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Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Monday, September 26, 2011

Chicago and Cook County Resources Part 1

Chicago plays a big role in my family history research. Both of my parents, all four grandparents, and four of my great-grandparents were born in Chicago. 
Navy Pier and the Chicago skyline
Photo by Chicago Convention & Tourism Bureau 

The Windy City also drew my non-native ancestors. Two of my great-grandparents immigrated directly to Chicago and six of my immigrant great-great grandparents moved there after settling somewhere else first.

Chicago was officially incorporated as a town in 1832 and four years later, when the population reached 4170, it was incorporated as a city.

By the 1870 census more than 300,000 people called Chicago home. The population boom is attributed primarily to the arrival of railroads and the meatpacking industry.

The Great Chicago Fire of 1871 left much of the city in ashes and many genealogically-related records were lost forever. There are still many records available however and workarounds exist for the records that were burned.

Most Illinois counties did not begin recording births until 1877. Cook County held records earlier than many other counties, but most of those were lost in the Fire. Images of Cook County Birth Registers from 1871 (post-Fire) to 1915 are online at Family Search. Newspapers reported a few births as early as 1833. A list was compiled by the Newspaper Research Committee and microfilmed by the Family History Library (FHL) on film # 844952.

More than a million images make up the FamilySearch collection of Cook County Birth Certificates 1878-1922. I have found ancestors that have a birth certificate and are listed in the registers, so you may want to check both. If you aren't able to locate a birth record, check this microfiche index for surname misspellings and unnamed infants.

Corrected birth certificates (names added or changed, misspellings on the originals etc) appear on 17 rolls of microfilm available at the FHL. If your ancestor's birth wasn't recorded, he or she may have obtained a Delayed Birth Certificate when job hunting, enlisting in the military, or applying for Social Security. The Chicago Fire or World War I may have been catalysts for the records on this film.

Baptismal records often list birth dates. Catholic ancestors may appear in FamilySearch's newly released Catholic Church Records 1833-1925 which is a goldmine if you know the name of the Chicago church your family attended. If your ancestors were Lutheran (ELCA), start here to look for archived records. Start here when searching for Missouri Synod Lutherans.

Hidden in a long list of Catholic churches, there are record indexes for other denominations on these FHL microfilms.

The Illinois State Archives and the Illinois State Genealogical Society (ISGS) are  indexing marriage records from 1763 to 1920. This database contains over two million names and is searchable by bride's or groom's names. FamilySearch has a Cook County Marriages Index and images from 1871 to 1920.

Generally speaking, the government thinks of marriage as a contractual agreement between the parties involved, so records were/are pretty consistently created. If you are unable to locate a Chicago or Cook County marriage record, look for church records on the sites listed above. Remember that indexers struggle with poor handwriting, faded copies, misspelled names and other hurdles. Think creatively when searching any archived record.

Death records often yield the most information about our ancestors' lives. The Illinois Statewide Death Index is far from complete, but most 1871-1950 Cook County death records have been indexed. They are online in two databases; pre-1916 and 1916-1950. Images of death certificates from 1878 to 1922 and Deaths and Stillbirths 1916-1947 are available free on FamilySearch.

Other sources for information regarding the death of Cook County ancestors are funeral home records, burial permit listings, the Sam Fink index, probate records, and obituaries:

The Chicago Daily News and the Chicago Tribune were two of the major papers in Chicago and the surrounding suburbs for decades. Both are go-to sources for obituaries, beginning in the mid-to-late 19th century. Extant issues and microfilm copies of the now defunct Daily News exist in surprising places. Wilson Library at the University of Minnesota has an impressive collection on microfilm. The Trib is online at several newspaper database sites and as well as on microfilm. Ethnic and suburban newspapers (like the Daily Herald) are also good sources for obituaries.

Our ancestors lives were more than birth, marriage, and death records. In an upcoming post I'll focus on school, employment, naturalization, divorce, probate and voting records, as well as current must-visit repositories.

I'll also share information about some interesting events that occurred in Chicago and Cook County that impact genealogical research there. For example, streets were renamed, houses and business were renumbered, cemeteries were closed and former "residents" relocated, and more than one riot took place.

Do you have a favorite source for genealogical records in "that tottlin' town"? Share your suggestions in the comments section below or email me at livinginthepastlane [at] yahoo [dot] com

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Surname Saturday ~ The Name Game

Ready for Round Two of the Name Game?

Step right up and try your luck guessing the country of origin and the meanings of these names:


Give yourself one point for each country guessed correctly and another point for each correct meaning.

Scroll down...

to see...

the answers...

Bleeker, Bleecker (Dutch) One who bleaches or whitens cloth, a fuller.

Driscoll (Irish) Grandson of Eidirsceol (interpreter).

Fortier (French) One employed at a fortress; one who made and sold gimlets.

Hofstetter, Hostetter (German, Swiss) One who came from Hofstetten, the name of several villages in Germany and Switzerland.

Jalowiec (Polish, Russian) One who was sterile or barren, dweller on infertile soil.

Lackey, Lackie (English, Irish) One who attended another, a footman; dweller at a stony or rocky place.

Nikolich, Nikolic (Yugoslavian) Son of Nikola, Serbo-Croatian form of Nicholas (people's victory).

Palmieri, Palmiero (Italian) One who carries the palm in religious processions; one who granted or sold indulgences.

Raske, Rask (Swedish) Daring, a soldier name.

Teslenko (Ukranian) The son of the carpenter.

Vela (Spanish) One who took care of sheep, a shepherd; one who came from Vela (raven), in Spain.

Xander, Xanders (Greek) Descendant of Xander, a shortened form of Alexander (helper of mankind).

Zsoldow (Hungarian) One hired for service in the army, a mercenary soldier.

Did you do better in Round One or Round Two? Share a surname you are researching and I'll add them to an upcoming post.

Friday, September 23, 2011

FGS 2011 ~ The Bonus

I won! I won! Of course if you were within a 50-mile radius of Springfield Illinois on September 11th, you already know that. My screams had to reach at least that far. (My apologies to everyone who attended the Farewell Brunch, I hope your hearing is recovered by now.)

Thank you FGS coordinators for this fabulous prize! See you in Birmingham!

Thursday, September 22, 2011

French Birth Record from 1795

My 5th-great grandparents Joseph François GURY and Barbe RICHARD had at least nine children. Typical of their time, they had a baby nearly every year. Transcribing and translating their children's vital records gives me a better sense of their family dynamics. Here is one the records I recently located:

Jean Louis GUERY's 1795 birth:

Birth record transcription: left column ----- ?  ----?   1795 / department de la Meurthe / Guery / Jean Louis / mort?

Lepoerres du et ferrirt o
Àujourd'hui huitième jour du Mois de Fructidor l'an troisième de la Republic Française mil et -- divisible quatre un had apres Midy par devant Mois Nicolas Karpp membre du Conseil general de la commune d’Altroff et a le premier V-H-N? d-? pour dresser les actes destines a constater les naissance mariages et deces des citoyens, est comparu en la falle pirblique de la Maison Commune Josephe Guery age de trente ans châtreur resident ans la commune d’Altroff, lequel après ete de Jean ---- Geury châtreur age de trente deux ans department de la Moselle  district de fanckmons municipalite de Bassoncones et Catherine Schmitt age de vingt huit ans resident d’ans la commune de Vírming department de la Meurthe district de Dréuze a declare a Mois Nicolas Karpp, que Barbe Richart Mon epouse en legitime mariage et accouché hier --- jour du present Mois de Fructidor a quatre un heur du soire d’ans la maison d'un enfant male quil ma presenté et auquel il a donné le prenom Jean Louis, d’apres cette declaration que le citoyens Joseph Guery Jean hary et Catherine Schmitt ont certificat a la Herite, et la representation qui ma ete fait de l enfant de nommi, par Redige en herta des pouvoire que me fout de lequis le present acte que Josephe Geury, pere de l’enfant et le deux temoins Jean Hary Geury et Catherine Schmitt, ont signe avec mois fait en la maison commune d'Altroff les jour Mois et an ci-dessous.

[Signed by] Catherine Schmitt, H Gury, J F Gury

Birth record translation: ----- left column? ----? 1795 / department of Meurthe / Guery / Jean Louis / death?

Lepoerres and the ferrirt o

Today the eighth day of Fructidor third year of the French Republic and millet - a divided four HAD Midy after the front month Nicolas Karppe member of the General Council of the joint and the first Altroff VHN? d-? to prepare the documents to ascertain the birth marriages and deaths of citizens, appeared in the hall of the common house Josephe Guery, 30 year old gelder, resident of the town Altroff, after which Jean Hary Geury gelder 32 years of age of the Moselle department fanckmons district municipality of Bassoncones and Catherine Schmitt age of 28 and a resident of the town of Virming, department of Meurthe, district Dréuze said to Mr. Nicolas Karppe that Barbe Richard, my wife of a legitimate marriage, gave birth yesterday --- Month Fructidor four o'clock one year of the house of a male child quil my presentation and to which he gave the first name Jean Louis, after this statement that the citizens Jean Joseph Guery and Catherine Schmitt a certificate is prepared, and that the representation was made of my child to the appointed by Herta Written in the powers I care about the present act Lequis Joseph Geury, father of the child and the two witnesses Jean Hary Geury and Catherine Schmitt, have been signed with months in the common house of the day Altroff Month and year below.

[Signed by] Catherine Schmitt, H Gury, J F Gury

This is one of the worst translations I've done. I'm more rusty than I thought; the 1795 handwriting/words have me stumped! I'll ask for help and update this post shortly.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

FGS 2011 ~ The How

How does one prepare for an annual genealogy event that lasts for several days?

I brought some unnecessary items along to Springfield and learned a few important lessons. One was that my arms get tired carrying all that stuff! So for the next genealogy conference, here's what I'll take:

Backpack: Hands-free carryall*. I was forever setting my briefcase down and picking it up again, particularly in the vendor area. A backpack could have been slung over one shoulder allowing me to keep my things close without the risk of leaving them behind. Sure would have made shopping easier!

Clothing: Lots of layer options. Some rooms are warm, some are cool. Crowding makes a difference, so the room that starts out too cool can quickly become too warm as seats are filled. Lightweight sweaters and wraps over short sleeves worked best for me.

Liquids. You will need water. Conference coordinators had water available in the main hall between programs which was very thoughtful. But I was still quite parched by the end of each 10 hour day. Next time I'll bring an easy-to-refill easy-to-identify-as-mine container in my backpack.

Drugs: Think mini personal pharmacy. There isn't a CVS in the conference center. If you have ever experienced allergies, colds, headaches, or papercuts; plan and pack accordingly.

Files: Less of them. Paper copies of family group sheets times 16 ancestral lines are cumbersome. Without a laptop I felt I had to bring photocopies, but I didn't have the time (or the need) to look at them. Even if I had researched more in Springfield, I could have carried less than I did.

Handouts: Group them per workshop. One of the things I did right was planning my classes ahead of time and stapling the pages for each of those workshops separately. I carried one day's worth at a time. Easy peasy. I did change my mind on one track, and managed just fine without the handouts.

Research questions. Have them prepared before you arrive. This isn't to say you won't think of new questions while you're at the conference; you will. But a post-it note on my stapled handouts reminded me to listen for a specific resource or repository that would impact one of my brick wall ancestors.

Notetaking: Use a composition book. I'm so glad I thought of this for the Springfield trip! The hard cover gave me a writing surface in crowded rooms. My notes are in the order of the programs I attended. The people I want to connect with are listed with the class in which I met them. Brilliant!

*I saw people with carry-ons on wheels in the conference area. I would not recommend these. The area was crowded with more than 2000 people who were looking straight ahead, not down at the floor. The people pulling these bags didn't see all the near-collisions left in their wake.

What do you bring to genealogy conferences? Have you ever brought something you wished you hadn't? What will you do differently next time?

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Why Old People Should Do Genealogy

I covered "FGS 2011 ~ The Why" here, but then I got to thinking about Why in a bigger context.

I'm often asked (either outright or with that deeply quizzical look) why I like genealogy.

Those of us who love this sport already know the drive behind our desire to climb the family tree, but here's a few reasons for you youngsters to encourage parents and grandparents to take up the hobby:

1.) Genealogy keeps your mind sharp. Oh sure, I may get lost on the way home or wear my underwear on top of my clothes, but ask me to recite my direct lineage back to 1612 and I'm all over it.

2.) Genealogists are low maintenance. At home I'll need you or your spouse to cater to my every need. All. Day. Long. Or you can drive me to a genealogy library at 9am and pick me up at closing time.

3.) Genealogy is good exercise. Maybe I can't keep up with you young whippersnappers on the disco dance floor, but show me a 1756 church record with my ancestor's name on it and I'll show you some pretty spiffy dance moves.

4.) Genealogists are good conversationalists. C'mon, which would you rather have me talk about, your 7th great-grandfather's military career or my goiter?

5.) Genealogy is a group event. At home I may need a walker to get around. Sign me up for FGS 2012 and like a kindergarden kid on the first day of school, I'll skip up the genealogy tour bus steps and never look back.

Monday, September 19, 2011

Genealogy Success Team Update

I've made more progress on my family tree since Jenny and I started our Success Team than I'd made in the six preceding months combined. It has to do with accountability. I don't want to waste Jenny's time by telling her I couldn't finish the goals I set during our last meeting, so I get them done. Thanks Jenny, and go team!

Working toward accomplishing my 2011 New Year's Resolutions, I have a five-pronged approach to each week. This week my list consists of:

BLOG: Follow Lisa Alzo's 15-minutes a day plan. I missed Lisa's program at FGS 2011, but read about it on Diana's blog post. Like Diana, I'm pretty busy. But as Diana mentioned, I'm sure we can all squeeze in 15 minutes a day to do something more important than reading Facebook status updates.

LEARN: In a never-ending quest to add to my overall genealogical education, this week I'm going to finish reading one of the books I bought at FGS 2011; "Finding Your Chicago Ancestors; A Beginner's Guide to Family History in the City and Cook County" by Grace DuMelle. I'm not a beginner to research in this area, but the book has more than beginner information. I've already found several new resources.

ORGANIZE: What genealogist doesn't need to be better organized? I recently created an "at-a-glance record inventory" in Excel. This week I will add comments to the Mueller page.

You probably know about the yearbook collection on Ancestry. I'm interested in Englewood High School. The oldest yearbook on Ancestry for that school is 1940, far later than I need. A Google search shows records for EHS at the Harold Washington Library in Chicago. Time to start a list for a road trip.

PRESERVE: I'm a huge fan of Find A Grave. This week I want to make 15 new contributions. I also need to upload another CD of family photos for my scrapbook project.

RESEARCH: Ah yes, the real reason I play the genealogy game! This week I hope to locate the church my Mueller/Schmitt family attended in Chicago and request records from them. I'd like to answer several questions:
  • In which Swiss village was Jacob Mueller born?
  • When did he immigrate to the United States?
  • Did Elise have four children with Jacob or only two?
  • Is there a record of (Elise's son) Otto's divorce? Of his suicide?
  • Where did (Jacob/Elise's daughter) Alma live after Jacob died?
  • What happened to Alma after (her stepbrother) Otto' death?
My French translation comfort level is decreasing. I've been away from the records for too long. So my last task for this week is to transcribe and translate at least one French vital record for an ancestor in Moselle.

This should be a fun (and productive!) week for genealogy. What's in your wallet on your genealogy to-do list?

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Sentimental Sunday ~ Birthday Boy

My first grandchild was born on this day a decade or so ago. I remember driving fast across hundreds of miles to be with my firstborn child and her firstborn child for this momentous event. This young man now stands eye to eye with me. He's beyond handsome with an incredible personality and a very dry sense of humor ~ my favorite kind. Happy Birthday baby!

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Surname Saturday ~ The Name Game

In the preface to the New Dictionary of American Family Names, Elsdon C. Smith writes, "...Each family carries a distinctive label...allied with its own identity... the family name...  Since it has the possession of the family for is taken for granted. Now and then one pauses to wonder how that particular family name came to identify one's ancestors."

A former president of the American Name Society, the author has been criticized for his failure to list references, roots, etymological origins, and the early forms from which surnames were derived in the 570 page book.

Despite the lack of depth, I found Smith's Dictionary quite interesting. My purpose for using the book in this venue is to have a little fun exploring the  origins of some family names.

Before you scroll down any further, can you guess the country of origin and the meaning of these surnames?


Give yourself one point for each country guessed correctly and another point for each correct meaning.



scroll down...

Affleck (Scottish) One who came from the barony of Auchinleck, (field of the flat stone), in Ayrshire; or from Affleck, in Angus.

Cole, Coles (English) Descendant of Cole, a pet form of Nicolas (people's victory).

Estrada (Spanish) One who came from Estrada (paved road), in Spain; dweller near a paved road.

Gruber, Grube, Grubman, Grubner (German) Dweller near a mine, ditch or quarry.

I (Chinese) The first Chinese syllable of a Manchu's name, which serves as the family name.

Khoury, Khouri (Arabian) One who performed sacerdotal functions, a priest.

Maison (French) Dweller in the house, usually designating a house of some importance; one who came from Maison, the name of many places in France.

Onesti (Italian) The honorable, honest man.

Quackenbush (German, Dutch) Dweller near the bridge across the bog; or at the swamp where the bushes grew; or in, or near, the swampy wood frequented by frogs.

Selsky (Ukranian) Dweller in the village.

Underland (Norwegian) Dweller on the lower land, a farm name.

Wegrzyn (Polish) One who came from Wegry, i.e., a Hungarian

Yergey (Russian) Descendant of Sergey, Russian form of Sergius (to serve).'d you do?

Friday, September 16, 2011

FGS 2011 - The Where

FGS 2011 was held in Springfield Illinois. Despite the glazed-eye responses I received when I told my non-genealogist friends where I was going, it was a beautiful city. I hadn't been there in decades and it was nice to visit again.

Husband and I met a tourist in the courtyard who said everyone from Illinois has a special affection for Abraham Lincoln. I'm not sure about everyone, but I know I have always admired his accomplishments.

FGS 2012 will be held in Birmingham Alabama. I've never been to Alabama, so I requested a vacation guide. I want to see the must-sees in the city.

The Greater Birmingham Convention and Visitors Bureau had a booth in the FGS 2011 vendor area. The woman I spoke with there couldn't have been nicer. She shared a few of the things Birmingham has planned for the Federation of Genealogical Society's visit next year. Talk about southern hospitality!

It's not too early to start planning. Mark your calendar, add the FGS blog to your Favorites, and pick up some sunscreen.

FGS 2012 promises to be even better than FGS 2011 (I have it on good authority!), so I hope you'll join us in Sweet Home Alabama.

Thursday, September 15, 2011

FGS 2011 - The When

The Federation of Genealogical Societies held this year's annual conference (FGS 2011) September 7th to the 10th with a farewell brunch on the 11th. FGS 2012 will take place August 29th to September 1st.

"The When" I have in mind is a bit more personal though. When should you attend a genealogical conference?

I know genealogists in every stage of their research and they all agree; attend a genealogy conference as soon as you can, as often as you can, and in as many places as you can.

Think you are too new to genealogy to attend a conference? Go anyway. You know more than you think you do. Save yourself years of searching in the wrong direction. Meet others who love this "hobby" too. New to genealogy is the perfect time to attend a conference.

Think you know all things genealogical and you don't need to attend a conference? Go anyway. Hear about all the new resources available. Check out the latest genealogy tech toys. Share your expertise with a newbie. Lots of genealogical experience is the perfect time to attend a conference.

Think you've attended enough genealogical conferences? Go anyway. What if the one you miss is the one your long lost cousin attends? What if the brick wall technique you need is presented at the conference you skip? Feeling like you're in a rut is the perfect time to attend a conference.

Think you don't have any ancestors in the next conference location? Go anyway. You may be correct, the town could be ancestor-less for you. But every location has value. You can tour a city you have never seen, perhaps seeing something done differently, perhaps gaining a creative idea you can apply later. If this location is closer to the distant cousins you hope to find, maybe this is your chance to meet. Visiting a new location is the perfect time to attend a conference.

Notice a trend? It's just my way of saying attending a conference in any stage of your genealogical life is a wonderful way to be inspired, gain information, find new friends, and give your family tree the boost it may need.  

This post is part three of my "Who, What, When, Where, Why, and How" series on my experience at FGS 2011. You can read the first part here.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

FGS 2011 - The What

FGS shared the conference program early on. It was easy to choose the tracks I wanted to take - all of them! Narrowing my list to the six per day that time allowed was the tough part. Since I would be attending only the Friday and Saturday sessions, that meant 12 tracks total. Here are some of my picks:

Amy Johnson Crow, CG 
After Mustering Out; Researching Civil War Veterans by Amy Johnson Crow offered some great advice;
  • the Civil War was a watershed event for records
  • Union & Confederate records are similar, but are held in different repositories
  • pensions were based on service and honorable discharge only*
  • NARA film T288 is a general index of pension files
  • Confederate pension records are kept in the former Confederate states
  • Union veterans should have recorded a copy of their discharge records locally
  • Some Confederates are listed in the 1890 Special Schedule**
* A veteran didn't have to be injured to qualify for a pension
** The 1890 Special Schedule of Union Soldiers and Widows is not yet indexed, but the images are browseable on FamilySearch

With this information, I may be able to learn if my Virginia-born Charles W Littrell (who disappeared after moving to Ohio) is the same man who served in two regiments of the Confederate Army.

Finding the World with WorldCat was taught by Curt B. Witcher, MLS, FUGA, FIGS; one of my all-time favorite speakers. He filled the hour to the brim with information and sprinkled his presentation with such good humor, we didn't realize how much we were learning! Some of the takeaways included searching WorldCat in five subject areas:
Curt B. Witcher, MLS, FUGA, FIGS

  • surnames; type "Smith family" in the search field; typing only "Smith" yields unrelated results
  • geographic locations; use town, township, county, or state names
  • ethnicity; like "French in Ohio" or "Swiss in Chicago"
  • religion; search by denomination or specific church names
  • occupation; think "Illinois blacksmiths" or "Chicago bakers"
I had used WorldCat before, but not very well. With the information Curt shared, I can't wait to visit my library to try again!

The same speaker offered Beginning Swiss Research and Using German Church Records and made my FGS conference attendance a priceless event.  Michael D. Lacopo, DVM was fun and funny and very knowledgeable. We started by comparing the administrative districts in German-speaking areas to similar entities in the states. For me, that exercise moved the unknown to the understandable:
    Michael D. Lacopo, DVM
  • Cantons = states
  • Verwaltungsregionen = county
  • Verwaltungskreise = township
  • Gemeinde = town
I took four pages of notes in the first track and countless more in the second. Both were so well done that I was surprised when each hour came to an end. The most important takeaway for me was the renewed hope I have about finding Jacob Mueller's Swiss birthplace.

Debra Mieszala, CG
Another fun track I attended was Lessons from a Snoop: Collaterals and Associates by Debra Mieszala, CG. Debbie was absolutely delightful. She made us laugh again and again while sharing examples of how to use peripheral people's records to learn more about our ancestors. Her stories were adorable, her results were phenomenal, her lessons were remarkable.

The last track I attended on Saturday was presented by Thomas MacEntee of Geneabloggers fame; Twitter - It's Not Just "What I Had for Breakfast Anymore". Thomas used wonderful visuals to help beginners in the group gain a better understanding of Twitter and TweetDeck. I had thought this was going to be a more advanced track, but refreshers never hurt. It would be a perfect introductory class to someone interested in (but intimidated by) social media.

The lineup of tracks and workshops for FGS 2011 was perfect. A mix of beginner, intermediate, and advanced programs on a variety of topics. My hope was to learn at least one thing in each program I attended. The presenters exceeded my expectations in nearly every instance.

This post is part two of my "Who, What, When, Where, Why, and How" series on my experience at FGS 2011. You can read the first part here.

Monday, September 12, 2011

FGS 2011 - The Who

Many thanks to the Board, the members, and the volunteers of the Federation of Genealogical Societies (FGS) for a fantastic conference last week! And to the Board, members, and volunteers from the Illinois State Genealogical Society (ISGS), thank you too! Both organizations worked around the clock to create an awesome event. It absolutely exceeded my expectations!

This is the first of seven posts I'll write about my experience in a "who, what, when, where, why, and how" series (with a bonus at the end).

Nearly 2000 people from 48 states and multiple countries gathered to learn from and be inspired by, a knowledgeable group of instructors on a wide variety of genealogically-related topics.

It might be easy to get lost in a crowd that size, but remember these are genealogists. We excel at making connections!

Seeing Paula Stuart-Warren at the Thursday night Geneabloggers gathering was like old home week. I met Paula last year when she presented at the Anoka County Genealogical Society. Her warmth and passion for family history is unforgettable. Meeting Thomas MacEntee was a treat; he's just as focused and charismatic in person as I imagined from reading his blogs. Then there was Sean LambRandy Seaver and other bloggers ~ neat to finally meet in person.

While at the conference I connected with an Illinois friend I hadn't seen in far too long. I met an 80 year young gentleman who was technically (and socially) blessed. We ate breakfast with knowledgeable sisters and lunch with Salt Lake-savvy cousins. There was a friendly local couple who sprinkled laugh-out-loud ancestral anecdotes throughout dinner. There were people everywhere who had lots in common. In this group alone:

5 of these genealogists live in the area 3 of these genealogists are currently researching

3 of these genealogists started their trees after attending a funeral

2 of these genealogists who had never met are researching the same tiny town in the south

The conference was a networker's dream; so many interesting people with fascinating stories. Such a wealth of family history research experience and expertise waiting to be shared. The connections I made at FGS 2011 made it an experience I can't wait to repeat!

Sunday, September 11, 2011

A Child Lost ~ Freddie Lavine

From the July 1, 1883 issue of the Chicago Tribune, page 10, "LAVINE- Freddie Lavine, beloved son of Nellie Lavine, June 30, aged 1 month and 29 days. Funeral Sunday at 2 o'clock from 1088 West Madison-st. to Waldheim Cemetery."

I started at FamilySearch and clicked on USA, Canada, and Mexico under Browse by Collection. The 1,431,659 records in the Illinois, Cook County Deaths 1878-1922 database looks promising. I clicked on that and chose Advanced Search. I entered Lavine in the last name field; and death, Chicago, and 1883 on the next line. Freddie's was the first record in the search results:
Although his death certificate doesn't include Freddie's parents' names, the place of death (1088 W Madison Street) matches the address in his obituary.  

Since the obituary mentions only Freddie's mother, I went to Ancestry in search of a census record. The results were interesting:
Nellie's husband is John W Lavine, a 45 year old cigar manufactor. John Jr can't be Nellie's son, she's only nine years older than him. I wondered how long John and Nellie had been married. Back to FamilySearch. This time I started with the Illinois, Cook County Marriages, 1871-1920 database.  
The subjects of the first three records were members of this family. Here's what I learned; Nellie McLaughlin and John W Lavine were married by a Catholic priest in November of 1878:

John Jr. married a few years after the 1880 census was taken and Nellie remarried after her husband died:

Of course I don't really know that Nellie's first husband died. Perhaps they were divorced. Let's check death records to be sure. Back to that first database (Illinois, Cook County Deaths 1878-1922) at FamilySearch. I put John W Lavine into the the first fields and Chicago on the second line. Once again, the record I need is the first one. But when I clicked on it and then on View Image, I saw this:
I've had this experience on FamilySearch before. It's a little frustrating, but fortunately there is a work-around. 

See the image number? It says image 1517 of 1773. I changed the image number to 1518 and learned the cause of John W Lavine's death. 

John's occupation is cigar manufactor, the same occupation that appears on the 1880 census. I didn't have much luck finding him in the 1900 census. If this was my family, I'd look in the newspaper to see if there is any mention of the shooting. The death certificate doesn't mention a coroner's report, and I don't see one listed for the right date, but I'd also look into that.

I located John Jr's mother in the 1870 census. I wonder if the English-born woman on this page is John Sr's sister?
As for Freddie's mother Nellie, there are too many possibilities to determine which is the "real" Nellie. Even the 1910 census made me wonder. Lavine and Campbell together and Walter's birthplace seems like a good match:

My belief that Walter is Freddie's older brother increased when I found his birth record:

Where do we go from here? There are many steps I'd take if this was my family; limited time prevents me from investigating further. I added Freddie and John Sr to Find A Grave. I hope that one of my readers will know where Nellie is buried and share the information. I'd like to reunite Nellie and Freddie, wouldn't you?

Note: I have no connection to this child. As I said in A Child Lost ~ Introduction, my goal is to reunite children with their parents.  If you are a LaVine descendant, I hope you'll give Freddie a special place in your family tree.

My own family tree work-in-progress is online at Living in the Past Lane.

Saturday, September 10, 2011

Surname Saturday ~ September Marriages

Some ancestrally-significant weddings took place in September;

My second great-grandparents Maria BUKMAKOFSKY and Herman Friedrich Carl MANGELS were married in Chicago on the 18th of September in 1886:

My great-grandmother Esther Ingeborg CLARIN married her second husband Charles Fredrick OTTO in Chicago September 10, 1918.

My third great-grandparents, Nicolas SCHMITT and Marie Anne GURY were married in Léning, Moselle, Lorraine, France on September 26th, 1837:

Dolores, the oldest daughter of my mystery 1st cousin thrice-removed Lawrence Charles YOUNGBERG (what happened to him?), married Paul Evert JOHNSON September 1, 1937.

Do we share any ancestors? Visit my web site or
send me an email at livinginthepastlane [at] yahoo [dot] com.

Monday, September 5, 2011

Countdown to FGS 2011

Our trip to Springfield starts the day after tomorrow and ends with a family visit on Grandparents' Day.

I've graduated from counting the hours to counting the minutes. (I stopped counting all the stairs I've climbed to add just one more must-have item to the suitcase.)

Syllabus, handouts, and maps are printed. Charts, trees and documents are organized. Created a list of Find A Grave photo requests for cemeteries we'll pass along the way. Made a list of the geneabloggers (with photos when available) that I want to meet in Springfield.

Clothes are spinning in the dryer. Road trip grocery list is written and waiting by the door. Tomorrow I'll visit the library for audiobooks to entertain us during the 500+ mile trip (and back again).

Now my attention returns to my ancestors. For the rest of the day (with a few tiny exceptions) I will peruse their folders, pictures, and documents. I'll make notes of what I hope to learn in each workshop as it pertains to each person in my family tree.

In a few days I'll be rubbing elbows with nearly 1800 people who are as intrigued by their ancestors as I am by mine. I couldn't be more excited about this trip. This could be my best conference yet!

Saturday, September 3, 2011

Saturday Night Genealogy Fun

Randy Seaver chose another fun activity for geneabloggers. Finally my timing is right on (!) and I can play along. Here are Randy's questions/my answers:

1.) How old is your great-grandfather now, or how old would he be if he had lived? Divide this number by 4 and round the number off to a whole number. This is your "roulette number."

The great-grandfather I chose is Gustave Robert Mangels who would be (had he lived) 122 years old next month. 122 divided by 4 = 30.5. Rounding up, my roulette number is 31 which corresponds with my second great-grandmother Maria Fredrika Peterssdotter:

Randy writes "Tell us three facts about that person with the "roulette number." Here goes:

1.) Maria Fredrika Peterssdotter was born in Tånnö, Jonkopings, Sweden on the 22nd of November 1864. She was Peter Johan Johanisson's and Johanna Kristina Andreassdotter's first child. (Click here for information about patronymic names.) 

2.) Maria left Sweden for North America in 1880. This is a copy of the Tånnö parish record showing her date of departure. Maria is on line 4. Her name is crossed out because she no longer resides in the parish. The date she left is on the far right. Two other family members' names are also crossed out. Their dates of death appear in the furthest right column on the left page:

2.) Mary Fredrika settled in the midwest, and in 1883 she married a Norwegian immigrant named Peter Thompson. Their four children were born in Chicago.

3.) In her later years, Mary lived with her daughter Julia (Thompson) Chinell and Julia's son. She died in Chicago on the 23rd of July 1941.

Looking at Maria's Swedish records reminded me that her sisters Emma Justina and Elise also immigrated to the US in 1883 and 1887 respectively. It's been awhile since I looked for them. Thanks for the reminder Randy - this will be fun for more than just a Saturday night!

#1 Source: Genline, GID 100006.33.5600 Jönköping _scb Jönköping  :143 Births 1864-1864 0/0.
#2 Source: ArkivDigital, Tånnö-AI-2-1874-1880-Bild-144-sid-136.

Surname Saturday ~ September Birthdays

Happy September birthday to one of my favorite grandsons, my nephew Zac, my uncle Ernie, my cousin Michael (pictured below), my great-grandniece, my brother-in-law, my cousin-in-law Stephen, my grand-uncle Fran, my great-grandfather Alfred Jacob MUELLER, my second great-grandfather William Penrod CLARKE, my third great-grandmothers Johanna Kristina ANDREASON (pictured far below) and Anna SVENSDOTTER.

More September birthdays include my grandaunt Alma Erika MANGELS, my granduncles Harry Vincent FLOOD and Roy WALTON, my great-grandaunts Alma E MUELLER and Esther Maria THOMPSON, my great-granduncles Herman Joseph MANGELS, Otto V MUELLER, John H and Thomas Arthur WALTON, my second great-grandaunts Kersti PERSSON and Christina SCHMITT, my second great-granduncles Harry Orville CLARKE, Gustaf Adolf LANDSTROM, Henry Charles and John Henry LITTRELL; my first cousins twice-removed Branden and Tyler ALLEN, and Edward H CARLSON; first cousins thrice-removed Albert Joseph, Clara, and Emil Julius BIEDINGER, Franklin Whitfield BLAKE, Clifford Morgan and Edna Jeanetta CLARKE, Fredrick DOMKOWSKY, Jules Arthur DROLL, Julius Jacob PLUM, Ernest Carl SWANSON, Clarence Ferdinand, Eva Matilda and Wesley Lambert TOLF; my second cousins twice-removed Julius J PLUM and Ruth SWANSON, and my fourth cousin once-removed Joseph FRIEND.

Do we share any ancestors? Click here to visit my web site or
send me an email at livinginthepastlane [at] yahoo [dot] com.