Family History Research

Follow-up to Chicago Tribune posting WWI lists

With more creative search terms yesterday on ProQuest for the Historical Chicago Tribune, I not only found lists of men who were deemed physically fit to be inducted into the Army, but also lists by District (Local Draft Board) number of which men were being sent to Rockford, Ft. Sheridan, Texas, etc. and some of those lists included what unit the men were being assigned to.

My search terms included: District 26, Board 26, Rockford, Ft. Sheridan, Texas, Army, New Army, Men Accepted, etc. I also searched Districts 25 and 27 just in case one of my Kokoska’s was put on another list by accident. I was unable to find when Michael shipped out of Chicago, but according to the 32nd Division Unit Histories, they trained in Camp MacArthur, Waco, Texas. No search I came up with showed him on a list going south. I was also unable to find two of his brothers on a list.

I’m not finished searching yet. Maybe I’ll stumble upon a better search term this week and find everyone I’m looking for.

Leave a comment »

World War I Draftees Accepted Lists

Well this is very exciting! I am working on my Narrative Lineage for my BCG certification and was looking through my files for an article on Michael Kokoska where it lists his brothers in the service.  I cannot locate the file so I went to ProQuest, Historical Chicago Tribune, looking for the article I and came across articles about WWI Draftees being accepting into the new army!  I had no idea the Trib published lists of Draftees and Enlisted men after their examinations. I stumbled upon the first article quite by accident and I’m so excited to have found this!

If you know what Draft Board your Chicago ancestor registered with, you can look through the lists, which say District rather than Draft Board. Michael registered with the draft board 5 June 1917. He is listed in the paper 15 August 1917 as being accepted as physically fit for service. I searched from 6 June 1917 – 1 October 1917 for District 26 and then started reading each entry that popped up. I now plan to do the same for his brothers. I know three of them, from that article I cannot locate at the moment, were either drafted or enlisted and served/trained stateside. The brothers never saw action overseas, only Michael.

What an exciting find!

1 Comment »

Losing a Son – day 3

These are a few pages of Michael’s Burial File, including another letter from his parents to the Quartermaster.

1 Comment »

Using Maps to Visually Make Sense of Family History Research

Maps are a valuable tool in family history.  Maps can be used to search for the place from which you ancestor came and can also be used to illustrate a point you want to make in your research and writings. In my research, maps have helped me in in three specific ways which are explained below.

Visually presenting the migration of a family within a city or state after immigration.

I have used Google Maps to build a map of Chicago in 1900 with the street addresses of my families. I am able to pinpoint a location on the map and add text to a pop up box. Google Maps connects to Google Earth and allows me to see a present day shot of the street and home, if the home still exists.  If I want to publish a map I have created, I can link to it, print it, or send it via email. Google Maps allows me to save maps I have created and either make them public or private. In my research, this has been a very useful tool for me to see where my families lived and where they moved as the families grew.

Illustrating the relationships between families.

At the turn of the century, many of my families lived near one another. As the children of the immigrants began their own families, and down yet another generation, mapping out the addresses has shown me that my families were close-knit. A child grew up, married, and typically moved within a street or few blocks from the parent’s home. The grandchildren could “walk across the alley” to grandma’s house for bakery.  Even as my families began moving out towards the suburbs, this same living proximity emerged. It was definitely a different way to live than most families today. I think many would find if they mapped out their parents addresses and those of the children, there would be a much greater distance than “a walk across the alley” between families.

Illustrating military movements.

As I explained in my post about Family Atlas Software, maps can provide a great visual to accompany text in our family history writings. I am currently writing the life story of Michael Kokoska, my great, great uncle who died in World War I in France.  While I do not have a Statement of Service record to know exactly where he fought, by reading his 32nd Unit history and the World War I Order of Battle books, I am able to plot on a map, places in France where his unit served. The software also allows me to add text to the map which gave me the ability to add a timeline for his military service. This map makes a great addition to his story.

How have you utilized maps in your research?

Leave a comment »