A Few Reminders from the 1924 Car Accident Involving my Uncle

As I’ve been discovering more information on my uncle’s 1925 car accident and resulting lawsuit, I’ve been reminded of the importance of a few things.

  1. Reviewing what you did early in your research. When I began my research, I looked at virtually every book I could get my hands on in the courthouse. It was exhaustive, but to a point and not quite the way research needs to be exhaustive. ┬áDoing that allowed me to discover quite a few things, but I tended to focus on those things that attracted my immediate attention. Sometimes I didn’t always look up everything on aunts/uncles and extended family members. Directly related to the lawsuit I did not find, I am pretty certain that I didn’t look at court cases if they didn’t appear to be interesting at the time. For me in the early days of my research, court cases involve estate squabbles or divorces were typically what I focused on while searching because those cases are the most likely to provide the most genealogical information. That caused me to overlook things.
  2. Keep a research log. While I do this now, I did not do it early in my research–and that’s why reviewing or even redoing research done early in your genealogical experience is a good idea.
  3. If you don’t ask the right questions, you won’t get the answers. Since I didn’t know about the lawsuit involving my uncle (and the car accident which precipitated it), I never thought to ask about it. Relatives sometimes don’t mention things simply because it happened years before you asked and they simply have forgotten. There are also details they don’t tell you because they don’t want you to know.
  4. Early newspaper reports of events can contain errors. The initial mention of my uncle’s car accident in the newspaper spelled his last name incorrectly. Sometimes the initial report on something can contain incorrect information. Try and follow up through as many issues of the newspaper as you can. Later references to the event may contain more accurate information
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3 thoughts on “A Few Reminders from the 1924 Car Accident Involving my Uncle

  1. Had to smile at “the hard road” — I recently noted the meaning of that term to current readers of our local county paper. I’m sure the younger readers (and maybe not really so young) were confused by that designation. Our hard road is route 34…when it was being created along the edge of our farm, my dad and uncle hauled gravel from our gravel pit to the workers to make it happen. It’s always good to be reminded of the old days.

  2. I’m wondering how old Lewis Habben was at the time of the accident, and whether advancing age or poor eyesight may have been contributing factors. I also question the other driver’s claim to have been driving at only 25 mph. Hard to imagine backseat passenger bring ejcted and crushed by an accident at that speed. ?

    • Lewis would have been in his thirties at the time. As for the speed, I’m not certain about how reasonable the claim was for 1924–that’s a good question.

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