Ancestral Clues and Lessons: Ida May (Sargent) Trautvetter Miller

George and Ida (Sargent) Trautvetter stone, Bethany United Church of Christ Cemetery, Tioga, Hancock County, Illinois. Picture taken by Michael Neill in 2004.

Ida May Sargent was born in 1874 the daughter of William Ira and Florence Ellen (Butler) Sargent. She married George Trautvetter in 1898 in Hancock County, Illinois, and later married William Miller after George died. She died in 1939 in Quincy, Adams County, Illinois. Some things I’ve learned about research from Ida:

  • you may never know where some people are born. Ida’s records consistently indicate an 1874 year of birth. The place is more problematic, but was likely in western Illinois, southern Iowa, or northern Missouri. There are no civil birth records, the family did not really attend church, and there are no letters, diaries, or other material that would confirm her date and place of birth.
  • don’t neglect late-in-life marriages. Ida married as her second husband, William Miller, in the late 1930s when she was 64 years of age. They were married a short time before he died. Her death record, obituary, estate record, etc. are all filed under her second married name.
  • fixing tombstone typos is hard. Ida’s name is spelled “Ada” on her stone. Someone apparently tried to fix it after the fact.
  • the dead don’t always write their obituaries. Ida’s obituary was written by her daughter, Lillie. It was found in her effects after her death.

Ida (Sargent) Trautvetter Miller is my great-grandmother.


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