What I Learned at Gail Borden Library

I wrote about my visit to Gail Borden Library here. We weren’t in the library for very long, but then it didn’t take very long to find two invaluable items to add to my family history. The Elgin Newspaper and Vital Record’s Index pointed me toward an obituary for William John McBane. William was married to my…

Acacia Park Cemetery

The drive to Chicago was overcast and drizzly. That evening tornadoes touched down in towns to the north and west of us. Our thoughts and prayers remain with the people affected by these devastating acts of nature. Day Two dawned sunny and warm. We were relieved as we had hoped to visit several Chicago cemeteries…

Gail Borden Public Library

You may be surprised to learn how Elgin Illinois’ Gail Borden Public Library in got it’s name. I certainly was! According to Wikipedia, “In 1892, Samuel and Alfred Church, stepsons of [Mr. Gail] Borden and residents of Elgin, Illinois, purchased and donated the Scofield Mansion at 50 N. Spring Street to house a new library…

Why Not Real Estate?

Thanks to my wonderful cousin Sandy, I have a really neat picture of one of my collateral ancestors. And a new question. If real estate was the largest part of his business (an assumption based on it’s position on the window), why is insurance the only part of Otto V. Mueller’s business listed on line…

Behind the Camera

If there was a fire and I could save only one thing, it would be a box of pictures. These snippets of life are treasured moments of my ancestors and they mean the world to me. Many of the pictures in my collection are far from perfect. During my learning curve I often took blurry,…

Signatures of My Ancestors

One of my favorite genealogical finds is the signature of an ancestor. Imagine my excitement when I saw four at the same time! My 2nd great-grandfather’s probate record contained signatures of all three of his children and that of his daughter-in-law: Jacob Koebe Mueller (1844-1910) was the father of Otto Victor Mueller (1868-1912), Alfred Jacob Mueller…

William John McBane 1877-1938

Could William McBane point me toward Jacob’s birthplace in Switzerland? Talk with me about my family tree and there’s a chance you’ll hear me go on and on mention that I’m obsessed with interested in finding the birth place of my 2nd great-grandfather Jacob Koebe Mueller. Without this specific piece of information, I am at Brick Wall squared.…

Elise’s Divorce Lawyers

“And now on this (21st) twenty-first day of November 1874, comes the complainant by Jussen and Anderson, her solicitors…” The statement above was transcribed from my 2nd great-grandmother’s divorce papers. It made me wonder: Why would a 20-something German-speaking French woman from Ohio seek a divorce in Chicago? How did Elise Biedenharn (nee Schmitt) choose these particular lawyers? I started…