Monday, April 30, 2012

A Piece of Dooley History

I am crazy about genealogy. I love exploring the past but sometimes it is important to stop and look at life today. My son, Jim, recently experienced two history-making events.

Chicago is home to two baseball teams: The Chicago Cubs and the Chicago White Sox. I am a Cubs Fan. I married a Cubs Fan and raised three Cubs Fans. However in the spirit of baseball, we have been known to appreciate White Sox games as well. Now for some baseball history. . .

On 14 September 2008, our son, Jim, attended a Chicago Cubs/Houston Astros game that was played at Miller Field in the City of Milwaukee. The Houston Astros were forced to play the series in Milwaukee due to  Hurricane Ike's untimely arrival in the City of Houston. The Astros faced a second hurricane that came in the form of Carlos Zambrano, Chicago Cubs pitcher. Carlos Zambrano pitched a no-hitter and Jim saw his first no-hitter.

Jim recently relocated to Washington State. Missing his Chicago roots, he decided to attend the Seattle Mariners/Chicago White Sox game on 21 April 2012 and was witness to perfect baseball game. This time White Sox pitcher, Philip Humber, made history by pitching a no-hitter and a perfect game. There have only been 21 perfect games in the history of baseball!

Jim also made a kind of history. He may be one of a very select few Chicago baseball fans that were witness to two no-hitter Chicago baseball games . . . one no-hitter Cubs game and one perfect White Sox game!

Chicago White Sox Philip Humber pitches a perfect game - 21 April 2012.

Friday, April 27, 2012

Under the Beach Umbrella

 Captiva Island’s beach umbrella yielded yet another genealogical surprise! My smart phone did make more than one appearance on the beach. Tucked safely away in my beach bag, I heard that familiar tone . . . I had a message. This message came from my cousin, Sharon, reporting that she had found a family photograph and was sharing her discovery.

My family tree research leans toward my maternal side due to the simple fact, I knew very little about my mother’s side of the family. I remember finding her paternal grandmother, Anna Mae Dollen nee Paul, and wondering would I ever know what she looked like.  I also wondered about Mom’s paternal great grandmother, Emma Dollen nee Strong. What did she look like?  As luck would have it, I was able to locate photographs of both ladies and now I know their appearance.

On 12 June 1849 Emma Dollen nee Strong came to the United States with her widowed mother, Elizabeth, and two sisters: Fanny and Sarah Caroline Strong. The family settled in the Finger Lake regions of New York. I often wondered if I would ever get to see what Fanny or Sarah Caroline looked like. I thought my chances were slim to none until I phone beeped. There was Sarah Caroline’s photograph attached to Cousin Sharon’s email.  

Right before my eyes where John Dalton (husband to Sarah Caroline), Caroline Dalton and son, Henry Dalton. It takes my breath away each time I find one more piece of the puzzle especially when the prize comes through the generosity of others.

I am always in awe of Sharon for her Grandmother and Aunt had such vision to preserve the familial treasures for future generations. Sharon gladly shares the treasures she is blessed with and I am a lucky recipient. Building a family tree is truly a collaborative effort.

With Gratitude to my Cousin Sharon Small Mitchell, Eva Small and Evalyn Small Mikes.


Tuesday, April 24, 2012

I Am Published!

Last week my husband and I spent a leisurely week in Captiva Island, Florida. I settled in under a beach umbrella, enjoyed the beautiful ocean and read for six days. As the week went by, my thoughts slowly turned in home and all my responsibilities. I pondered my blog and wondered what to write.

The idea for today’s post miraculously appeared in the form of an email. Internet service on Captiva Island is spotty at best. In fact, the best place for Internet service happened to be on the beach. It was there that I received good news. Yes, I had my cell phone on the beach. I was taking pictures, of course!

I am a member of the North Suburban Genealogy Group. The organization serves the northeast suburbs of Chicago. They are a nice group of people. I was asked to submit my 5 March 2012 post (My Only Early Chicagoan) and my 6 April 2012 post (Indexing of the 1940 Census) for the May/June newsletter. The newsletter came out and I was able to read my very first published article online on Captiva Island’s beautiful beach.

Saturday, April 14, 2012

A Computer Separation

My computer and I will be separated for a few days. What will I do without my computer? See you in a few days.


Friday, April 13, 2012

Life Happens In The Kitchen

I remember my Grandma Meyer’s kitchen. It was a big kitchen with white cabinets and a large kitchen table. My grandmother would bake blueberry buckle for us. During thunderstorms we would find our way to the kitchen and sit under her kitchen table.  If it wasn't storming, you might find us playing Bunco there.  Her kitchen was spacious and fit her large family nicely.

The kitchen has always been and most likely will always be the perfect place for people to congregate and so it was with Grandma’s kitchen. It was there, surrounded by my girl cousins, that I heard my grandmother tell of an important event that just occurred in our family.

Grandma’s first-born granddaughter, Kathy, had become our families’ first college graduate!  Grandma was filled with such pride and joy. I remember watching her face and listening to her words. It was the first time I heard the word . . . College. That day in the kitchen when I heard that word, my entire world opened up and I began to contemplate my future. If Kathy could go to college, so could I.

I am reminded of this moment after viewing my grandparent’s 1940 census records.
Last night I played with the 1940 census attempting to locate my grandparents, George and Olga Meyer. I did not expect any major revelations, as I know my family very well.

There is nothing like searching your hometown records. As I browsed page by page, those familiar street names transported me back home to my beginnings even though 1940 was before my time. I did look at the records for my childhood home, 1625 Lincoln Avenue. It was the Palmer's home in 1940.

Finally I located Grandma and Grandpa’s home and it were right where it supposed be on Spruce Street. Each census asks different questions. In 1940 census takers asked this question: What was the highest grade in school completed? I did just mention how I knew everything about my Meyer family, right? Well, I was wrong. And now for my surprise . . . Grandpa Meyer completed seven years of school and Grandma Meyer completed eight years of school. I was humbled.

Now I have a deeper understanding of my grandmother’s excitement when her first grandchild became a college graduate. Other grandchildren followed in Kathy’s footsteps: Mike, Alice, Dick, Jeff, Holly and myself. Robin entered into the family carpentry business. I wonder what her thoughts were as each grandchild earned a college degree. 

This is my grandparent’s home today. Though they reside in heaven, this home that was built by my grandfather will always be theirs; at least in my eyes.  I hope you have a chance to view the 1940 census records sometime.

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

It’s All In a Name

For the longest time, I believed that my Mr. and Mrs. Silas W. Cobb of Vermont had one daughter, Adeline, and three sons: Edwin, George Whitman and Silas Bowman. I have always been struck by the Cobb children’s names as the oldest two children are known by their first names only while the younger sons are known by their first and middle names. I am sure the older two children were given middle names, but the middle names were not found on records.

Examining the lives of the Cobb children shed light on the Silas W. Cobb and his family. When looking Adeline Cobb’s life, I discovered new family information. Her obituary was found in the 13 June 1885 issue of the Columbus Republican Newspaper of Columbus, Columbia County, Wisconsin. Adeline Cobb Stiles’ obituary provided evidence of another, unnamed sister. Brothers Edwin, George and Silas were mentioned by name. I sure wish their sister had been named!

“Mrs. Adeline Cobb Stiles, wife of Mr. Reuben Stiles, was born at Montpelier, Vermont, Feb. 21, 1802, and died at their home on section 29 of the town of Columbus, Columbia County, Wisconsin, May 30, 1885, aged 83 years, 3 months, and 9 days. She was the oldest daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Silas Cobb, whom providence blessed with five children, three boys and two girls, all of whom have lived to a good old age.  The oldest brother, Edwin, died a few weeks ago. George and Silas, and their sister, still survive, and are quite vigorous for their age.  The brothers with their wives, of Chicago, were at the funeral.  These brothers were among the first settlers on the site of that great city.  Adeline was married to her now bereaved husband, then a strong, healthy and industrious young man, and also captain of a home guard of that place, in the year 1822, at the age of 20, and immediately began housekeeping in a little cottage, which was characteristic of those days, and which was in the course of time made bright and cheerful by the addition of five happy children, one whom died in infancy; but the others still survive her, and were all present at her bedside at her death.

In the year 1846, father, mother, and their four children, with other friends, left the place of their nativity and came to this state, and settled on the homestead above named, where they have lived in peace and prosperity for thirty-nine years, and endeared themselves to all around them.  For the last three or four years old age has been clearly visible, and before her death she became quite helpless; but willing hands and loving hearts of husband, children, and friends, cared for her.  She was in every sense of the word a true type of womanhood, and we trust that their loss is her gain.   The following verse expresses the deep feelings in their hearts:

"Thou art gone, most precious mother
But we, thy children, love thee still;
And have in our hearts a mother
Thy beloved place can fill!

Every path thy foot that trodden
To us is hallowed ground
And we feel our spirits sadden
As each new momentos found

E'ne the Book of Books is dearer
And the place and hour of prayer
Heaven itself to us seems nearer
Now, dear mother, thou art there!

Oh, that we again may meet thee,
In that brighter world above;
May our joyful spirits greet thee
In that home of light and love."

The funeral service was held at the house Monday, June 1st, by Rev. Thos. James, of Fall River, his text being 2 Cor. 5: 8, a very large and appreciative audience being in attendance.  We deeply sympathize with the bereaved family, and especially with the bereaved husband who now must endure the breaking of that conjugal tie which has bound husband wife together in the closest affection for sixty-three years.  May the blessings of Heaven rest upon them all.
Thos. James. “

I find Adeline Cobb Stiles’ obituary very interesting. First, it gives her home section number in Columbus, Wisconsin. I have never seen that before. Adeline’s obituary also gives proof of another Cobb daughter/sister though she remains a mystery. I have learned if you wait long enough, small puzzle pieces appear. I will keep my eye peeled.

Adeline Cobb Stiles Obituary, Columbus Republican Newspaper, 13 Jun 1885.

Saturday, April 7, 2012

A New Discovery Rocks my Cobb Research

Ahh, census records tell us much about our ancestors’ family lives. My instructors from Boston University’s genealogy research class have repeated the idea that all records lie; which is why it is so important to look for evidence from a variety of sources. Silas W. Cobb’s recorded evidence is full of conflicting evidence. The question is what to believe.

Silas W. Cobb’s tombstone was an early piece of evidence in my Cobb Research. It reports his death as 13 April 1852. This date and his age were most likely given to the gravestone engraver by family members.  

The Bennington Museum was able to supply Silas W. Cobb’s death information that was recorded in Town Clerk’s Office in Springfield, Vermont. This left me wondering about the location of his death. Did he pass away in Vermont or Illinois?

The 15 May 1852 issue of the North Star Newspaper of Vermont confirmed his death date and location. The death notice reads,

“In Northfield, (Illinois), April 13, Mr. Silas W. Cobb, aged 75, formerly of
Montpelier, Vt.”

To add additional validation, I contacted the president of the Northfield Oakwood Cemetery Association. He kindly sent me information regarding the cemetery and the names of others buried in the same lot. According to the cemetery records the following share the lot with Silas W. Cobb: Mary Cobb, Mrs. Cobb, two children and an unknown Cobb.  This appears to be a family cemetery lot with a single gravestone belonging to Silas W. Cobb.

I have been secure with my interpretation of Silas W. Cobb’s death. I know from 1850 census records that Silas W. Cobb was living this his daughter Adeline in Columbia County, Wisconsin. Based on death information, I concluded that Silas W. most likely was visiting his son, Edwin, at the time of his passing. Edwin was the contact person for the cemetery lot.

I have lost confidence in my thought process. About two days ago, I discovered the 1855 census index for Wisconsin on Who should appear on that index? Yes, Silas W. Cobb was listed on the index and recorded as living in Columbia County where daughter Adeline resided.

One of these records must be lying to me.  Should I believe the wealth of death information that was most likely supplied by family members? Or should I believe the Wisconsin census for 1855? Either way, this new discovery makes me question the validity of my previous conclusions. 

Friday, April 6, 2012

Indexing of the 1940 Census

To expedite the 1940 U.S. Census Indexing Project, I became an indexing volunteer. After registering on Family Search, I watched a short indexing video, read the directions and downloaded my first batch. Today I indexed a page of 1940 census page for New Rochelle, New York. I am now waiting to submit my work. The servers are busy with eager genealogists working to complete each state’s records. Oh, come on servers, I need to submit my batch before I can download a new batch.

My work will be re-indexed by a second volunteer. If both indexers work matches the batch is accepted. Should each indexer record conflicting information, an arbitrator will review and make the final decision.

I am slow to jump into the indexing fever but never the less here I go.

Thursday, April 5, 2012

Puppy Love

My daughter is getting a puppy and I must admit that I have been smitten. Our home has been so quiet since the passing our sweet dog, Charlie, and I have been seriously considering getting a dog. In a round about way I found a poodle breeder in New York who has the most adorable puppies. What a temptation they are. Family gatherings with two little puppies would be double fun until I do the math. When considering the life span of a small dog in comparison to my age, I fear my puppy and I would enter old age together. I have been told to live for the moment and not to worry. I also have been told that I would be crazy to get a dog. What to do???? Here is a photograph of our Sweet Charlie napping on our armchair. Oh, how he loved to sleep on top of that chair! He brought us so much joy. I will keep you posted on my decision.

Back to the 1940 U.S. Census . . . It is a good thing that I did not wait for those Illinois census records to load onto my computer. If I had, I would still be waiting. I thought the entire census would be available on April 2nd. In reality the census is being rolled out state by state. Those looking for Illinois records will need to be very patient.

Monday, April 2, 2012

The 1940 U.S. Census Has Arrived!!!!

For those involved in the genealogy world, the long awaited day has arrived. The National Archives released the 1940 census for viewing. Naturally, the servers are overworked with anxious genealogists trying to get a peak at the newest census records. 

I was working on last night and as the clock turned to a new day Ancestry posted an announcement about the 1940 census being opened. What an opportunity! I thought I might be the first one to actually perform a search. That was not to be as the census went live at 8:00 a.m. not midnight.

As with anything new, there will be a learning curve in finding ancestors in this census for records have been organized by enumeration districts. Enumeration districts are divisions within a township or county. Census takers were assigned an enumeration district. Each E.D. has a number. If you know the enumeration district your ancestor resided in, it should be pretty easy to locate their census records. However, if their residence is unknown, the task will be much more difficult.

My grandfather, George William Meyer, lived in the enumeration district 16-2200.  I entered his name, state and enumeration district number into the appropriate places at The National Archives website thinking I would receive information on one E.D. Naturally, this district is divided into two sections. As I don’t know which section he lived in, finding his information would require searching on a map of the area. The National Archives browsers are swamped with eager genealogist research requests and I couldn’t pull the information in a timely way. Patience will be required.

Please meet my grandfather, George William Meyer. His sons and two of his future daughter-in-laws surround him in their family home. Alvin leans against the door frame. Paul kneels and is wearing the reindeer sweater. My father sits on the floor with my Auntie Betty's arm around his shoulder. Grandpa sits in his rocker happy to have his sons safely home from war. Bob and his future bride, Arlene, are in the right hand corner of the photo. This photo was most likely taken by George, the family's photographer.

Sunday, April 1, 2012

Where In The World Is Silas W. Cobb?

I am unable to locate Silas W. Cobb in 1840 U.S. Census. Being about 62 years of age, Silas W. could be living with one of his children? After checking records of his children: Adeline, Edwin, George W. and Silas Bowman, I know he was not with them. The only child he might be with is his youngest child whose name and location is unknown.

Another thought is that Silas W. Cobb may have been traveling and was not home when the census taker knocked on his door. His whereabouts continue to be a mystery.

Silas W. Cobb does appear in 1850 U.S. Census. He was living with his daughter Adeline Stiles nee Cobb. Reuben and Adeline Cobb farmed in Columbia, Wisconsin.
It is in that 1850 census where I learned Silas W. Cobb’s birthplace was Massachusetts.

So, where in the world do you think Silas W. Cobb was in 1840?