Tuesday, January 22, 2013

The Pan . . . Christmas 2012

Well, I can't let a Christmas go by without showing "The Pan" in its most recent finery.  My brother has always been an extremely talented woodworker, but this past year, he purchsed a new CNC router.  Somehow, I knew that "the pan" would be decorated in  splendid wood, and I was right.  He used our family tree and created a billboard of our grandparents back through 20 generations.  And no, before you ask - we don't have documentation for all of them.  There are many in the latest generations that have been attached to our tree by another family member, but as of now, we consider them family.

I am glad I have a year to plot plan what I will transform it in to next, because right now my mind is blank!  It still has the wood office/desk divider glued to the inside.  I think that might be a problem to remove . . . .hmmmmmm.

If you are new to my blog, you can read about the origin of "The Pan" and its reincarnation in subsequent years: 2009, 2010, 2011

Saturday, January 12, 2013

Thank You for the Nomination

A very humble thank you to Heather Kuhn Roelker at Leaves for Trees and  Iowa Girl at Iowa girl Memories.  Both kindly nominated   me for the Liebster award.   For me this was nice because I have let my blog reading grind to a halt, and I haven't added any new blogs to my RSS feed in ages.  Both of their blogs were new to me, and I have enjoyed reading them immensely.  Like me, Iowa girl is a knitter and through her other Liebster awards, I was introduced to some wonderful blogs including a gansey knitter from Edinburgh, Scotland.  While reading Heather's blog, I discovered that she is a new quilter and I have quilted for years . . . following in the footsteps of my seamstress extraordinaire great grandmother whose quilt is part of my banner at the top of my blog.  I was even a vendor at quilt shows for over ten year, and have often found my quilting passion overlapping my family history passion.  Examples are here and here.

What is the Liebster Award?  I could try to be creative, but Heather said it best so I will just quote her.
"Liebster is a German word that means friend, dearest, adored, beloved, chosen one. The Liebster Award is given to bloggers who have less than 200 followers. The whole point is to encourage bloggers to keep chugging along and to help spread the word about interesting blogs to a new audience.

The rules for the award vary. Some bloggers ask for a list of questions or random facts to be answered and some just post their nominees."
  • Thank the one who nominated you by linking back.
  • List 11 random facts about yourself/your blog.
  • Nominate five blogs with less than 200 followers.
  • Let the nominees know by leaving a comment at their sites.
  • Add the award image to your site (optional).

As I have stated, my blog reading has stagnated so rather than nominate blogs and require them to link back I will just recommend a few of my favorites and hope you will check them out . . .  no obligation on their part.

Shakin' the Family Tree - A quote from her blog opening  gives you a flavor for the no nonsense atitude of Dee Burris.
as Julia Sugarbaker said in Designing Women:

"...we're proud of our crazy people. We don't hide them up in the attic. We bring 'em right down to the living room and show 'em off. ...no one in the South ever asks if you have crazy people in your family. They just ask what side they're on." Like Julia, mine are on both sides.

A Sense of Family - If you have Ohio ancestors, then Shelley Bishop's blog is a must read.  It is a treasure trove of research information.

Finding Eliza -  Always a fascinating read but her current post about awards is spot on my feelings.  While you are there, take time to search for and read her post/poem, "I Come From . . ." - or the title is something close to that.

Family Archaeologist - While there are no recent posts, take time to go back and read the story of how Linda Gartz grandparents immigrated to the United States.  It is a compelling story.

'On a Flesh and Bone Foundation': An Irish History -  If you have Irish ancestors, then you will enjoy the photos and stories from Jennifer.

When life allows it, I spend a few hours minutes reading family history blogs.  We have a creative, knowledgeable, sharing community. It doesn't matter if they have 10 followers or 10,000.  And while comments on our blog posts are encouraging, and greatly appreciated, most of us blog for self fulfillment above all else.

Thank you for reading my blog.  Thank you for commenting on my blog.  Thank you for being a family historian and saving the story of your family for future generations.

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Hellooooo . . .Marcia Fennell

About six to eight weeks ago I noticed that one of my posts was being viewed a disproportionate number of times.  It was my post, At the End of the Trail in which I concluded the story of my search for Margel B. Wells, my grandmother's best friend in high school.  Since her name has now come down to me, I was interested in finding out who she was and a bit about her life.  I remember asking my grandmother about when I was still a teenager.  I found out more than I ever thought possible.  It was a personal quest and few . . . very few . . . readers paid any attention to this post.  No matter.

 Then this past Fall, six months after I posted, it became my most read post, and this activity continued week after week.  I was baffled.  I searched to see if the related posts on Margel B. Wells were also being read, but it did not appear that they were.  Very interesting . . . then my stats showed that the majority of page views were coming from France.  That was really interesting.  This continued for over six weeks when suddenly, I found the following comment on the post, "I am Marcia Ann Fennell, Margel's daughter. How do I contact you? Now, this made sense.  Margel B. Well's family must haved found my post and probably told other family members about it.  Unfortunately, the comment was anonymous, and she left no email address for me to answer her.  I had no way of contacting her.  I did the only thing I knew to do and answered the comment on my blog listing my email address hoping she would come back to it . . . but she has not. 

The activity on this post continued for a few more weeks, but I never heard from Marcia Fennell.  I would love to make contact with her and share the other information I have about her mother.  Maybe she even has photos of my grandmother that were left  in her mother's belongings.    The activity on that post has dwindled to previous miniscule levels.  So this is my plea to find her.

Helloooooooo . . . Marcia Fennell.  My email is listed in the column to the right.

Thursday, January 3, 2013

Finding the 1940 Kennelly Family Home

Let me first explain that I have an aversion to facebook.  Maybe it is because I am too old ,but it has always seemed so confusing and is always changing.  Oh gee, that really did sound like an old lady statement!  Several years ago, I jumped on the facebook bandwagon and accidently  offended a good friend.  I didn't realize that the email I received was just a copy of a post on my facebook wall and that my response (whch I thought was private) would also go on my facebook wall.  After that, I closed and blocked everything I could.  But . . . time went by and organizations that interest me used facebook to send messages to members.  My son and his wife post their vacation photos on facebook to share with friends and family.  And so I am a reluctant and infrequent facebook user.

Then about a year ago, I took the bold step of joining a facebook group . . . Chicago Genealogy.  I mostly lurk but now love the fact that I get emails of each post.  If you have Chicago ancestors . . . and I have a boatload . . . I highly recommend this helpful and informative group.

Last August I posted the following:
 Now that I have found my mother and her family in the 1940 census records for Chicago, I hoped to see if the building is still standing. They lived in the Garfield Park area - about two blocks away from the park. The address is 3918 W. Monroe. It appears that there is a building there, but sadly, there is no street view for Google in that area so I cannot tell if it is the same. Any suggestions for getting a photo? I have only partials in the background of photos of people. Thanks!

Almost immediately  Michelle Gobert responded, not just with a suggestion, but with a link to the photo at right. It came from the Cook County Assessor's Office, property search  

Catherine Keckeisen then suggested using the Cook County Geographc Information System.  

Warning that it could be a bit complicated she posted step-by-step instructions for how to use the system.  First go to this website. "Then under "Online mapping with Cook Viewer" click on "Cook Viewer Mapping Application".  Scroll down when it will let you and click on "Accept" (of course after you read all their rules, etc.).  On the next screen that appears, type in the address.  I typed 3918 W. Monroe.  For the city, I typed Chicago.  Click on Search. A new box will appear that shows a bunch of information about the property.  Make sure it has the same address.  Your property is 99 years old for instance.  Make sure you jot down the Parcel Pin number as it can be helpful to get other information from Cook County on this property." ". . .Look down in that second box on the right and click on PHOTO and there you have it! Exciting, huh???"  
And it was!

The next step was to compare the partials (mostly the front porch) with the current appearance of the house.  I am sure my grandparents rented because I don't remember that they ever did anything else.  The information from the above sites indicated that the building is now two apartments with a combined total sq. footage of just under 2700 sq. feet.  The current value is listed as $180,000.

Left side of the porch
Right side of the porch
When I compare the current view of the building and its companions on either side, I can tell they have been modernized . . . and not for the better!  But who am I to criticize. . . I like old stuff. 

The photo at left of my Uncle Ed in his Bishop Quarters uniform shows a beautiful and substantial stone front porch with ionic columns and an arched window with decorative stone detail below.  The current view shows a replacement porch of wimpy wrought iron and a shingled roof with a white plastic chair blocking the view below the window.  Do you think that beautiful architectural detail is still there - or was it sold to a salvage yard . . . worse yet, dumped in a landfill??  

Home to the left
Home to the right
Sadly, the same modernization trend seems to have attacked the buildings on either side of my mother's former home.  The building on the right also had the stone porch removed to be replaced with 1970's chic, but a search for the building to the left (3922 W. Monroe) shows that its stone porch has survived although the building has been painted white.  Architecturally, this is a wonderful block of buildings.  I hope my photos have given you a flavor of the neighborhood that used to be here.

Wait!  Can I see the window detail still there in the photo of the 3922 property??

Both methods ended with the same photo, but depending on the property, one might work better than the other.  So now you have, not just one, but two ways to find Chicago properties courtesy of the facebook group - Chicago Genealogy!