Sunday, January 21, 2018

Tragedies 25 Years Apart

Occasionally something happens during the course of our family history research that spurs a blog post so we can document the noteworthy event. Many years ago as I researched my father’s Margheim family, I discovered a tragedy that had happened in the family in 1934. My Dad related some of the details as he remembered them, which brought the event even more to life for me. Here’s a news clipping that divulges this family tragedy.
Margheim, Fred Suicide
Fred Margheim was the older brother of my grandfather John Ludwig Margheim. Fred was born 22 April 1886 and was married to Pauline Becker. It wasn’t until I thoroughly researched my mother’s family too, that I discovered this Pauline Becker was a first cousin of my maternal grandmother! This chart shows that my mother Ruby Flanders was the first cousin once removed of Pauline Becker Margheim.
Pauline Becker to Ruby Flanders
Fred’s death is listed as 15 Sep 1934. The article above says he’d been missing for 10 days when his body was found on September 25, 1934. It’s tragic that he might have committed suicide. I say “might have” because even though the news article says suicide was the official ruling of the County Coroner, the family did not believe that was his cause of death.

Just last week I received an email from a woman whom I had never met. Cynthia was asking for my help with her “Margheim family”. She told me her father died when she was young and she knew next to nothing about his family or ancestry. Through further email exchanges, I discovered that her father was the son of the Fred Margheim above. I was happy to hear from her since our family’s never had any contact with any descendants of Fred and Pauline. I inquired more about her father’s death. She told me he had died in a river, just as his father had done.

It just happens that during the same week that I heard from this woman, I had subscribed to So I took a chance and entered her father’s name into a search on I was saddened by what I read in a news article that appeared through the search.

My new Margheim contact lost her father when she was only 3 months old. She had 6 older brothers and sisters. Imagine how that tragedy and loss impacted that precious family.

I was struck by the similarities in the deaths of Fred and his son Arthur. I enter here a side-by-side comparison of those tragedies for your review.

Margheim, Fred and Arthur Suicides
Almost exactly 25 years to the day that Fred Margheim’s life ended, his son Arthur’s life ended apparently in much the same way. Fred died at age 47, while Arthur died at age 48. I’m saddened by these losses in the family and amazed at the similarities that are evident. It gives me much food for thought.

PS: Here's a chart that shows that Cynthia Margheim McKaughan is my cousin through my mother's family as well as my father's family. 

I don’t have a picture of Arthur Margheim, but I have this wedding picture of Fred and Pauline from 1910.
Fred (1886-1934) and Pauline Becker (1887-1962) Margheim, m. 1910

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