Family History Research

Follow Friday – Banned Books and Your Legacy

This week I came across a great blog post and great website.

The blog post comes from Olive Tree Genealogy Blog called The Legacy of our Genealogy. The post discusses things to consider when creating your Will, and other death documents for family. What will you do with your family history? To whom will it be passed? How will it be passed on?

The other Follow Friday I would like to mention is Banned Books Week, September 25 – October 2. The website has a lot of information, including an event happening in Bughouse Square across from the Newberry Library. The page also has a list of challenged or banned books for 2010. Check it out.

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Book review – Selected Directory of Italians in Chicago

Yesterday at the Newberry library I had the opportunity to look through a book called Selected Directory of Italians in Chicago by Lisa Cipriani. This book is a categorized listing of business owners and addresses from 1928-1929.

The entries I pulled out are as below. They are the surnames of people in my husband’s family. Now I need to determine which people are actually related. I know several of them owned stores, but who exactly? I also copied the Undertaker’s entry because he is listed on several of my Italian death certificates and most of the entries were smudged enough it is difficult to make out anything but the Polk Street.

Page 9  Commerce

LaMantia Brothers, Arrigo Co., 6 So. Water Market, LaMantia, Co. The, 76 So. Water Market, LaMantia, F., 54 So. Water Market, LaMantia, J., 54 So. Water Market

Page 16 Fruits, Wholesale

LaMantia, T., 267 W. 24th Street

Page 18  Grocers (Retail)

Coco, Antonio, 2416 Wentwort

Page 25  Meat Markets

Coco, J., 2262 Wentworth

Page 40  Undertakers

Reda Frank, 1003 Polk

If you have Italian families in Chicago who owned a business around 1928-29, this book is a great resource.

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Tools for Digging Deeper – School Records

This morning I took another class at the Newberry Library. Grace DuMelle spoke on School Record sources. I picked up a few new tips such as if you are in the Chicago area and had Chicago Public School ancestor graduates, that CPS has lists online. You can go to CPS and register for a free account to access the records. Grace also suggested searching in ProQuest for the Chicago Tribune Historical files. She said the newspapers often printed graduation lists.

In addition, there are many online databases available through Chicago Public Library websites. These are accessible at the libraries and at home, if you have a CPL card. Grace told us if we do not have a CPL card and live in another library system, we can ask about a reciprocal card which then gives us access from home. This is something I will look into next time I am at the Harold Washington Library downtown. The CPL system offers a few databases my suburban library system does not.

After my class I went upstairs to research. I had my first taste of the Sanborn Fire Maps. It was very exciting to learn how to access these from the library and navigate through them. I discovered one of the addresses my Italian families gave, 372 S. Clark, Chicago, was in fact a store. I have a map key to figure out what all the symbols mean on the map I was able to print.  Now I need to find out who owned the store, what kind of store it was, and if it belonged to my family or if it was a contact point for immigrants.

All in all a fantastic day in the city not only for me, but my husband and boys. They were able to check out the Transformers 3 filming on Michigan Avenue. I think the highlight of that was seeing Bumblebee, at least for my four year old twins.

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