Family History Research

Those “Missing” Children in our families

We have all dealt with this issue of “missing children” in the families we trace. “Missing children” could be described in several scenarios. One scenario I have seen is seeing a 1900 Census record that shows my Majdalena Kokoska being the mother of 10 children, with nine living. Another scenario is hearing a family story that X family had five kids named A, B, C, and ?? and ??. The person telling the story knew there were five kids but had no idea the names of two of them. I have a burial plot sheet that lists a few children buried with my family that are not known to me. And the last names do not match any I have in my database. Were the names misspelled? Are the records incorrect and they are not actually buried in this plot? Are they friends of the family? What scenarios have you run into? I will give you an example of one of mine.

One of my direct lines is Kokoska. Joseph and Majdalena came to the United States in 1880. Majdalena was pregnant with my great grandfather, Joseph, when they arrived. A few weeks later they married in Chicago. I discovered in the 1900 Census that Majdalena was the mother of 10 children with nine living. I had no idea who this missing child was. The family did not buy their burial plot at Bohemian National Cemetery in Chicago until 1919 after one of their sons died in France in WWI. When that son died Joseph and Majdalena were hoping to have his remains sent home. For 14 years I had no idea who this child was or how to find it.

Thanks to FamilySearch and the Chicago Birth Certificates listed online, I did a search for Kokoska with Joseph and Majdalena as parents this past fall. Up popped Emilie Kokoska with corroborating information for the parents. My missing child!

Emilie was born in June of 1894. She died before 1900. I have no idea when. I have no idea where she is buried. No idea what happened to her. Maybe she has a death record somewhere and I have not located it yet. I would hope since the family had a birth record filled out and submitted, they would have done the same for her death. For now I continue to search for Emilie’s death certificate and burial place. This may be a mystery I never solve, but that doesn’t mean I will stop searching for an answer!

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Madness Monday – Naval Armed Guard Enemy Encounters

The more I research my family history, and history in general, the more questions I have. One question I am not sure I will ever have answered is what kind of enemy encounters did my grandfather have during his service as a Naval Armed Guardsman in WWII? The War deeply affected him and he was not the same after he returned home. I would love to know the truth of his service, but know that is not likely.

The family story is, depending on who is telling it, that my grandfather’s ship (which one we don’t know) was hit by a German Sub which caused a lot of destruction and death. The other story is his ship was hit in one of the gun nests by a Kamikaze pilot. The only theory I have at this point as that another ship in one of the convoys suffered damage by the enemy and he was a witness to that damage.

I have the Smooth Logs, Captain’s Logs, and Armed Guard reports, all of which say basically the same thing, NO ENEMY ENCOUNTER. I have convoy numbers but have read that there is not a log or report by convoy that describes voyages.

Do any other records exist that might answer my question?