Collection of Cemetery Inscriptions and Newspaper Notices, 1629-1934 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations, Inc., 2012.
4. JewishGen, "JewishGen Online Worldwide Burial Registry (JOWBR)," database on-line, Ancestry.com, Ancestry.com (http://www.ancestry.com/ : accessed 27 Jun 2013), entry for Emil Schoenberger, died 24 Jun 1902
5. Ancestry.com. Web: Connecticut, Find A Grave Index, 1636-2013 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations, Inc., 2012.
6. Find A Grave, Inc., Find A Grave, digital images (http://www.findagrave.com/ : accessed 11 Feb 2019), memorial page for Emil Schoenberger (14 Feb 1850–24 Jun 1902), Find A Grave Memorial no. 11330689, citing Temple Beth Sholom Cemetery, Hamden, New Haven County, Connecticut, USA; Maintained by Mona Rhone (contributor 46795703).
7. "Newspaper Archives," database, GenealogyBank.com (http://www.genealogybank.com/ : accessed 22 Feb 2019), Death of Emil Schoenberger, Head of Schoenberger & Sons; citing the Morning Journal and Courier (New Haven, Connecticut), 25 Jun 1902, p 7, col 1.