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Monday, October 31, 2011

The Spirit of Halloween

Pre-historic Halloween
When I was a kid Halloween was super fun. My favorite parts were choosing a costume and dashing from house to house screaming "trick or treat!" Our neighbors would toss candy into our bags and we'd yell a hurried "thank you" as we raced to the next house. The goal was to get as much candy as we could before it was time to head home.

Easy-peasy costume creation
At home the contents of the bag were dumped on the kitchen table where my mother would sort the edible from the dangerous-looking. The keepers were put in a large bowl to be rationed out and savored as Mom allowed.
Two (year old) of hearts
When I became the Mom, my favorite part was costume creation. Candy inspection and rationing became my responsibility. Chocolate was highly suspect, and I would have to taste-test it to ensure its safety. Yum.

Grandpa cut out the "m"...twice
When I became the Grandma, Halloween presented new favorite parts. My grandkids would tell me what they wanted to "be" for the big day. I loved hearing their excitement during our conversations about their choices.
Cap't Hook and the Alarm Clock Alligator
Weeks before the bewitching hour I searched for patterns and choose fabric. I'd pin, cut, and sew, imagining how adorable my grandchildren would look in their new creations.
To infinity and beyond!
Then I'd drive hundreds of miles to do last minute alterations, take pictures, and follow the happy trick-or-treaters on their candy-collecting rounds. I miss having a group of little ones that let me tag along. Those cute costumes are a thing of the past too. The grandkids are too cool for that.
A few of my favorite Trick or Treaters
These days my favorite part is decorating the house and the yard in preparation for the neighborhood Trick-or-Treaters and their parents. Oh and um, taste-testing the candy. Especially the chocolate.
Not to worry - the spider is friendly

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Française Adam

Française Adam is my 6th great-grandmother. So far the only evidence I have of her existence is one sentence in her son Claude Schmitt's death record:

The reference to Française in Claude's 1814 record is "fils de Jean Schmitt et de Françoise Adam décédés à Boulay" which (paraphrased) means Claude's parents Jean Schmitt and Françoise Adam who died in Boulay, France.

Wish # 1: I hope to learn more about this ancestor in the near future and

Wish # 2: a reader recognizes Française from their own tree and contacts me.

Do we have any shared ancestors? Please contact me at [at] gmail [dot] com.

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Surname Saturday ~ The Name Game

In the New Dictionary of American Family names, author Elsdon C. Smith writes, "After the Crusades, people began, perhaps unconciously, to feel the need of a family name, or at least a name in addition to the simple one that had been possesed from birth. The nobles and upper classes, especially those who went on the Crusades, observed the prestige and practical value of an added name and were quick to take a surname, usually the name of the lands they owned. When the Crusaders returned from the wars, the upper classes who had stayed at home soon followed suit."

Ready to test your name-knowledge? (The names for Round 4 of The Name Game were inspired by the Geneabloggers who attended FGS 2011.)

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...

Bankhead (Scottish) One who came from Bankhead (end of the ridge), the name of several small places in Scottland.

Doyle (Irish/English) Grandson of Dubhghall (black foreigner); the swarthy stranger or foreigner; one who came from Ouilly (Olius' farm), the name of five places in Normandy.

Freda (Italian) Descendant of Freda, a pet form of Friderico, a variant of Frederick (peace, rule).

Higgins, Higgin, Higginson, Higgens, Higgs (English/Irish) The son of little Higg or Hick, pey forms of Richard (rule, hard); descendant of Uige (knowledge).

Jerome (English) Descendant of Jerome (holy name).

Lyons, Lyon (English/Scottish) Descendant of Leon (lion); dweller at the sign of the lion. Jacob's reference to Judah as a lion (Gen. 49:9) has caused this name to be adopted by many Jews.

Niziolek (Polish) One who was short in stature.

Pointer, Poynter (English) One who made laces for fastening clothes.

Roach (Irish) Dweller at, or near, a rock. See also Roche.

Roche, Roch, Rocher, Rochet (French/English) Dweller near a rock; one who came from Roche (rock) in Cornwall; or from Roche (rock), the name of many places in France.

Tapley (English) One who came from Tapeley (wood where pegs were obtained), in Devonshire.

Voorhees, Voorhies, Voorheis (Dutch) One who lived in front of Hees, the name of four places in Holland.

Xanthos (Greek) The golden, or yellow-haired, man.

Hope you enjoyed this round of The Name Game!

Friday, October 21, 2011

Chicago and Cook County Resources Part 2

As I mentioned previously, our ancestors lives were more than birth, marriage, and death records. In this post I'll focus on school, employment, naturalization, divorce, probate and voting records, as well as current must-visit repositories in Chicago and Cook County.

One of the most exciting aspects of viewing ancestors' school records is the possibility of photographs. A number of volunteers on the Cook County GenWeb project offer yearbook lookups. Ancestry has a number of browse-able yearbooks too. Even grade school class photos offer wonderful clues about the ethnic makeup of a particular neighborhood.

Photo of Pullman workers courtesy
of  the Historic Pullman Foundation
Employment records may not contain individual photos, but they offer interesting insights into the lives of our ancestors. The Pullman Palace Car Company, located on Chicago's south side in the mid to late 1800s, employed hundreds of men. The Pullman Strike was reported in newspapers across the country, and photos exist of many of the strikers. Extant employee records are kept at Newberry Library. The South Suburban Genealogical and Historical Society offers free lookups in its impressive Pullman Collection.

Of course Pullman was not the only company in Chicago, there were many large employers. The Union Stockyards and huge packing plants owned by Swift and Armour made Chicago the meat processing capital for many years. Employee records from these companies may no longer exist, but books like City of the Century by Donald L. Miller realistically portray our ancestors' working lives.

Chicago and Cook County courts were each responsible for naturalizations at different points in time. Options include the superior, circuit, criminal, and county courts among others. Keep in mind records created before the Chicago Fire in 1871 may no longer exist. The Family History Library has a good collection of microfilms related to Cook County (including Chicago) naturalizations. More information on naturalizations can be found on the Cook County Clerk of the Circuit Court web site. The Clerk also has divorce records from 1871 to 1986, law and chancery files 1871-1963, probate files from 1871 to 1975, and more.

Were your ancestors interested in politics? Look for them in the "Record and index of persons registered and of poll lists of voters, northern district of Illinois, city of Chicago, 1888, 1888-1890, 1892; town of Lake View, 1888; town of Hyde Park, 1888; town of Lake, 1888" available at the Family History Library and on Ancestry. These records may not take the place of the lost 1890 census, but they can provide helpful information about places of residence.

Planning a visit to the Windy City? Be sure to visit:

The Newberry Library is a prestigious looking building at 60 W Walton Street in Chicago (312.943.9090). With 1.5 million volumes and 75,000 maps, this five-story non-circulating research library set up in 1887 requires a day just to get your bearings.

The Illinois Regional Archives Depository for Chicago and Cook County is in the Ronald Williams Library at Northeastern Illinois University, 5500 N St Louis Avenue in Chicago (773.442.4506) This location is one of seven IRAD locations in the state. IRAD at NEIU holds local government records such as birth, death, marriage records; naturalization records; coroner's inquest reports; and Chicago police homicide records.

The Wilmette Family History Center at 2727 Lake Avenue in Wilmette has one of the largest (if not THE largest) collections of extended loan microfilms of interest to the Chicago and Cook County researcher.

The Harold Washington Library Center and the Chicago Public Library at 400 S State Street in Chicago
(312.747.4875) is huge; roughly , 756,000 square feet and 10 levels. Among its more than 13 million pieces are innumerable rare manuscripts, books, art and sound archives. The Archival collections document the lives and activities of people and organizations in Chicago. Click here to appreciate the staggering size of the Library's Special Collections inventory.

In a city the size of Chicago, there are dozens of additional must-see sites. The four places listed above are great places to start and could provide enough resources to keep you busy for all of the (soon to be here) winter months. Need to connect with other Chicago researchers? Consider the Chicago Genealogy Society, the South Suburban Genealogical and Historical Society, or even the Illinois State Genealogical Society.

Remember millions of our ancestors once called Chicago home. Those ancestors are being researched by many millions more of us. If you can't readily find a resource that will guide you to the answer you seek, all you have to do is ask!

Monday, October 17, 2011

Family History Spreadsheets

To know me is to know my love of all things Excel. I can create a spreadsheet faster than you can say the word formula. I use Excel for everything at home and at work, and of course, in my family history research.

A color-coded spreadsheet is the easiest way for me to stay organized while I play genealogy. I keep one in the front of each surname folder to give me a hint where I left off help me track what I know and how I know it.

This spreadsheet provides a location for each family member at a given point in time, a list of sources I may want to check, and the places I need to record my newly-found data. It's my go-to checklist and I Excel at using it.

What's your favorite genealogy organizing tool?

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Surname Saturday ~ October Anniversaries

Happy October anniversary to my niece Kathleen and her husband Richard!

October anniversaries that appear in my family tree include:

My 3rd great-grandaunt Henrietta CLARKE has been instrumental in uncovering records about her brother Morgan CLARKE (my direct line ancestor) so I have a special affection for her. Henrietta married Thomas E DOWNEY in Washington County Maryland 20 Oct 1849.

My 3rd great-grandparents Peter Johan JOHANISSON and Johanna Kristina ANDREASDOTTER were married in Tånnö, Jönköping, Sweden on 16 Oct 1864. They had seven children. Four of the five who reached adulthood immigrated to the United States, including my 2nd great-grandmother Maria Fredrika PETERSDOTTER. A few years ago I had the great pleasure of meeting a descendant of the child who remained in Sweden.

My 2nd great-grandmother Bengta JONSSDOTTER was just 28 years old when she died in 1895, days after giving birth to her fourth child. Her husband Carl LARSSON KLARIN married Ida Maria LARSSON, also widowed, on 19 Oct 1897 in Chicago, Cook, Illinois.

The youngest of seven children who immigrated from Sweden to Chicago with my 3rd great-grandparents, my 2nd great-granduncle Axel Fabian LANDSTROM married Anna O WEIG 16 Oct 1907 in Chicago, Cook, Illinois. A special affection for this collateral ancestor began after learning he moved his parents' graves to Rosehill Cemetery when he buried his young son there.

My 4th great grandparents Carl Jonas TOLF and Maja Lisa LIDSTROM were married 04 Oct 1817 presumably in Svenarum, Jönköping, Sweden. Presumably because my notes lack any details (ugh!), but both Carl and Maja were born and died there. Sadly Carl died at 38 leaving Maja with seven young children.

My paternal grandparents divorced and (Grandma) Frances Lois MANGELS went on to marry Robert Emmett BRENKE 19 Oct 1940 in Chicago, Cook, Illinois.

Swedish immigrant Ricka SAMUELSDOTTER married my 2nd great-granduncle Oskar Fredrik LANDSTROM in 1902. Theirs was a physically demanding life, he was a blacksmith and she was a laundress. Oskar died in 1913 and I wondered what became of Ricka. Then one day I stumbled upon a marriage certificate on FamilySearch. Ricka married German immigrant Otto George August UHLITZ 19 Oct 1916 in Chicago.

Do we share any ancestors? If you see any familiar names above, please email me at livinginthepastlane [at] yahoo [dot] com and let's compare notes!

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Transcription Thursday ~ Marie Catherine Gury

Marie Catherine is one of at least eight children born to my 5th great-grandparents, Joseph François Gury and Barbe Richard. Below the image of her 1809 birth record is my attempt to transcribe and translate it.

I transcribed in green and translated in black. The words I couldn't quite figure out are red:

While I was working on this post, a kind gentleman from the Alsace-Lorraine list shared his thoughts:

"Today the 11th day of January, eighteen hundred and nine, at eight in the morning at the townhall of Altroff, in the arrondisement of Chateau Julline, in the department of Muerthe. Appeared before Peter Bocage, the Mayor and civil officer of the commune of Altroff,  Mr. Joseph Francois Gury, an artist residing in said Altroff, age forty-five years accompanied by Nicolas Geurolt, a farmer with forty eight years, and Peter Fuhrmann, a forty-two-year old teacher residing in the same commune. They presented us with a female child, born between midnight and one o'clock in the morning at the home of Pierre Gury and Barbe Richard, the thirty-one year old legitimately married wife of the declarant. They have given the child the first name of Marie Catherine

The last line is a little unclear but, it basically says that the record was read aloud to the Father and witnesses and that they have signed their names in agreement."

It was nice to see someone else felt the last line was unclear, I was stumped by that. Thanks also to Stephan for desciphering "teacher" as Pierre Fuhrmann's occupation.

That makes one record down, a hundred or so more to go!

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Monday, October 10, 2011

Happy Anniversary Husband!

Thank you for...

celebrating this day every year,

creating special moments every week,

laughing with me every day and 

making me feel loved every minute.

Saturday, October 8, 2011

Surname Saturday ~ The Name Game

The author of the New Dictionary of American Family Names, Elsdon C. Smith writes, "Surnames were most commonly derived from a person's place of residence, his occupation, a prominent physical characterstic, or from a father's given name."

Will that information help you in Round Three of the Name Game?

Step right up and try your luck guessing the country of origin and the meaning 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...

Abt (German) A member of an abbott's entourage; sometimes the lay abbott of a monastery who inherited his office.

Chambers (English) The officer in charge of the private household of a king or important nobleman; one who worked in the chamber, sometimes the reception room of an important household.

Erdos (Hungarian) Dweller in, or near, the forest or wooded land.

Gach, Gache (Polish) One who is fond of women, a ladies' man.

Infelise (Italian) The poor, wretched, miserable man.

Kauppinen (Finnish) One who kept a shop, a merchant or tradesman.

Mavros (Greek) One with a dark or swarthy complexion.

Orfevre (French) One who made and sold gold articles, a goldsmith.

Quail (Manx) The son of Fhail, Manx form of Paul (small).

Ryerson (Dutch) The son of Ryer or Reijer (rider).

Taddei (Russian) Descendant of Taddei, a Slavic form of Thaddeus (praising God).

Vaher (Estonian) Dweller near a maple tree.

Xanthopoulos (Greek) The son of Ksanthos (blond).

Zajicek (Czech) Dweller at the sign of the hare; one who hunts hares.

Which of your scores was the highest; this time or Round One or Round Two? How many of the names listed above surprised you?

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Monday, October 3, 2011

Success Team Update

Friday night I was all aflutter. There were still un-done tasks on my Success Team to-do list and the ST meeting was scheduled for 6:30 the next morning. What's a girl to do? HURRY that's what!

Two items on last week's list were very important to me:
1.) Order a copy of the inquest file for my great-granduncle. I've wanted this file forEVER. In less than 15 minutes I prepared a letter, added a photocopy, addressed, stamped and sealed the envelope. D.O.N.E.

2.) Ask for help reading a name on my 2nd great-grandfather's death certificate. I decided to ask an expert for help with this one, I just had to DO it. Email wasn't available, so back to the old-fashioned way. In less than 15 minutes I prepared a letter, added a photocopy, addressed, stamped and sealed the envelope. D.O.N.E.
Upper right-hand corner - what is Mama's maiden name?
Why did it take so long to start important tasks that took so little time to accomplish? I don't think of myself as a procrastinator, so what's up? Ya know what I think it is? I finish EVERYTHING ELSE first, and then I turn to my family tree. By then I'm too pooped to pop, so my research takes a back seat.

This week's list is a little lighter. And I've already tackled a few of the items trying to stay ahead of the game.

The most challenging task didn't actually make it to the list, but it was part of Saturday's discussion; explore ways to incorporate the things we WANT to do into our daily to-do lists.

Go Team!

Saturday, October 1, 2011

Surname Saturday ~ October Birthdays

Happy October birthday to my youngest and most adorable grandson, my niece Rebecca, my husband's nephew Paul, my cousin Rose, and my aunt Kylene!

Especially in my thoughts today; my dad who would have been 80 years old October twenty-fifth.

Karl Larsson KLARIN
 October birthdays that appear in my family tree include:

My 2nd great-grandfather Karl Larsson KLARIN was born 19 Oct 1863 in Hörby, Malmöhus, Sweden. He served in the Swedish army until 1884 and later immigrated to Chicago. Karl and his wife had three daughters. Mabelle, the youngest, had a baby named Betsy Ann WALLIN 18 Oct 1933. Sadly Betsy died the same day.

Jönsdotter and Jönsson
My 2nd great-grandmother Bengta had at least seven siblings. Her sister Hanna JÖNSDOTTER was born 02 Oct 1859 in Bjäresjö, Malmöhus, Sweden. This is a copy of the husförhör (household examination roll) from Hörby 1863-1870:

My 2nd great-granduncle Johan Wilhelm LANDSTROM was born 22 Oct 1860 in Norra Sandsjö, Jönköping, Sweden.

Johan Wilhelm LANDSTROM
My 2nd great-grandmother Mary Ella LITTRELL was born 30 Oct 1858 in Roanoke County Virginia. Her mother died when Ella was quite young. Ella's father married a widow with three children; Ida born 15 Oct 1857, George and Anna DEMASTER. The blended family moved to Springfield Ohio. Anna's daughter Catherine May TEACH was born there 10 Oct 1891.

Gustav Robert MANGELS

My great-grandfather Gustav Robert MANGELS was born 20 Oct 1889 in Chicago; the oldest son of German immigrants. He and my great-grandmother divorced and both remarried. Between marriages, Gustav appeared on the 1920 census in Massachusetts as a soldier in the US Army stationed at Fort Warren. Gustav and his second wife lived in Fort Wayne Indiana where he worked for General Electric. His daughter Lucille Emilie MANGELS was born 18 Oct 1930.

The last child born before my Schmitt ancestors immigrated to Cincinnati Ohio, my 2nd great-granduncle Francois SCHMITT was born 24 Oct 1853 in Hellimer, Moselle, Lorraine, France. What became of him in the US is not yet known.

My 2nd great-grandfather's brother Gustaf TOLF was born 25 Oct 1847 in Svenarum, Jönköping, Sweden. He was the first of his seven siblings to immigrate to America. Gustaf settled in Batavia Illinois where he worked as a blacksmith as he had done in Sweden. 
Gustaf and Nettie Tolf with six of their children
Gustaf's sister Frida married Charles Johan LJUNGBERG/YOUNGBERG born 27 Oct 1861 in Svenarum, Jönköping, Sweden. The couple moved from Batavia to Chicago where Charles worked for the Pullman Car Company.

Their daughter Myrtle married Joseph Philip FRIEND born 24 Oct 1885, an immigrant from Schonlinde, Czechoslovakia. Joe worked as an "operator at the moving picture theater" according to the 1930 census.

Charles and Frida's son Lawrence Charles YOUNGBERG was born in Chicago 12 Oct 1887. Lawrence had two daughters, Dolores Lorraine YOUNGBERG born 01 Oct 1913 and her younger sister Evelyn. Both girls married men with October birthdays: Dolores to Paul Evert JOHNSON born 08 Oct 1909 and Evelyn to Douglas Lee FOSTER born 29 Oct 1924.

Do we share any ancestors? If you see any familiar names above, please email me at livinginthepastlane [at] yahoo [dot] com and let's compare notes!