Just Past the Curtains

My husband and I recently took a genealogical tour of the Chicago neighborhoods in which my ancestors had lived. The 1910 census showed that my Thompsons and Tolfs both resided on Newport Avenue. In person, the buildings seemed to be situated a bit differently. Rather than living down the street from her in-laws as I had…

Are We Polish? Part Two

Maria Bukmakofsky wasn’t an only child. Her sister Caroline also immigrated to the Chicago area. Shown here in the 1900 census with her husband and children, Caroline’s family is listed as German but with a very Polish-sounding surname – Domkowsky: It wasn’t easy to prove the connection between Caroline Domkowsky and Maria (nee Bukmakofsky) Mangels. Caroline’s son helped connect…

Mom in the 1940 Census

The census taker made a number of errors on this record. For example my mother is listed as the son of her parents rather than their daughter. And at just seven years old, she had already attended school for seven years: But the record still provided some interesting information. Particularly when compared to what I know…

Who is Aunt Tillie?

A newly found (and positively wonderful!) cousin recently shared a photograph taken in Chicago of our Schmitt ancestors: When we first saw the photo, there was some discussion about who Aunt Tillie might be. Years ago, my new cousin’s aunt had guessed Aunt Tillie might be the sister-in-law of one of the women in the picture. We poured…

Daddy in the 1940 Census

It’s hard to imagine my dad as a little kid. I’ve seen pictures. I’ve heard stories. But it’s the documents created during his lifetime that give me the most insight into what made Daddy the person he was. My dad was born during the Depression, the firstborn of four children. His father left when he…

Much Ado about Jennie Rose

You may not think the first wife of a 1st-cousin thrice-removed “deserves” a lot of research time. But there is a woman in my tree that’s been pulling at me of late, so today I’d like to give Jennie Rose (Beckley) Schmitt her 15 minutes of fame. Jennie’s husband Arthur J. Schmitt, the son of my 2nd great-grandmother’s…

Edna Cornelia Walton (1906-1993)

My grand aunt Edna Cornelia Walton (1906-1993) should appear in four publicly accessible census records. In family history research, one begins with the most recent information and works backward. The most recent census record available to us is 1940. Edna’s family is listed albeit a tad creatively: 34 year old Edna Hager’s marital status is…