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Showing posts from August, 2010

McCoy Brothers Gravestone Benefit Concert

There's something you should know about me before you read this post. If I had all the time and money in the world, I would sit around all day alternating between two things: genealogical research and playing my fiddle. Well, maybe three things. I'd probably need a bit of chocolate to keep me going. I like history. Chicago history. And I like music. And when something captures those things together, it catches my eye. A few weeks ago I learned that there will be a benefit concert at the Old Town School of Folk Music on Sunday, October 3, to raise money to purchase gravestones for the McCoy brothers, Chicago musicians who died in 1950 and were buried in unmarked graves. I thought I'd help get the word out. There will also be guitar, mandolin, and body percussion workshops and a walking tour of the Restvale Cemetery that day. I don't know much about the McCoy brothers--only what I read at the tribute website --but I like them. I like that music was their passion.

Exploring the Chicago Daily Law Bulletin: Part I

A couple of weeks ago I was searching microfilm indexes at the Circuit Court Archives looking for a divorce entry and I came on some pages that I found close to impossible to read. The writing was small and faded and I had to give up. Unfortunately, I didn't find the divorce in any of the other years I looked at and so the search is hanging. And soon after, I met a Family History Center patron who has been unable to find a naturalization petition for his grandfather. It's possible the process was never completed but the researcher isn't ready to give up. In both cases I wondered if there might be an alternate way to search for court records, and the Chicago Daily Law Bulletin came to mind as a possibility. I learned, some time ago, that it's a good way to search for adoptions ( see this post and I wondered if it might be a good tool to use to search for divorces and naturalization records, too. I was able to find one copy of the Bulletin online at Google Book

Illinois Statewide Deaths Indexed a FamilySearch

FamilySearch's Record Search continues to grow and yesterday (August 13) a new series was added. The title is Illinois, Deaths and Stillbirths, 1916-1947 and the description reads "Name index of deaths and stillbirths in Illinois, 1916-1947. Includes records for Cook County and Chicago." The corresponding images don't seem to be online but the index provides a wealth of information (if listed on the record) including birth date and place, parent names and birth places, spouse name, burial date and place, and occupation. If you want a copy of the actual record I will continue to offer access to the Chicago records (and some Cook) unless they go online for free and you can get the statewide death records from Molly Kennedy. (See " Lookups Available ") You can also order the films through any Family History Center. The cost is $5.50 + any notification fee a center might add and the reels usually arrive in about 2-4 weeks depending how often a center orders

Census Search: City Directory Approach

Recently, I wanted to find a family in the 1900 census. I was told that they lived at 708 Melrose from 1896-1903 and so, theoretically, they should have been enumerated at that address. (I double-checked the 1896 and 1901 city directories and that was the address given.) Unfortunately, a name search of the 1900 census yielded no match. It's possible to the maps at A Look at Cook to determine the enumeration district in order to page through a census, but it's also possible to use a neighbors approach now that the Chicago city directories are online and searchable at Footnote.com. In this case, I searched the 1901 directory by address (708 Melrose, 706 Melrose, etc.) looking for a name that I thought would easily appear in the census index at Ancestry.com. (Note: It's important to put the search terms in quotes, e.g., "704 Melrose") Carl Schmidt at 706 Melrose was a possibility but the name was too common. Eventually, I found Richard E. Pause at 702 Melrose a

Researching Polish Ancestors? New Translation Guide Available

I've volunteered at the Wilmette Family History Center for a number of years and one of the perks in serving there is the chance to meet many talented and downright-pleasant-to-get-to-know researchers. Judith Frazin is one of them. She's the author of A Translation Guide to 19th-Century Polish-Language Civil-Registration Documents (including Birth, Marriage and Death Records) and the newest edition of the book recently won her an achievement award from the International Association of Jewish Genealogical Societies. If you are researching Polish ancestors, as many people who have Chicago roots are, take some time to explore this book! Sample pages including table of contents Check WorldCat to see if there's a copy available at a library near you. (The Wilmette FHC has one, if you're in the area.) If not, you can order it through the Jewish Genealogical Society of Illinois website.