I try not to stray too far down collateral paths, but the case of Jacob RICK seemed interesting. Third great-grandfather August RICK had a half-brother named Jacob (Jakob), born on December 25, 1836, in Siegelsbach, Baden. A church record from St. Louis shows that a Jacob RICK was in the area before 1860 and a passenger list shows that a man of the right age (and traveling with others believed to have been family) immigrated in 1853.
The next step was to find this man in census records. Jacob RICK is listed in 1870, 1880 and 1900 in San Francisco. The first two census records list him as a native of Baden. The 1900 census lists his date of birth as December of 1836. So far, everything matches up. The only things holding me back from definitively stating this was in fact August RICK's half-brother are: I haven't found additional records to show he was in St. Louis, and I haven't found his marriage record. I just don't feel comfortable connecting this man to the family in my database since San Francisco is so far from where other family members lived at the time.
Reviewing an index of California deaths helped provide details about Jacob's wife and children. I then contacted the Main Branch of the San Francisco Public Library to order free obituaries, two of which I've received so far. Now that a cemetery has been identified, I'm hoping to find out when Jacob died -- likely between 1900 and 1905 -- so that I can request his obit. The obituary of his wife Elizabeth was fairly detailed and if Jacob's is similar, I should be able to finally resolve whether he's family or not.
As for the title of this post, when Jacob and Elizabeth's son George died in 1910, an electric funeral car was used from San Francisco to Cypress Lawn Cemetery in Colma. Not knowing exactly what that was, but figuring it may have had something to do with streetcars, I went to Google and found that it had been discussed on the San Francisco mailing list several years ago. Interesting.