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Archive for the ‘Illinois history’ Category

My last post wrapped up my fill-in-the-gaps project through my maternal 3x great-grandparents. Before I begin on my 4x great-grandparents, I thought I’d take a little break–and give you a little break.

Switching over to my paternal grandmother and her family of origin who lived in Elmhurst, Illinois. Grandma’s parents, Frank and Margarethe (Wendel) Klein, had a lovely farmhouse that is still standing today.

Here it is more recently:

The farmhouse was complete with barn, cow, chickens–even a fish pond and gazebo. I know that once my father (who was very very young) threw a Roman candle in through the upper window of the barn. I can’t remember who told me, but it was either my father or his twin brother Frank. Since I highly doubt my father would tell on himself, I suspect Uncle Frank told me. In the following photos you can probably see the window where the Roman candle went in!

In these photos are my grandmother, Marie, and her mother Margarethe, along with their cow. In one of the photos, my great-grandfather Frank is turned from the camera. That is nothing new. With all the family action shots in existence, there isn’t one clear image of Frank’s face. You would almost think he was hiding from someone or something. Maybe he was. Who knows.

My great-grandmother looks like such a fun person. It’s a shame she died while my father and his siblings were still so young. Here is another photo of Margarethe, my great-grandmother (Grandma’s mom), colorized by my new genealogy research treasure, 2nd cousin Bill Stade.

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In April I shared that I had found an Ancestry hint on my great-grandmother Margarethe Klein’s Ancestry page. The hint directed me to the index of the birth of a little boy in 1906. George Joseph Klein was born 21 August 1906 in Chicago. I had never heard about this brother of my grandmother, and I don’t think my father or uncle had known about him either.

At the time, I quickly did a search for a death record and found the index. George passed away 22 March 1909.

I didn’t believe that I could get a copy of his death certificate because of Covid-19. However, my 2nd cousin who I have met through genealogy managed to obtain the copy. What he found made me so teary for George. This is one of the saddest situations I’ve encountered.

When George was born, his brother Frank, Jr. was ten years old. His three sisters were teenagers. The family must have been thrilled to have another boy that his older sisters could dote upon.

This certificate says George was over three years old, but I don’t see that from his birth and death dates. Death date: 22 March 1909 as I mention above and as it is on the certificate. Birth date: 21 August 1906. That is only two years old, by my count. Two years, seven months.

But what killed George? According to this death certificate he died from Tubercular Basal Meningitis, a horrible disease. The symptoms include headaches, behavioral changes, fever, a stiff neck, and vomiting. Look how long George was in the hospital: One year and four months! Imagine being sick with those symptoms for that long–and only being a toddler! That breaks my heart. You have to wonder how he got this disease at such a young age.

Then the most heartbreaking fact on this certificate of all: he died without the names of his parents listed and in an orphanage.

So how did George end up in an orphanage? This is what my cousin and I believe happened. Tuberculosis is a highly contagious disease. With four other healthy children living in the home, no doubt the parents wanted to protect them and would need to quarantine George. Also, it is possible that his symptoms made it difficult to care for him–especially because this disease affects the brain. His mother Margarethe wasn’t a nurse. The nuns at the orphanage hospital would have been skilled at caring for a sick child, and they probably had the facilities for quarantining contagious patients.

Did this mean that Frank Sr. and Margarethe couldn’t see their son once they turned him over to the sisters at Angel Guardian Orphan Asylum? That I don’t know. What I know is that George effectively died an orphan. The pain must have been terrible for the family. Perhaps that is why they never talked about George.

George is buried in Saint Boniface Cemetery, and I have put in a request on Findagrave for a photo of his grave.

What was Angel Guardian Orphan Asylum like?

Angel Guardian Orphan Asylum

First line: The charitable care initiative that would become Angel Guardian Orphanage illustrates how immigrant German religious women were able to succeed in America. The Poor Handmaids of Jesus Christ (PHJC), an order of German sisters newly arrived in the United States, mentored and inspired other German immigrants through their work at the German Catholic Orphanage of the Holy Guardian Angels, which would later be known more simply as Angel Guardian Orphanage. This asylum existed in West Ridge for over 100 years. The orphanage’s founding and its first 35 years of existence set the stage for its later development into a major mission for the Poor Handmaids of Jesus Christ and a source of pride for Chicago’s German Catholic community.

Archdiocese of Chicago Archives

First line: Angel Guardian Orphanage began as an alternative to the separate boys and girls orphanages that the diocese of Chicago operated to ensure the health, faith, and cultural heritage of German children.

Loyola University Chicago–link through image

 

What happened to the orphanage?
Today, most of the cottages are gone, Misericordia Heart of Mercy occupies the old A.G.O. grounds.  Misericordia cares for children and adults with mild to profound developmental disabilities.  If you would like to take a tour of what is left of A.G.O., Misericordia has always been very accommodating when it comes to allowing formers to visit.  History of Misericordia

from Angel Guardian Orphanage Alumni

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A version of this post was published 14 February 2018 under the title “Assumptions that Don’t Hold Up,” but in light of some new information I am copying the original and greatly revising it and adding new information. I will make private the original so that there is no confusion. I worry about adding layers of information and replicating possibly faulty information.

Funny that the old title has become ironic.

At the time that I first posted, I’d never seen this photo until about two years before when I received it from my uncle. This is my paternal grandmother and her siblings (all except for Helen–I thought at the time–who was not yet born).

The four children are:

Elisabetha Anna Maria Klein, born 1891 in Budesheim, Germany, raised in Elmhurst, Illinois

Maria Anna Elisabetha Klein, born 1892 (often documented as 93) in Budesheim, Germany, raised in Elmhurst, Illinois

Anna Elisabetha Maria Klein, born 1893 in Budesheim, Germany, raised in Elmhurst, Illinois

Frank Anthony Klein, born 1896 in Chicago, Illnois, raised in Elmhurst, Illinois

I know that Elizabeth is the girl standing in back, the oldest and tallest. I know that Frank is in front. Anna is on our left (their right) and Maria (Grandma Marie) is on our right (their left). At the time of first posting, I wasn’t absolutely sure who was Anna and who was Marie, but I now feel confident with this identification.

My grandmother and her siblings had another sister who came along in 1910, and that was Helen. Her unlikely name was Helen Nevada Klein. I would love to figure out where that middle name came from.

I have many photos of Grandma, Anna, and Helen who were the three siblings who lived into older age. I also believe I have a photo of Frank as an adult and possibly of Elizabeth. A second cousin shared Elizabeth’s confirmation photo with me.

Now he has shared another photo, taken in 1918 in Chicago, of Elizabeth with his own mother Grace (the baby) and Aunt Anna. To give you an idea of how difficult it can be to determine ages from old photos, Elizabeth is holding the baby and is two years older than Anna in the darker outfit.

 

This is the first photo I’ve seen of Elizabeth around this age; she was 26. What a pretty young woman, especially animated in a big smile.

OK, above I said that I thought the top photo had all the siblings except Helen. But the other night I was goofing around on my iPad and saw a hint on my great-grandmother Margarethe Klein’s Ancestry page. The hint directed me to the index of the birth of a little boy in 1906, ten years after the birth of Frank, Jr. George Joseph Klein was born 21 August 1906 in Chicago. I quickly did a search for a death record. Sure enough, he passed away 24 March 1909, not even 3 years old yet. I know that my father never knew of George’s short, tragic life.

I feel frustrated because I wanted to order the records from Cook County, but because of the pandemic the office is closed down. I will have to wait to read the cause of death.

Now back to the top photo again. The birthdates of the kids are 1891, 1892, 1893, and 1896. I guess the photo was taken before George was born in 1906, so do you think that narrows the photo to 1902-1906? Yes? No?

Clearly, the family was still living in Chicago and had not yet moved to Elmhurst and bought the farmhouse. This is important because I have not been able to find a 1900 census report on the family. Do you think the records on George would divulge an address for the family or not?

The name George is also mystifying to me because the way the family named the oldest girls and Frank, it was family name, family name, family name. George’s middle name of Joseph is for Margarethe’s father Josephus Wendel. But I don’t see a George in the family. Maybe that was paving the way for Helen’s middle name Nevada?!

RIP George Joseph Klein. You are finally remembered again.

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Last week I told you about the great special to celebrate the 2nd anniversary of Val Erde’s blog, Colouring the Past.

I was so blessed to get one of her free colorizations!

She chose my paternal grandmother, Marie Klein, as a very young woman. This is the photo:

And this is the gorgeous colorization that Val created:

Now I feel like I could touch my grandmother’s hair and her blouse! Val did an amazing job, as she always does. I think her skin tones are very accurate, and that has got to be one of the most difficult things to get right.

This photo shows me that my grandmother’s love of pearls started young. She always wore pearls and collected a bit more pearl jewelry over the years. She gave my aunt a string of pearls for her wedding, and eventually my aunt gave them to me (she only had sons). You can check that out at this post, if you like: Vintage Jewelry.

Val will be able to answer any questions about the colorization process, if you leave a comment here for her. And I will respond as usual, although I don’t know anything about colorizing!

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I keep waiting for that day where I can get caught up on my genealogy research for a month straight. First I need to organize what I have. I pulled out the pedigree report book I had prepared almost five years ago by Uwe Porten, a German genealogist, of my grandmother’s Klein family that immigrated to the United States from Budesheim.

Today I find this an old-fashioned way of handling genealogy research, but it’s certainly beautiful and lends more “gravity” to the project.

You can see that this is called the Klein Family Research Project because Grandma’s maiden name was Klein. Her mother was Margarethe. Last week I shared her photo that Val repaired and colorized.

Margarethe Wendel Klein

The next photo gives you an idea of what the book contains.

and this:

Notice the records that the book contains. I also have these on CD. I think it’s amusing that two of the family surnames are Link and Wink. Because they rhyme!

All these Catholic records had to be obtained in person. That is why I had to hire Uwe to do this work. Unlike the Dutch records which are readily available online, the German records are much more difficult to locate.

The above page begins a summary of Uwe’s findings. Notice that he says he was first able to prove that Margarethe’s husband Frank came from Budesheim. He traced the Klein family “as well as several of the related ancestral families.” Margarethe’s grandfather Friedrich Wendel was located.

Frank Klein’s father actually came from Hergenfeld, which was about 10 miles west of Budesheim. Then he made his way to Budesheim. Notice it says that Hergenfeld was considered “abroad” because at that time, “Budesheim was part of the Grand-Duchy of Hesse-Darnstadt, and Hergenfeld was part of the Kingdom of Prussia. Does that make Frank’s father Johann Peter a Prussian? Grandma used to tell me a story about how she remembered her family saying “the Prussians are coming,” as though that was something bad. I find the whole Prussian thing VERY CONFUSING. And the more it is explained to me, the more confused I get. I don’t think it’s stupidity on my part. I think that I would need a PhD in Prussian studies to truly “get it.”

Share Your Research–Or Not?

Presenting some of the opening pages of the book here makes me think of a subject I’ve been pondering lately. On some of the Facebook genealogy groups people sometimes discuss how some family history researchers don’t want to share their work with others. And others do want to share. Nobody asked me, but I’ll give you my two cents on the matter.

I paid a small fortune for this research report from Uwe. In general, I’ve spent more money than I should on genealogy. And much much more time.

Do you think I am leading up to why would I share it then?

Why WOULDN’T I share it? Does sharing it make it cost me less in time or money? Does sharing it take away from my findings? It’s not like I’ve written the Great American novel and letting other people sign it.

The more information we share, the more information we reclaim. I like the notion of thousands of trees that all interconnect and our remembering of history grows in value.

Even more importantly, why wouldn’t I want to share CORRECT INFORMATION? All that shoddy info going around on Ancestry and other places is because of people who are too lazy or cheap/poor to do the work themselves. So why wouldn’t I want to help clean up the information by providing what is correct (or as correct as can be at this point)?

Bottom line: SHARE, SHARE, SHARE.

Now my photos are another story. Please do NOT share my photos without giving credit to me or my blog. Those are family heirlooms. UPDATE: I am adding this so there can be so mistaking my point about the photos. I have family photos because lots of family members have shared them with me. They belong to my family. Since starting this blog, in addition to all the amazing information I’ve gleaned and connections I’ve made, there have been some people who have:

  • Shared my photos online, such as in Facebook groups, without giving me or my family credit and severing the connection between photo and information behind it.
  • Shared my photos in Ancestry, posting them with the wrong identities!
  • Taken my photos and used them for their own commercial purposes, such as for their own books.

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I was finally able to ask Val Erde at Colouring the Past to colorize another photo from my collection.

I had a portrait of my paternal grandmother’s mother, Margarethe Wendel Klein, but it was in pretty bad shape.

I put it together like this for Val:

Using this photograph and researching from a “snapshot” I posted before.

Val was able to do a wonderful job with this damaged photo–both in sepia and in color.

RIP MARGARETHE WENDEL KLEIN

BIRTH 25 JUNE 1869  Budesheim, Mainz-Bingen, Rhineland-Palatinate, Germany

DEATH 24 MAY 1932  Elmhurst, Du Page, Illinois, United States

 

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This week I’m sharing photos of my father’s family in Illinois. This photograph was taken in July 1960 in Chicago.

 

From left to right: Aunt Anna, Aunt Marge, Aunt Dolly, Grandma, and Mom

Grandma and Aunt Anna were sisters–maiden name Klein. They grew up in Elmhurst, Illinois, which is in DuPage County. They were only a year apart in age and born in Budesheim, Germany, in 1892 and 1893.

Aunt Marge was Grandma’s daughter (Dad’s sister) and married to Guido (Joe) DiBasilio. Her sons Michael and Steven were already born by 1960 and James was born in April 1960. He was a new baby at the time of this photo.

Aunt Dolly was Uncle Frank’s (my dad’s twin) wife. She was born Doloria Pawlak. My cousin Leah was also born in 1960, February, so she was also a little baby when the photo was taken. David wasn’t born until 1962.

I was five years old at the time this pic was taken. My brother not born for three more years.

Look at the box of Kleenex table napkins on the table. The Corningware coffee pot. The dome clock behind them is in my living room today.

You see my mother’s beautiful very sheer dress? I remember it very well.

OK, in the lower right from our view? A baby bottle. So it could have belonged to Jim or Leah–or maybe even Steve who was only three?

***

I’ve shared the photo above before (it’s one of my favorites). My dad, his two siblings, and their mom. This was taken years before the photo of the women.

Do you see the picture behind Dad’s left shoulder?

This is it:

It’s a needlepoint that my father brought back from the Korean War. It hangs in my bedroom. The frame and mat are still in great shape because Grandma always liked to buy the best. So we know the photograph was taken after Dad got back from the war. Maybe he was already a college student at Western Michigan University, but the photograph was taken in my grandmother’s home in Chicago.

Have you seen similar Korean needlework before? I’d love to see other versions.

 

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My paternal Grandmother, Maria Anna Elisabetha Klein, was born 127 years ago today in Budesheim, Germany. 3 April 1892. She immigrated as a toddler with her family to Illinois and grew up in Elmhurst. Eventually she raised her own family in Chicago.

The next image is with her mother and her first child, Margaretha (Marge). This photo would be approximately 1925. The photo above would be sometime before that–perhaps before 1920.

The third photo is Grandma with Marge as well.

Notice how my grandmother’s foot seems swollen. I inherited the condition of primary lymphedema from her. Eventually her legs and feet swelled to much larger than this. She had to cut little Vs out of her shoe vamps. I wear compression stockings and have access to a pump that relieves some of the overflow fluid. She not only didn’t have the same treatments, but she didn’t even have the proper diagnosis.

Quite sometime ago I published a photo of my grandmother and her siblings as children. It is the only known photo of Grandma as a little girl. There are different opinions about which of the two shorter girls is Grandma.

Grandma moved to Kalamazoo during the 1960s and died there on 25 APRIL 1974.

Happy birthday, Grandma. RIP XO.

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My Uncle Frank is coming to visit for two weeks, so I am going to be unblogging, or is it nonblogging? 😉

My dad has been gone for four years come May, and this is my dad’s fraternal twin. He just turned 90. He’s flying in today from Arkansas.

The “twins” grew up in Elmhurst, Illinois, and later, Chicago. I think this photo, taken with their older sister Marge, is in Elmhurst.


I’ll be back when Uncle Frank’s visit is over. In the meantime, I hope your 2019 is off to a good start!

Comments are closed, but if you want to reach me, email me through the contact info on the blog or comment on a different post, please. Well, I wanted to close them, but the button is gone. I might not respond if you do comment. I’m sorry!

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Those of you who have been reading The Family Kalamazoo for a time know that I published a chapbook this past year based on my research findings, my imagination, and some historical knowledge. Kin Types is a collection of lyric poems, prose poems, and flash nonfiction.

On Monday I woke up to discover that Kin Types was a finalist for the prestigious Eric Hoffer Award. It’s in stellar company.. This recognition validates the work I did on the book and on this blog. Best of all, the book gets a gold foil sticker for the cover ;).

It will kind of look like this when the sticker is put on the book (only not such a large sticker).

If you click through the link to the Amazon page, the book can be ordered for a real deal right now; check it out. To order through Barnes & Noble, try this link.

 

 

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