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The Maiden Name

Family of the cossacks.

Misinformation, especially concerning an individual’s vital dates and names, can be carried on for generations especially when placed on death certificates. After all, it is a living relative or even friend providing the specifics for the death certificate. So unknowingly an Indiana great grandmother’s maiden name was always written and told as “Dieckmann” also spelled “Dieckman”. It was never questioned because it came from the great grandmother’s daughter-in-law, surely she must have known the correct name.

When records were later checked for the February 1, 1860 marriage of Barbara to Frederick Rue in Floyd County, Indiana there was a hint that a different maiden name existed. The record had “Pliss” for Barbara’s maiden name. Everything else matched as far as the correct wedding date, location and groom’s name. Observing that no way could “Dieckmann” be the same as “Pliss” and that Barbara was only 18 when she married, there appeared serious doubt that “Dieckmann” was correct.

Reading additional marriage records for Floyd County there was a marriage between Henry Dieckmann and Catherine Plaiss on January 01, 1851. Then, using the census for 1850, the Plaiss family was found; parents John and Margaret Plaiss and their thirteen children, including the two sisters of Catherine and Barbara Plaiss. Supplementary research continued to confirm that Barbara’s maiden name was Plaiss and it was her older sister, Catherine who married into the Dieckmann family.

The lesson learned is to never accept just one vital record as the absolute truth. Delve into additional sources; marriage, birth and census to see if the initial information is correct.

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