Hutcheson Case Study

My next project will be a case study. I did a quick preview of census and online sources and discovered that by just getting back one generation, one finds links to some previous research. However, what do you do when you only know a few things about an ancestor? And even worse, what if what do you find is confusing? This case study will focus on how to get back just one crucial generation.

I randomly chose Oril O. Hutcheson as I surfed through death certificates which are available online on the Arizona Department of Health Services website. I was looking up death certificates for a Hoyt project (which will be next) and incremented the numbers to read the certificates and other paperwork such as amendments which were interfiled.

Oril’s death certificate caught my eye. He committed suicide — and while it is a shameful and avoided subject, I find that there is always an untold story. The several suicides in my family tree have meant that I needed to dig deep enough to figure out what was causing stress in that person’s life. Additionally, Oril worked for Southern Pacific Railroad. My husband is a “train guy” and we have lots of “Espee” (SP) model trains.

The basics:*
Oril O. Hucheson was born 22 Jul 1879 in Iowa. His father was Thomas Hutcheson and the informant did not know where Thomas was born. Oril’s mother’s name and place of birth were unknown. He was married and the informant was Etta Mae Hutcheson. He died 18 Feb 1949 in Tucson, Pima, Arizona, and was buried in the Masonic section of Evergreen Cemetery. He was 69 years, 8 months, and 22 days old. His death was caused by a gunshot wound to the head and was attributed to suicide which occurred at home at 11am with death pronounced at 2pm. He was employed as a brakeman for So. Pac. R.R. and his social security number was 700-12-3070. He had lived in Tucson, Arizona, for 37 years.

*Arizona Department of Health Services, death certificate no. 1027 (1949), Oril O. Hutcheson; digital image, Arizona Genealogy Death Certificates (http://genealogy.az.gov : accessed 29 Aug 2010).

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