Sunday, May 15, 2011

Monday, April 11, 2011

Jeremiah Quill - Civil War Soldier

My great great grandfather Jeremiah Quill enlisted in the Union Army, Company F Eighty-first Regiment, Pennsylvania on October 27, 1861. He was married with 3 young children and living in Philadelphia at the time. Over on the side of this page is a link to Jeremiah's Military Page in

I have a copy of his Civil War Pension file. Jeremiah fought at Harper's Ferry and in the battle of Fredericksburg, two pretty famous places when you think of the Civil War.  He was wounded twice and after the second injury served in the Pennsylvania volunteers.  He missed being present at muster more than once and it was not until he applied for his Civil War pension in 1888 that he received his honorable discharge from the Army. The pension file consists of some medical records documenting his injuries, many pension disbursement cards, and affidavits by Jeremiah and neighbors describing his injuries and the circumstances he found himself in.  Jeremiah signed his affidavits so I have his signature which is pretty cool..

The pension file also contained copies of Jeremiah's marriage and death certificates. His widow Hannah, my great great grandmother, applied for pension benefits after his death. It was a bonus to find the marriage certificate. That provided the date and place of marriage and Hannah's maiden name.

What the pension file did not tell me was where in Ireland Jeremiah came from, when he  came to the United States or if he had any relatives other than his immediate family. From the information in the affidavits given by several of Jeremiah's neighbors in Philadelphia the family was alone and destitute. When one of the children died the neighbors provided the funds to bury the wee one. These same neighbors also gave the family money to travel to  Ohio so Jeremiah could recover from his injuries in the 'fresh air.'

After the war Jeremiah and his family moved west to Ohio, where they resided for the 1870 census. From Ohio they went to Muscatine, Iowa and then on to St. Paul, Minnesota where where they are recorded in the 1880 US census. Jeremiah and Hannah are buried in St. Paul, along with several of their children.

Monday, March 14, 2011

Time flies

I cannot believe I never did a post in the entire month of February. It might be the shortest month, but it was a busy one genealogywise. 2 genealogy society meetings, plus a great conference put on by the DuPage County GS kept me busy.

The best part of February was making a new family connection with a woman who is in one of my genealogy groups. She in turn introduced me to her cousin. It was through these two that I found out about some Swedish records that had  just become available through Ancestry. So why no posting in Feb to talk about my great new find? I was so busy going through the Swedish church records I had no time to blog, or do much of anything else.

It was so exciting to find all these wonderful birth, death, marriage and household examination records going back years and years. The whole deluge of new family members was thrilling, AT FIRST.  Then I became just overwhelmed with the sheer number of records and people. What was the best way to search through all this stuff?

I finally just stopped and gave myself a couple of days to think about how to handle this deluge.  The ancestors weren't going anywhere and I was going crazy trying to keep everything straight. I decided to work on my direct line one family at a time, first the paternal side, then the maternal side. I will search all the records for a family, then begin again with the next family. I will examine the records as I go for other family and make notes on them, but the research will focus on one family at a time.

Susan Peterson over at LongLostRelatives had a  recent post about Ancestor Overload posted as an Open Discussion. Go over and read it. Some great thoughts and ideas on how to handle AO.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Charles August Smith, Chicago Policeman

About 1912 Chicago Illinois
My grandpa, Charles A. Smith, was nicknamed Cully. He was a police officer for the city of Chicago. His police career ended long before I was born, but I know his limp was the result of an accident he had while on the motorcycle beat. Now I know when it happened thanks to his WWI draft registration card which I found on According to the draft reg card he completed on 12 September 1918 Grandpa had a broken right leg (last April) and was using crutches. This nifty resource also has his  age, birthdate, address, my grandmother listed as his nearest relative, his build and height listed as medium, and he had blue eyes and brown hair. Also noted is he was a native born U.S. citizen. And it has his signature!

Elsie Carr Smith & Charles A. Smith
The back porch swing
July 1962

I also found his WWII draft reg card on By then Grandpa was retired from the police department and was working for Illinois Bell Telephone Co. in the Claims Department. The address on the card is for the apartment on Milwaukee Avenue that I remember well. You could see the parachute drop at Riverview from the back porch. It was a toss up which was better, the coffee cake from Burney Bros. bakery my grandma always had in the pantry or sitting on the back porch swing waiting for the parachute to drop.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Herbst family- another look

In looking over the online census record from 1850 I found an older couple, with the same last name, right under my g-g grandparents, Henry & Louisa Herbst, (indexed as Hass). Could this be my g-g-g grandparents? This couple, Heinrich and Freidrike are the right age to be Henry's parents, but I cannot find them in the 1860 census, nor do I find them buried in the cemetery where Henry & Louisa are buried.

I did find a  Henry & Fredrike Herbst buried in Monee,Will County in the early 1860's and the birth years seem to jive. Will Co is not too far away but too far to make sense if they were living in Leyden Township. Why would they be buried there? What took them to Will County?

I have searched the 1860 census for them in Will county and have come up with some other Herbst families. Could there possibly be some brothers of my g-g grandfather?

When the weather clears up a bit I will get myself down to Monee and see what I can find.

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Getting Organized

Spent some time today going through genealogy files on my PC. There is a folder, Genealogy, with a subfolder for each surname of my great-grandparents. This is where I put all my online discoveries. And where  documents, such as birth marriage, death, etc. will go as I scan them. Each surname folder will have a sub-subfolder for scanned photos. 

In my file cabinet are my paper files (folders, again by surname) with a research checklist I created so I know what I have and what needs to be located at a glance.

The new FamilySearch now has so many records that include images. What a time and money saver! But all these records I am saving need to be saved so I can find them again and that is what prompted today's file cleanup. 

With all the new additions to new FamilySearch I have been finding much information, including naturalization cards from the Illinois, Northern District Naturalization Index, 1840-1950. I have found the entry for my g-g grandfather, Carl/Charles Dettman(n). Since all of my family immigrated before 1880 the immigration records do not have much info, but every little find is helpful.

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

A Day Early

It arrived today, a day early actually, Evidence Explained, Second Edition, by Elizabeth Shown Mills. I am very excited! Now I can really get those source citations in shape. What a great beginning to the new year. As a librarian I have always been pretty sticky about creating proper citations, but even MLA, APA, Turabian and Chicago Manual have left me hanging,  genealogy wise. So that bowl of popcorn is going to have to wait (probably a good thing) while I spend some time reading my new book.