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…

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…

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…

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…

A Second Look at May

Happy first day of June! I hope you’ve already noticed that May was BIG Improvement Month here at where2look4ancestors. 95 new obituary transcriptions was just the beginning. I also added 100+ new resources to the Places-United States page and 45 to the Things page. Then I sprinkled a few new resources on the Places-Worldwide page for good measure.…

Read a French Birth Record

Reading vital records written in a foreign language can be challenging. But we genealogists quickly become proficient at locating family names even among words that are otherwise illegible. I’ll come back to this record later to really transcribe and translate it. But I wanted to share it with you today, since Pierre Ferdinand Schmitt was…

A Second Look at November

Feeling overwhelmed by the number of tasks on your genealogy to-do list? Oh my gosh, me too! Last month I decided to let my ancestors guide me through what should be done next to tell their stories. I started by printing a monthly calendar from Family Tree Maker. Each day lists an event in the life of one…

Reasons to Research

How many names are in your tree? How far back have you gone? If you’ve ever told anybody that you are climbing your family tree, chances are you’ve heard these questions more than once. The answer I’d like to give? Ugh. Why? Because I’m not a collector of names and dates; I collect stories. Some…