Monday, September 7, 2009

Madness Monday... "There was a murder in the family..."


My mother, bless her silly soul, once told me that. I said "really?!?!" with great anticipation of some juicy scandql. Well, I was sadly disappointed.

"Where?" asked I, hoping I could get all the gorey details. "Near Scranton and Castle avenues (in Cleveland, Ohio). Ok, I know exactly where that is!! Great! Next question...

"When?" asked I, expecting more information. "Before I was born" was all she could tell me. Well, Mom was born in 1930. Next question...

"Who was it??" asked I, sure Mom had the answer that would narrow down the year of the murder.

"I don't know. Some girl in the family." Hmmmm... female murder... should be either a Krueger or a Schell, or a Schittkowski... or so I thought...

What my mother basically told me was "there was a murder in the family, before I was born, at the corner of Scranton and Castle Avenues." Nothing else...

So I put my thinking cap on...

Ok.. great-grandparents on both sides of Mom's family arrived in Ohio after 1880. So that gave me a span of 50 years to look through. I found an index to the coroner's files up to 1900 or so for Cuyahoga County. Nothing there for anyone I had knowledge of in either family.

I searched death notices, and all kinds of other goodies... What did I find?? Nothing, Nothing and more nothing... So I put that unsolved issue on a back burner. I decided to start putting the limited information I did have online in the form of my own personal webpages.

After a few years, I'm not really sure how long it actually took, but I got an email from a gal in Canada. She was the step-cousin to one of my maternal grandfather's brother's in-laws.

She told me she had done extensive research on the Raddatz family and that part of that family had been in Cleveland and stayed there, while the rest of the family went to Canada.

Guess what... She had the name of the murder victim!!! I hit the jackpot!! Of course, all the info that mom had passed down was incorrect, as family stories without any actual knowledge go. But! Now I had her name, where she was killed, the date of the murder, and all the other base information that helped me find *all* the information...

I got the death certificate for Florence Raddatz. On it, it stated there was an autopsy preformed. I proceeded to obtain a copy of the coroner's report (which was not listed on the index as it happened in 1921). It was all very interesting. She turned out to be the half-sister to my grandfather's sister-in-law. All very complicated, and very anti-climatic.

I have re-created a copy of the newspaper article I found here: The Murder of Florence Raddatz.

I did get a ton of information on that collateral line, including another death that I have my own "suspicious mind" on, but that's for another time...

What's the point of this story?? Well, I guess it's just that if you get your information out on the internet someplace, it will be seen. It may very well get you some information that you didn't have. May not be the breakthrough you have been hoping for, but it could be something like the answer to a simple statement like the one above.

I was lucky enough to get this information before my mother's passing, so she finally knew the actual information.

By the way, that murder was never solved...

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