Murder-Suicide of William Strutz

Making Sense of Conflicting and Erroneous Information

There are many lessons to be learned about how different reporters, publications, copy editors and layout editors treated (and mistreated) the same facts about my great great grandfather’s murder. Or how OCR (optical character recognition) further keeps the stories buried.

Tips From My Great-Great Grandfather William

  • Reporters goof: His name was StRutz (not Stutz as below)
  • Typesetters goof: His murder was July 2, not June 2, 1894
  • Family members often spin or “sanitize” details
  • There may be coverage beyond local papers (e.g. AP story)
  • The Genealogical Proof Standard: Do an exhaustive search
  • Keep Notes (sources, name variations, facts, conflicts)
  • Names are often misspelled or misread. Search key words.
  • Search not just for names but for initials and abbreviations · e.g. Joseph William Smith may be Jos. , Joseph W. or J. W.
  • There may be mentions of the deceased years after death. Obituaries and real estate items are the most common.
  • Newspapers and microfilm deteriorate and have limited lifespans