Family History Research

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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