Friday, March 26, 2010

Kleinerts and Boldas cont'd...

So in the last post, I was talking about the little mysteries that opened up after I visited a cemetery and found not only the family members I had been looking for, but someone with the same name as my Grandma's paternal Grandfather as well. But his birth date was about 10 years off and his death date was considerably later than we had believed possible. So was this the right person, or someone else? We ordered his death certificate and found some answers

First off, the John Kleinert in the record who died in 1926 is identified as the John Kleinert buried at St. Joseph's. So we know they are one in the same. Second, his last address is shown as 2638 Ward St in Chicago. This is the real kicker because that is the same address that is found for Julius Bolda in the 1915 Chicago City Directory as well as the address shown for his widow, Marie in the 1930 Census. So the John Kleinert who died in 1926 had been living with Marie, as well as other family members, both Kleinerts and Boldas throughout the years before and since Julius' death. John's brother, Otto, is shown living at that same Ward St address in the 1923 Chicago City Directory, along with members of the Bolda family. John himself is found back in Kankakee Co., in the 1920 census living with his new wife, Marie-the woman who appeared as informant on John's death certificate. I can pretty much say that I'm convinced that this John Kleinert is my Grandma's Grandfather. But that still doesn't explain everything.

The 1926 death certificate shows Marie Kleinert as his wife and someone who was living at the same residence given for John. So if Josephine got remarried in 1910, and we now know that John hadn't died but also got remarried, that means we're looking at divorce. Without currently knowing when John's second marriage occurred (this marriage is not listed on the Cook County Clerk's records website nor in's Chicago marriage records collection and the 1920 census does not ask for the year of marriage; this, along with their residence in Kankakee back in 1920 suggests that the marriage occurred in Kankakee rather than Cook Co but both should be checked) I'm looking at a date range for the divorce sometime between 1900, when John and Josephine appeared together on the census, and 1910, when Josephine remarried.

The Cook Co., Circuit Court maintains divorce records at the Daley Plaza in Chicago which is where I'm headed next Friday so I'm going to make a point of searching the divorce index to find it and ordering the record.

We still don't know why the tombstone has his birth 10 years off from the census. The informant on his death record was his second wife, Marie, and the date she gave on that form does coincide with what was shown on the census records so why was it different on the tombstone. All I've got now is "Who knows!" There were four people on that side of the stone and another group on the other side making a lot of names and dates. Anything could have happened to get the dates confused, mixed up, etc. We will be finding and ordering the marriage record for John and Marie however, to make sure everything fits and I'll be taking note of what John gives for his date of birth for this record as well.

Gearing up for next week

Things have been a little quiet here lately mainly because I've been enjoying a little downtime. There was no ProGen assignment this month and I haven't started with CD 2 of the NGS Home Course yet. So I've just been doing a little prep work for a few things I've got planned for next week. I'll have about 2 1/2 days to run around a do a little record retrieval and brief research. It's not long but I'm excited. I'm going to stop in Kentland, IN to pick up the marriage record for my paternal Great Grandparents on one day, then on the next day I'm taking a longer trip out to Rockville, Parke Co., IN to look for land records and possibly, if I have time, Probate/Court records. The last day will be spent in Chicago looking up divorce records and possibly some vital records that I haven't been able to get yet. So it's going to be a jam packed few days, can't wait!

In the meantime, I've been biding my time visiting a couple of area cemeteries looking for some family graves and names from my father's side. I succeeded in finding Julius Bolda (1868/1869-1915) and his wife, Marie (Ptak) (1868/1869-1943) at St Joseph Catholic Cemetery in a suburb of Chicago. Julius and Mare were my paternal Grandmother's maternal Grandparents. But they weren't the only ones who showed up in the double-sided plot; Grandma's maternal Grandfather was there too as were a couple of other relatives from both sides of the family. Seeing him there, just outside of Chicago, opened up a few mysteries for me to try to unravel.

John Kleinert (c.1859?-1926), like the Boldas, was an immigrant to this country. Naturalization records still need to be consulted, but according to the 1900 census, he arrived in 1882 from Germany. He settled in Kankakee Co., IL (far south of Chicago) and married Josephine Dellibac (1868/69-1937), a first generation American with French Canadian roots, on 22 Dec 1885. He states that he is 27 y/o, she 17 y/o, and it is the first marriage for both of them. They are seen together on the 1900 census and then things change a bit. In the 1910 census Josephine is found living in Chicago working as a live-in servant. John is not with her, in fact, she marries John Dettman later in 1910. So what happened to John? Did he die? We thought so but hadn't gotten to persue it. Seeing his tombstone at St Joseph's changed that theory because two things were amiss with the tombstone:
1-his date of birth is about 10 years younger than his age on his marriage license and on the 1900 census
2-the tombstone dates that he died in 1926 though we hadn't seen him with Josephine in 1910 and she was even remarried that year

Here's the stone:

So could the John Kleinert buried at St Joseph's be a different John Kleinert? Not likely since he was quite literally, buried with the Boldas, the parents of his son's wife, his in-laws. Also, there was no other John Kleinert who was of this age and certainly not another one who was so intimately acquainted with the Boldas that he should be buried with them. In fact, we even have a picture of John Kleinert standing with the (presumably) newly widowed Marie Bolda. So we dug a little deeper and got the death record for John Kleinert who died in 1926....

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Last of a Generation

I found out this weekend that my Great Uncle Warren passed away. I didn't know him very well, actually I was going to call him this weekend to see if he wanted to get together next week (since my son will be away for spring break) so I could share some of the photos I've gotten and ask him a few questions. I was hoping this spring and summer, now that I'm back in IL, would be a chance for me to talk to him and get to know him a bit more. He was my maternal Grandpa's youngest brother and the last of that family group. I'm finding it a little difficult, and tremendously sad, to think that such a large group, one I'd been hearing about my entire life, is now completely gone. They will all be missed....

Saturday, March 6, 2010

My Two Cents on "Who Do You Think You Are"...and then I'm done

I've noticed a barrage of posts on the new NBS genealogy show, which premiered last night, and all are very interesting. I've read some outright negative posts and some fairly accepting ones too and I can understand the reasons behind both of those opinions.

One thing about the show that I noticed immediately, but that doesn't seem to be getting much notice in the posts, is that WDYTYA has the celebrities (because again, the TV execs probably don't think regular people are exciting enough to draw in viewers) involved in discovering their ancestors...ok, that may be pushing it a little too far. The celebrities don't actually do the work; just like with PBS' "Faces of America" the work has been compiled by genealogists. But the celebrities have to go around to the sites of their ancestors and, shall we say, collect the information from those who have done the work. Not so with "Faces of America" where they just sit at a table listening to the host rattle off whatever information he deems pertinent and exciting enough to catch both the celebrity's attention, as well as that of the viewers. So that was one thing that I did like about WDYTYA. I think it's great to show them getting involved, at least in the small way that they are.

Like everyone else, I think it would be great to show more of the methodology-how did they find all of the generational names? But to be realistic, we have to keep in mind that these shows are not necessarily geared towards the thousands of professional genealogists. It's a show made for the masses, the hundreds of thousands, even the millions of people here who engage in genealogy as a hobby, as well as those who may or may not have thought about their ancestry prior to seeing "Carrie Bradshaw" on the trail of her family history. Keeping in mind their focus, I can say that I like this program better than the PBS version just because I think it's important to show people on the trail themselves rather than being disjointed and just read information off of a page. I think it shows genealogy in a positive way. I think by taking the descendant to the sites that were important to their ancestors, it explains the excitement genealogists feel when that stone has been uncovered; you know, that glazed-over look that your friends and family give you when you're trying to share your excitment at a find gets replaced by excitement when TV and movie stars (for all intensive purposes, "cultural icons") are doing the same thing. So overall, I like it.

....and now we can all move on to other topics :)