Saturday, January 31, 2009

Stella and Estelle

Here is a picture of Stella (Koch) Gordon and Estelle Hunley, two friends of my mom, Ann Skrobul Brady. Stella and Estelle seem to be dressed warm for Chicago weather, in warm coats and matching scarves. This photo was probably taken in Chicago in the 1940s.

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Emilija Skrabulyte, 1916-1979

This is a photo of Emilija Skrabulyte (aka Emily Skrobul). Emily was born in Kapciamiestis, Lithuania, the daughter of Stanislovas Skrabulis and Ona Jauciulyte. Emily came to the United States and married Ballis Steponis. They lived in Cleveland, and Emily died there in 1979.

Emily was a first cousin of my mom, Ann (Skrobul) Brady. This photo of Emily helped to reconnect 2 branches of the Skrobul family who had lost touch with each other. A cousin brought this photo, and others, to Lithuania on a visit. A cousin he met there recognized the photos.

Saturday, January 24, 2009

Vernie, Bob and Ann

Here is a photo of my mom, her sister and a friend of theirs. From left to right: Veronica (Skrobul) Mensing (aka Aunt Vernie), Bob Kahroff (a friend) and Ann (Skrobul) Brady (my mom). I believe the photo was taken in Beckemeyer, Illinois in the early 1940s.

Bob appears to be wearing a uniform of some type, but I do not recognize it. I'd like to hear from anybody who knew Bob or recognizes his uniform.

Friday, January 23, 2009

My Newest Quest: Patrick Whelan

I am searching for two Patrick Whelans of Chicago who served in the Civil War and were both born in Kilkenny. Here is the information I've gathered from the Illinois Secretary of State's website.

Patrick Whalen, Rank Private, Company G, 23rd Illinois Infantry. He was 35 years old, 5' 8", brown hair, gray eyes, unmarried. He was a moulder.

Patrick Whalan, Rank Private, Company G, 90th Illinois Infantry. He was 26 years old, 5' 4", brown hair, blue eyes, unmarried. He was a drayman.

The reason I am so interested in these 2 soldiers, is that my ancestor, Timothy Whelan, was also from Kilkenny. And I found Timothy and a Patrick Whelan together in Chicago in 1857. The city directory listing for them from the 1857 Gager’s Chicago City Directory was:

Whaling Patrick, drayman, Hinsdale bet Franklin and N Market Ire 7 y
Whaling Timothy laborer, Hinsdale bet Franklin and N Market Ire 7 y

The "Ire 7 y" indicated they both came to Chicago from Ireland 7 years earlier.

Bailey’s 1864-5 Chicago City Directory listed the following:
Whelan Patrick, soldier, h. 36 Hinsdale

My ancestor Timothy lived at 34 W. Hinsdale for many years. So I believe that my Timothy may have been related to at least one of these Patrick Whelans. I hope that the pension files and service records for these 2 soldiers will provide information that will help me determine how (and if) they were related to Timothy, and where in County Kilkenny they came from.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

The Joseph Brady Family

This is a photograph of some of my Newark, New Jersey relatives. The photo is labeled in the handwriting of my aunt Rita Brady as "Lizzie's sister, Aunt Lizzie, Cousin Joe, Uncle Joe Brady, New Jersey." "Uncle Joe" was the son of my great grandparents, Garret Brady and Mary Ann Bestick.

In the 1900 census, Joseph Sr, his wife Elizabeth and son Joseph were living with Elizabeth's mother Margaret Hampson, a widow, and Margaret's daughters Emma and Maggie at 145 Academy St. in Newark, New Jersey.

Sunday, January 18, 2009

My Keys to Ireland

I am participating in the Carnival of Irish Heritage & Culture. The focus of this edition is "My key to Ireland." It is dedicated to the stories of genealogists tracing their Irish family trees.

My ancestors came from several different counties in Ireland: Kilkenny, Longford, Meath, Tyrone and possibly Mayo. I learned of these places of origin from a variety of sources. And I am still gathering evidence on some of them.

I found the birthplaces of my 2nd great grandparents, Timothy Bestick and Ellen McSorley in their 1833 church marriage record from Newark, New Jersey. I've written about that discovery here. I have found additional records of Timothy and his parents in Longford church records. I haven't been as successful with Ellen. McSorley is a common name in Tyrone, and it will take more digging in U.S. records of Ellen and her siblings in order to find their place of origin in County Tyrone.

I was told by my aunt, Rita Brady, that her grandfather Timothy Whelan was from Kilkenny. Since then I have found some evidence supporting that. The Whelan surname and the surname of Timothy Whelan's first wife, Mary Sinnott, are both common in Kilkenny. I am still gathering information about other Whelans from Kilkenny who settled in Chicago, to see if any of them are related to Timothy.

Aunt Rita also told me that Timothy Whelan's second wife, Catherine Markey, was from County Meath. According to Rita, Catherine and her mother came to the U.S. from "County Meath near the River Boyne, 5 miles from the sea." This exact wording was also used by a distant cousin who was descended from Catherine's aunt Bridget Ratty Crawley. The wording was so specific that it sounded like a quote from a travel brochure. I later found that wording in a gazeteer of Ireland.

My Aunt Rita told me that her grandfather, Garret Brady, was from County Mayo. I haven't found any supporting evidence of this in obituaries or other sources. And Brady is not a common name in County Mayo. But Aunt Rita's information has been pretty reliable about our other ancestors, so for now I am taking her word for it and hoping to find records of Garret that will lead me to his place of origin in Ireland.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Frances Whelan, 1874-1960

This is a copy of an obituary that has been handed down in my family. It is for Sister Delphine, previously known as Frances Whelan. She was the daughter of Timothy Whelan and Catherine Markey, and was my dad's favorite aunt.

Frances was born 20 October 1874, and was baptized at Holy Name Cathedral, Chicago, on 1 November 1874. Her godfather was James Whelan. His relationship to the family is not known, but I hope to find that out someday.

According to the 1902 Chicago city directory, Frances was a teacher who lived at 1140 Jackson. I've been told that she delayed joining the convent in order to help her widowed mother.

Information from the Sinsinawa Dominican's archives indicates that Frances taught Latin. She also served as a superior of a convent on two occasions. The archives also provided a copy of Frances' grades from her days as a student at Saint Clara Academy. Her lowest grade was a 75 in Bookkeeping, and her highest was a 96 in Latin 2.

I don't remember Sister Delphine, who died when I was very young. I have heard from family members that she was alot of fun. Once her relatives, including Tim Furey, were visiting and Tim asked what he could bring her besides stationery. She told him beer would be good. He had some delivered from the Pabst brewery.

Here is a photo of Sister Delphine labeled "Sr Delphine Summer 1949 Oak Park."

Monday, January 12, 2009

Ann Scrobel, Jackie and Binsky

This is a picture of 2 of my relatives from Gary, Indiana and a family friend. On the left is Joe Slavinski, who was also known as Binsky. (Why, I don't know.) Joe was a friend of my grandfather Anton Skrobul (aka Antanas Skrabulis.) Next to Joe is Ann (Waxner) Scrobel, the wife of Anton's brother William. Standing in front of Ann is her granddaughter Jackie Buyse.

The Scrobels and Waxners were "double cousins." Ann Waxner's brother Walter married William Scrobel's sister Antanina. So their children were cousins on both their mother's side and their father's side.

Sunday, January 11, 2009

The Whelan and O'Malley Families of Chicago

While researching my Whelan family, I collected the following Whelan baptisms. The spellings of names were copied as they were written in the baptism register. These entries are from Holy Name Cathedral (Chicago, IL) Baptisms 1891-1904 (FHL 1578585, item 8.)

Baptized 18 Dec 1892, John Thomas Whalen, son of Timothy Whalen and Elizabeth O'Malley. Born 5 Dec 1892. Sponsors Martin O'Malley and Mary O'Malley. Page 23.

Baptized 27-Jul 1894, Michael Whalen (conditional), son of Michael Whalen and Marg Whalen. Born 27 July 1894. Sposors Mary Melvin. Page 51.

Baptized 21-Oct 1894, Ann Whalen, daughter of Timothy Whalen and Eliz Omalley. Born 7 Oct 1894. Sponsors James Ohara and Miss Grass. Page 55.

Baptized 20-Jun 1896, William Anthony Whalen, son of Timothy Whalen and Eliza Omalley. Born 13 Jun 1896. Sponsors Patrick Omalley and Ann Omalley. Page 82.

Baptized 27-Jun 1897. Joseph George Whalen, son of William Whalen and Lizzie Gleason. Born 19 May 1897. Sponsor Mary McConnell. Page 99.

Baptized 24-Apr 1898. Mary Evaline Whalen, daughter of Timothy Whalen and Eliz Omalley. Born 8 Apr 1898. Sponsors William Omalley and Blanche Omalley. Page 111.

Baptized 2-Jul 1899. Timothy Whelan, son of Timothy Whelan and Eliz Omalley. Born 15 Jun 1899. Sponsors Patrick Walsh and Nellie Whelan. Page 127.

Baptized 29-Sep 1901. Agnes Bernice Whalen, daughter of Timothy Whalen and Eliz Omalley. Born 11-Sep-01. Sponsors Peter Omalley and Margaret Omalley. Page 157. Married Thomas Schreiber 5-5-62 Our Lady of Grace.

Baptized 25-Oct 1903. Francis Aloysius Whalen, son of Timothy Whalen and Eliz Omalley. Born 9-Oct-03. Sponsors Nicholas Ratty and Mary Omalley. Page 185. Married Irene Rossdahl Jan 28,1953 St. Philomen.

These entries are not my immediate family of interest. However, I believe that the Timothy and Elizabeth (O'Malley) Whelan family above may be related to me. My great-grandfather Timothy Whelan, who died in 1894, and his family attended Holy Name Cathedral. He had some possible siblings in the Chicago area, and I have wondered if this Timothy above could be the nephew of my Timothy. One new piece of information from the entries above supports a relationship between these 2 Timothys--Nicholas Ratty, sponsor of Timothy and Elizabeth's son Francis, was a relative of my Timothy's wife Catherine. I hope that in the future I'll find documentation that will prove or disprove a relationship between these 2 Timothys.

The Skrobuls and Friends

This is a picture of some of my Skrobul relatives from Beckemeyer, Illinois and their friends. I believe the photo was taken in the early 1940s.

In the back row: Grandpa Anton Skrobul (aka Antanas Skrabulis), a friend named Tony McCloskey, my uncle Stan Skrobul.

In the front row: my uncle Anthony Skrobul, an unidentified friend.

If you know the name of the unidentified friend, I'd like to hear from you.

Thursday, January 8, 2009

Who are you Baby Raymond?

The theme for the 9th Edition of Smile For The Camera is Who Are You - I Really Want To Know? For me, I come back once again to Baby Raymond.

I have blogged about Baby Raymond before (here) including a copy of this photo. Well, as I continued organizing my old photos, I came across this second copy of the photo. On the back of this one is written "Baby Raymond from N. Dakota." So, we have another bit of information about Raymond, who was treated at Shriners Hospital in Chicago in the 1940s--apparently he was from North Dakota.

I hope someday I'll learn more about Baby Raymond, and be able to pass on some baby photos of him to his descendents.

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Mom and Friends

Here is a photo of my mom, Ann Skrobul, with her friends on another snowy day in Chicago. Mom is the one on the right. I believe that Stella Gordon is second from the left (based on comparisons to labeled photos of Stella.) The others are unidentified. If you recognize anyone in the photo, I'd like to hear from you.

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

The 99+ Genealogy Things Meme

I found this genealogy meme at Kinexxions. Here are the instructions:

If you wish to participate in the meme, simply copy the text below and paste it into your blog (or into a note on facebook if you don't have a blog) and annotate the list accordingly. We're on the 'honor system' here, no one is going to check up on you! Participation is up to you, no tagging of other bloggers required. A link back to this post would be nice but is not mandatory ;-)

The list should be annotated in the following manner:
Things you have already done or found: bold face type
Things you would like to do or find: italicize (color optional)
Things you haven’t done or found and don’t care to: plain type

Here are my answers:

1. Belong to a genealogical society.
2. Researched records onsite at a court house.
3. Transcribed records.

4. Uploaded tombstone pictures to Find-A-Grave.
5. Documented ancestors for four generations (self, parents, grandparents, great-grandparents) .

6. Joined Facebook.
7. Helped to clean up a run-down cemetery.
8. Joined the Genea-Bloggers Group on Facebook.
9. Attended a genealogy conference.

10. Lectured at a genealogy conference.
11. Spoke on a genealogy topic at a local genealogy society.
12. Been the editor of a genealogy society newsletter.
13. Contributed to a genealogy society publication.
14. Served on the board or as an officer of a genealogy society.
15. Got lost on the way to a cemetery.
16. Talked to dead ancestors.
17. Researched outside the state in which I live.

18. Knocked on the door of an ancestral home and visited with the current occupants.
19. Cold called a distant relative.
20. Posted messages on a surname message board.
21. Uploaded a gedcom file to the internet.
22. Googled my name.
23. Performed a random act of genealogical kindness.
24. Researched a non-related family, just for the fun of it.
25. Have been paid to do genealogical research.
26. Earn a living (majority of income) from genealogical research.
27. Wrote a letter (or email) to a previously unknown relative.
28. Contributed to one of the genealogy carnivals.
29. Responded to messages on a message board or forum.

30. Was injured while on a genealogy excursion.
31. Participated in a genealogy meme.
32. Created family history gift items (calendars, cookbooks, etc.).
33. Performed a record lookup for someone else.
34. Went on a genealogy seminar cruise.
35. Am convinced that a relative must have arrived here from outer space. 36. Found a disturbing family secret.
37. Told others about a disturbing family secret.
38. Combined genealogy with crafts (family picture quilt, scrapbooking).
39. Think genealogy is a passion not a hobby.

40. Assisted finding next of kin for a deceased person (Unclaimed Persons).
41. Taught someone else how to find their roots.
42. Lost valuable genealogy data due to a computer crash or hard drive failure.
43. Been overwhelmed by available genealogy technology.
44. Know a cousin of the 4th degree or higher.
45. Disproved a family myth through research.
46. Got a family member to let you copy photos.
47. Used a digital camera to “copy” photos or records.

48. Translated a record from a foreign language.
49. Found an immigrant ancestor’s passenger arrival record.
50. Looked at census records on microfilm, not on the computer.
51. Used microfiche.

52. Visited the Family History Library in Salt Lake City.
53. Visited more than one LDS Family History Center.
54. Visited a church or place of worship of one of your ancestors.

55. Taught a class in genealogy.
56. Traced ancestors back to the 18th Century.
57. Traced ancestors back to the 17th Century.
58. Traced ancestors back to the 16th Century.
59. Can name all of your great-great-grandparents.

60. Found an ancestor’s Social Security application.
61. Know how to determine a soundex code without the help of a computer.
62. Used Steve Morse’s One-Step searches.
63. Own a copy of Evidence Explained by Elizabeth Shown Mills.

64. Helped someone find an ancestor using records you had never used for your own research.
65. Visited the main National Archives building in Washington, DC.
66. Visited the Library of Congress.

67. Have an ancestor who came over on the Mayflower.
68. Have an ancestor who fought in the Civil War.
69. Taken a photograph of an ancestor’s tombstone.

70. Became a member of the Association of Graveyard Rabbits.
71. Can read a church record in Latin.
72. Have an ancestor who changed their name.
73. Joined a Rootsweb mailing list.

74. Created a family website.
75. Have more than one "genealogy" blog.
76. Was overwhelmed by the amount of family information received from someone.
77. Have broken through at least one brick wall.
78. Visited the DAR Library in Washington D.C.
79. Borrowed a microfilm from the Family History Library through a local Family History Center.
80. Have done indexing for Family Search Indexing or another genealogy project.
81. Visited the Allen County Public Library Genealogy Center in Fort Wayne, Indiana.
82. Had an amazing serendipitous find of the "Psychic Roots" variety.

83. Have an ancestor who was a Patriot in the American Revolutionary War.
84. Have an ancestor who was a Loyalist in the American Revolutionary War.
85. Have both Patriot & Loyalist ancestors.
86. Have used Border Crossing records to locate an ancestor.
87. Use maps in my genealogy research.
88. Have a convict ancestor who was transported from the UK.
89. Found a bigamist amongst the ancestors.
90. Visited the National Archives in Kew.
91. Visited St. Catherine's House in London to find family records.

92. Found a cousin in Australia (or other foreign country). LITHUANIA!
93. Consistently cite my sources.
94. Visited a foreign country (i.e. one I don't live in) in search of ancestors. IRELAND!
95. Can locate any document in my research files within a few minutes.
96. Have an ancestor who was married four times (or more).
97. Made a rubbing of an ancestors gravestone.
98. Organized a family reunion.
99. Published a family history book (on one of my families).
100. Learned of the death of a fairly close relative through research.
101. Have done the genealogy happy dance.
102. Sustained an injury doing the genealogy happy dance.
103. Offended a family member with my research.
104. Reunited someone with precious family photos or artifacts.

That's enough about me. What about you?

Monday, January 5, 2009

Gertrude loved her hats!

Gertrude Brady Blanchet seems to have loved her hats. Most of the photos that I have of her show her wearing an interesting hat. In this one, we can see her husband Paul is apparently adjusting her hat for her. Or perhaps he is just keeping it from blowing away.

Sunday, January 4, 2009

The Proximade Award

I'm catching up with my blogging this weekend. So, thanks very much to Sheri and Kathryn. Sheri at The Educated Genealogist and Kathryn at the California Genealogical Society and Library Blog have both given me the Proximidade Award.

"These blogs invest and believe in PROXIMITY - nearness in space, time and relationships! These blogs are exceedingly charming. These kind bloggers aim to find and be friends. They are not interested in prizes or self-aggrandizement. Our hope is that when the ribbons of these prizes are cut, even more friendships are propagated. Please give more attention to these writers! Deliver this award to eight bloggers, who must choose eight more and include this cleverly-written text into the body of their award."

Since I am a bit behind on my blogging, these blogs may have already received this award by now. Here are the blogs that I will pass the award to:

1. Destination: Austin Family
2. Small-Leaved Shamrock
3. GenBlog
4. Genea-Musings
5. Midwestern Microhistory: A Genealogy Blog
6. Life in Possum Holler
7. Before My Time
8. Paula's Genealogical Eclectica

Saturday, January 3, 2009

Robert Bestick of Braintree, MA

One of my goals for 2009 is to discover if Robert Bestick of Braintree, MA is the same Robert Bestick who was baptized 18 Sept 1812 in Longford, Ireland. Robert (Longford) was the son of James Bestick and Catherine Farrell. His baptismal sponsors were Thomas Moran and Brigid Murphy. And he was the brother of my 2nd great grandfather, Timothy Bestick.

A Robert Bestick, age 19, arrived in New York in 1832 (born about 1813) according to the Passenger and Immigration Index 1500s-1900s on

I have not found any Robert Bestick in the 1840 federal census. The census listings for Robert's family for 1850, 1860, and 1870 include the following information:

1850 United States Federal Census, Braintree, Norfolk, Massachusetts
Name: Robert Bestick,age: 37, born abt 1813 in Ireland; Elisabeth Bestick 1; Elisabeth E Bestick 33; George R M Bestick 3; James T Bestick 9; Robert P Bestick 6

1860 census, Braintree, Norfolk, Massachusetts
Robert Bestick; Age 46; Born abt 1814 in Ireland; Elizabeth Bestick 43; James T Bestick 19;Robert P Bestick 15; Geo R Bestick 13; Elizabeth Bestick 10

1870 census: Braintree, Norfolk, Massachusetts
Robert Bestick born abt 1813,Age 57, Birthplace: Ireland, Elizabeth Bestick 54; Robert P Bestick 25; Elizabeth Bestick 20

The 1880 census contains an interesting discrepancy. Robert Bestick, father, age 67 (born about 1813) is listed in the household of his son George. In the same household are George's wife Alice and his 3 children Charles M., Mary E., and Clarence R. All the family members except Clarence are listed as born in MA and both parents born in MA. Clarence (who is on the line above Robert) is listed as born in Ireland, both parents born in Ireland. It seems likely that somehow the birthplace information for Clarence and Robert was reversed.

According to the 1880 Braintree, Norfolk, MA Death Register, Robert Bestick died on 16 Oct 1880. His age was 67 years, 7 months, 1 day. Robert was a widower whose occuption was bootcutter. He was born in Ireland. His parents were James and Mary. He died of pulmonary consumption.

Burial information for Robert was posted on by Carol Bestick in 2003. Robert is buried, along with several family members, in Lakeside Cemetery, Braintree. The information indicates that he was born 15 Mar 1813 and died 16 Oct 1880.

Requests to 2 public libraries for an obituary for Robert found only the following death notice: "In South Braintree, Oct 16th, Mr. Robert Bestick, aged 69 years."

The father's name for Robert Bestick of Longford and for Robert Bestick of Braintree was James. Robert of Longford's mother was Catherine. According to his death record, Robert of Braintree's mother was named Mary. However, death records aren't always the most reliable source for information such as parents' names of the deceased. Often the informants don't have personal knowledge of the parents of the deceased, especially if the deceased was a generation or 2 older than the informant.

Despite the discrepancies, I do believe that Robert Bestick of Longford and Robert Bestick of Braintree are the same person. However, I don't believe that I have enough evidence to consider it "proved" yet.

My next steps:
1. Look for biographies of Robert and his children in county histories and other sources.

2. Look for probate files for Robert and his children, in hopes of finding a mention of his place of origin or other details.

3. Look at Braintree town records on microfilm, to see if additional details can be found in marriage records or in children's birth records.

4. Search for church records for Robert of Braintree. (The church marriage record for my Timothy Bestick is the only source in the U.S. which I have found that mentions his county of origin in Ireland.)

5. Expand my search. Investigate whether any county or statewide records could be useful. Look for other published sources, manuscript collections, or organizational records that might contain information. Look at Robert's associates in Braintree and see if they lead me to a place of origin in Ireland.

That should keep me busy for 2009!

Happy New Year!

Well, the last few weeks of 2008 flew by for me. And here it is, 2009, and time to get back to my blog, which I've been neglecting. This month I plan to blog some of my discoveries and research problems connected to 3 of my familes--Bestick, Skrabulis and Whelan (Working on those New Year's resolutions already!) But first, another picture of my mom, Ann Skrobul Brady. This one seems to fit with all the snow we've had already this winter.

Best wishes to all for a safe and happy new year!