Family History Research

Comparing photographs

I read an article on Amanda’s Athenæum called Mashups for History. If you read the post and click the links to view the photos I think you will be captivated. Looking at the current and old photos made me think about my collection of photographs.

I have a collection of photographs of my grandparents, Joseph and Libbie Holik and their sons. They took several vacations to Cleveland, OH (to visit family); Lake Geneva, WI; Starved Rock State Park in Illinois; downtown Chicago; and other locations.

The photographs of Lake Geneva, WI, and downtown Chicago interest me. I have been to Lake Geneva several times and find it interesting to compare what Lake Geneva looks like today versus what it looked like when they visited.

The Chicago photographs are cool because they are taken in front of the Field Museum of Natural History in the late 1930′s. If you have lived in Chicago long enough you know Lake Shore Drive used to go around the Field Museum. Now it veers off to the side of it as Field has become part of Museum Campus and the lake shore area has change drastically.

Take some time to look through your old photographs and compare them to the same places today. What things have changed? What things remained the same?

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How creepy is this?

I took a few grave photos last weekend and sent them to a relative in Wisconsin. She asked me if that was my son in the photo. Not thinking I had attached any photos of my son with the grave photos I asked her where. She said the picture below.  I lightened it up to get a better look at the face.

Do you see the man in the upper left corner? I have no idea who this is. There was no one in the cemetery section with us and my husband and twins were in the car watching and waiting for us. I do not even recognize this person.

Have you ever captured something in your photos you didn’t “see” when you took it?

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Madness Monday – The Lithuanian Side of the Family

In a few days I am taking a class at the Newberry Library and wanted to stick around afterward and do a little research. I started updating my research files and began focusing on my husband’s Lithuanian side of the family. I remembered why I don’t spend too much time on them. They are so difficult to trace! I have had more success with my Czech side and Brian’s Italian side.

This is what I am facing:

Alexander Urban b. 1874 d. 1917 married Vincenta Norushas (Norkus?). The family told me Norkus was her maiden name. Yet I found her obituary this weekend which stated Norushas was her maiden name. Does Norkus=Norushas? I understand how the Czechs change the spelling of the woman’s last name after marriage but I am completely unfamiliar with the way the Lithuanians do this.  I cannot locate a ship log for her. I cannot locate a marriage license for her marriage to Alexander or her second husband Vincent William Tatarelis.

Then there are the Kaminski/Kaminsky/Kaminskai and Yasulis branches of the family. Anton Kaminski m. Veronica Yasulis. I have a ship log for both, who arrived separately. I am certain Anton’s log is his because he lists his brother in -law Yurgis Yasulis at 4409 S. Wood Street, Chicago as his contact. I cannot find anything on Yurgis beyond that. I looked at Behind the Name to see if Yurgis became John or another Americanized name. I found Yurgis could be Jurgis. Still, I cannot find anything on Yurgis beyond the ship log and the family stayed in the home after arrival for many years.

Finding Declaration and Naturalization information for Anton has been difficult too. I have searched IRAD with no luck. I keep checking the Cook County Declaration Database for various spellings (this is an ongoing project for the county). And of course the various Census records show him being either seven, five, or four years older than Veronica which makes his year of birth anywhere from 1873 to 1882. His grave says 1873 so my searches typically start there with a +2 or +5 difference to search.

If you have done Lithuanian research, I would love to hear your tips and suggestions. Have you searched something I should avoid because it is a time waster? Did you find a fabulous source? Any suggestions are greatly appreciated.

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