African American Newspapers Forum
Cain and Abel, revisisted
I had been working on a particular relative and wondering why the trail on him and his siblings ran cold suddenlyaround 1890 when the family had been visible and stable for many years in the Ohio community where they lived. After searching again one day this week I quit with no success. The very next morning, I did a general search for the surname [Swaney/Sweeney] not looking for him in particular, using the Library of Congress' newspaper database. On the first results page, I got a hit with containing his name, and found out that he had been convicted of manslaughter for accidentally shooting his brother during a fight in 1887. I was then able to find another article detailing the events more closely.Looking back at my tree, I can now see why the family scattered after this event, moving to California, and St. Paul, and some who stayed even changed their names. The case was pretty sensational in that small rural community and got newspaper coverage in at least 2 states, probably more. I might have never found this out otherwise, as the original death certificate of the brother who was killed was not online, just the transcription showing dates.
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