Skip to main content

Valentines on Our Family Tree

Sarah Ann Valentine Burr Ackley
My husband and I have three Valentines on our family tree--Valentine Mink, Valentine Smith, and Sarah Ann Valentine. I love them all.

Valentine Mink was born in Germany in 1805 but lived much of his life as a farmer in Floyd, New York. He carefully crafted his will to divide his estate fairly among his children. “The Cow or the thirty five Dollars that I gave to Janetta C. and the Horse or one hundred and twenty Dollars that I give to my sons George Franklin and John Philip is to make them equal to the elder children and not be included in the one eighth which each of them is to have.” I love him for that.

Valentine Smith was born in Chicago in 1873. As a descendant of an early settler and successful entrepreneur, she inherited a place in society that gave her the freedom to focus on her passions and one of them was history. She served, briefly, as Chicago’s first archivist and spearheaded a number of important local history projects. Many people who worked with Valentine found her difficult and demanding, but in the early 1900s she served as a constant reminder to the city fathers that Chicago’s history was worth preserving and worth celebrating. I love her for that.

And then there’s Sarah Ann Valentine, born in Schodack, New York in 1837. As a young woman she married a widower with children and then, three years after his death, she became my great-great grandfather’s third wife.

Sarah’s life was simple. She cooked. She cleaned. She went to church. She mothered stepchildren in addition to her own. Sometimes she was happy. Sometimes she wasn’t. But, she was grateful for family and friends.

On 8 Feb 1883 she wrote: "quite a pleasant Day washed flanel sheets, Baked Bread, commenced Mr A shirts, sewed some. … roads drifted some. Alone with my little family this eve my heart rises with thanks … "

I feel a surge of emotion when I read those words. I love Sarah for taking the time to keep the journals that allow me to feel close to her.

Happy Valentine’s Day to you and to the ancestors you love.

(This blog post originally appeared in the February 2013 Genlighten.com newsletter.)

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

Chicago Lying-In Hospital Birth Records

When I look at birth certificates, I focus on names and dates and places--information I can add to a family tree. When I look at hospital records, I come face to face with the realities of giving birth. I think the records from the Chicago Lying-In Hospital and its satellite clinics provide fascinating and important family history details and I believe they merit a closer look. The hospital records are listed in the Family History Library Catalog (FHLC) as Chicago, Illinois birth records, 1896-1933 . The added author is Northwestern Memorial Hospital and I think the originals are most likely held by the Northwestern Memorial Hospital Archives . These hospital books document services provided by four clinics connected to Dr. Joseph Bolivar DeLee, the physician who founded the Chicago Lying-In Dispensary at Maxwell Street and Newberry Avenue in 1895. D r. DeLee was interested in improving birthing conditions and his clinics offered care to needy women while providing train

Chicago Telephone Books, 1878-1971

This morning my husband and I drove down to the Harold Washington Library at 400 S. State in Chicago so I could explore the resources available at the library for Chicago research—specifically telephone books and newspapers other than the Chicago Tribune . There was a public parking lot just around the corner from the library and the all-day weekend fee was $10.00. Not bad. (During the week parking would cost about $21 but it's easy and inexpensive to get to the library by public transportation, too.) This blog post will focus on telephone books. The first Chicago telephone book appears to be The Telephone Journal , vol. 1, no. 1, published in October 1878. (For a short history of the telephone in Chicago see FundingUniverse.com's page for Illinois Bell Telephone .) The first book includes information about the telephone service along with a three-page “List of Subscribers”--names of businesses and a few individuals along with an address and numbers for “wire” and “call.”

Preparing to Retrieve Locked Images from FamilySearch

Once you reach this page, save the URL so it will be easy to get back to the image when you visit the family history center. Sometimes people email me to ask how to find the Chicago vital records that are indexed on  FamilySearch . Here's a quick answer to that question. The first step is to see if the record is available for free on FamilySearch.  Here's how to do that: 1) Find the index entry and click on the arrow to open the "Document Information." 2. Note the digital folder number and the image number. 3. Go to the FamilySearch Catalog and select Film/Fiche Number under "Search For." 4. Search for the digital folder number. 5. Click on the title link for the record collection that contains the digital folder. 6. Find the digital folder number. Is there a camera-with-a-key icon next to it? Good news! You should be able to find the record on FamilySearch . Click on the camera icon and read on! Is the camera icon missing? Then please scroll to the bottom