There’s a reason why solid genealogical conclusions should not rest solely on one printed word in one newspaper. In fact genealogical conclusions should generally not completely rest on one piece of published information.
A newspaper item from 1966 was used as an illustration recently for Genealogy Tip of the Day. The tip hinged on the phrase “On June 15, 1905, she was united in holy wedlock…in the home of her parents.”
What did the “s” on the word “parents” suggest? Did it suggest that the father was alive at the time of the marriage? Did it suggest that the home was owned by both the mother and the father? Was it suggesting that who wrote the obituary was unaware of certain family details?
Fortunately in this case there are more accurate and reliable documents that indicate Christena’s father died in Adams County, Illinois, in 1896 and that her mother moved from there to Champaign County, Illinois, sometime after the 1900 census enumeration. William Goldenstein never lived in Champaign County, having settled near his sibling immigrants in Adams County, Illinois. Lena (Schone) Goldenstein had family in Champaign County which is presumably the reason she moved there after her husband died. Lena never married after William Goldenstein’s death.
Any home Lena Goldenstein had in Champaign County was never owned or lived in by William Goldenstein. The home she was living in when she married was her mother’s home. It could also have been termed her family’s home.
But if I conclude based on this obituary that her father was living at the time of her marriage or had lived or owned the Champaign County home where Christena was married, that would be wrong.
And that’s why conclusions should be based upon a significant body of documents and not just one item.
There’s no reason not to use obituaries or another printed source as a clue.
But it is reasons like this that one must be careful reading too much into the use of one word in one document.