Monday, May 31, 2010

Memorial Day

Memorial Day needs to have a veteran featured - in uniform. The only family photo I have of a veteran is my uncle Edward Kennelly, b. 21 May 1934 - d. 29 Apr 1998. He is on the left in the photo.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Tombstone Tuesday

The tombstone of Elanor Gilshannon wife of James Bush Allen in St. Mary's cemetery, Clinton, Iowa. But where oh where is the headstone for G-G-Grandpa Allen. Alas, I have photos of him but no headstone. I have a headstone for her but no photos.

Friday, May 21, 2010

The Ups and Downs of My First Research Trips

The first family history trip I ever took was to my visit my second cousin once removed, who my brother had connected with online. Mistakenly he posted some misinformation which came from a hand scribbled note from a relative, and she corrected him. We chit-chatted back and forth, enjoying the discovery of a "new to us" relative and realized we had information to share with each other. Since she only lived 3 hours away, we made a date. My total preparation for this adventure was a pen, paper, camera, a few photos to share and information about "the old man with the long white beard" in our family photos. This information came from another online connection I made with a distant cousin in Canada. My brother, more prepared than I, brought a scanner and laptop computer with his genealogy files on it. He also brought his wife who was his personal secretary, go-fer, and all-round support person. I was incredibly excited ,and meeting our cousin was beyond my wildest expectations. This was my first experience with the intense high genealogy could create. We spent several hours sharing, laughing and comparing stories. We had stacks of information, photos, and even a video of our "new" cousin reciting the story told by her grandfather to her father of our relation to MacIan the Red Fox of Glencoe. We learned that family lore told how Sean McDonnell was stabbed by a British soldier and died of peritonitis as a result. And there in the corner of her living room was a child's rocker that she said belonged to my gr. grandmother. I remember visiting my gr. grandmother and have always felt a strong connection to her because of our mutual love of sewing. I am the only daughter of her only daughter's only daughter. It was all so emotional - in a very very wonderful way! We agreed that we needed to get together again, but as we were leaving she asked if we had talked with our mother's first cousin. Was she still living we asked? Of course! and with a quick computer search she found the phone number. I called her number, and as I was introducing myself, she started screaming with joy at hearing from us - literally. We felt the same way. Yes, she was home and yes, she would like us to stop by. We (really my brother because I had no idea how to do this) reprogrammed the GPS in the car and planned a new route home that would take us to the home of our mother's first cousin, Mary Farley. This was a name we heard often while growing up.

We arrived at her house as the sun was setting so we knew it would be a short visit. The GPS was an invaluable tool in our spur-of-the moment route change. I was very impressed and silently added it to my Christmas wish list. We hugged and hugged and smiled until our faces hurt. She brought out a family photo album, and she narrated as we paged through. It was a whirlwind trip through the family and 2338 W. Washington Blvd.. You see she and her mother, Anna Marie, moved back after her father died. She and my mother were only seven months apart in age, and my grandparents were living there also. It quickly became clear that we needed a longer visit. We had so many questions. Thus was born, our second family history trip.

As we headed home late that night, I searched around for the large envelope of photos and information that we had taken with us and then filled with new photos and information. I looked and looked, but the car was only so big. Where could it be . . . ? Yes, in my excitement I left it on the dining room table we sat at for hours all afternoon. So ends my first family history trip.

Is there a Research Trip in my Future?

I have recently been reading several blogs that discuss their upcoming research trips. They all sound so ORGANIZED. They have spreadsheets, folders of family group sheets, GPS coordinates of cemeteries, lists of historical societies, libraries, and courthouses with location and hours of operation all neatly bound together so nothing will get lost. I am astounded and impressed by this level of prepardedness . . . and very jealous. They find hundreds of records and are able to walk among tombstones in long hidden cemeteries. They come home with 4x the information they left with . . . and I am jealous. I love the search, the discovery, and thrill of genealogy. But organization is not my strong suit. I always intend to be organized, and I plan to organize my information at some time in the not too distant future, but then find myself drifting away to research instead. I tell myself that if I just keep all of my information in one spot, I will be able to find it even if it isn't quickly. At the right is my current genealogy file. Now, I must tell you that there are labeled folders in this "file" but not all of the information is in it's coordinated folder. But that is only because I have changed my thoughts on how best to separate and categorize my information . . . at least three times! The audio recorder that connects to my iPod was a Christmas gift and I want to be able to find it when I visit relatives. Photos and obituaries that I sent for remain in their original envelopes. Will I need this information?? My grandmother's photo album from her time in nursing school sits gingerly on the top. I have a fear of finding the perfect, safe place that I then won't be able to remember prevents me from relocating it. Note: Photos from this album are posted on Flickr and there is a link at the bottom of this page. Actually, this doesn't look too bad. My computer files are where it really starts to unravel and, thankfully, I can't post a picture of them to complete my humiliation. This summer while I am off work I intend to get organized - really I do.

Actually, I have already gone on several research trips. This was way before, I knew I was supposed to be organized and prepared for them or even before I knew they had a name. I have only been researching my family history for about two years and these trips were last summer a mere year after I began. In my next post, I will share the excitement of those first bumbling trips - yes there was more than one!

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Now, Meet the Rest of the Family. . . .

My original goal was to set the stage for the name of my blog by introducing you to my ancestors who lived at this address. You have met my great grandparents and now it is time to introduce their children. . . . Family photos are some of my greatest treasures, and I absolutely love these! Thank you to my relatives who shared them with me.

Here are the boys from the left: John,b. 1904, Owen, b. 1902, and finally my grandfather Edward Phillip Jr., b. 1899. My grandfather certainly never looked like his brothers.

Next the girsl from the left (I think): Mary,b.1910, Anna Marie,b. 1901, and Margaret known as Peg,b. 1906

I never really knew my grandfather's family very well. I remember meeting a few of them and I visited my great grandmother a few times, but now I want to find out as much as I can. I think my passion for genealogy is also my passion to find a family, my family. I want to know them. I always thought genealogy was just dates and names, but now I know it is really so much more. I want to find newspaper articles (I love these), see where they lived and worked, reconstuct relationship and find the lost or forgotten. I never realized how emotional this journey would be. That emotion is definitely part of the genealogy addiction!

Sunday, May 9, 2010

1418 Fulton St.

As I compare the photos above with the family photo in my first post, it appears as though, this could be the building. There were probably a row of rentals very much like this all along the street. Google Earth places 1418 either directly on or very near the right side of this building. In my family photo there is a double door behind them and the center section of this building has a double door. I can't tell whether the doors on the side do also. The brick around the door also seems similar. Presently, the value of the property is listed by Google at just a tad below a million with six bedrooms and 3.2 baths. It sounds like it was originally a triplex. I think I have found it! Now if someone would just cut down that tree in the front so I could get a good look.

I know now that writing this blog was a good idea. I definitely feel that I need to analyze the facts more before I post them, so, in this case, it forced me to spend more time evaluating the location and downloading photos. I am definitely more methodical when I compose a post. So often I come across information and just save it with the intention of fitting the pieces together later, but later never comes. I love the detective part of genealogy and I am not very good at the housekeeping. For this post I even took a tour around the block with the the help of Google Earth. It is truly an amazing time we live in. I am sure this blog will advance and organize (this will make my brother happy) my family history. When I started, I wasn't sure what I would post or if I would even like doing it. In general, I am a very private person.

Happy Mother's Day to my mother Gloria Kennelly. Rest in peace.

Saturday, May 8, 2010

Where is 2338 W. Washington Blvd.?

Now that I have introduced the family who lived at 2338 W. Washington Blvd., I would like to show you a photo of the house . . . or any house where they lived. Unfortunately, none of them seems to exist anymore, and I have not been able to find a photo - yet. Another huge issue is where are the addresses actually located. Chicago has changed the street names several times so I am not positive of the location. I know there are lists that tell which street names were changed, and then I used a city directory to find the location of the specific address. It quickly became very confusing! I have looked at Google maps and there is a Chicago school bus blocking the empty lot that WAS 2338 W. Washington Blvd. However,I assume that it was similar to the houses across the street, and so I "walked", through the technology of Google Earth down the block to St. Malachy's where my grandfather, Edward Phillip Kennelly, was listed as a graduate in the June 26, 1915 Chicago Daily Tribune.

But what about other homes? My first entry showed his family in front of a door with the numbers 1418 written in what appears to be chalk. This would indicate that it was an address that had been recently changed. They were listed as living at 1418 Fulton Street in the 1910 census and 1910 city directory. As I check Google Earth again,it zooms to a lone apartment building that looks possibly old enough but there are trees blocking a good front view so I can't compare it to the photo easily. If this is not the place then it was most probably identical. They rented and this definitely looks like a multi-family dwelling. I wish I knew how to download an image from Google Earth. I am almost as consumed with following and finding my ancestor's housing as I am about finding them. An image of 2338 W. Washington Blvd. exists only in my mind. House genealogy. . . . hmmmmm?

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

What Did Grandpa Kennelly Really Know?

The wedding certificate for Edward P. Kennelly and Mary Winifred McDonald makes me wonder how much he really knew about her when they married. I don't know how they met. Maybe they met at church?? She moved from her home in Clinton, Iowa to Chicago to work for Mrs. Potter Palmer as a seamstress. My passion for sewing must be in my genes! I do know that she was sensitive about her age. This is not to be confused with telling a lie. On her wedding certificate,11 Dec 1898, she lists her age as the same as his - 24 years old. By the 1900 census, she was two years older and born in 1871. In 1910 she is three years older and born in 1870. In 1920 she is two years older again. In 1930 she is listed as 80 and that would make her born in 1870. The only problem is that in the 1870 census her parents claim that she is four and her death certificate says she was born 30 Oct 1865. That would make her 33 when she married. She was a dear sweet person, and she outlived her much younger husband by 31 years!
Note: McDonald and McDonnell were used interchangeably at that time but the family finally settled on McDonnell the most used option. I wish I had know this fact when I first started my research.

Saturday, May 1, 2010

My first blog post

This is one of my favorite photos. It is my great grandfather, Edward P. Kennelly and his family. He was born in 1874 in Chicago, Illinois. He was one of seven children but by 1900 only two remained alive. He was a salesman at the Fulton St. Market and the father of three boys and three girls pictured in the photo. They are, from left to right Mary, Margaret (Peg), John, Owen, Anna Marie, and Edward Phillip, my grandfather. I love the family photos so much. I am eternally grateful to the family members who pulled their shoeboxes from the top shelves of closets and shared them with me.