Friday, April 25, 2008

Newspaper Announcements

The other day I posted a query on a message board on Rootsweb. I have posted a number of queries on different message boards so this was not unusual. A kind person responded to one message in particular and indicated that she had searched the Chicago Tribune Historical Archives. That got me thinking.......
Charles and Katharine Ball were married here in Chicago, perhaps there was an announcement of their wedding in the newspaper. Who knows? I thought it was surely worth a search.
I work at a state university which just happens to own all the Chicago Tribune newspapers (on microfilm) from 1875, so I could easily do the search myself. I did just that. I went to April of 1885, knowing that Charles and Katharine were married April 22, 1885. I figured the announcement would be in the April 23rd issue or later. I could not find any wedding announcement but, I did find on April 22, 1885 an announcement indicating that they got a marriage license on April 21, 1885. I already knew that information because it was listed on their marriage certificate. What I did discover was a wild coincidence...a woman named Gussie L. Sommer, age 20 and her fiance' Paul E. Polzin age 27, also obtained a wedding license the same day as Charles and Katharine. To make it even better, Gussie and Paul married on April 22, 1885 as well! Now, to me, this is really interesting. Double weddings are not uncommon. Gussie MAY be a sister or a cousin of Katharine. I don't know but I believe I will do some research on Paul and Gussie and see if I can come up with some family information and perhaps a connection.
Some people say that there is no such thing as a coincidence......wouldn't it be wonderful if Gussie turned out to be related to Katharine? We'll see what happens!

Monday, April 21, 2008

Marriage certificate of Charles and Katherine Ball

Thought I would share the marriage certificate of my GG Grandparents Charles and Katherine Ball. They were married at Central Christian Church in April of 1885. Pastor Henry Schell Lobingier performed the service at the church located at 2936 Graceland (?) Avenue in Chicago, Illinois.
There is something to be said about a vital record!
P.S. One hundred and twenty-three years ago today, Charles and Katharine received their wedding license!


Well, I've hit yet another "brickwall" with my GG Grandparents Charles and Katherine Ball. I heard from the Illinois State Archives in regards to my research question concerning nursing licenses in the late 1800's and early 1900's. Unfortunately, they had no information about Charles or Katherine being licensed nurses in Chicago. So, perhaps they were home nurses who didn't need a license to practice? I have no idea and I'm definitely stuck. I will have to explore further.
I have requested two books from my local library to help me with my "brickwalls". The first: 500 brickwall solutions to genealogy problems and More brickwall solutions to genealogy problems. I have also reviewed a number of genealogy blogs which have provided a little more insight into the brickwall problem. Here are some helpful websites and blogs:

Kimberly Powell

Juliana Smith

Diana Smith


So, here is what I have done. I have posted about four queries on the Rootsweb message boards regarding my brickwall. Although I am a bit disappointed in not having any luck with the nurse registers, I am not about to quit searching, digging, and questioning until I get some answers. It may take a long time, but hey I may get some great news tomorrow. You just never know. Keep your fingers crossed!

Wednesday, April 9, 2008

Newberry Library

I recently emailed the Newberry Library reference department. I asked if they knew if nurses needed a license in the early 1900's. Both of my great grandparents, Charles and Katherine Ball were nurses. Well, according to family stories they were both doctors and that may have been true in their homeland of Germany. However, according to the Chicago City Directories from 1892 to 1917, Charles and Katherine listed their occupations as nurses. Of course I wondered if they did work as nurses, would they need a license?
Today, I received a very kind reply from a reference librarian at Newberry Library. It seems that there are actually records of licensed nurses from the late 19th century and the 20th century! They are located at the Illinois State Archives! Here are the register numbers:

Register: Record number 208.018, REGISTER OF LICENSED MIDWIVES, 1877-1930 and

Register: Record number 208.019, REGISTER OF LICENSED NURSES, 1909-1952.

This afternoon I sent a snail mail letter to the Illinois State Archives asking for any information that they may have on Charles and Katherine Ball. I also sent them a check for any copies that they could make for me of whatever they may find. You can bet I'm going to be running to the mail box checking to see what kind of reply I get!

Sunday, April 6, 2008

Chicago City Directories

Yesterday I actually had a little success in my research of my Great Great Grandparents Charles and Katherine Ball! Special thanks to Jackie at the South Suburban Genealogical Historical Society! Jackie and I searched the Chicago City Directories from 1899 to 1923. City Directories can provide a wealth of information; names, addresses and occupations! Although these city directories are in very fragile condition, in the 1899 city directory, I found my GG Grandfather Charles J. Ball. He worked as a nurse (which I already knew) and he and Katherine resided at 631 Larabee! In 1902 and 1903 I could only find Katherine who was working as a nurse at the time and lived at 9135 Houston Aveune. There were a few years when neither Charles or Katherine appeared at all in the city directories, for what reason, I can not say. By 1907 Katherine was listed as a widow of Charles and resided at 5219 S. Wood. I was saddened to learn that fact.
As I continued searching, I found Katherine in the 1908, 1911, 1912, 1913, and 1917 Chicago city directories. She continued to move around the city of Chicago. I do not know what happened to her after 1917. She was not listed on the 1923 Chicago City Directory.
Of course, I wouldn't let an opportunity slip through my fingers. While I was searching for Charles and Katherine Ball, I also had a little success finding a few of my Guinee and Sawicki ancestors as well. All in all, it was a great afternoon!
Now my search moves in yet another direction. I have written a research request to IRAD (Illinois Regional Archives Depositories) to see if they can come up with any information on Charles and Katherine Ball. We'll see what happens.

Wednesday, April 2, 2008

Talking about cemeteries

Although I am always interested in learning more about my Hanaway relatives (and believe me, it is by far the largest family tree I have!)and where my Hanaway ancestors are buried, I have been lucky to find some of my other great grandparents graves as well. On the far south side of Chicago, many of my Polish relatives raised their families. MANY of my Wozniak, Sawicki, Ziolkowski, and Wieczorek ancestors are buried in Holy Cross Cemetery in Calumet City, Illinois, which is located just on the border of Illinois and Indiana. In fact, after visiting their office, I walked away with a huge listing of Wozniak and Sawicki burials in all the Catholic, Cook County, Illinois cemeteries. All I had asked for was if I could find out if any of these specific relatives had been buried in Holy Cross and much to my delight they gave me that listing! What a listing it is too. The people in the office are extremely helpful! Of course, this list doesn't by any means indicate that all these particular Wozniak and Sawicki people are my relatives, but just the same it is a great resource! It lists the name, date of burial and the cemetery where the individual is interred. I discovered that my GGGG Grandmother Regina Polus is buried in an unmarked grave at Holy Cross Cemetery. That's right, Regina was born in 1811 and immigrated here to the United States in the late 1800's with her son. According to the 1900 Federal Census, she lived with my Great Grandparents Ludwig and Stella Sawicki in the Hyde Park area for a while. I believe that my GGGG Grandmother Regina Polus died in 1911 shortly before her 100th birthday. Although I am unable to locate Regina's grave, I was successful in finding her granddaughter (my Great Grandmother) Stella Sawicki and my Great Grandfather Ludwig Sawicki's graves, and my Great Grandparents Joseph and Mary Wozniak graves as well.
Check out that cemetery office and don't be afraid to ask them about burial records and who may be buried in that particular cemetery. You never know who may be there!

Tuesday, April 1, 2008

Old Monticello Cemetery, Monticello, Indiana

Last Saturday, I finally found an opportunity to visit the Old Monticello Cemetery in Monticello, Indiana. Established in 1836, I have wanted to visit this particular cemetery for a number of years but never seemed to find the time. I had been in contact with the White County Historical Society and Museum and discovered that my GGG Grandparents Jacob and Eliza Hanaway lived in the area after their marriage in the 1830's. In fact, Jacob's will is on display in the museum! Eliza is buried in the Old Monticello Cemetery and I was lucky enough to find her grave marker. Correction, my children found it first and called me over to verify their discovery. Eliza's marker is about four feet tall, appears to be made out of limestone for much of the engraving is worn down. I was still able to read her name Eliza A. wife of Jacob Hanaway, died March 30, 1875. The engraving with her exact age is no longer legible. There is a strong possibility that three of Jacob and Eliza's children; John, Stephen and Ephraim are also buried in this cemetery, although even with the help of my children, we were unable to locate their headstones. Time and weather have certainly not been kind to this place. Unfortunately, the historical society and museum was not open so I guess I will simply have to make another trip to the area. Having never been to Monticello before it was hard to imagine what the area was like 150 years ago. There is certainly a great deal of farming in the area and of course Shafer Lake is a big tourist attraction in the summer months. I look forward to visiting the area again, but this time I will certainly visit White County Historical Society and Museum !

The Family

The family. We were a strange little band of characters trudging through life sharing diseases and toothpaste, coveting one another's desserts, hiding shampoo, borrowing money, locking each other out of our rooms, inflicting pain and kissing to heal it in the same instant, loving, laughing, defending, and trying to figure out the common thread that bound us all together. ~Erma Bombeck

Genealogy Pox, author unknown


SYMPTOMS: Continual complaint as to need for names, dates and places. Patient has a blank expressions, sometimes deaf to spouse and children. Has no taste for work of any kind, except feverishly looking through records at libraries and courthouses.
Has a compulsion to write letters. Swears at mailman when he doesn't leave mail. Frequents strange places such as cemeteries, ruins, and remote desolate country areas. Makes secret night calls and hides phone bills from spouse. Mumbles to self. Has strange, faraway look in eyes.


TREATMENT: Medication is useless. This disease is not fatal, but gets progressively worse. Patient should attend genealogy workshops, subscribe to genealogical magazines and be given a quiet corner in the house where he/she can be alone.

REMARKS: The unusual nature of this disease is that the sicker the patient gets, the more he or she enjoys it!