With just one week until Election Day, I wondered about William Dooley. Could our immigrant ancestor have been a registered voter? Were his sons registered voters? Ancestry.com provided the answers to my questions.
The 1870 U.S. Census reports that William Dooley was a male CITIZEN of 21 years of age and upwards. William could vote!
1888 Voter Registration For William and Stephen Dooley
The City of Chicago’s 1888 Voter Registration Record showed William Dooley and his son Stephen Dooley as registered voters. The record provides valuable proof of the date and location of William Dooley’s naturalization. It shows William filed his naturalization papers in The Recorders Court of Cook County during March 1856!
1892 Voter Registration for William Dooley
The 1890 and 1892 City of Chicago Voter Registration confirms the Date of Papers as 1856 and the Court as The Circuit Court of Cook County.
This is all very good news. I am just a train ride away from The Cook County Circuit Court Archives and William Dooley’s naturalizations records, right? Not so fast for catastrophe struck Chicago.
The Great Chicago Fire of October 8-10, 1871, destroyed much of the city. Wooden buildings, wood plank sidewalks and tree-lined streets fueled the flames that devastated Chicago. Along with the loss of life and devastation of property, records valuable to today’s genealogist were destroyed. William Dooley’s 1856 naturalization record located in Chicago’s Circuit Court was burned.
Fortunately, in 1980 an amateur genealogist stumbled upon twenty voter registration ledgers in a county building. The1888, 1890 and 1892 ledgers are available through Ancestry.com and The Illinois State Archives.
“Chicago, Illinois, Voter Registration, 1888,” Cook County, Illinois, voter registration, William and Stephen Dooley; digital image 114 of 604, Ancestry.com (http://www.ancestry.com : accessed 30 October 2012); citing Illinois State Archives microfilm.
“Chicago, Illinois, Voter Registration, 1892,” Cook County, Illinois, voter registration, William Dooley; digital image 213 of 397, Ancestry.com (http://www.ancestry.com : accessed 30 October 2012); citing Illinois State Archives microfilm.