Wednesday, October 29, 2008

And the winner was.......

Last year, the Dean of the library where I work promoted a pumpkin carving contest for the employees of the library and really anyone else in the university. What a blast and yes, yours truly particpated.
Having quite a large family who love to carve pumpkins warrants me buying at least eight or nine pumpkins each year (we always have some do overs!). Good thing because I was in the pumpkin carving mood. Theme....umm I needed a theme, something different, not the usual pumpkin face. Something I really enjoy, something that wouldn't be too difficult to FAMILY TREE. So, with my idea in my head (I should have drawn a picture on a piece of paper first!) I "carved" away. So many children so little room to get them all on the pumpkin along with the branches, the roots, etc. So much slimy gunk to pull out, let's not go into that. Of course, I had to save the pumpkin seeds for the kids too. It's so much easier to paint a pumpkin or supervise. After two attempts (remember I said we always have some do overs!) I completed my Family Tree pumpkin. On each branch I listed a name of one of my children. My children were amazed that MOM could actually carve a pretty good family tree too!
The next morning I carefully transported my work of art to the university library. It was added to the collection of other carved pumpkins which included cats, witches, Harry Potter, and more. The faculty, staff and students all voted and much to my surprise I won! What a thrill and the prize was a Borders gift certificate. What could be a better gift for an amateur genealogist than the opportunity to buy one of their favorite genealogy books!
Am I carving another pumpkin this year? Well, the pumpkins are sitting on the back porch. The kids are gearing up...we'll see what I'll "carve" up this year.....

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Tombstone Tuesday: Boudreau and Senesac

My GG grandparents headstone
Belle and Isaac Senesac,
Belle Boudreau Deno Senesac b. 7-30-1860 (correct birth date)
d. 1-2-1946
Isaac Senesac b. 4-10-1867 d. 11-3-1912
Buried in St. Rose Cemetery
Bourbonnais, Illinois
Photograph owned by P. Taylor
My GGG grandparents headstone
Luke and Aurelia Boudreau
(Belle's parents)
Luke Boudreau b. 4-10-1828 d. 4-27-1905
Aurelia Landry Boudreau b. 3-21-1830 d. 10-8-1917
Buried in St. Rose Cemetery
Bourbonnais, Illinois
Photograph owned by P. Taylor

Monday, October 27, 2008

A little bit of a treat before Halloween...

Like many of my blogger friends, I have been working on my family history for quite a while now. I still get very frustrated when I make one of the simplest mistakes and don't realize it for too long a period. Where did my brain cells go??
Example-I have been searching for the names of Katharine Ball's parents, my GGG grandparents. They were not listed on Katharine's death certificate. Katharine's sister Julia died in April of 1928. Both sisters are buried in Oakwoods Cemetery here in Chicago. I contacted the Cook County Clerk's office for a copy of Julia's death certificate only to be informed that they had no record of it. (Cost $15). According to Oakwoods Cemetery, Julia died on the 24th of April and was buried on the 26th. That tells me, she had to have died close by. Where else could I find a death certificate if the county clerk doesn't have it? The cemetery doesn't have a burial permit either, which may have indicated where Julia had died. I tried to think of other places to find Julia Sommer's death certificate.
I tell people all the time, try different spellings for your ancestors. Many times names are misspelled on any document including vital records. Did I follow my own advice? After way too long a period of researching. A light bulb FINALLY went off. I was searching for Julia Sommer, but could a death certificate be under Julia Summer? Yes, I searched the Cook County death index and there she of death matched! I requested a copy from Chicago Genealogy and within one day had a digitized copy of Julia's death certificate. (Cost $5.46, including PayPal fee) All the information matched with what I already knew...her date of birth, husband's name and address. Julia's son Phillip was the informant on the death certificate and he was quite knowledgeable. He knew Julia's parents names and where they lived! Galief Sommer and Elizabeth Rusch Sommer resided in Neckargemund, Germany. I now know the names of my GGG grandparents on another branch of my tree!
"If only..." can now be another lesson learned the hard way. Sure hope I don't need to learn it the hard way again. I am thrilled to add two more names to my research but also to have another direction to move toward finding even more ancestors!
What a great hobby!

Friday, October 17, 2008

I've been tagged!

Big thanks to Becky over at Kinexxions to tagging me with one of the newest memes traveling the internet this week. I managed to get this one done without too much I go....

10 years ago I was

* I was teaching Kindergarten and absolutely loving it!

* My "favorite dog" Dakota was still a puppy!

* I was just starting to research my family history!

* I bought my first computer!

* My oldest daughter was starting college and my youngest son at the time was in third grade!

7 Things On Today's To Do List

1. Work the day job (done)

2. Check my blog and comment on others (working on this one now)

3. Take my two sons to get haircuts (if they would get home!)

4. Make dinner (might have to order out!)

5. Try to finish the book I've been reading "The Blue Cotton Gown- a midwife's memoir by Patricia Harman (will attempt after 10:30 when most of the kids will be in bed!)

6. Clean off my desk (I'm stressing thinking about this job, it will probably have to wait for another day!)

7. Get to bed before midnight! (If only, but I can wish!)

5 Snacks I Enjoy

1. I can only pick five? Okay, anything chocolate

2. Jay's Baked Mesquite potato chips (yummy)

3. Cheddar cheese and wheat crackers

4. Snow-caps (chocolate)

5. Junior mints (chocolate again)

5 Places I Have Lived

1. Chicago Ridge, Illinois

2. San Jose, California

3. Justice, Illinois

4. Alsip, Illinois

5. Chicago, Illinois

5 Jobs I Have Had

1. Shampoo girl and manicurist (first real job!)

2. Factory worker (college)

3. Flag guard (college)

4. Retail management (Montgomery Ward, adulthood)

5. Library Specialist (curent, best job, working with books and people!)

Now I am suppose to pass this on to other "Newbie" Genea-Bloggers, so I am tagging the following blogs I have been viewing recently...

Twig Talk

Little Bytes of Life

Speak Up Librarian non genealogy but oodles of information on our deaf community

Thank you again Becky....

Hmmm, when did it all start?

I think it's safe to say that I love working on my family's genealogy. I love going to libraries, cemeteries, historical societies, genealogical societies, archives, and much more. I admit I am sometimes obsessed with knocking down one of my many brickwalls. And, when I feel I am getting close to finding an answer--watch out, it gets even worse. Do you remember what specifically spiked your interest in your family history? I do.
In 1998, my cousin Terry and I were driving to Indiana. We were going to the cemetery where our grandmother Lucy was buried. Somehow we got on the subject of our great grandparents Bert and Eva Hanaway. Neither of us knew them, we were babies when they passed away. But, we grew up attending the annual Hanaway reunion in July. It was a once a year event where we gathered and celebrated Bert and Eva's lives. Aunts, uncles and cousins came from all over Illinois, Indiana and Michigan to join in the celebration. We starting counting how many grandchildren Bert and Eva had and came up with a number around 40. Then we wondered how many great grandchildren they had. We would be included in that number. We estimated around 100. We tried naming all the grandchildren-which wasn't too hard because that was our parents generation and we knew all of our parents first cousins. We tried counting how many children each cousin had. Of course, we couldn't keep that number straight. Who had nine children, who had eight? Who were we missing? We ran into a tangled mess. That was when I knew I needed to KNOW! That was my defining moment. I wanted to know -where I did I fall in the number of great grandchildren? I wanted to know Bert and Eva's parents' names. Where did they live? How many children did they have? Where were are all of my other relatives....not just my Hanaway aunts, uncles and cousins?
Months later, after many questionnaires were sent and returned and many more phone calls were made, Terry and I were amazed to discover that Bert and Eva had over 150 great grandchildren!
So, here is a question for you remember when you KNEW you needed to KNOW about your family history? What happened that sparked your interest to the point that you had to know? Was it a story from a relative? Was it the loss of a loved one or a notation in their family bible? Was it an heirloom you inherited? When did you KNOW that you needed to find out more information about your family history?

Friday, October 10, 2008

Dogs Rule Day !

A little break from genealogy to show how much we love our dogs! Dogs rule in our house.
Why we love our dog Dakota!
1. Loves to bark at anything, even a leaf falling off a tree.
2. Especially loves to bark early in the morning to wake up neighbors dogs to
come outside to bark with her.
3. Loves to sit at dining room table, has been known to occasionally lay ON TOP of the
dining room table and sleep.
4. Loves to sleep with Mom or children.
5. Loves to cuddle.
6. Has great manners, she refuses a doggie treat until Anya and Kaylee have had theirs first!
7. Loves to chase Kaylee around house until they both get yelled at and sent outside to play.
8. Best dog in the house!
Why we love our dog Anya!
1. She loves Mom the most.
2. She loves to growl, oh I mean "dog talk" to people.
3. Will occasionally bite butts, beware! (don't worry she doesn't break the skin!)
4. Prefers to stay by Mom when Mom is home.
5. She is first in line for a dog treat.
6. Loves to eat!
7. Refuses to go on diet, Mom gives in, but makes her go up and down the stairs
several times a day for at least some exercise.
8. Best dog in the house.

Why we love our dog Kaylee
1. Supposed to be Mike's dog, but we all know how THAT works out!
2. Loves everyone and everything!
3. Loves to bark.
4. Loves to chase Dakota (thank heavens, that way they both get some exercise!).
5. Loves to sleep with Mom or children.
6. Good on a lease, but prefers to run and have family members chase her.
7. Loves to gives wet sloppy doggie kisses (the only one that gives smooches!)
8. Best dog in the house
A friend of mine gave me the article below, I hope you love it as much as I did!
Dog Lessons for People
* When loved ones come home, always run to greet them.
* Never pass up the opportunity to go for a joy ride.
* Allow the experience of fresh air and the wind in your face to be pure ecstasy.
* Take naps.
*Stretch before rising.
* Run, romp, and play daily.
* Thrive on attention and let people touch you.
* Avoid biting when a simple growl will do.
* On warm days, stop to lie on your back on the grass.
* On hot days, drink lots of water and lie under a shady tree.
* When you're happy, dance around and wag your entire body.
* Delight in the simple joy of a long walk.
* Eat with gusto and enthusiasm. Stop when you have had enough.
* Be loyal. Never pretend to be something you're not.
* If what you want lies buried, dig until you find it.
* When someone is having a bad day, be silent, sit close by and nuzzle them gently.

Laughter really is the best medicine!

Bert & Eva Hanaway

circa. 1930's

Although they were already gone by the time I was born, I feel like I have a real connection to my gg grandparents Bert and Eva. Not because of the family research I have been involved in for so long. Bert and Eva had eight children and their children had MANY children.

The first Hanaway reunion was organized in 1956 after Bert and Eva had both passed away. I believe these reunions- where I was exposed to all of Bert and Eva's descendants, my relatives, were where I learned how much my gg grandparents were not only respected but deeply loved by all who knew them. Stories continue to be told and retold to this day about my gg grandfather's sense of humor and my gg grandmother's patience.

This picture always makes me smile, Bert and Eva had to be in their 50's when it was taken. Looking at their faces, I don't see the wrinkles or worry lines. I see two people who loved to share a smile and a laugh. My mother had a sense of humor and I too love to laugh! I think it might be in our genes.

Submitted for 6th edition of Carnival of Genealogy, Funny Bone.

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Ludwik Sawicki obituary, July 3, 1937

After reading the Creative Gene's post on Monday regarding her Polish ancestor it got me thinking about my G grandfather Ludwik Sawicki. I really do not have a lot of information about my Polish relatives. With the help of a cousin and one aunt I have a few names of ancestors, and I have made a little progress with some family history. Once I found out my G grandfather's name, I discovered through census records that he lived in Chicago, Illinois or the south suburbs since he immigrated here sometime around 1885. Visiting the Polish Genealogical Society of America's website, I searched the Dziennik newspaper death notice index. I found Ludwik Sawicki's name and requested the obituary not really thinking about it being in Polish. Here is Ludwik's obituary as it appeared in the July 3, 1937 edition of the Dziennik newspaper.
What did I learn from the obituary? Well, once I had it translated, I discovered that Ludwik "was elderly and died of old age". He was about sixty-nine years old (not really OLD nowadays, kind of like late middle age, especially since I am over 50 years old now!). I knew Ludwik and his wife Stella (Stanislawa) married in 1889 here in Chicago. The obituary indicated that they lived at 8714 Manistee Avenue. Six of Ludwik and Stella's children were listed in the obituary; Wladyslawa, Kazimierz, Regina, Marianna, Cecylia, and Weronika. New information (at least from the translations I received) included the name of his brother-in-law and his wife Jan and Antonia Wierczorek. Ludwik had one daughter-in-law named Anna (that would be Kazimierz's wife) and five son-in-laws: Stanley Czechanski, Frank Krauza, Jan Czechanski, and Stephen Wozniak and Edward Sikorski. Wladyslawa (Lottie) married Jan (John) Czechanski and Marianna married Jan's brother Stanley Czechanski. Ludwik and Stella had twenty-one grandchildren and one great granddaughter. The priest officiating the funeral service was Pastor Joseph Czechanski (I am wondering if he was a relative of Ludwik's son-in-laws). Ludwik was buried in Holy Cross Cemetery in Calumet City, Illinois.
Having discovered that Ludwik was buried in Holy Cross Cemetery lead me of course to a short road trip. The employees in the office were extremely helpful and provided me with directions to the grave. It really didn't take me long to find not only my G grandfather's grave but my G grandmother Stella's grave as well. There were also some other relatives graves close by.
This published obituary provided me with some great information that I wouldn't have otherwise had. It opened the door for more questions and more exploration into my Polish ancestry!

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!