Family History Research

Wisdom Wednesday – ProGen Update

Last week this was me on vacation. This picture was taken in St. Thomas. My family took a cruise for spring break on Royal Caribbean’s Oasis of the Seas ship.We sailed from Ft. Lauderdale, FL, to Nassau where we snorkeled with the stingrays and played on the beach. Headed to St. Thomas where we spent a day on the beach. Then St. Maarten where my mother in-law and I took my twins to the beach while my father in-law, husband and son went deep sea fishing. They caught two barracuda and some massive sunburns. Grrrrr. But overall the trip was a success. My three boys had a blast and that was the point.

The ship is enormous! You can see it pictured here on the left. Our room was in the front of the ship and the food and fun was in the back so we did a lot of walking every day.The shows were fantastic, the food was ok, the staff we encountered were wonderful and the people we met at O’Hare waiting for our plane we saw many times on the ship. Funny how there can be over 6,000 people on a ship but when you meet a handful of them you seem them every day, somewhere. Even with 6,000 people on board it never felt crowded, except a couple of lunches in the Windjammer buffet. Other than that, people had so many places to explore that the ship felt almost “empty.”

Now that I’m back in the land of reality, it is time to focus on April’s ProGen assignment. This month we are talking about Transcripts and Abstracts. The reading assignment is long so I’ll need to start on that this week. Then I have to transcribe a deed or will then abstract that same item. I believe I have a hand written will in my research files to use so that will be good. I did get some additional transcription practice this weekend as I reviewed and rewrote a letter from a Civil War Pension File I received, but more on that in another post.

It will be interesting to read everyone’s transcriptions this month, more so if they are wills. I like to see what people owned and willed to their heirs. It gives me a better sense of the life they lived, at least at the end in some cases. This will be a fun assignment I think.

Thursday evening we have our monthly chat and will discuss the time management assignment from March. Most everyone submitted their assignments while I was gone so I have to catch up before Thursday on reviewing and commenting. Reviewing each other’s work is a major part of ProGen. I learn so much every month looking at someone else’s assignments.

Well back to reality!

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A 1930 Funeral Bill

I received some Probate records this week for two men in my family. One set was from 1924 and the other 1930. Both are very interesting reading. I have no funeral bills from 2010 to compare to this, but I thought I would share how much each item cost. This was an itemized list in the Probate file.

H. Marik and Sons, Funeral Directors and Embalmers

2544 So. Crawford Avenue Telephone Lawndale 3972  Auto Livery

11 April  1930

  • Casket  $175
  • Suit $28
  • Embalming and Candles $30
  • Underwear and hose $1.60
  • Hearse to Bohemian National Cemetery $21
  • 5 Limosines $90
  • 1 Flower Car $18
  • Removal from Cook County Hospital $10
  • Death Notice Hlasatel $10
  • Load of Palms $10
  • Opening Grave Elevate Grave Box $23.50
  • Certified Copy $2
  • Speaker Weidner $10
  • Card of Thanks Hlasatel $6

Total Funeral Bill: $435.10

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A visit to IRAD at NIU

I visited the IRAD at NIU (Northern IL University) in DeKalb yesterday. My experience there was slightly different than my experience at IRAD at NEIU last month. At NIU, IRAD has a policy that you are only allowed to use one roll of microfilm at a time. When you are finished with that one, they will give you another roll. They also only have one microfilm machine in the reading room. The intern I worked with was very helpful and answered all my questions.

I much prefer to be given several rolls of film at a time so when I’m finished with one, I can go directly to another roll without wasting the time of getting up and down and waiting to be given the next roll, or as one case yesterday, waiting while the intern went to the basement to get a Probate book for me to look at. I waited at least 15 minutes for her to return and in that time I could have finished looking up the other records I wanted.

That was my experience yesterday.

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Illinois Regional Archives Depository – a wonderful resource

I am preparing to visit the Illinois Regional Archives Depository (IRAD) at Northern IL University on Monday to research for a client. When I visited the IRAD at Northeastern IL University a few weeks ago, my son and I were the only ones there. In the past I have always sent letters requesting record searches as I did not have time to run up for one record, but after experiencing the archives, it is a place I plan to utilize as much as possible.

In Illinois there are several IRAD branches that cover certain counties in the state.  You can view the IRAD Region Map and click on one of the branches (NEIU, NIU, WIU, ISU, UIS, EIU, SIU, to see which county records are held. The map is color coded by region.

To find out what records each repository holds you can click the blue bar on the left that says IRAD Local Government Records Database and click search. You can either search by county or repository or type of record.  The website says, This database provides a listing of the local governmental records held by the Illinois Regional Archives Depository (IRAD) system. Local governmental records include those from county, city, town, village, and township levels throughout Illinois. Numerous offices are represented from these levels. The record holdings of the IRAD system include over 5,400 different record series.

For each record series the following information is included: depository, accession number, title, county, beginning date and ending date.”

Many of the branches hold early birth, marriage and death records; naturalization records; probate and will records; in addition to local governmental records like court; license and permit registrations.

If you cannot visit an IRAD branch in person, you can write to them requesting up to two names to be researched at a time. They do charge a copy fee, minimum $1, even if they only copy one page. They will bill you when they send your copy(ies). They will also send sheets listing additional resources in the county(ies) you are researching.

IRAD is a wonderful system in the State of Illinois. Check it out if you have Illinois ancestors.

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