August Muethel was my maternal granduncle. This is what I know about him. He was born in August of 1874 in Michigan, USA according to the 1900 US Census and he was twenty-five years old at that time. He was six years old in 1880 according to the census of that year. He also had a sister, Clara who disappears after 1880. He worked as a "stereotyper". He died unmarried, the son of the late Fred Muethal and Minnie Archer. He committed suicide 24 January 1904 by drinking carbolic acid. He was buried 27 January 1904 in Woodmere Cemetery, Detroit, Michigan, according to his death record. Of his death, The Evening News said "August Muethel, 29, 148 Cleveland; Carbolic Acid Poisoning (suicidal intent)". A longer article in the same newspaper on the day that he died gave a few more details of the how of his suicide. That he willingly drank the carbolic acid was well documented as he did so publicly. He was rushed to St. Mary’s hospital where he died a half hour after drinking the poison. He left no note and no clue as to why he wished to die. His mother, Minnie Archer Muethel noticed but did not identify the symptoms of depression that he exhibited for the two weeks prior to his death. Prior to that, he appeared full of life and joy. He worked for ten years for the Western Newspaper Union on Clinton street, quitting the week before he committed suicide.
What I can see from this information and the various records is that he was born 30 August 1874, if the age given for him on both his death certificate and the burial record found online with other burials at Woodmere Cemetery, is correct. It does match the birth year and month given in the 1900 census, which is a good sign.
I do not know if I would learn any more from the coroner’s report, assuming it has even survived. His birth can only be confirmed by his birth certificate. His death certificate is only a secondary source. Both censuses state that he was born in 1874 and in Michigan, but I have not been able to locate his birth. This is something that I need to enter into the FTM database, which I have just finished.
What I need to do now is to determine what I need to know. I need to know where August was born and for that, I need to find his birth certificate. I would also like to document his whereabouts between 1880 and 1900. To that end, since the 1890 US census is not available, I will check the Canadian census for 1891, as the family was enumerated in the 1881 Canadian census. It is reasonable to look for them in Canada in 1891. I should also try to find him in the successive volumes of the Detroit Directories. I can look for them in there. I believe that they are there and I will have to search each volume of the directory so that I can find them there. I will start there and also search for his birth record.
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