SpringBoard, an official blogger for the 2016 National Genealogical Society (NGS) Family History Conference, is pleased to offer a review of this BCG Skillbuilding lecture, presented 6 May 2016.

F341, Julie Miller, CG, FNGS, “Eddie Wenck:  The Case of a Little Lost Boy”

Reviewed by Karen Stanbary, CG

Little Eddie Wenck died of “congestion of the brain” before he reached his third birthday. Julie Miller, in her quest to fully document the life events of her grandfather’s siblings, uncovered Eddie’s death register entry and church burial record, both naming “Four Mile Cemetery” as the place of interment. Yet, there is no “Four Mile Cemetery” in the community where Eddie and his family lived. There is no mention of said cemetery in the county histories. The closest Four Mile Cemetery was a twelve-mile journey from the Wenck home.

Julie Miller, CG, FNGS
Courtesy of Karen Stanbary

Eddie called to Julie to uncover the truth. She methodically studied city directories, church directories, county histories, diocesan histories, land records, maps, and newspapers. She identified early roads and even the location of a tavern where Irish mourners might gather after a burial. She analyzed assigned priests and each man’s handwriting in the church registers for both the Irish and the German Catholic churches in Eddie’s community. When the microfilm images did not seem quite right, she sought the original volumes. When denied access, she politely persisted, climbing the hierarchy within the church to gain access. She studied the provenance of the records.

It was as if Eddie accompanied her in this journey, compelling her to not give up until she could fully document his short life. In the process Julie (and Eddie) discovered and corrected significant errors in the burials of Newport, Kentucky, including naming many who lie in unmarked graves, now long forgotten.

This lecture is a fantastic example of source appraisal and analysis, an essential component of reasonably exhaustive research.


A recording of this lecture may be previewed and ordered from PlaybackNow.

The words Certified Genealogist are a registered certification mark, and the designations CG, CGL, and Certified Genealogical Lecturer are service marks of the Board for Certification of Genealogists®, used under license by board certificants after periodic evaluation.