17 September 2014

William Kile in Joliet Prison in 1860

1860 U S Census, Illinois, Will County, Town of Joliet, page 529;
digital image Ancestry.com

Prisoner William Kile was relatively easy to find in the 1860 census. He was enumerated at the Illinois State Penitentiary in Joliet, Will County, Illinois--right where he should be based upon other records that have been located on William. The enumeration also includes his year of incarceration and the crime for which he was committed. I'm not certain that enumerators were required to provide this information, but it is listed for every inmate at this institution in 1860. 

Just goes to show that one never knows what will appear on an enumeration until one actually sees it and details of this type are not items that get included in indexes and finding aids. He's listed as being sixty years of age, which may be slightly incorrect. The place of birth is right. 

I'm surmising that the information on William in this enumeration was provided from prison records. Because of that, the age and other information on his enumeration may not be correct. I doubt if the census enumerator visited each prisoner to obtain information. 

The year of his incarceration and crime were also contained in other records and those statements from the census are consistent with more reliable records. 

The fact that his age ends in a "0" does raise some speculation that it was simply an estimate. 

Rescheduled Meyers Orts and Estate Inventory Webinars

We have rescheduled our Meyers Orts and Estate Inventory Webinars:

  • Meyers Orts--rescheduled for 26 September
  • Transcribing an 18th Century Estate Inventory--rescheduled for 26 September

Meyers Orts--Gazetteer of the German Empire. Published in the early 20th century, this print geographic reference in traditional Gothic print contains information on thousands of German place names. If you've ever struggled with this reference, or never used it because it seemed overwhelming, then this presentation is for you. We'll assume that you know no German and are unfamiliar with the script. See how the entries are organized, how to interpret them, and how to use the information from the entries to further your research. Geared to those who have not used the gazetteer extensively before. Session will run approximately one hour. 26 September 2014 at 1:00 pm central time.

Transcribing an 18th Century Estate Inventory. In this presentation we will go step-by-step through the transcription of estate inventories from Massachusetts, Maryland, and Virginia that were recorded in the 1700s. We can't make you an expert at reading handwriting in one session, but we will systematically go through the listing of items, showing ways to assist in "guessing" when the handwriting is difficult to interpret, determining what the items are, and using the inventory to further your research. Geared towards advanced beginner or intermediate researchers. Session will run approximately one hour. 26 September 2014--3:00 pm central time.

Registration is limited.

Register now:

This page is:

13 September 2014

Some Men Used to Cook

It's not just the ladies who submit recipes for those old recipe books, occasionally one may find a member of the male persuasion listed as well.

This entry from 1903 shows a recipe for baked wild duck.

Of course measurements are somewhat inexact as the amount of butter is compared to an egg.

Are you assuming only ladies are mentioned in old cookbooks?

This cookbook was one of my recent  Ebay purchases.

An Issue of "Issue Instanter" Means that Short Phrases Matter

Those little notations on documents are important. Sometimes they are the most important item on the document and woe is the genealogist who ignores them as "meaningless."

An 1860 letter written to Illinois Governor John Wood by Illinois State Penitentiary Warden Samuel K Casey attests to the model behavior of Lawrence Knaeble an inmate. Knaeble was convicted of manslaughter in Hancock County, Illinois, in 1858.

On the bottom left hand corner of the letter is the phrase that appears to be "Issue Instanter." Loosely interpreted, this appears to be a notation that the pardon was to be issued immediately or as soon as practical. There is no indication of who wrote the order on Casey's letter, but it clearly was not written by him looking at the style of handwriting.There are several other documents and petitions in the Executive Clemency File for Knaeble dated 1859 and 1860. This is the only document in the file that makes any reference to a pardon being granted. There is an earlier letter from Warden Casey which also testifies to Knaeble's behavior. 

Knaeble was pardoned by the Illinois governor on 10 October 1860. A petition from over 100 Hancock County, Illinois, citizens was filed on 8 October.

Those little words can sometimes mean a lot--to prisoners as well as genealogists. Make certain you aren't ignoring them in your research.

We'll have more details on Knaeble's conviction and just what happened outside that dram shop in Warsaw, Illinois in 1858 to land him in the Joliet prison.

12 September 2014

The SS5 for Aunt Martha

Application for a Social Security Account Number,
Martha Ann Greenstreet, 480-22-9796,
obtained from the Social Security Administration.
Personally I don't often order SS5 forms very often. 

It is not because they are not valuable, but it's just that most of my own personal research is before Social Security was in existence and even for those people who lived after it was created, I often don't really "need" the form and can't always justify the expense. The forms do usually provide the information (parents, date and place of birth, occupation, etc.) that are listed here. For most of my very non-migratory 20th century farming relatives the cards aren't going to tell me too much.

But sometimes it's necessary--especially when people moved a great deal or the researcher wants to see what information they put on the form instead of what an informant put on a death certificate (keep in mind that in some cases, employers filled the cards out and the applicant signed them). 

This form is for my great-grandmother's half-sister, Martha Ann (Sargent) Silsby Greenstreet. I've had some difficulty locating information on her and her family, partially because it doesn't appear that she was close to her two older half sisters by her father's first marriage. 

The birth and parental information is consistent with other records. Her residence was not exactly where I expected, but given that Aunt Martha moved around a fair amount any residence in the upper Midwest would not really have been a surprise.

And I still haven't located her in the 1940 census. Maybe now that I've got an address for her in 1943, that will make that a little easier.  

Getting the form:

The online form for ordering a Social Security number application is the best approach if:

  • the person whose form you are requesting was born over 100 years ago, and
  • you don't believe that the Social Security Administration has information indicating the person's parents were under 20 at the time the person for whom you are ordering the SS5 form was born.

Updated on FamilySearch: MT, IL, and OH Materials

The following databases are showing as updated or new on FamilySearch since our last update:

Montana, Judith Basin County Records, 1887-2012

Illinois, Northern District Petitions for Naturalization, 1906-1991

Ohio, Jefferson County Court Records, 1797-1947

10 September 2014

FamilySearch Update: GA, MT, WI, NH, SC and FL Materials

The following databases are showing as new or updated on FamilySearch:

Evidence of Basco and Tioga?

I've had a digital image of this card for several years. I was lucky enough to have a relative send a digital copy of it to me after she found it among her relative's things.

The postmark, "Basco, Ill April 18 '78," is handwritten. I'm not certain if Basco didn't have a stamp or if it was just easier to write instead of using it.

I've written about this postcard before, but I just got to thinking about what type of "residential evidence" this gives for both Johann Ufkes (the writer) and Hermann Harms (the recipient). The only thing this card provides direct evidence of is that Johann was at the Basco post office in 1878. There's no address for him on this card and just because he mailed it from Basco does not mean he necessarily lived there.

And Herman may (or may not) have been a resident of Tioga (Tioka) at all. He could have easily just have been a short term resident in 1878--or it simply could have been that in 1878 Johann believed Herman lived in Tioga.

It's always worth your while to think about just what a document provides evidence for and what it does not provide evidence for.

09 September 2014

1903 Warsaw Illinois Cookbook

This 1903 cookbook was one I recently purchased on Ebay. It's not in the best of condition, but this was not a surprise to me as the seller clearly indicated the item was not in good condition and the binding was gone (there were also pictures clearly indicating the condition of the item).

The individual pages are in relatively good shape and it will be easy to eventually take pictures of them so that they can be posted and shared with those who may have family in the area. There is a listing of recipe submitters in the front of book and some are apparently "out of towners" as their city and states of residence are listed. It is possible that the individuals from New Orleans and few other "non-local" locations had some connection to the Warsaw, Illinois, area and their listing in the cookbook may be additional evidence someone needs to connect two people.

Even if one can't use the recipies, there can still be clues in old cookbooks.

03 September 2014

2015 Carl Sandburg Institute of Genealogy (CSIG)

Things have been a little quiet on this blog as I've been wrapping up major details on the 2015 Carl Sandburg Institute of Genealogy (CSIG) to be held in May/June 2015 in Galesburg, Illinois.

From 28 May through 1 June 2015 the first Carl Sandburg Institute of Genealogy will be held at Carl Sandburg College in Galesburg, Illinois. Four tracks of study over 4.5 days are scheduled. Nationally-known genealogical-research experts will present the following tracks:
     Refining Internet and Digital Skills for Genealogy
(coordinator Cyndi Ingle of CyndisList)
     Advanced Methodology and Analysis
(coordinator Michael John Neill of Genealogy Tip of the Day),
     The Advancing Genealogist: Research Standards, Tools, and Records
(coordinator Debbie Mieszala, CGSM),
     Germanic Research Sources and Methods
(coordinator Teresa McMillin, CGSM).

Getting to Galesburg is easy. Galesburg is:
     located on Interstate 74,
     one hour from Moline or Peoria airports,
     two hours from Springfield, and
     has four daily Amtrak trains from Chicago (and direct routes from many locations including Denver, Omaha, Kansas City, and Salt Lake City).
Registration opens in September and will be announced on the website (www.sandburggenealogy.com) and on social media, including the CSIG Facebook page (www.facebook.com/sandburggenealogy). Email Michael John Neill at mneill@sandburg.edu to be added to mailing list for announcements. Hotel and meal plan information is forthcoming.
Carl Sandburg College is located in the heart of the Midwest and has received national accolades for its innovative use of technology and state of the art instructional facilities.

CG or Certified Genealogist is a service mark of the Board for Certification of Genealogists.

01 September 2014

Was William Kile Court Martialed?

We've mentioned William Kile here in several posts. He was apparently involved in local and federal legal proceedings in the 1850s and 1860s. There are annotations on his muster entries that he was "under arrest." We are going to see if there is any record of his having been court martialed.

Of course, if he was court martialed, the charges must have "not stuck" as he did receive a pension.

We'll have an update when we have more information.

28 August 2014

Why Did I Call Anna Margaret Margaret?

After I published my recent post about my Aunt Margaret (Habben) Hutchison's marriage in 1947 I realized that I didn't comment on her name. It's listed as Anna Margaret Habben on the marriage entry and that name is technically correct. I referred to her as Aunt Margaret throughout the post.

Because we never called her Aunt Anna. I never knew that Anna was her first name until I began doing genealogical research.

Anna Margaret (Habben) Hutchison had a sister named Anna. A biological full sister with the same first name.

Well sorta the same first name.

Anna Margaret (Habben) Hutchison did have a sister Anna (Habben) Tout. The problem is that Anna (Habben) Tout's first name wasn't really Anna. It was Anke.

The sisters (along with my grandmother Dorothy (Habben) Ufkes) were daughters of Mimka and Tjode (Goldenstein) Habben of Carthage, Hancock County, Illinois. Mimka's mother was named Anke and Tjode's mother was named Anna Margaret. That's where the sisters got their names--from their grandmothers. In Platt (the low-German dialect the Habbens spoke at home) the names were different.

The problem was that eventually Anke (born in the early 20th century along with her sister) began using the anglicized version of her name--Anna. Because of that, Anna Margaret started using Margaret, although she retained Anna Margaret as her legal name.

Their grandfather John also had a full brother named John.

We do these things just to confuse people.

Aunt Margaret Married in the State of Providence

I make discoveries on Mocavo.com, but like any online database provider they have the occasional irregularities.

This first entry is for my great-aunt Margaret and her husband Robert. They married in Cache County, Utah, in 1947.

The database entry is a little bit off--probably due to irregularity when merging the original database into databases at Mocavo.com. The state and year are clearly off.

In the process of writing this blog post, I searched for Aunt Margaret again and discovered there were two entries for their marriage in the Mocavo.com database called "BYU Idaho Western States Marriage Index, 1809-2013."

The first reference shown is the one for which the detailed entry is shown above. The second entry in the search results contains the information in the correct fields.  Why there are two entries for this same marriage I'm not certain.

This data was incorporated into Mocavo.com's database from the original database which is housed on the BYU website. There are not two entries for the Habben-Hutchison marriage in that database (I know because I searched).

Sometimes it pays to put names in the wrong boxes when searching. Most databases do not have issues of this type, but occasionally when databases are automatically merged into larger databases errors do happen.

Mocavo.com finds things that are already online (in addition to some databases that other sites do not have)--the value they are offering for subscribers with these already online materials is that the results are grouped together and their search engine may locate things that you've not stumbled online while doing other searches.

The incorrect marriage entry indicates my aunt was married in the state of Providence--something ironic in that.

Does a Death Certificate Provide Evidence of an Employer Relationship?

An article on CNN/Money references a lawsuit filed by the heirs of "Aunt Jemima."

The family of "Aunt Jemima," Anna S. Harrington, filed suit against Quaker Oats, etal. saying they have not been paid money that should have been theirs based upon the company's use of Harrington's image. The purpose of this blog post is not to discuss the merits of this case, whether the case has any valid base, or whether it should have been filed years ago.

This is the item from the article that struck my interest purely as a genealogist:

Harrington's family, according to the complaint, filed the suit after it was able to obtain a death certificate that listed Quaker Oats as Harrington's employer.

Having used a number of death certificates and having a good idea of how information is obtained for those records, I'm not certain I would say that a certificate provides solid evidence of an employer-employee relationship.

That's the point of this post. Would you use one item from a death certificate as solid proof in the way the article indicates?

(off topic responses to this thread will not be published).

FamilySearch: SD and OR Materials

The following databases are showing as new or updated on FamilySearch:

Oregon, Deschute County Records, 1871-1985

South Dakota, Grand Army of the Republic Membership Records, 1861-1941

Oregon, Douglas County Records, 1850-1983

26 August 2014

Habbens are Happening

Having unusual surnames sometimes makes research easier. Sometimes it doesn't.

Automated indexes have the potential to make research more difficult or easier--depending on the situation.

I usually don't get too many hits for the last name of Habben, even when I have the soundex option turned on at Ancestry.com  and other sites. So I was somewhat surprised when a soundex search for Habben in Illinois records turned up nearly 3,000 results.

Scanning the results made it clear why there were so many results.

The automated indexing system apparently grabbed the phrase "can't happen" and "can happen" and determined that they were names of individuals.

Habben and happen are soundex equivalent, so the result came up as a hit when my search was conducted.

I was not surprised to see the items, but it was still frustrating. I can still perform an exact search for the last name of Habben or include first names in my search.

But it looks like with this database my usual approach isn't going to work.

The yearbooks at Ancestry.com , like the newspapers at all digital image sites, are not indexed manually by humans reading the words.

I need to remember that or my search results will not be happening in the way I would like them to.

25 August 2014

Yearbooks Are Not Just for Students

Ancestry.com  recently announced an update of their yearbook collection. A quick search located a 1941 reference to my grandmother's sister, Margaret Habben, who was teaching home economics in Gridley, Illinois, in 1941.

I've found Aunt Margaret in yearbooks before, but I think this is the first time I've seen an entry with her picture. The yearbooks have been especially helpful as Aunt Margaret taught in several different schools after her graduation from Western Illinois University in Macomb and before her service in World War II.

When searching old yearbooks, don't forget to search for relatives who might have been teachers or staff as well. There are other people in yearbooks besides students.

FamilySearch Updates: IA, MO, MT, CA and DC Materials

The following are showing as new or updated on FamilySearch:

Montana, Sweet Grass County Records, 1887-2011

Missouri, State and Territorial Census Records, 1732-1933

Iowa, State Census, 1905

United States, GenealogyBank Obituaries, 1980-2014

California, County Birth and Death Records, 1849-1994

District of Columbia Deaths and Burials, 1840-1964

District of Columbia Deaths, 1874-1959

21 August 2014

Every Name in the World War I Era FBI Files--Not Quite

Fold3.com has had FBI investigative files from the World War I era on their site for some time. They contain information on a variety of investigations during this era, including draft violations and records of investigations into "un-American" activity.

The image included in this post is from an investigation in October of 1917 that centered on John Fecht of Varna, Illinois.

I received an email yesterday from Fold3.com notifying me of a "content update" to their site that referenced this database (titled "FBI Case Files" on Fold3.com the materials are named "Investigative Case Files of the Bureau of Investigation 1908-1922" by the National Archives are appear in their microfilm publication M1085).

There is no description of what type of index Fold3.com has to these records and I was hoping, since there was an update, that a full-name index had been created for these records.

That does not appear to be the case. The index is only to the "person of interest." In this case that is John Fecht. There are not (as of this writing) index entries for Anton Fecht and Anna Fecht who are also referenced in the investigation.

That's a shame.

There are witnesses and other individuals mentioned in these files who are not the actual people of interest and locating their records means searching for their associates and hoping to find something. While this is an excellent research strategy, a full name index would facilitate the location of records and the usage of these materials.

And it would help if the "about" section of this database indicated just what type of finding aid is currently available as Fold3.com has some databases of images that contain every name indexes.

Ancestry.com's Updated World War I Draft Cards-Better Images

Ancestry.com recently announced that there had been an "update" on their World War I draft card collection. The update did not indicate what the "update" really was. A colleague on Twitter was able to get a response from Ancestry.com that indicated the images had been improved. That appears to be the case, although I don't have any images that were saved from this collection from Ancestry.com. My images were made from microfilm copies I made years ago.

However, the images at Ancestry.com do appear to be slightly better than those at FamilySearch.

The first image (unmodified other than a copy/paste) in this post is from FamilySearch. 

The second image (unmodified other than a copy/paste) is the same card on Ancestry.com.

And a gentle reminder that your source citation should always indicate the source--hopefully that's clear from this post.

I just wish websites that announced "updates" made their announcements as clear as they sometimes do the images.

$5 Webinar Sale Back Until 25 August

Due to popular demand, we have brought back our $5 webinar sales now through 25 August. If you've not seen our list of topics, a complete list and ordering instructions are available here.

We have a variety of topics and our presentation is informal with a focus on increasing your skill level and knowledge.

Download is immediate and you can view the presentation as many times as you want.