We Miss Thee Everywhere

John Gillis’ obituary appeared on page 8 of the Chicago Daily News on March 5, 1892: “GILLIS-JOHN, beloved husband of Adelaide Lee Dunbar Gillis and father of Grace and Sedric Gillis, aged 52 years. Funeral Sunday, March 6, at 2 p.m., from his late residence, 2952 S. Canal-st, by carriages to Oakwoods. We miss thee…

The Train Engineer

Legend has it that Gale Cramer gave his life to save the lives of the passengers on his train. His sacrifice was memorialized in Chicago’s Oak Woods Cemetery: You can read a little of his story here. But why isn’t there a news story about this crash online?

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…

A Tale of Two Sisters

When the two sisters traveled from France to America with their mother and seven of their siblings in 1854, Elisabeth was seven and Christina was just five years old. Hailing from the Lorraine region of France, both girls spoke German. They both attended church and school in their new hometown of Cincinnati Ohio, and both girls were young…

Who Owns this Jewish Cemetery?

I shared the story of what I hope to be my first of many trips to Chicago’s Oak Woods Cemetery here. Way in the back of Oak Woods we saw this: If you look closely, you’ll see headstones hidden among what appears to be just a vacant field in the front of the cemetery: Even…

Touring Chicago’s Oak Woods Cemetery

Timing is everything. Rough draft plans for a mid-October road trip were on the table. Chicago, Door County Wisconsin, and Mackinac Island Michigan were the top contenders. I was Google-ing our options when I saw the “Civil War to Civil Rights” tour offered by the Chicago Architecture Foundation. At Oak Woods Cemetery. A place I’ve…