Sunday, May 8, 2016

Death Certificate Not Enough

The death certificate for Alexander Lutter has arrived.  He died in Chicago, Cook County, Illinois on December 23, 1897.  Unfortunately, his parents are not listed.  He was 33 years old when he died of "fatty degeneration of the heart."  Is he a brother of my great great grandfather, Herman Lutter?  We still do not know.

I obtained the date of death from a local newspaper, but the Cook County Archives were initially unable to locate a certificate.  (Alexander's wife, Ottilie Dahlke, died in 1904.  Her death certificate was easily found and listed Waldheim Cemetery as the place of burial.  Two cemeteries share this name, but neither could locate a record of this Lutter branch.  One is still named Waldheim; the other is now Forest Home Cemetery.)

Alexander Lutter does not appear in the online index through Cook County's search page.  Actually, no deaths for the year 1897 appear in this index.

Recently produced an index of deaths in Cook County.  Alexander Lutter appeared.  I reapplied for the death certificate via postal mail to the Cook County Clerk and received the death certificate in a few weeks.

The death certificate referenced a coroner's report.  An online index provided the location of this record.  I sent away for a copy.  The slightest clue could help place this piece of the puzzle into a larger picture.

This is done as a quest to find Alex Lutter, a witness to the marriage of my great great grandparents, Herman Lutter (1860-1924) and Clara Uhl (1864-1955) in 1888 in Newark, Essex County, New Jersey.  I find no record of an Alexander Lutter in Newark and no connection between the Chicago Lutters and my Lutters.  Herman Lutter's will mentioned children of two siblings, Otto and Ottilie, but not Alexander.

The only hint that tells me that I could be on the right path is a DNA match at AncestryDNA to a great great granddaughter of Alex Lutter and Ottlie Dahlke through their daughter, Emma, who married Frank Scaar.  This person has not responded to my inquiries.

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