I immediately wanted to see just how these individuals fit into my husband's family tree. The first thing I did was open to my family tree files to look up James, but there are many James Odle's in the family and not knowing any more information than what I had, it was a little difficult to match exactly whose "James" he was. My next step was the Ohio Death Certificates database at familysearch.org to see if I could connect him to his parents by looking at his death certificate. Unfortunately, his record wasn't there, but my eyes fell upon the name of someone else. It was Bessie O'Dell. According to her death certificate, Bessie died two weeks after she was shot, on 18 April, 1937. The cause of death was listed as endocarditis, contributory cause was a gunshot wound to the abdomen. I felt an overwhelming feeling of sadness. I had just "met" this incredibly strong woman who had walked from the scene of her attempted murder to the waiting ambulance, and now she was gone. She was taken away from her husband and her eight children by a man who was angry that she didn't like his influence upon her household. I knew there was now more to be told of this story. I searched the archive database once more, concentrating specifically on her name and I discovered another article.
At the time of this article, Bessie's condition seemed to be improving, but unfortunately, I knew now that it wasn't to be.
The next two articles I found were obituaries; both Bessie's and James'.
My final steps in documenting this tragedy were to input the information that I had found into both my Ancestry.com family tree and my personal family tree database. After that, I could tell my husband that the wife of his grandmother's first cousin, therefore, his first cousin, once removed, was shot and killed by the man, James Odle, his second cousin, twice removed.
We all have items that live in our family trees that don't make us proud, but they are still important components to who we are. Now that I know Bessie, I won't forget her and I think that is what family history is all about.