Posted by: Laura Aanenson | May 26, 2015

Carl and Anna Plum at Oak Woods Cemetery

While I was drafting this post, I clicked on Anna’s Find A Grave memorial to re-read her obituary.

What a lovely surprise it was to see a volunteer photographer had added a headstone photo for Anna and her husband Carl!

2015 05-26 Plum headstone

Many thanks to Andy Gappa, a Find A Graver extraordinaire!

Posted by: Laura Aanenson | May 25, 2015

Remembering on this Memorial Day

Aanenson Brothers

Brothers Alex, Arnie, Edwin, Selmer, Teddy, Aanen and Erling Aanenson


Posted by: Laura Aanenson | May 24, 2015

Chicago’s Daylight and People’s Liberal Churches

My second great-grandparents Elise [Schmitt] and Jacob Mueller were married by a Justice of the Peace in Chicago in November of 1874. Elise grew up in the Catholic faith, but she may have left the church.

I haven’t had any luck connecting Jacob or Elise with a church, so I’ve starting looking into the churches attended by those around them.

It’s possible Elise and her brother or sister [who both lived nearby with their spouses] attended the same church.

According to Elise’s brother John Schmitt’s obituary, he attended Daylight Church.

Chicago Its History and Builders by Josiah Seymour Currey pg 80 Google BooksAccording  to Elise’s sister Anna Plum’s obituary, she attended the People’s Liberal Church.

The Inland Printer, Volume 66 from Google Books

These don’t appear to be your run of the mill religious organizations and I’m having a difficult time finding extant records from either church.

Any suggestions?

Posted by: Laura Aanenson | May 23, 2015

Ancestral Autographs

I shared here how much I enjoy seeing the signatures of my ancestors.

A scrolled S, a curvy C, a typical T – any and all of these delight me and give me insight into the personality of my ancestors.

The signatures of the ancestors or collateral relatives who are close to my heart are especially exciting to see.

So when I saw this

2015 05-23 Mueller, Otto V sig

on the back of this

2015 05-23  Mueller, Otto V

my heart stopped for a moment.

Posted by: Laura Aanenson | May 20, 2015

Clarke Reminders

Franklin Whitfield Blake died on this day in 1955.

Frank and I don’t share any DNA, but he does reside in a branch of my family tree.

Seeing him on my Family Tree Maker calendar was a reminder to take another look at that somewhat neglected branch.

Zora Susan Clarke Blake 1898-1965 01

Zora Susan [Clarke] Blake 1898-1965

Franklin Whitfield Blake married Zora Susan Clarke 05 Apr 1917. Zora was born to Elmer Eugene Clarke and Susan E. Berg in Chicago 24 Jun 1898.

Her unusual given name can be linked to her father’s older sister Zora E. Clark/e born 19 Aug 1857 in Washington County, Maryland. Her middle name, Susan, honored both her mother and her late maternal grandmother.

The older Zora, Elmer and four of their siblings grew up near Antietam as the Civil War raged around them.

Their mother Susan Hammer Clark [nee Shank] died before 1880 and her children were distributed among family and friends in the area.

My 2nd great-grandfather William Penrod Clarke was 22 when his mother died. He was working as a laborer in another Maryland County.

Not long after his mother’s death William moved to Springfield, Clark, Ohio where he married and had a daughter. Brother Norman joined him there.

Later William moved to Chicago. Elmer did too.

Elmer Clarke got married in the Windy City. He raised his family in Chicago, making it possible for Franklin Blake to meet Elmer’s daughter Zora.

And secure his place in my family tree.

Posted by: Laura Aanenson | May 19, 2015

Honoring Jacob Mahlon Dixon

Jacob is buried in section 28 of Rosehill Cemetery in Chicago. I was touched by the sentiment engraved on his headstone:

2015 05-19 Rosehill Section 28

Posted by: Laura Aanenson | May 18, 2015

The Cleveland Necrology File

According to my Family Tree Maker calendar, Abigail (nee Walton) Cowin died on this day in 1876.

But I was a little vague about how I “know” this.

Abigail is my 2nd great-grandfather’s big sister. She married Edwin Cowin 22 Nov 1862 on the Isle of Man.

Every time I see her name I wonder how Abigail and Edwin and my 2nd great-grandparents James and Isabella (nee Joughin) Walton decided to leave Isle of Man and sail across the ocean to America. How did the idea come up for discussion in the first place? How long did it take for them to decide to leave their old lives and start new ones in the U.S.?

The two couples and my great-grandfather (who was a seven-month old baby at the time) made the long journey in September of 1871. They settled near one another in Cleveland, Cuyahoga, Ohio.

Less than five years later Abigail died.

To prove this, I clicked on my Places page and scrolled down to Ohio where I chose The Cleveland Necrology File. The first screen looks like this:2015 05-18 Cowin

Next I chose a name search and entered Cowin, but got 47 results – including deaths from the 1960s. So I switched to a keyword search and entered Cowin Abigail. This time there was just one result.2015 05-18 Cowin vs Cowin and Abigail

It was my Abigail:

2015 05-18 Cowin, Abigail


Posted by: Laura Aanenson | May 17, 2015

1892 Obituaries: April 21

From column one of page 8 of the April 21, 1892 issue of the Chicago Daily News:

Chicago Daily News April 21, 1892 pg 8

Chicago Daily News
April 21, 1892 pg 8

Marriages – John A. Gunn/Carrie Fuarey


Edmund K. W. Blake

Anna Gertrude Cartan

John J. Dougherty

Grace Elizabeth Drake

John Eizinger

William Gallagher

Jennie Gunn

Johnnie Griffen

Christian C. Garber

Joseph Hickey

Margaret Hannan

Samuel O. Hooker

Clemens Hirsh

Jessie M. Joadwine

Eleanor Sarah Jackson

Edwin L. LeGros

Sister Mary James McGrath

Alice McKinney

Susie Therese Oehme

James Edward Redmond





From column two of page 8 of the April 21, 1892 issue of the Chicago Daily News:

CDN 1892 04-21 pg 8 image 2 snip Curtis K. Robinson

Catherine Schlotfeldt

Posted by: Laura Aanenson | May 16, 2015

Schmitt Siblings

I know I shouldn’t have favorites.

2015 05-16 siblingsaturday

L-R: Pauline (Schmitt) Breyer 1850-1933, John Schmitt 1841-1925, Mathilda (Schmitt) Droll 1858-1917, Clara (Speck) Schmitt 1845-1917 and Anna (Schmitt) Plum 1844-1924.

But I do.

One of my favorite ancestors is Jean Nicolas Schmitt, born on this day in 1841 in Hellimer, Moselle, Lorraine, France.

1898553 1841-02

Birth Record of Jean Nicolas Schmitt No. 4 left-hand page

He was the third of what would ultimately be 13 children born to Nicolas Schmitt and his wife Marie Anne Gury.

In 1854 Jean’s family immigrated to Cincinnati Ohio. Shortly thereafter Jean was Americanized to John. About 1876 John Schmitt married Clara Speck, an immigrant who, like John, had come to the United States as a child.

The couple lost one child in infancy and had one son who lived to adulthood. That Ohio-born son was Carl Jules Schmitt who joined his parents when they moved to Chicago before the 1900 census was taken.

Carl lived with his widowed father when he filled out his World War I draft registration:

1918 09-18 WWI Draft Reg Schmitt, Carl Jules

Carl’s occupation is listed as an illustrator for the Barnes-Crosby Company. Here’s a 1913 ad run by his employer:

1913 Ad Barnes Crosby Company Advertising Art Design - Schmitt, Carl Jules

The address on Carl’s WWI draft registration is the same as the one on the 1910 census. For many years John, Clara and Carl lived within walking distance of John’s sisters Anna Plum and Elise Mueller – my 2nd great-grandmother.

John died in the Chicago Home for the Incurables on December 16, 1925. The information on his death certificate led me to the town in which John and countless members of his family was born.

Since French vital records are kept at the town level, the name of the town is the key to unlocking hundreds of years’ worth of records.

DC John Nicholas Schmitt

John provided that key.

And that makes him one of my favorite ancestors.

Posted by: Laura Aanenson | May 13, 2015

What I Learned at Acacia Park Cemetery

The goal of our visit to Acacia Park was to locate a headstone for William John McBane, the husband of my 2nd great-aunt Alma E. Mueller.

We weren’t disappointed. William was buried alongside other members of his family.

2015 05-13 Acacia Park 02

It was nice to see the reference to Alma. But I wondered about the meaning of the three rings etched into the stone.

I didn’t have to wonder long.

On page 22 of the May/June issue of Family Tree Magazine, Maureen Taylor pointed out genealogical clues that may appear on jewelry. In part she said, “three interconnected rings, for example, is the symbol for the International Order of Odd Fellows”.

You may recall from William’s obituary that the Century lodge intended to conduct the I.O.O.F lodge ritual.

I get the impression William was an active member!

Older Posts »


%d bloggers like this: