Friday, November 7, 2008

Home Sweet Home

Almost done...
My parents first house,
South suburb of Chicago, circa 1955
Photo owned by P. Taylor (address private)
Owning a home is a privilege, especially these days. I have often wondered what my ancestors homes looked like. Wood frame? Bungalow? Brick? Apartment? Having an address and knowing what type of home was on the property are two entirely different things. Using land records can help you answer those and many other questions.
Last evening I had the opportunity to attend a workshop "Uncovering your past through land records," at the Tinley Park Library. This exciting workshop was presented by Grace DuMelle, author of "Finding Your Chicago Ancestors," one of my absolute must have books for people with ancestors here in the Chicago area.
I learned an awful lot about grantor-grantee, tract records, recorder of deeds, cadastral maps, land ownership maps, and fire insurance maps. The information that you can find from these records is astounding! I immediately thought about Katharine Ball, my gg grandmother. She was listed on a number of city directories between 1892 and 1917 and most of the time she was at a different location. According to Ms. DuMelle, Katharine may have actually lived in the same house/apartment building because street names and numbers may have changed. There were many street name and number changes between 1909 and 1911 in Chicago. Did she live in a house or an apartment? I have no idea, but I do have addresses, which makes my research a little easier. I just have to start "digging" in some land records.
I know for a fact that I will be visiting the Cook County Recorder of Deeds office in Chicago very soon and with any luck will have answers to some of my questions!

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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!