Family History Research

Naturalization Records

Saturday I attended the DuPage County Genealogical Society Conference in St. Charles, IL. I heard John Philip Colletta talk about Naturalization Records and Advanced Problem Solving. It was fantastic.

One thing he mentioned was that those declaring their intentions to become citizens were not given a copy of their declaration. It was only in some cases where a person was maybe moving to a new area before final naturalization or wanted the record for a reason that a certified copy was provided.

After Colletta said this, I thought wow, really? This was strange because I have an original certified copy of my husband’s great grandfather’s Declaration of Intention. So now I’m making notes in my conference syllabus to investigate this. The great grandfather died before he was naturalized. Why he would want a copy of his Declaration? Was he planning on leaving Chicago? Did he need it for a specific reason?

Then I did a little research on the topic. I wonder if I mis-heard Colletta when he stated the people did not receive a copy. Maybe he meant before 1906? After 1906, those declaring were given a copy as the paperwork changed. It also raises the question, if the courts were not giving out copies of the Declaration, how could you just walk into another court and apply for final papers? Colletta made it clear several times you could declare and apply for final papers in any court and it did not have to be the same court. What was the process by which they verified you declared your intention?

I will have to look more into that. I did not find that answer in my brief research yesterday. If you have experience with this, please comment.

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Madness Monday – Preparing for another research trip

My Madness Monday for this week really isn’t a brick wall I can’t climb over, just the “I just came back from a research trip and am going on two more in the next week” feeling. LOL! Yesterday I went through everything from my trip to Springfield, sorted out death certificates I looked up for other people so I can get those off, went through my lists so I am ready the next time I can get down there, and started working on my list for Friday.

Friday I am going into the city to look at Cook County Probate and Naturalization records at the Daley Building, then over to the Harold Washington Library to do ??? That is my goal today, figure out what they have there that I need. I also plan to get a reciprocal library card so I an access their databases from home. Did you know if you live in the Chicago area there is a list of libraries that participate? Just check out a Chicago Public Library’s website.

After that I may just run around downtown a little enjoying the sites, the sounds, the energy of the city before heading home. I might even do a little cemetery  hopping on the way home if I leave the city early enough.

A week from today I am thinking about heading to the National Archives to look up any Naturalizations I cannot get at the County office and look into their World War I Textual references. I understand they have information on men who were drafted and I am trying to find information on two of Michael Kokoska’s brothers who served stateside during the War. That would be very useful information for my Narrative Lineage for my Certification.

And the last thing on my list is to come up with a schedule for myself to complete parts of the Certification, finish my book on Robert Brouk, fit in the ProGen Study Group that I hope to start September 1, and take on a few clients for my new Genealogy Business.  Yes, I am launching my new business, GENERATIONS. I will have a website soon, and hope to pick up a few clients before the year ends.

All of that probably qualifies this for a Madness Monday! But it is going to be great fun and I am sure to learn a lot!

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Cemetery and IRAD Research Trip

Yesterday I had the most wonderful day with my 9 year old son Drew. We got up early and hit the road to drive into the city. Our first stop was St. Adalbert’s Cemetery in Niles, IL. That stop was not my most productive cemetery stop ever, but my son learned how to use the Kiosk to look up the graves; use the map to locate a grave; and took some pictures of the grave we found. On our next trip we will get plot layouts to help us locate the few people we did not find.

Our second stop, before it became unbearable outside, was Bohemian National Cemetery. We did not spend much time there as I wanted to get across the street to Northeastern Illinois University to IRAD. We were able to get the location of my grandfather’s niche in the Chapel and Drew saw that. Then we visited the grave of my Uncle Richard Holik. He passed away in 2007 and I guess I have not been up there since then because I did not have a photo of his grave stone.  We then walked from Rich’s grave to the next section to see Michael Kokoska’s grave. Michael died in France in WWI. Drew knows most of his history and thought it was amazing to see his grave. He has seen it before but now he has more of an appreciation of why I visit the cemeteries and research our family’s history.

Our last stop was IRAD. I prepared for this trip so I could teach Drew how to use the microfilm to look things up and follow the record trail. The one thing I forgot to add to my spreadsheet was the Soundex Codes. Not that it was a big deal, but we had to wait a few minutes while the staff person looked up my codes. Next time I will make sure we don’t waste those few minutes. Drew and I looked up Naturalization records for a couple hours and had some success. Then we waded into Probate and Will waters. Not so much success there. The microfilm for the Probate was so fuzzy you could barely make out the numbers. We will have to visit the County Clerk to try their indexes, which will hopefully be better. I think we did find at least two family members who had Probate cases though. That was exciting!

Drew was so great all day, he learned so many new things, and actually WANTS to go on the next research trip! We really bonded yesterday which was nice because he has two younger brothers and sometimes it is difficult to get that one on one time with him.  While I didn’t come home with as much new information as I would have liked, the day was a success and I can’t wait to go with him again.

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Family of Frantisek and Anna Holik

Frantisek and Anna Holik lived in Senetin, Bohemia before 1900. Senetin is located east of Prague. Frantisek lived from 1845 to 1910. Anna lived from 1860 to 1934. Frank and Anna had 11 children, many of whom came to America.

For each of the children, I stumble across a new piece of information every few months. I am still searching for pieces of information here and there and my son has developed interesting theories for some of my missing pieces. It is good to return to this family once in a while and see what new things can be found and in the process, a mystery solved.

Bozena was born April 3, 1879. She died September 13, 1935 in Senetin, Bohemia.

Jan was born February 11, 1883. Jan immigrated in 1903 or 1904 according to the Declaration of Intent he filed to become a citizen and 1910 and 1920 census records. His Declaration contains a ship name, the Barbarossa, and date of immigration, but I cannot locate him on a ship log. I’m now going through page by page of every ship log the Barbarossa had in 1903 and 1904 in the hopes that his name was transcribed incorrectly and I will find him. Jan married Marie Ratay June 11, 1905 in Chicago. I have found a ship log entry for Marie that I am fairly certain is correct. Jan died April 8, 1930, before he was Naturalized. Jan and Marie are my great grandparents.

Katerina was born June 7, 1887. She immigrated and arrived in New York on March 18, 1903 on the Kronprinz Wilhelm. She married Jan Koluvek May 14, 1905. Interestingly, Jan was on the same ship as Katerina. They were listed one page apart on the ship log. Jan lived in Snet, Bohemia and Katerina in Senetin. These towns were 40 km apart. I am not sure if they met on the ship or in Chicago. There is no indication prior to living in Chicago that they knew each other. My nine year old son has a theory they met on the ship. I believe they met in Chicago. It is a nice debate for us and a way for him to look at the evidence available to create a theory and try to prove, disprove, or rule it a possibility.  We will never know exactly where and how Katerina and Jan met but it is a nice debate. Katerina died in Florida on December 15, 1980. Her husband Jan died in Florida in 1950.

Frantiska was born March 8, 1885. No other information is known on her.

Anna was born November 6, 1889 and died a few years later in 1896.

Frank was born November 25, 1890. He immigrated to the U.S. on March 16, 1910 on the Rijndam. Frank married Agnes Vadlejch on March 13, 1911 in Chicago. Frank died before 1963.

Marie was born January 31, 1894. She immigrated in 1909 on the Kaiser Wilhelm II. According to the 1910 Census, Marie was working at the Chicago Municipal Isolation Hospital (for smallpox) at 3400 S. Lawndale. This hospital was run by German nuns, the Poor Handmaids of Jesus Christ. Marie was only 17 or 18 years old when she worked as a nurse there. I think she might have married in 1911 but need to research this more. She was not working there in1920.

Josef was born April 2, 1896 and immigrated on November 3, 1921 on the Orbita. Josef married Anna, maiden name unknown on May 12, 1923, in Berwyn, Illinois. Josef died September 1979 in Elmhurst, Illinois.

Alois Josef was born March 10, 1899 and died soon after.

Gabriela was born January 29, 1900. No other information is known on her.

Anna was born September 13, 1902. She immigrated the year before Josef and arrived in the U.S. on August 30, 1920 on the Noordam. At this time I have no information about her after she arrived in Chicago.

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