Monday, March 23, 2009

Monday Madness, "My Brickwall Ancestor--Charles J. Ball"

First of all I would like to thank Amy at Untangled Family Roots for creating this new Monday meme and Miriam at Ancestories for the brickwall template!

I have been searching and coming up with almost nothing on my Great Great Grandfather Charles J. Ball for over four years now. Here I go with describing my brickwall and may I add ANY SUGGESTIONS for discovering any information about him are welcomed!

This is what I would love to find out: I would love to know when and where Charles J. Ball died and where he is buried.

Here is the known information:

Charles was born about 1857 in Baden, Germany. (Information from Alma's birth record)

Charles J. Ball married Katherine J. Sommer on April 21, 1885 at Central Christian Church in Chicago, Illinois.

Daughter of Charles and Katherine Ball; Alma Ball was born on October 13,1886 at home. Their address at that time was 270 Sangamon, Chicago, Illinois.

Charles worked as a nurse.

Charles was listed on the 1892 Chicago City Directory, living at 4524 Cottage Grove Avenue.

He was also listed on the 1893 Chicago City Directory, living at 479 W. Lake.

On the 1899 Chicago City Directory he is listed as living at 631 Larrabee.

Then he disappears.

On the 1907 Chicago City Directory, Katherine lists herself as a widow of Charles.

Positive and Negative Searches include:

I have a copy of the marriage license of Charles and Katherine and also a copy of the birth certificate of Alma. The birth certificate indicates that both Charles and Katherine were born in Baden, Germany and that both worked as nurses.

Obviously, the Chicago City Directories are another positive search and I was more than thrilled when I found those!

I have in my possession a copy of a picture (most likely a Cartes de Visite) of a young Charles J. Ball taken by R. Holyland photographer. Mr. Holyland was a photographer in Baltimore for a number of years. Perhaps Charles (Chas) had his picture taken when he arrived here in the United States to prove to his family back in Germany that he made it safe and sound to America?

I have been unable to find my Charles (Chas) on any Federal Census record or Katherine for that matter. I thought I hit the jack pot on the 1900 Federal Census with a Charles Ball in Hennepin, Minnesota who immigrated from Germany and his year of birth is close to my Charles Ball. The 1900 Census also states that this Charles Ball was married for about 16 years. No wife/child was listed though and so far I have been unable to connect him to my family. (Coincidentally, Charles and Katherine's daughter Alma married Philip Hirschberg in St. James, Minnesota in May of 1906).

I've searched the surnames of Ball, Bell, Bill, Boll, and Bull with no luck.

I have paid for a death record search for 1889 through 1907 from Cook County, Illinois with no luck.

I have search the burial records for Cook County, Illinois with no luck.

Charles is NOT buried next to Katherine in Oakwoods Cemetery in Chicago, nor do they have a Charles Ball buried in that cemetery.

I cannot locate Charles coming over from Germany on any ship documents I've been able to research.

Possible resources:
I have contacted IRAD and asked that they search for any probate records and naturalization records for Charles J. Ball.
I keep going back to the Charles Ball in Minnesota and although I don't believe he is related I have a feeling there may be some connection????

Wow, that's all I have. Not much I know, but any suggestions or directions I should move in would be appreciated.

Thanks friends!

No comments:

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!