Posts Tagged ‘Chicago genealogy’
My friend Terri at Finding Our Ancestors blog asked me why someone would get a marriage license in Chicago and go to Kewanee, Illinois to get married. That is a good question and one I have wondered as my grandparents appeared to have done the same thing!
I have two documents for my grandparents, Joseph Holik and Libbie Brouk. One is a Marriage License issued 19 April 1930 in Chicago. States they married on the same day. The second document was given to me recently by my father and is a fancy Certificate of Marriage for Joseph Holik and Libbie Brouk. Glancing over the document I can see it was signed by a Judge of the Circuit Court of Kewanee, IL named H. Sterling Pomeroy.
So they married in Kewanee? Why on earth in 1930 would they drive from Chicago to Kewanee to get married?
They didn’t. Let’s break this down and look at the clues.
As Terri and I found, looking more closely at our documents, they were indeed married in the County Building in the city of Chicago. The address given is 226 County Building, Chicago, IL.
They were married by a Judge from Kewanee, IL, who spent time serving in the Cook County Courts. Both documents say Chicago, IL as the marriage place. On the license, his name is stamped as the name of the officiant. On the Certificate of Marriage he signed his name and stamped “Judge of the City Court of Kewanee, IL.”
The Certificate of Marriage was even signed by the witnesses, my Great uncle Ladislav Brouk and Great uncle John J. Holik, Jr. Signatures are nice to have to compare documents.
When you break down a document for the first, second, or even third time, pull out all the clues and make sure you are reading things in the context in which they were intended. Why would you break down a document more than once? Sometimes you think you pulled all the details out but when you go back to it later, after more research is done, you may see something you “missed” before. Something that didn’t mean anything to you at the time. I find reviewing documents for an individual after more research is done sometimes sparks a new research idea or shows me a clue that now has greater meaning.
Upon first glance at both of these documents you think my grandparents drove to Kewanee to get married. Breaking down the details you find out that was not the case.
Yesterday I posted a set of questions I gave my son. Below are his answers and my responses.
Why is my family history important to me?
Son: So I can learn how far my family goes back in history.
One interesting thing I learned about my family history is:
Son: My cousin was a Flying Tiger.
If I were interviewing my parents, I would ask these five questions.
1. Did you get expelled? Mom: No. Your father and I were never expelled from school.
2. Favorite food Mom: Chocolate and Home Run Inn pizza.
3. Worst grade Mom: F. I’m fairly certain I flunked out of one college course early on.
4. Favorite teacher Mom: Mrs. Willis my first grade teacher. She was so nice.
5. Best subject Mom: Band and English/Literature. I loved playing my clarinet and I loved to read. I still love to read. There just aren’t enough hours in the day.
Other things I want to know about my family history:
1. How many family members served in a war? Mom: On my side, Michael Kokoska WWI, Frankie Winkler WWII, Robert Brouk WWII, your great uncle John Vietnam. Those are the ones I have confirmed. There were a few other Kokoska men who were stateside during WWI either training or working in the Army. On your father’s side I have not identified anyone who served yet.
2. How many cousins do I have? Mom: Too many to count.
3. What is my oldest living family member? Mom: Currently that would be your great aunt Bea I believe.
4. Was my family rich? Mom: Not that I am aware of.
5. Was my family ever famous? Mom: Robert Brouk could be considered famous as he was one of the Flying Tigers in China between 1941-1942.
Kids, what would your parents answers to these questions be? What other questions do you have? Write them down and start talking. You never know what interesting facts you will uncover.
- May I Introduce You at Geneabloggers (chicagofamilyhistory.wordpress.com)
In my last post we looked at birth certificates. Today we will explore marriage certificates.
Marriage certificates can sometimes tell you a lot about a family, depending on when and where they were created. Some certificates will have additional documents attached indicating who the parents of the bride and groom are, the bride and groom’s dates of birth and places of birth, names of witnesses and their ages. This information can sometimes help prove or disprove a marriage license is for your family.
Let’s look at a Chicago license from 1892. Ask your parents to show you their marriage license or your grandparent’s license if they have it. How are they the same? How are they different? What information do they contain that you can add to your family history notes? Finally, how do they compare to one from 1892?
One thing that strikes me in this license is how Liddie’s name is spelled. In other records it is spelled Lydia. Keep in mind that names are not spelled the same in every document you will encounter. In some early census records for my immigrant ancestors I find they use the formal spelling of their children’s names. Joseph, Charles, Elizabeth, and so on. Then in other censuses, the kids are Joe, Charlie, Bessie. Watch for name variations and nicknames.
Note where James and Liddie were married. Were they married by a minister or a judge (Justice of the Peace)? When was the license issued and when did they marry?
Add the additional information from the documents your parents show you to your tree and note the source. Again, you want to write down what type of document it is, the number assigned to it, who it is for, the date, and where it is held.