Wednesday, December 31, 2008

New Year’s Resolutions

The topic for the 63rd edition of the Carnival of Genealogy is New Year’s Resolutions.

Resolutions? I’ve got a million of them. They include organizing my office, labeling my photos, and solving about a dozen research problems. So the challenge for me is to narrow it down to my top few resolutions for 2009. Here goes:

1. I will share more photos and documents, both online and with my cousins. I’ve received alot of photos from older relatives, and I want to share the wealth.

2. I will catch up with my filing and data entry. I know if I do this it will help me with my research. I’m sure I have some fascinating discoveries in those piles!

3. I will write more. I will continue to write for my blog and for local genealogical society quarterlies. I will also submit writing to other genealogy publications. I enjoy writing and I will do more of it in 2009.

And here are a few more resolutions, by surname:

4. Bestick. For 2009, I will focus on my collateral lines, including John and Robert Bestick, who were possible siblings of my ancestor Timothy. I will also focus on discovering which Bestick played baseball in Brooklyn in 1872.

5. Whelan. I will concentrate on the Chicago Whelans, both mine and unrelated ones. I will continue to analyze, summarize and publish the data that I have collected. I hope to eventually document the Irish origins of the Whelans who settled in Chicago in the 1800s.

6. Skrabulis. I will share more of the bits of information that I've collected on my Skrabulis ancestors and related lines. I hope to make more connections and keep in touch with cousins that I have.

That's enough resolutions for now.

Happy New Year! May 2009 bring good news for us all.

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Wordless Wednesday

Have a very Merry Christmas!

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Another Christmas Party

Here are a few more photos from a holiday party for the Chicago office of the Veterans Administration. I was told that these photos were taken sometime in the 1950s.

This is a picture of Olga and Claire (no last names) at the VA Christmas party.

This photo shows some money changing hands. I wonder if there is an interesting story behind that, or if it was just a collection for the boss' gift.

Interesting neckties in this picture. If you recognize a person, or a necktie from this happy group, I'd be glad to hear from you.

Happy Holidays!

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Shriners Christmas Party, 1942

I believe this photo was taken at a Christmas party for staff members of Shriners Hospital in Chicago. I was told the picture was taken in 1942. I think my mom, Ann Skrobul, is in the back row of women who are directly facing the camera. The one on the right looks like my mom, although it is hard to be sure since that is the darkest part of the photo.

If you recognize someone in the photo, I'd like to hear from you.

Friday, December 12, 2008

McSorleys of Newark, NJ

My 2nd great grandmother was Ellen McSorley. She came from County Tyrone and settled in Newark,NJ before 1830. I have not found her birthplace in Ireland or determined how she fits in to the McSorleys there. But I do know she had close relatives in the United States. I learned this by reading the church records of St. John's church, on microfilm, line-by-line. The reward for this was a small collection of Ellen's relatives and associates. Here are some of the McSorleys and their associates of Newark, NJ.

7 Jan 1833 Ellen McSorley married Timothy Bestick. Witnesses were Mrs. Richards. Wm Purcell, Wm Rowen, Miss Purcell.

24 Feb 1838 James Francis Murphy was baptised. He was the son of Fransic D. Murphy and Mary McSoley. Sponsors were Rev. Roderick Ryder and Bridget Fallen.

25 April 1841 Catherine Cox was baptised, daughter of Patrick G. Cox and Rosanna McSorley. Sponsors were John H. Kernan and Catherine McSorley

19 July 1841 Eleanor McSorley was baptised, daughter of John McSorley and Rebecca Mackey. Sponsors were Patrick G. Cox and Rosanna McSorley.

5 Sept 1841 James Robert Bestick was baptised, son of Timothy Bestick and Helen McSorley. Sponsors were James Dooner and Rosanna McSorley.

27 October 1841 Teresa Murphy was baptised, daughter of Francis D. Murphy and Mary McSorley. Sponsors were Daniel G. Durning and Anne Ward.

2 March 1845 William Carolin was baptised, son of William Carolin and Catherine McSorley, Sponsors were Patrick and Helen Carolin.

I extracted these entries using FHL microfilm no. 1398540. If you think you have a connection to one of these individuals, I'd be happy to exchange information.

Christmas Tour of Blogs

As a kid, we always had a real Christmas tree. There were tree sellers who set up in parking lots in my neighborhood. We would pick out a tree, buy it, and carry it the 2 or 3 blocks home.

Now, we usually get a real tree. We go to a tree farm to pick our tree. We cut it down, and wait for the tractor to come around and give us a ride back to the parking lot, where they tie it up while we have hot cider.

As a kid, we always had a nativity scene, surrounded by a Christmas village, underneath our Christmas tree. The village houses were made of cardboard. The 3 kings couldn’t be in the nativity scene until Epiphany (3 kings day.) So, the kings and their entourage started at the opposite end of the Christmas village, and moved a little closer to the nativity scene every day until it was their time. On the tree we had Christmas lights, tinsel, and ornaments that were older than me. We also had a traditional Lithuanian ornament that we bought at a museum gift shop.

Now, we have a nativity scene, usually under the tree or on a nearby table. We have an ever-expanding Christmas village that includes a fire station, pet store, post office and Irish pub. I still don’t let the 3 kings arrive too soon. We have lights on our tree and on the bushes in front of the house. It seems like the strings of lights always worked when I was a kid, but now we are lucky if the strings of lights last for more than one Christmas. We have a lot of ornaments, and we get a few new ones every year. The ornaments include Irish dancers, cartoon characters, skiing Santas, and places we’ve visited. I also have a few ornaments from my childhood. The only thing special about those is that they are still older than me.

Thanks for stopping by. Merry Christmas!

Here We Come a Caroling...

Footnote Maven has invited geneabloggers to join her Blog Caroling. So, post the lyrics to your favorite Christmas carol and join in.

It is difficult for me to choose just one favorite Christmas carol because I love Christmas music and have favorites in many categories. Among the Christmas hymns that I grew up with, my favorite is “O Come, O Come, Emmanuel.” I really love the medieval sound of the song. To hear the music, click here

O come, O come, Emmanuel,
And ransom captive Israel,
That mourns in lonely exile here
Until the Son of God appear.

Rejoice! Rejoice!
Emmanuel shall come to thee, O Israel.

O come, Thou Wisdom from on high,
Who orderest all things mightily;
To us the path of knowledge show,
And teach us in her ways to go.


O come, Thou Rod of Jesse, free
Thine own from Satan’s tyranny;
From depths of hell Thy people save,
And give them victory over the grave.


O come, Thou Day-spring, come and cheer
Our spirits by Thine advent here;
Disperse the gloomy clouds of night,
And death’s dark shadows put to flight.


O come, Thou Key of David, come,
And open wide our heavenly home;
Make safe the way that leads on high,
And close the path to misery.


O come, O come, great Lord of might,
Who to Thy tribes on Sinai’s height
In ancient times once gave the law
In cloud and majesty and awe.


O come, Thou Root of Jesse’s tree,
An ensign of Thy people be;
Before Thee rulers silent fall;
All peoples on Thy mercy call.


O come, Desire of nations, bind
In one the hearts of all mankind;
Bid Thou our sad divisions cease,
And be Thyself our King of Peace.


I have a favorite country Christmas song! This is surprising since I am not a big fan of country music. But “Christmas in Dixie” by Alabama is definitely one of my top 5 Christmas songs of all time. Any song that has the line “It’s windy in Chicago…” sounds good to me. You can read the lyrics and hear the song by following this link.

Some of my other favorites include “Angels We Have Heard on High”; “Grown up Christmas List”; “Peace on Earth/Little Drummer Boy” by Bing Crosby and David Bowie; “I’ll Be Home for Christmas”, the Eagles version; and “White Christmas.”

I feel a sudden need for some hot cocoa. Enjoy the holidays!

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Holiday Party Photos

In honor of the holiday season, here are some photos from holiday parties past. These are pictures of employees of the Chicago office of the Veterans Administration. They don't seem too jolly, but the hats and ties are rather festive.

My parents, Edwin F. Brady and Ann Skrobul, worked at the Veteran's Administration. My mom started there in about 1943 and worked there until about 1955. I'm not sure when Edwin began working at the VA, but in 1977 he retired from there.

This is a photo of Mr. Chadwick, my mom's boss when she worked in the Personnel Department. Unfortunately, none of the other people in these photos are identified. If you think you recognize someone, I'd like to hear from you.

Enjoy this holiday season!

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

My 3 Wishes for the Genea Santa

The topic for the next edition of the Carnival of Genealogy is: 3 Wishes! This is your chance to write a letter to Genea-Santa. Make a list of 3 gifts you would like to receive this holiday season from 3 of your ancestors. These have to be material things, not clues to your family history (we're talking gifts here, not miracles!).

So here is my entry:

Dear Genea Santa:

Here are my 3 wishes for this Christmas:

1. My 2nd great-grandmother, Ellen McSorley Bestick, was a milliner in Newark, NJ in the 1850s and 1860s. I’d really like to have a hat from her millinery shop.

2. My grandfather, Garrett Leo Brady, moved to Chicago around the time of the 1893 Columbian Exposition. I’d like to have a souvenir of his visit to the exposition—maybe a ticket stub from the ferris wheel.

3. My 2nd great-grandfather was Captain Garret Brady of Company C, 2nd New Jersey Volunteers. He served in the Civil War and was later a member of Lincoln Post 11 of the Grand Army of the Republic. I’d like to have a memento of his GAR membership.

While you are filling these wishes, Genea Santa, a few more old photos or letters would be nice too.

Merry Christmas!

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Ann Skrobul Brady 1914 - 2000

This is a photo of my mom Ann Skrobul Brady. She was born in Beckemeyer, IL on December 9, 1914. After finishing school, Ann moved to Chicago. She worked for some years for Shriners Hospital as a nursing assistant. Starting in about 1943, Mom worked at the Veterans Administration offices in Chicago, which is where she and Dad met.

My mom loved flowers. She planted rose bushes in front of the apartment building where we lived. Since her birthday was in December, I always bought her a pointsetta plant for her birthday, and flowers for other occasions too.

She loved to listen to music, although our tastes eventually diverged--she enjoyed the Lawrence Welk Show!

Mom was a big sports fan, following all of Chicago's sports teams. Her favorite team was the Chicago Cubs followed closely by the Bulls.

My mom enjoyed nature, especially going for walks along the lakefront.

Family was very important to my mom. She enjoyed talking to her sisters and brothers by phone, and writing letters to them too. She was also very proud of her Lithuanian heritage. (Mom and my Aunt Jo used to practice their Lithuanian language skills when they didn't want me to know what they were talking about.) Mom was thrilled when we made contact with cousins in Lithuania, since we had lost contact with that part of the family after World War II.

And, as shown in some of the photos I've posted of her, she liked interesting hats.

I learned alot from my mom--everything from planting flowers to baking cookies to how to ride the Ravenswood 'L'.

Happy Birthday Mom!

Monday, December 8, 2008

Baby Raymond's Photo

This is my entry to the 8th Edition of Smile For The Camera. The theme is Stocking Stuffer--post a picture that would make a great Stocking Stuffer and tell whose stocking you'd stuff. The photo can be of an ancestor, relative, yourself, or an orphan photograph. I immediately thought of this photo of Baby Raymond (last name unknown) at Shriners Hospital in Chicago.

My mom, Ann Skrobul, worked at Shriners Childrens Hospital for awhile in the 1940s. I have several photos from there, which are mainly unidentified. A number of the photos are of Baby Raymond. Here he is as a toddler.

This photo shows Baby Raymond as an infant in his crib.

I don't know what happened to Baby Raymond. I have not found any photos of him at an age past his toddler years. I don't know what illness or injury resulted in him being treated at Shriners. However, it seems he was receiving treatment there for at least a year or 2 based on these photos.

Here is the last photo of Baby Raymond, which provides some clues on the back of the photo. On it is written "Baby Raymond at Shriners." Below this is stamped the number 9, and then stamped in pink inside a circle is "5 prints and 2 enlargements from your Roll ONLY 25c APR 10 1940 PHOTO FRIEND FILM CO. LITCHFIELD ILLINOIS." Can't beat those prices! So, if we assume that the film was developed soon after it was taken, that means Baby Raymond, who looks about 1 year old to me in this photo, was being treated at Shriners Hospital in Chicago in April, 1940.

I have a few more similar photos of Baby Raymond, which I'd be glad to include with these as a stocking stuffer to a relative of Raymond. So, if you recognize the child in these photos and have information to share, or would like the original photos, please contact me. And Raymond, if you are out there, I hope you are doing well and I'd like to hear from you.

Saturday, December 6, 2008

The Brady-Blanchet Wedding

This week has been dedicated to my Longford ancestors. So I've decided to end the week with wedding photos of one of their descendants, Gertrude Brady.

Here is a picture of Gertrude (on the right) with her maid of honor, Katherine McGrath and the best man Louis, a brother of Paul Blanchet, the groom.

Gertrude was the great-granddaughter of Timothy Bestick, who came from County Longford, Ireland.

Gertrude was born in New Jersey in 1890, the only daughter of James A. Brady and Mary T. McGrath. She lived in Newark, NJ for a time with her parents, grandparents Thomas and Mary A. McGrath, and aunts Margaret A. and Helen A. McGrath. By 1910, Gertrude and her parents were living on the north side of Chicago (without the in-laws.) In 1918, they moved to New York City.

Gertrude married Paul Blanchet on 26 April 1926. This photo of the couple was taken on their wedding day in "Mrs. Blanchet's garden" in South Orange, NJ.

Paul and Gertrude lived together for many happy years. Paul died on 3 November 1972. Gertrude died on 11 November 1977.

Friday, December 5, 2008

How many John Besticks were there?

I don’t know for sure but I count at least 5. And that’s just in the eastern United States in the 1800s. One of my genealogical goals is to discover which, if any of the John Besticks in the United States is John, who was baptized on 11 June 1803 in Longford, Ireland, whose parents were James Bestick and Catherine Farrell, and whose brother was my ancestor Timothy Bestick

Here are the John Besticks I’ve found so far.

John1 was born about 1805 in Ireland. He lived in Bridgeport, CT in 1840, 1850 and 1860. His occupation was carriage painter. He married Lucy Wogan and had several children including John2.

John2 was, born in CT in 1847. He was baptized in Newark, NJ in 1847. His parents were John1 and Lucy Wogan. His godmother was Ellen McSorley Bestick, wife of Timothy Bestick. John2’s probable occupations were brass finisher (1869-70 Bridgeport directory) and core maker (1874-5 Bridgeport directory).

John3 was born in Ireland in about 1819. He arrived in New York with Francis Bestick in 1837. His occupation was saddler. Could he be the same as the John Bestick who lived in New York City and worked as as hoemaker (1857 & 1869 NYC city directories).

John4 was born about 1846 in Ireland. He married Ann McCarmick on 29 June 1866 in Brooklyn, NY, They were married by a Justice of the Peace. His occupation was plumber. His parents names were John Bestick and Bridget Gannon.

John5 was born in about 1857 in Ireland. His occupation was laborer. He was at Castle Garden, NY when the 1880 census was taken.

My theory is that John1 was the same person as John Bestick who was baptized in Longford in 1803. I don’t have proof yet, but I have several pieces of supporting evidence: 1) The ages from the U.S. censuses for John1 are close to what John Bestick’s of Longford would be. 2) John1 had a son baptized at the church that Timothy Bestick’s family attended in Newark, NJ. Timothy’s wife was the son’s godmother. 3) Of John1’s 8 children, two are named James and Catherine, the same as the parents of John in Longford. Three of the children have names that are the same as the siblings of John of Longford. 4) When Timothy Bestick’s daughter Mary died in 1908, one obituary requested that Bridgeport newspapers “please copy.” This indicates that Mary had family or friends in Bridgeport. (Additional source details are available upon request.)

None of these items are sufficient by themselves to prove that these two John Besticks are the same person, or that John1 is a sibling of Timothy. But all the items are consistent with my theory. I have not found any evidence that contradicts my theory. I still hope to find an obituary or other source that will provide direct evidence to prove or disprove my theory.

So, what do you think?

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Why I look at every available source.

This is a story of my research into the Besticks of County Longford and a lesson that I learned.

I have been lucky enough to visit Ireland twice. On our first trip to Ireland in 1995, my husband and I visited the city of Longford. I knew my Bestick ancestors had come from there and I wanted to see the town where they had lived.

While walking around the town on a cloudy day, we came to St. John’s, Church of Ireland, which had an old graveyard around it. There were many headstones that were over 100 years old. Some were legible, many were not. Most that were readable contained minimal information. As we were walking around looking at the headstones, the sun broke through the clouds. My husband then pointed at a nearby headstone and asked, “Can you read that word?” I looked and read “Bestick.” I was thrilled. With the angle of the sun and a lot of effort, we were able to make out the following inscription:
“O Lord have mercy on the soul of Catharine Bestick who departed this life on the 19 of August 1830 aged 21 years”

The sun had broken through at just the right moment for us to see the inscription. If we had been there on a rainy day, we would not have made this discovery.

Our next trip to Ireland was in 2006 with our daughters. This trip was the Library-Tour of Ireland for me and the Playground-Tour of-Ireland for my husband and the kids. (It is great to have a family that puts up with my family history obsession.) While at the Longford County Library, I copied some pages from a manuscript, including a transcription of the Catharine Bestick headstone we had found in 1995. Upon comparing the two versions, I discovered that the manuscript contained an extra line of text that was not visible on the headstone in 1995. This line was … “Erected by her Mother Anne Bestick”

This experience taught me a valuable lesson about genealogy research—always look at all the available sources. It might have seemed like a waste of time to copy a transcription of a headstone that I had already photographed and transcribed myself. But in this case, the transcription contained more information than the original headstone. If I hadn’t copied the manuscript, I would have missed a valuable clue to the relationships of one Bestick family of Longford.

The Bestick Family of Longford

Last week I blogged a little about my great-grandmother Mary Bestick Brady. This week, I plan to start posting what I know about her Bestick ancestors and relatives.

My earliest Irish immigrant ancestor was Mary’s father Timothy Bestick. He came from County Longford and settled in Newark, NJ before 1833. When I began doing genealogy, I knew very little about the Bestick line. Since then, I’ve had some great discoveries. For example, originally we didn’t know where in Ireland the Besticks were from. I did find through the Householders Index that the name was found in Longford, so I started researching in church records there. I also wrote to the church in Newark, NJ to obtain Timothy’s marriage certificate for my collection. I received a transcript from the church with the basic information. But then, I noticed that the Newark church’s records were also on microfilm through the Family History Library. So, I decided to take a look at the microfilm too. And when I did, there was Timothy’s marriage listed on the first page of the church marriage register. Besides the information I already had, it stated that he was from County Longford and his wife Ellen McSorley came from County Tyrone. The priest only noted where people were from for the first few pages of the register. So, this was the first of my lucky finds in my Bestick research.

Timothy was the son of James Bestick and Catherine Farrell. He was baptized on 25 March 1809 at the Catholic Church at Longford (Templemichael and Ballymacormack parish.) The baptism sponsors were James Kiernan and Judith Bestick. Timothy was born into a large family. According to the Catholic baptism register for Longford, James and Catherine Bestick had at least 7 children: John, baptized 11 June 1803; Mary, baptized 29 June 1804; Francis, baptized. 10 May 1807; my ancestor Timothy; Edward, baptized 13 October 1810; Robert, baptized 18 September 1812; and Charles, baptized 12 December 1813.

Timothy’s parents both died at Longford before Timothy turned 18. His mother Catherine died 7 April 1819 and his father James died 22 February 1827.

Although Bestick is not a common name, there were several Bestick families in Longford. Judith Bestick was the baptism sponsor of my ancestor Timothy. Baptism sponsors of his siblings included Edward Bestick and Penelope Bestick. According to the Longford Roots research service, there was a Patrick Bestick married to Mary Beglin. Patrick and Mary had 6 children baptized between 1818 and 1830. An Edmund and Elizabeth (Greer) Bestick had 6 children baptized from 1806 to 1820. William Bestick and his wife Mary Kelly had 8 children baptized from 1814 to 1833. John and Brigid (Gannon) Bestick had one child baptized in 1838. While the Bestick name is uncommon, they were “thick on the ground” in Longford prior to the famine.

How were these other Besticks related to Timothy’s family? I don’t know for sure, but I believe they may all have a common ancestor 2 or 3 generations back from Timothy. I hope that someday I will be able to prove at least some of the relationships.

Coming soon: Timothy’s siblings in the United States and in Ireland.

Monday, December 1, 2008

Our Favorite Christmas Tradition

The topic of the current Carnival of Genealogy is Traditions. What traditions were passed on to you from an earlier generation? Do you keep those traditions? What tradition(s) will you or have you passed on to a younger generation?

When I was a child, my favorite Christmas tradition was baking Christmas cookies. My mom and I made spritz cookies. I got to get my hands green from the food coloring and use a cookie press. That was great fun!

I've continued making Christmas cookies every year, and giving plates of cookies to friends and relatives. My chocolate chip cookies are the most popular, but I still like the spritzes too.

Now my daughters enjoy baking as much as I do. We make spritz, chocolate chip and a few other kinds of cookies. They love getting their hands green from the food coloring and decorating the cookies with lots of sprinkles.

To see links to this carnival and others, go to the Carnival of Genealogy.