20 February 2012

Breaking Down a Brick Wall

Breaking Down a Brick Wall by Nancy Thomas
A Case Study in Unlocking My Irish Ancestry: How I Found the Marriage Record of My Irish Great-Great Grandparents.
Presented by the Chicago Genealogical Society
March 3, 2012, 1:30 PM CT
Newberry Library, 60 W. Walton, Chicago
More info at http://www.chicagogenealogy.org/


Pre-Fire Marriages

The state of Illinois offers several databases that can be a significant help in your research. Since 1985, the Illinois State Genealogical Society (ISGS) has cooperated with the Illinois State Archives to create an index to Illinois marriages occurring prior to 1901. 

My mother wanted to stay active in her retirement but was physically limited, so she spent her mornings transcribing the Kankakee county married records from oversized photocopies of the original books into a software application used to index the records. The database can be searched at http://www.cyberdriveillinois.com/departments/archives/marriage.html

French Canadian settlers came to Kankakee County in 1834, after the federal government signed the Treaty of Camp Tippecanoe in 1832. The earliest marriage records for Kankakee are filled with surnames like Lambert, Brunnenier, LaMuret, and Jeannot. Over time, there was a decline in French surnames and an increase in Irish and German.

While the online Illinois marriages database provides only the names, date, location, and file numbers for a marriage, the original Kankakee books usually included residence, occupation, parents, and witnesses. Mom and I were fascinating by number of men living in Chicago who married wives in Kankakee county. Keeping in mind that many of these records are pre-1871, the Kankakee marriage records are a valuable resource to check if your ancestor was married  before the Chicago Fire.

So take another look at the Illinois marriage database. Be VERY creative with surname spelling and you may track down your illusive pre-Fire ancestors.

13 February 2012

Hey, America, Your Roots Are Showing

I've had the pleasure of attending several lectures by Megan Smolenyak though the years. She's as vibrant and energetic as her reviews describe her. From her 200 book "In Search of Our Ancestors," to her most recent release, "Hey, America, Your Roots Are Showing," Megan's casual style pulls you in to her story and starts you thinking of ways her experiences can help you in your family search.

Megan's ability to be at the right place at the right time seems effortless --  but is really the result of hours of research, phone calls, and networking to stay at the cutting edge of new resources, technologies, and techniques. Read her books -- all of them! -- and watch for her posts. Megan is showing us the future of family research

Follow Megan at her website http://megansmolenyak.com/ and her social media links:

08 February 2012

Black Roots: Tracing The Family Tree and Researching Vital Records by Tony Burroughs
Presented by the Zion Genealogical Society
Feb. 18, 2012, 1:00-3:30 PM CT
Registration required. Free admission.
Zion-Benton Public Library, 2400 Gabriel Avenue, Zion, IL 60099
More info at http://www.rootsweb.ancestry.com/~ilzgs/

07 February 2012

What's Happening at FamilySearch.org

What's Happening at Family Search by Maureen Brady
Learn about the numerous changes planned for FamilySearch.org this year.

Presented by the Lake County (IL) Genealogical Society
Feb.14, 2012, 7:00pm CT
Mundelein Park district, 1401 N. Midlothian, Mundelein, IL
More info at http://www.rootsweb.ancestry.com/~illcgs/meetings.htm

06 February 2012

What's in a Name?

I was listening to a podcast and was stuck by a comment that was made. The podcaster was talking about census records and was explaining that the person being researched was called Minna on one census but was erroneously called "Milly" on another. I was annoyed by this misleading, off-handed comment.

Yerbi Miller
In my research I've discovered many instances of people "Americanizing" their names in different ways during their youth before settling on the name they used as an adult.  

My husband's great aunt was born in Chicago in October 1887.  She was 13 years old for the 1900 census and listed as Rebecca—her Hebrew name. However, in the 1910 census she's listed as Goldie Miller.


Gertrude Miller Stein
Her marriage license in Chicago on 5 May 1915 to Morris Stein lists her name as Goldie but, a year later on 29 May 1916, she's Yerbi Stein on her first son's birth certificate.

By the time her second son was born in 1919, and in the 1920 census, she was recorded as Gertrude Stein—the name she used the rest of her life. She was 31 years old before she was recorded using the name her family knows her by today.

This name game occurs in all kinds of records for the immigrant generation. I would never have found my Grandfather's Confirmation if I hadn't questioned the appearance of an Eddie Pagel in an index that I couldn't match to any Pagel I knew about. I had discovered a youthful name-blip for my Eric Carl Pagel. Should I ever try to locate his records I now know to watch for Eddie.

The lesson? Don't assume the record is wrong when the information isn't what you expect. You may have discovered a snapshot-in-time that offers new clues to follow.

What name-blips have YOU uncovered?

05 February 2012

Desperately Seeking Susan

Desperately Seeking Susan: Finding Female Ancestors 
by Amy Johnson Crow
Free Webinar on March 13, 2012  8:00-9:00 pm CDT
Presented by the Illinois State Genealogical Society Webinar Series
More info at https://www3.gotomeeting.com/register/223286734

Tracking Your Ancestors' Footsteps

Tracking Your Ancestors' Footsteps
37th Annual Conference of the DuPage County (IL) Genealogical Society
Speakers include: Paul Milner on Finding Your English Ancestors, Tony Burroughs on Getting Around the Great Chicago Fire of 1871, Lou Szucs and Juliana Smith on Ways to Jumpstart Your Family History Project , Maureen Brady on FamilySearch.org changes, and Jennifer Holik on Social Networking. Additional topics will be covered. Lunch will be served.


Presented by the DuPage County (IL) Genealogical Society
Saturday, February 25, 23012, 8:00 am to 4:00 pm CT
at the Hilton Garden Inn, 4070 East Main Street, St. Charles, IL 60174
More information at http://www.dcgs.org Registation at http://www.dcgs.org/rgstrn.shtml

03 February 2012

Threat to Social Security Death Index Access

Reposted from http://rootdig.blogspot.com/   28 January 2012

Threats to the SSDI
There is a move afoot in Congress to restrict access to the SSDI. Genealogists know that banks and other agencies use the Master Death File in an attempt to prevent fraud. The availability of this information does not increase fraud. Crooks have other means to defraud based upon identities. The restriction of the SSDI is being done as a knee-jerk reaction.

A copy of H. R. 3475 is here.
Information on the 2 February 2012 hearing is here.  Societies and groups can file formal written responses here.

Let your representatives in Washington know that you do NOT support this bill. Remind them that:
  • information on many deaths is easily available in newspapers and obituaries as well.
  • the ability to easily determine who is already dead makes it easier for agencies to COMBAT fraud
  • this is a knee-jerk reaction
To obtain your Congressional representatives addresses or find out whom your representative
is go to:

Cool Tools for Publishing

Cool Tools for Publishing by Lisa Alzo
Thanks to technology and the Internet, it’s easier than ever to document and share your genealogical discoveries.
Free Webinar on February 14, 2012, 8:00-9:30pm CST
Presented by the Illinois State Genealogical Society Webinar Series
More info at https://www3.gotomeeting.com/register/223286734

02 February 2012

Metro Chicago

Having worked on my family's history for over 40 years (I started in grade school, honest!) I've reached that point where I have to ask, "What happens to all the information I've collected when I'm gone?" My family has always been supportive of my "hobby" but none of them share my need to find my scattered cousins and tell their stories.

I had the opportunity to listen to the RootsTech 2012 Conference, Feb 2-4, 2012. (Thank you so VERY much for the live stream all three days!) The idea seems to be to create a unique identifier for every person who has ever lived—or at least those who appear anywhere online or in a database—so that the same individual can be identified in multiple records and images. Such a forward-thinking goal makes it very important that I clean up the content I have (yeah, yeah, citations) and that I get that information online. 

So, as others have already done, I'm posting what I have discovered while researching my extended family. My father's side settled in Milwaukee; my mother's side—and my husband's—in Chicago.

I'm also posting Webinars and Events that pertain to Metro Chicago. There isn't a single place to get all event information, so I'm adding to the chatter in the hope that more people will see an announcement that interests them and attend. As good as blog summaries may be, they can't provide the experience of attending a genealogy meeting.

Metro Chicago Genealogy, established 1967. I hope you learn something new that helps your search. — Denise Pagel Moskovitz
P.S. You can see the full-sized map at http://www.flickr.com/photos/10461908@N03/5785040748/sizes/o/in/photostream/