Monday, September 23, 2013

Finding Barbara ... when nothing agrees!

Joseph Jihlan
2nd husband of great~grandmother
Barbara Fuka Jerousek Jihlan
2nd great~grandmother
Unraveling the mystery of Barbara Fuka has been quite the challenge. I posted about discovery of her second marriage to Joseph Jihlan. That information put me on the very crooked path to additional records.
First up, locating burial information. Many of my family lines are buried in the Most Holy Redeemer Cemetery, Baltimore, Maryland.

There is an excellent database on Maryland GenWeb with burial information. I checked for the Jihlan surname. Sure enough there are entries for Joseph and Barbara Jihlan. Dates listed for Barbara's headstone are 1851-1910.
You would think this would be the end of the story. Finding death date, which leads to vital records. No, it was not!
For weeks I searched the Maryland State Archives for Barbara's death certificate. Almost to the point of eyes crossed!

Was the name misspelled? Did she pass away in the county instead of the city? No matter where or how I checked, Barbara remained stubbornly lost.
Last month on a trip to the Archives my husband suggested we visit the cemetery. Is he not the best research hubby?! The website listed the plot locations making the stone easy to find.

Looking very closely at the dates, one can vaguely see the "0" may be eroded. Could that be "9"? Heart started beating a wee bit.
Back at home I checked the Archives website at once. There she was! Barbara Jihlan! Date of death, November 28, 1919. This lead to discovering the following vital record.

Hallelujah! My 2nd great-grandmother's death certificate! But, wait? What is that?! Someone, presumably here husband listed her birth date as 1869? She was 50? That is impossible! She had a son born in 1872? Is this the wrong death record?

No, seems like once again incorrect information is attached to Barbara. As we see on her headstone the correct birth date is entered, Was Joseph confused when providing dates? Did the person recording the dates make the mistake?

I must admit the search for Barbara has been one of my favorite genealogy hunts. Each turn has presented road blocks. Putting the pieces together has been educational and just plain fun!

Barbara, welcome home.


  1. Oh heavens, this type of situation seems to be par for the course! I must have 3 different ages for my great grandmother listed on separate documents all contributed by unkowing relatives. It certainly creates a challenge (and grey hairs).

  2. Deb,

    I want to let you know that your blog post is listed in today's Fab Finds post at

    Have a great weekend!