Thursday, June 19, 2008

Katherine Sommer Ball

I finally have in my possession a copy of my GG Grandmother Katherine Sommer Ball's death certificate. I would like to thank Molly who copied several death certificates for me including Katherine's from the Illinois State Library records. Again, a great resource for state vital record copies and lookups outside of Cook County. She responded to my request and I received the death certificates in less than five days! What terrific service!
As I look at Katherine's death certificate, I think of how long it actually took to get to this point. Ten years ago I did not even know her name. Five years ago, I had a little information, not much really, her name and that she was born somewhere in Germany. Today, I see that she died a widow in Kankakee. I now have her birth date, although I think the year may be off a little. Her death certificate indicates that her occupation was a graduate nurse. There was a family story that she was a doctor. However, what I really have now are even more questions. Why did she move around so much? Was it because of her occupation? More importantly, why did she move to Kankakee when she had lived in Chicago from 1885 to 1922? What was her relationship like with her only child, my G Grandmother Alma?
What I need to do is start a timeline on Katherine and try to fill in as many pieces of her life span as possible with the facts that I know.
See, another door is opened in my research. This is what happens, you get a vital record and the search goes on and on and on!

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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!