Sunday, November 30, 2008

8 Things About Me That I Bet You Didn't Know - The Meme

I was tagged to participate in this meme by Sheri at The Educated Genealogist. So, here are 8 Things About Me That I Bet You Didn't Know:

1. My favorite photographer is Ansel Adams.

2. I love strawberries. Not as much as chocolate, but close.

3. I read alot of mysteries.

4. I love Christmas music. I usually start listening to it before Thanksgiving.

5. I once lived in San Diego. I liked to walk at Torrey Pines State Park and I really loved Sea World.

6. I enjoy scrapbooking. I've only finished one scrapbook so far, but I have several others started.

7. I like to cross country ski. Every winter I wish we had more snow to ski on, but that it only fell when nobody had to be out driving in it.

8. My favorite singer is Paul McCartney.

The rules for this meme are:
1. Each player starts with eight random fact/habits about themselves.
2. People who are tagged need to write their own blog about their eight things and post these rules.
3. A the end of your blog post, you need to choose eight people to get tagged and list their name.
4. Don’t forget to leave them a comment telling them they’re tagged and to read your blog.

So, here are the 8 bloggers that I'm tagging:
1. Julie at GenBlog
2. Paula at Paula's Genealogical Eclectica
3. Dear Myrtle at DearMYRTLE's Genealogy Blog
4. Robert Baca at The Baca/Douglas Genealogy and Family History Blog
5. Carolyn at Life in Possum Holler
6. Carol at iPentimento
7. TK at Before My Time
8. Donna at Donna's Genealogy Blog

Saturday, November 29, 2008

Mary Bestick Brady and Friends

This is a photo of my great-grandmother Mary Bestick Brady (on the right) and 4 unidentified persons. This photo has been retouched--the original was a tintype that had creases across some of it.

Mary was born in Newark, NJ in 1838, and her husband Garret Brady died there in 1886. In this photo, I believe Mary is in mourning attire and she appears at least 50 years old to me. So I believe this photo was taken between 1886 and her death in 1908. Also, if Garret was alive, I expect he would have been included in the photo.

The other people in the photo appear to be related, to each other and possibly to Mary, based on facial resemblance. The eyes and mouths on the 3 closest to Mary make me think that they are siblings or otherwise closely related to each other. The face of the lady in white is a bit fuzzy, so it is hard to say if she strongly resembles the others or not.

If the photo was taken around 1886, then the 2 boys could be Mary's youngest sons, William (born 1872) and Garrett Leo (born 1874.) But then who are the 2 women? Several sources confirm that Mary's only daughter, Mary Ellen, died at the age of 2. The women appear to be too young to be Mary's long lost older sister Catherine. The 2 boys do not appear old enough to be married yet in this picture. So it seems unlikely that the 2 young women are daughters-in-law of Mary.

Besides her immediate family, Mary had other Bestick relatives that she could have been photographed with for some occasion. Mary had Bestick relatives in Bridgeport, CT, and she may be related to the Bestick families in New York City and Braintree, MA. I don't have any photos of those families for comparison.

Another possibility is that Mary was photographed with relatives of her mother, Ellen McSorley Bestick. There were McSorleys closely associated with the family in Newark, including Patrick and Rosanna McSorley Cox. Unfortunately, I don't have photos of the McSorleys for comparison either.

So for now, Mary's associates in this picture remain a mystery. I welcome any comments or suggestions (or photos of Besticks and McSorleys.)

Monday, November 24, 2008

Thanksgiving Meme and a Game of Tag

In honor of Thanksgiving, Julie at Genblog invited bloggers to post 2 things they are thankful for. Here is her invitation.

It is a bit of a challenge to limit it to just 2 things, even if I limit my answer to genealogy. But, here goes:

1.Family. My husband and daughters are great, and they put up with my genealogy binges. I'm grateful for my parents, aunts and uncles, and all the things I learned from them, especially stories about the ancestors I never knew. My in-laws are great, and I've learned about their family stories too. I'm grateful for my cousins--the ones I've known all my life and my new internet cousins. I am very thankful for my rediscovered cousins. On both sides of my family, our genealogy research has reunited family groups that had lost touch over a generation or two. It was great to meet cousins I didn't know I had, and hear stories from them that I had also heard in my family.

2. Photographs. I love photographs--looking at them, taking them, and scrapbooking them. I've received alot of pictures from my mom, my aunt(dad's sister,) and my husband's grandma. And I've taken alot of pictures myself. Now I am scanning them and posting them online. I hope that someday I'll find photographs online of some of the ancestors I don't have pictures of. And I hope that some of the mystery photos I post will be seen by people who have been hoping to find those photos too.

And now, I'm tagging Paula.

Happy Thanksgiving!

The Bestick Family of Newark, NJ

This is a picture of my great-grandmother Mary Ann Bestick Brady. She was born in Newark, New Jersey on 12 February 1838. Mary was the middle of 3 children born to Timothy Bestick and Ellen McSorley.

During the Civil War, Mary married Captain Garret Brady of the 2nd New Jersey Volunteers. They had 5 sons and a daughter. For many years in the 1860s and 1870s they lived at 143 Academy Street in Newark.

After her husband Garret died in 1886, Mary received a widow's pension based on his Civil War service. By 1900, Mary had left Newark and moved to Chicago with 2 of her sons--James and Garrett. Here is an inscription she wrote in a prayer book she gave her son Garrett in 1899.

In 1908, Mary returned to Newark. She died in East Newark on 22 October 1908. Mary is buried in Holy Sepulchre Cemetery in East Orange, along with her husband Garret and other family members.

According to her obituary, Mary's funeral was from the home of her niece, Mrs. William Condon. Nothing further is known about the identity of the niece. Mary's younger brother James had no children. The fate of Mary's older sister, Catherine, is not known. Mary's wedding announcement indicated she was an only daughter, so her sister may have died before Mary's wedding in 1862. Mrs. Condon may be a daughter of an unknown sibling of Mary's husband Garret. Mary's obituary stated "Bridgeport papers please copy" because relatives of her father Timothy Bestick lived in Bridgeport, CT.

Saturday, November 22, 2008

For the Love of Ireland

I was invited by Small-leaved Shamrock to participate in the 10th edition of the Carnival of Irish Heritage & Culture. The theme is "For the love of Ireland." She asked people to share what they most love about Ireland and the Irish people. For me, that is an easy question. What I love most about Ireland is the music—-all kinds of Irish music.

I didn’t really discover Irish music until I was in my 30s. Before then, the only Irish music I knew was "Danny Boy." Now, my favorite type of music is Irish folk music by Schooner Fare, Tommy Makem, the Dave Rowe Trio, Leahy's Luck, and others. I also love Irish rock music (especially Gaelic Storm)and traditional instrumental music, including anything by The Chieftans, and Joemy Wilson playing O'Carolan music on hammered dulcimer.

The best way to enjoy Irish music is at a live performance. And the best place I know of to do that is at Milwaukee’s Irish Fest. If you love Irish music, then Irish Fest is a chance to visit heaven every August. There are more than 10 stages featuring performances of all types of Irish music, Irish dance, and theatre. There are also areas devoted to Irish sports, language, history and culture. I like to visit the genealogy tent every year. This summer it included representatives of the Irish Genealogical Society of Wisconsin, the Irish Family History Foundation and Irish music plus genealogy, all at one location! Definitely heaven for me.

If you love Irish music, I hope you get the chance to attend Milwaukee's Irish Fest next August. I know I'll be there.

A Lithuanian Sense of Humor

That's my mom, Ann Skrobul Brady, in the front row to the left. (The one with the largest mustache.) I believe this was probably a party for employees of the Veterans Administration office in Chicago, but I'm not certain of that.

This photo reminds me of one of my mom's best traits--her sense of humor. I know it may not be a characteristic of all Lithuanians, but it is of the Lithuanian half of my family. They are great fun! I have alot of silly photos of my mom and her siblings.

Some ethnic groups have stereotypes of having a temper, being serious, organized, thrifty, etc. For me, when I think of Lithuanians I think of their sense of humor.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

The Mysterious Skrabulis Family

One day my cousin and I were extracting information from the records of St. Anthony's church in Beckemeyer, IL. According to the person who was helping us, the records were in German, and for privacy reasons we could not view the records. So we were having the entries read to us. We were verifying baptism dates of our moms and their siblings, and gathering names of godparents and information about some marriages.

And then, we learned of a previously unknown family. The entry was extracted as: Joannas Skrabulis son of Joannas and Rosa Mazeijka, born 26 Oct 1910, bapt 13 Nov 1910, sponsors Guiehelmus Skimodus and Maria nee Skrabulis. (In Latin, Joannis=John.)

This entry was fascinating to me because I knew nothing about this family. No one had every mentioned them before. John and Maria were not siblings of my grandfather Antanas Skrabulis. We knew of all his siblings, both in America and in Europe. There was no brother named John, and Antanas' sister Maria stayed in Lithuania. The name Skrabulis is not a common one, even in Lithuania. And Beckemeyer was a rural town, not a large city with a large Lithuanian population. So it doesn't seem likely that this is an unrelated Skrabulis family who happened to end up attending the same church as Antanas' family.

I think John and Maria were cousins of my grandfather, but I have not been able to prove or disprove that theory. In fact, so far I have been unable to find this family in any other record. But my search continues! I hope someday I will be able to correctly attach John and Maria to our Skrabulis family tree, and maybe even find some long lost cousins--their descendants.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

A Lithuanian Immigrant Story

This is photo of Antanas Skrabulis, my immigrant ancestor. The story of my immigrant ancestor is the story of 4 brothers and 3 sisters. As a child, I was told that my grandfather Antanas Skrabulis came to the United States to avoid serving in the Russian army. Antanas arrived in Baltimore on 9 June 1904. He was going to join his brother Josef in Munson Station, PA.

The other 2 brothers, Stanislas and William, and a sister, Antanina, also came to the United States. Their sisters Marie and Ludwiga stayed in Lithuania. Here is a photo of Stanislas.

In 1910 Antanas and Stanislas were living in Clinton County, IL, working as coal miners. My grandfather settled there and worked in the coal mines until he died in 1947. His brother William and sister Antanina both got married and settled in Lake County, IN. My mom said that the other 2 brothers, Stanislas and Josef, returned to Lithuania, where they had left families behind. Mom was told that Josef was killed by robbers on his way home to Lithania. Antanas read in the newspaper that his brother Stanislas was killed by the Russians and his family taken to Siberia. A daughter of Stanislas named Emily came to America and settled in Ohio. My mom had photos of Emily and of her father Stanislas. But the children and grandchildren of Antanas lost touch with their relatives in Europe after World War II.

However, that was not the end of the story. Over 50 years later, a cousin of mine visited Lithuania. Before he went, he gathered information from me and some other cousins. I gave him copies of the photos of Stanislas and his daughter Emily. We looked at the information he gathered, and decided that he should visit the "address bureau" while in Vilnius to see if anyone with our Skrobul surname still lived in Antanas' home town. At the address bureau my cousin was given a phone number of a Skrobul family. He called, and was lucky enough to find someone who spoke English. They arranged to meet. When they met and compared notes, they confirmed that we were related. In fact, our new cousin recognized the photos of Stanislas and Emily, which she had seen copies of too. So, after 50 years and 2 world wars, 2 sides of the Skrabulis family are reconnected.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Wedding Photo

This is a wedding photograph of my grandparents, Antanas Skrabulis and Antanina Norvaisaite. They were married in Gary, Indiana on 21 August 1910. Antanas was 25 years old and Antanina was 19.

Monday, November 17, 2008

More Lithuanian Surnames

This is a list of surnames associated with my family, but not related by blood or marriage (at least as far as I know right now.) These are mainly baptism sponsors and witnesses at weddings. If you see a name you recognize, please contact me. I'll be happy to share the informaiton that I have.

Blinstrutas, Bukavicius, Goleniauskas, Golniauskas, Kielsiauskas, Slabasevicius, Caplinskas, Fliadrzinskis, Jakutis, Jankauskas, Laucevicius, Monkevicius, Muzauskas
Sliapovicius, Kaminskis, Kelciauskas, Kelciouskes, Monkevicius
Vaisvila, ubavicius

My Lithuanian Surnames

Here is a list of the Lithuanian surnames found in my family tree, and the villages those names were associated with.

Liaudginai village: Blinstrutas, Bukavicius, Goleniauskas, Blinstrutas
Bukavicius, Goleniauskas, Golniauskas, Kielsiauskas, Slabasevicius, Golniauskas, Kielsiauskas, Slabasevicius

Sutkai village: Caplinskas, Fliadrzinskis, Jakutis, Jankauskas, Laucevicius, Monkevicius, Muzauskas, Sliapovicius

Uznugariai village: Kaminskis, Kelciauskas, Kelciouskes, Monkevicius, Vaisvila, Zubavicius

If you find one of your surnames on my list, please contact me. I'd be happy to share information with you.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

My Lithuanian Ancestry

I am dedicating this week to my Lithuanian ancestors--my mom's side of the family. So to begin, here is the coat of arms of the Vaisvila family. I received a copy of this in 1998 from the Lithuanian State Historical Archives, along with copies and translations of documents, including 9 generations of the Vaisvila family.

This is a picture of my maternal grandmother, Antanina Norvaisaite. She was the daughter of Povilas Norvaisa and Juzefa Vaisvila. Antanina was born on 29 September 1891 in the village of Sutkai and was baptized that same day in Pagramantis Roman Catholic church. She married Antanas Skrabulis in Gary, Indiana in 1910. Antanina died in Illinois in 1967.

Friday, November 14, 2008

Unknown Soldiers Photo

My last post of this week of Veterans Day is a photo of unidentified soldiers. I've been told that their uniforms are from the era of the Spanish American War (1898.) I do not know of any of my ancestors, or collateral relatives, who were in the military at that time. This tintype photo was passed down to me by my aunt. It came from our relatives on the Bestick and Brady side. So the 3 soldiers may be friends or relatives of those families in Newark, NJ; Bridgeport, CT; Braintree, MA; New York City or Chicago. I would be happy to share information with anyone who recognizes the soldiers or setting. If you have comments or suggestions about the photo, let me know.

In memory of all the soldiers:

"Did you leave a wife or a sweetheart behind
In some faithful heart is your memory enshrined
Although you died back in 1916
In that faithful heart are you forever 19
Or are you a stranger without even a name
Enclosed then forever behind a glass frame
In an old photograph torn, battered and stained
And faded to yellow in a brown leather frame."

from "The Green Fields Of France"
Lyrics by John Mcdermott

Stanley Mensing, 1948-1969

My cousin Stanley Mensing (also known as Stosh) died in Vietnam. His funeral was very sad.

I don't have any pictures of Stanley in uniform. This is the way I remember him--smiling and friendly when my family was there, visiting my mom's hometown.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

A Veteran Named Alvina

This is a photograph of two friends of my mom, Ann Skrobul. Their names were Stella Gordon and Alvina (in uniform.) I don't know Alvina's last name, or what branch of the service she was in. This photo was taken in Chicago around 1940. If you recognize Alvina, please contact me. I have more pictures of her to share with you.

Joseph Jonutis, Veteran

In honor of Veterans Day, here is another soldier from my family tree. This is a photo of Joseph Jonutis, who was a cousin of my mom. Joseph was the son of Joseph Jonutis and Stella Norvaisaite.

Here is a picture of our cousin Joe Jonutis, enjoying a visit to Chicago. Also pictured are my mom's friend Stella Gordon (left,) and my mom Ann Skrobul (right.)

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Stan Skrobul, Veteran

Here is a photo of my uncle Stan Skrobul who was stationed in Germany during World War II.

In this photo, Uncle Stan is standing at the far right. I was told this photo was taken at Fort Leonard Wood, but I don't know if that is correct.

Uncle Stan was a great guy and I'm glad he lived for many years after his discharge from the service.

Monday, November 10, 2008

Armistice Day

Today is the 90th anniversary of the first Armistice Day--the day the armistice was signed in 1918 to bring an end to World War I. Here is a photo of my grandmother, Jennie Whelan Brady, and her co-workers on the first Armistice Day. The photo was taken outside the factory where they worked, on the north side of Chicago. I don't know the name or location of the factory. If you recognize a relative in the group, or know the company's name or location, please let me know.

Today is now known as Veterans Day, to honor those who have fought for their country. I'll be posting photos of some of the veterans in my family tree this week, beginning with my dad, Edwin F. Brady, a veteran of World War II.

Oh Baby!

The 7th Edition of Smile For The Camera is here. The word prompt is "Oh, Baby!" So, here it is--my baby picture.

I can't wait to see the photos that other participants have posted.

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Garrett Leo Brady and Friends

This is a photo of my grandfather Garrett Leo Brady and two of his friends. Garrett is the one on the left. The names of his two friends are not known. I received the photo sealed in a frame, so I don't know if there is additional information on the back of the photo.

Garrett worked for the Post Office Department in Chicago, as a letter carrier. His uniform included buttons with the initials P.O.D., which he told his daughter stood for "Poor Old Dad." By 1914, Garrett was earning $900.00 per year (according to a 1978 letter from the Civil Personnel Records Dept.) If you recognize these other two guys, or had an ancestor who was a mail carrier on the north side of Chicago in 1907-1916, let me know. I'd like to hear from you.

Garrett Leo Brady was born in Newark, NJ on 5 November 1874. His parents were Garret Brady and Mary A. Bestick. Garrett Leo was one of six siblings. He married Jennie Whelan on Wednesday, 22 February 1905. It was Washington's Birthday, so they had a day off work.

Garrett's death on 22 March 1916 was caused by a skin disease, Facial Erysipelas, also known as St. Anthony's Fire. He was buried at Mt. Carmel Catholic Cemetery in Hillside, IL.

Another Interesting Hat!

For those of you who are fans of my family’s interesting hats, here is another one. This is a photo of Gertrude Brady Blanchet. She was born in August, 1890, the daughter of James A. Brady and Mary McGrath. The family lived in Newark, NJ (1900), then Chicago, IL (1910), and finally settled in New York City (1930). Gertrude was married to Paul Blanchet.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Vote Early and Often!

Just kidding. It is an old Chicago joke. :-) Finding my Chicago ancestor, Timothy Whelan, in the Chicago voters lists made me think of that saying. The 1892 voters list indicated that Timothy was a naturalized citizen, but the date and court of naturalization were “not known.” It made me think that the voting clerks weren’t too picky about who they let vote that year.

One thing I’ve learned from using the Chicago Voters Lists is to check all years available. On the 1892 list, my ancestor Timothy Whelan’s naturalization details were unknown. However, the 1888 list indicated that he was naturalized in 1856 in the County Court of Cook County. Due to the record losses caused by the Chicago Fire of 1871, this voters list may be the only record that contains the location of Timothy’s naturalization.

Another lesson I’ve learned is to look for the ancestors’ siblings on the voters lists (and on all other available sources too.) I searched for a client’s ancestor (who died in 1890) in the Chicago voters lists, but did not find him. I then searched the available lists for the ancestor’s brother. I found the brother on the lists, and the fact that he was naturalized in Onondaga County, NY. This information lead to a breakthrough and helped locate the ancestor’s widowed mother and his other siblings in a previously unknown location.

The Chicago voters lists for 1888, 1890 and 1892 are available on microfilm from the Family History Library and online on

If you haven’t done it yet, don’t forget to vote today!