Sunday, February 15, 2015

52 Ancestors in 52 Week: # 6 – Friedrich Wilhelm Primas

Friedrich Wilhelm Primas was born 10 May 1833 in Sanniki in the Poznan Province of Prussia to Gottfried Primas and Anna Elisabeth Heimann (also found Heymann).  He was baptized on 27 May 1833 in Pudewitz [now Pobiedziska, Poland].   Friedrich was the fifth born of 10 known children, the second son.  He had 5 brothers and 4 sisters.  One of the sisters died before he was born.

Pudewitz Church record book

Friedrich baptismal record

Friedrich married Amalie Petrich on 3 May 1857 in Revier [Rejowiec]. 

Transcription of marriage record:
Revier #6 (1857) - 3rd of May - [Pastor] Huber - Miller Friedrich Primas from Wiekowko near Witkowo, second son of the deceased miller from Nekla, Gottfried Primas, with virgin Amalie Petrich, second daughter of the deceased farmer from Pidda, Gottlieb Petrich.  Both groom and bride under tutorship.  He - 24 ys old, she 16 ys 4 mths old.  Both Lutheran. With consent from court and mother.

Church in Revier where Friedrich and Amalie were married

Friedrich had two known children with Amalie.  A son, Paul, born 24 Oct 1860 in Orchowo and a daughter Emilie Henriette, born in 1863 in Nekla. Both children survived to adulthood and married.

Residence records for Nekla indicate that Friedrich Wilhelm Primas died in Nekla in 1865.   He was 32 years old and left a 24 year old widow with two young children.  Paul was 5 years old and Emilie was 2 years old.

Friedrich was my great-great-grandfather.  He died too young.

Monday, February 2, 2015

52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks: #5 Stephen Francis Brennan

Stephen Francis Brennan is my “brick wall”.  He is an enigma, seemingly appeared out of thin air.  Here is what I know and do not know about him.

I believe Stephen was born in Chicago, Cook County, Illinois on 26 Dec 1873.  He has reported his birth place as Illinois consistently in all the documentation I can find.  He has also given ages at various times that do not add up to 1873.  His birth year could anywhere from 1872 to 1884, if one believes the documents.

There is no birth certificate – his daughter Marion and I have each requested one from the Clerk of Cook County several different times and in different ways over the past 30 years and one is never found.  So was he really born there or not?  Marion thinks that Stephen’s parents were Michael and Annie Brennan over from Ireland, based on family stories.  Marion met Mary Brennan, her father’s sister, when she was a child, but has no information on her birth or death date.  We have a picture of two women that Marion was told were her grandmother Brennan and Aunt Mary, but no “proof”.  Marion also believed that her father came from a large family, and thought she remembered there were relatives in West Chicago, Illinois.  All good clues, but no facts or other details.

Possibly mother and sister Mary to Stephen Brennan

The first documentation I have found of Stephen is the 1908 Chicago City Directory.   He is listed at 2087 Wilcox Ave as a motorman.  In 1909, he is at 2157 Wilcox Ave and motorman.  

Stephen F Brennan is found in the 1910 US Census (enumerated 19 April 1910) at 4242 Wilcox St as a lodger.  The head of the household is Berjetta Marcusen, widow, 48 years old, no work listed.  Her daughter Anna is listed as single, 21 years old, and a seamstress in a department store.  Stephen is listed as male, white, single and reports his age as 31 (making birth year 1878/79).  He is listed as being born in Illinois, both parents born in Ireland.  He is a motorman of a street car.   Another lodger is Charlie Leander, male, white, single, 24 years old, born in Norway as were his parents.  Charlie arrived in the US in 1905 and is listed as a bartender in a saloon. He does not seem to be related to any of the others.

Marriage License of Stephen and Ann Brennan

On 15 June 1910 Stephen married Anna Marcusen in Olivet Methodist Episcopal Church, Chicago, Cook County, Illinois.  This was Anna’s home church.  Family lore has it that Stephen’s family disowned him for marrying out of the faith and non-Irish.  That is the reason why Marion was told she never met his family.

Anna and Stephen Brennan taken by
Burritt Studio, 10 N Kedzie Ave, Chicago

In the 1910 through 1916 and 1923 Chicago City Directories, he is listed as Stephen or Stephen F at 4242 Wilcox Ave and motorman.  

Stephen’s first son, Clarence Francis, was born 12 May 1912 and died 20 July 1912 at 2 Months 10 Days old.  Documented cause of death was “starvation due to pyloric stenosis” with a duration of 1 month.  On the birth certificate Stephen is listed as a street car motorman.

Stephen’s second son, Charles Joseph, was born 23 Aug 1914 and his only daughter, Marion Elizabeth was born 1 Oct 1917.  On Charles birth certificate Stephen is listed as a street car motorman.

1916 Chicago City Directory

In the World War I Draft Registration dated 12 Sep 1918, Stephen reports his birth date as 26 Dec 1873.  He is a native born citizen living at 4242 Wilcox Ave and a motorman for the Chicago Surface Lines.  His nearest relative is Anna Elizabeth Brennan.  It is noted that he is medium height, slender build with blue eyes and light brown hair.

Front Row:  Henry Hanson, Berjetta's nephew and Marion's Godfather; Charles Brennan,
Marion Brennan on her father's lap. 
Back row:  Berjetta Hanson Marcusen;
Anna Elizabeth Marcusen Brennan; Stephen Brennan. Circa 1918

Stephen F Brennan is found in the 1920 US Census (enumerated 6 Jan 1920) at 4242 Wilcox St as Head of the Household.  He is listed as age 36 (making birth year 1884, seems he aged only 4 years between the census years), motorman for Surface Lines.  In the household is his wife Anna E Brennan, age 31; his son Charles J, age 5; his daughter Marion age 2 ½; and his mother-in-law Berjetta Marcusen.  It shows that the house is owned with no mortgage on the line with Stephen’s name, but the fact is that Berjetta owned the house, not Stephen. 

Chicago Streetcar from Chicagology

In the 1928 Chicago City Directory, he is at 4242 Wilcox and listed as a janitor.
We see Stephen again in the 1930 US Census (enumerated 5 April 1930) at 4242 Wilcox St as Head of the Household.  He is listed as 52 (making birth year 1878) and janitor for an apartment building.   In the household is his wife Anna E, age 41; mother-in-law Berjetta Marcusen, age 68, a laundress out of the home and his children, Charles J age 15 and Marion E age 12.   Again it shows that the house is owned (with a value of $7000) on the line with Stephen’s name.

Stephen Brennan in front of 4242 Wilcox

On 1 May 1939 Anna files a suit in the Superior Court of Cook County, Illinois, asking for separate maintenance from Stephen.  She alleged that in April 1938, August 1938 and February 1939, Stephen struck her and threatened her life.  According to the suit filed, Anna “maintained conjugal relations with the defendant until AD 1920” and that “for five year immediately prior to the filing of the complaint, the defendant…has pursued a morose, hostile and wrongful course of conduct toward the plaintiff”.  According to the document, it appears that Stephen had also been unemployed for most of the past 6 years (1933-1939) and contributed no support for Anna or the children, "not even enough for food".  It says that Stephen and Anna have been living apart since 12 April 1939.  It is also clear in the documentation that the property at 4242 Wilcox was not Stephen’s, but Berjetta and Anna’s.  The divorce was finalized 16 Aug 1940.

In the 1940 US Census (enumerated 5 April 1940) Stephen is listed at 2816 Warren Blvd as Head of Household.  He is the only one in the household.  He reports himself as married, 66 years old (making birth year 1874) with an 8th grade education and living in the same place as in 1935.  He is a janitor in an apartment building.  Anna and the children are still at 4242 Wilcox Ave with Berjetta listed as Head of the Household.  Anna reports herself as married.  The divorce was not filed until after the census was enumerated.

In the 1945 Florida state census, Stephen is listed in Orange Park, Clay County, Florida in a long list of other men he same general age, probably all residing at Moosehaven. 

According to their web site, Moosehaven, known as the "City of Contentment," is located in Orange Park, Florida, 15 miles south of downtown Jacksonville. Situated on a wide expanse of the St. Johns River in northeast Florida, the 72-acre campus has been home to members of the Loyal Order of Moose and Women of the Moose since 1922.   In 1918, Director General James J. Davis proposed to that year's International Convention to find "a home in a warmer climate for the aged members and their spouses."  Supreme Secretary Rodney H. Brandon purchased the historic four-story Hotel Marion and its eight acres, located on the St. Johns River in Orange Park, Florida. He named the property "Moosehaven" and the new residents renamed the hotel, "Brandon Hall." Moosehaven was dedicated on October 3, 1922. During the first six months of operation, over 50 residents were admitted. By 1926, there were 144 residents. Known initially as the "City of Endeavor," Moosehaven residents performed all of their own work and operated a successful dairy and farm.  (More about Moosehaven here.)

Photo Courtesy of Florida Photographic Collection 

In 17 Aug 1951, Stephen died at Moosehaven of coronary occlusion after 10 years of arteriosclerosis (probably a heart attack).  He is listed as retired motorman, divorced with a date of birth as 26 Dec 1873 making him 77 years old.  His parents’ names are listed as unknown.  His last known Chicago address was shown as 2816 Warren Ave.  Interestingly, the length of stay at Orange Park shows “19 years, 3 months” which would mean he had been there since 1932, but we know that cannot be true based on the other records, so it is probably a typographical error.  The physician of record says he has been attending Stephen since 15 Sep 1947 to the present. 

Stephen was not talked about by his immediate family after the divorce.  His daughter-in-law Alice, who married Stephen’s son Charles in 1946, thought he was dead, as her husband never spoke of him.  She was also told not to speak of him with her mother-in-law Anna.  In the early 1990s, Charles admitted he had visited with his father in Florida in about 1945-46.  Charles was stationed there in the service and went to visit his father.  He did not elaborate on the visit.

Marion was very interested in her father and his family, and wanted to talk about him but knew little.  She said that he did not live with the family during her school years much, but that he was “around” (this would have been 1930-1940).  So even though the divorce document says they have been living apart in 1939, it was probably earlier than that.  Around 1999, when she and I were cleaning up in the kitchen after a family dinner, she finally admitted to me (in a hushed voice so no one else could hear) that her parents had been divorced.  According to Marion, Anna’s mother Berjetta had strong feelings about marriage and divorce.  She encouraged Anna to maintain the marriage.  Marion said she felt that her mother Anna needed permission from Berjetta to file for divorce.   When Berjetta realized how bad things had gotten, she supported Anna in the divorce proceedings.

Other thoughts:
I have to wonder if Francis was a father or grandfather to Stephen, as it is his middle name and his first son’s middle name.  He consistently is found as Stephen or Stephen F in the known records when he is an adult.  Possibly he was known as Francis earlier in life. 

Over the years I have found some Brennan families in the census records that seem to possibly the right family, but nothing conclusive.  I have also found “likely suspects” that are possibly Stephen, but born in St Louis, or living in Milwaukee.  Without knowing his parents’ names, it is a hard wall to climb.

Stephen’s daughter, grandson and great-grandsons have had DNA testing.  The Y-DNA confirms an Irish lineage.  From the clan project at FamilyTreeDNA:  Grandson and great-grandsons are of theCorca Achlann tribe of central County Roscommon, Ireland, which includes the surnames Mulvihill and Brennan and their variants. Our Brennans are of the same stock as the Mulvihills, arising as a competitive entity for the Chieftainship of the tribe in about 1150 AD.  There are at least 4 other, completely unrelated, sources for the Brennan name, and part of the objectives of the DNA Program is to attempt to sort this out.  Initial Y-DNA STR results have been reported by FTDNA and appear to be members of the "Gael" branch of our Clan. This branch entered Ireland about 2000-2500 years ago, and is the dominant haplogroup throughout Ireland today.”  We are hoping to identify cousins in the Brennan line via DNA.  To get better odds, the grandson has also tested with AncestryDNA and 23andMe.

Sunday, January 25, 2015

52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks: #4 Henrietta Lucille Kell

This week’s topic for the 52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks Challenge was “closest to my birthday”:  I have several living relatives with birthdays on the same day as mine.  My mother’s birthday is only three days before mine and she is also still living.  I chose my Grand-Aunt Lucille Kell because she is no longer with us and so she qualifies as my ancestor with the closest birthday. 

Henrietta Lucille Kell was born on 3 Oct 1901 in Cook County, Illinois, probably at home in Maywood.  Her parents were William Henry Kell and Mary Elizabeth Davies.  She was the second child and the first girl of nine children (5 boys, 4 girls) born to this couple.  She was probably named for her paternal grandmother, Henrietta Clay Kell.  To her family she was known as “Cele” (pronounced as “seal”).

She is found in the 1910 US Census (enumerated 20 April 1910) as Lucille H in the household of her father William H Kell, along with her mother Mary E and 5 siblings – Ray D, William H jr, Paul E, Merle E and Ruth M.  The address is 1505 7th Ave in Maywood, Cook County, Illinois.  Her father is listed as a salesman for a printing company.

Kell Home, 1505 S 7th Avenue, Maywood, Illinois

Mary Kell holding her daughters Ruth and Merle, 
seated left to right are Lucille, Billy, Ray and Paul circa 1913

A few weeks before her 12th birthday, on 23 September 1913, one of her younger brothers, William H Kell, Junior or Billy, died from a childhood accident at the age of 10 years old.

William H Kell, junior – “Billy”

Top row, L to R:  William H Kell, Ella Davies (Mary’s sister), Herbert Davies (Mary’s brother),
Bottom row, L to R:  Merle Kell, Lucille Kell, Ruth Kell, Mary Davies Kell, Francis Kell
Circa 1914-15

Lucille would have attended Proviso Township High School (founded in 1910), today known as Proviso East High School, in Maywood, Illinois.

Kell daughters:  Lucille holding Jean, Merle, Ruth; 
Jean was born Aug 8, 1916

Kell sons, Lucille's brothers:  
Ray holding Lyle, Francis and Paul, circa 1915

She is found in the 1920 US Census (enumerated 13 Jan 1920) as Lucille in the household of her father listed as Wm Henry Kell, along with her mother Mary E and 7 siblings – Ray, Paul, Merle, Ruth, Francis, Lyle, and Jean.  The address is 1505 7th Ave in Maywood, Cook County, Illinois.  Her father is listed as a salesman of books.

Lucille married Victor Martin Thompson (born 5 Aug 1900 in Illinois) on 2 Dec 1922 in Cook County, Illinois ( Cook County, Illinois Marriage Indexes, 1912-1942 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Operations, Inc., 2011). Family records agree with this date.  I do not have a marriage license for them at this time.

She is found in the 1930 US Census (enumerated 21 Apr 1930) as Henrietta L, wife of Head of household Victor M Thompson.  The address is 504 S. Cuyler St, Oak Park, Cook County, Illinois.  It shows that they have been married for 7 years, no children.  Victor is a postal clerk for Railway Mail and Lucille is a Payroll Clerk for Tobacco Manufacturing Company.  My mother tells me Lucille was a long-time employee of United States Tobacco.  In the 1923 Chicago City Directory, United States Tobacco is listed at 4325 5th Ave.

In October 1930, Lucille became the godmother to Carol Lucille Koepke, her sister Merle’s first child.  Perhaps because of the closeness of their birthdays, Carol was named for her Aunt Lucille. 

William Kell family, August 1932, Pontiac, Illinois. 
Back row Left to right: Ruth, Lucille, Jean, Merle
Front row L-R: Francis, Lyle, Mary, William, Paul, Ray

Lucille is found in the 1940 US Census (enumerated 4 Apr 1940) as Henrietta L, wife of Head of household Victor M Thompson.  The address is 506 S. Cuyler St, Oak Park, Cook County, Illinois, same location in 1935.  Her education level is shown as 4 years of High School; his is 8th grade. Victor is a Railway Postal Clerk for Railway Mail and Lucille is a Payroll Clerk for Tobacco Company.    

Sometime after 1940 Lucille and Victor were divorced.  Victor remarried in 1951.  Lucille worked for the United States Tobacco Company for at least 20 years and retired from that company.  Sometime after she retired and before she died, Lucille lived with her youngest sister, Jean in Syracuse, Indiana.

Lucille with nephew Jack Kell and possibly Jack’s sister Patty.  
Circa 1940-42.

Lucille holding nephew Lyle Francis Kell (born Aug 1950).

Kell Siblings at Kell home in Maywood, circa early 1950s. 
Left to right: Lyle, Lucille, Jean, Francis, Merle, Ruth, Ray

Lucille died 9 Feb 1967 in Indiana and was buried in Oak Ridge Cemetery near her parents and other family members on 11 Feb 1967.

Lucille with her sister Jean, Jean’s daughter Mary Ellen (center) and grand-nieces Donna (left)
and Caron (right) Primas.  About 1963. Syracuse, Indiana

Lucille’s niece, Carol Koepke Primas, remembers visiting her aunt in a small apartment.  She thought it was neat that there was a hot plate in the room.  Carol thinks it was a room they would consider an SRO (single room occupancy) today with a room similar to a hotel room.  She also thought it was interesting that Lucille had a job in an office.  

I still need documents for Lucille – birth certificate, marriage license, and death certificate.  I still have questions:  when did she retire?  When did she move to Indiana?  I know she had diabetes, when was she diagnosed, did she have other illnesses?  Was she godmother to other nieces and nephews?  Maybe some of my cousins know more information.

Sunday, January 18, 2015

52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks - Ancestor # 3: Amalie Petrich

This week’s suggested topic for the 53 Ancestors Challenge was “Tough Woman.”  Amalie is a tough woman to research and find information about.  I think she also must have been a tough (strong) woman.  She was my Great-Great-Grandmother.

Anna Amalie Petrich was born 08 Jan 1841 in Pidda, Posen (Posen Province of Prussia) to Gottlieb Petrich and Wilhelmine Petrich.  She was called Amalie and was the second child (and second daughter) of nine children (seven girls), all born 18 to 24 months apart.  Amalie was baptized 7 Feb 1841 in Schokken [Skoki] in Posen Province.  Amalie’s youngest sibling was born three months after her father Gottlieb died.  Amalie was twelve years old at the time.

Amalie's Baptismal Record

She was married to Friedrich Wilhelm Primas on 3 May 1857 at the age of 16 years old.  Considering the circumstances, it is not surprising to see her married so young.  Friedrich was a miller, just like many others in his family.

Translation of the church record of the marriage: 
“Revier [Rejowiec] #6 (in 1857) - 3rd of May - [Pastor] Huber - Miller Friedrich Primas from Wiekowko near Witkowo, second son of the deceased miller from Nekla, Gottfried Primas, with virgin Amalie Petrich, second daughter of the deceased farmer from Pidda, Gottlieb Petrich
Both groom and bride under tutorship
He - 24 ys old, she 16 ys 4 mths old
Both Lutheran
With consent from court and mother”

Amalie had her first child - a son, Paul Primas (my great-grandfather), on 24 Oct 1860 in Orchowo, Mogilno, Posen.  He was baptized 28 Oct 1860 in the Lutheran church in Schidlowitz [Szydlowiec] near Orchowo.

Paul Primas Baptismal Record

Amalie’s second child was a daughter, Emilie (also found as Henriette Emilie) born in 1863. 

Friedrich and Amalie in Residence Register

Based on the Residence Register of Nekla for the years 1860 to 1875, Friedrich, Amalie’s husband died in 1865, making Amalie a widow by the time she was 24 years old.

The young widow married Wilhelm Stroech/Ströch, a miller, in 1866 or 1867.  According to the Nekla Residence Register listing, they moved to Nekla Hauland in October 1867.

Amalie married to Wilhelm Stroech

Amalie and her children moved between Nekla and Nekla Hauland several times over the years. Apparently Wilhelm Stroech had died, because we find Amalie married to Gottlieb Reiter a Gasthofbesitzer (Innkeeper), married in 1870 in Wylatkowo or in Nekla Hauland.  No records have been found for the marriage.

Amalie and Gottlieb Reiter family listing

While both Amalie and Gottlieb had children from prior marriages, they had at least 5 children together in the 20 or so years they were married.   According the residence Registers, the children of Gottlieb and Amalie were apparently born in Nekla.  Documentation shows Emil was born in April 1871, Eva in October 1872, Emma in December 1873, Ewald in June 1878 and Johanna in May 1880. 

Ewald Reiter birth record

There is also evidence in the Residence Registers to suggest that Amalie was married one other time, after Gottlieb Reiter died, to Gottlieb Schmidt in 1890 or 1891.

Amalie and Gottlieb Schmidt in Residence Register

In 1885, Amalie’s oldest son Paul Primas (my great-grandfather) married.  His first child (and most likely Amalie’s first grandchild) was born in 1886.  In April of 1887 Paul, his wife and child left for the US.  Amalie would never see her son Paul and his family again. 

According to a family tree found on, there is a Reiter family that appears to match Amalie’s family.   It suggests that Amalie and Gottlieb were married in 1870, that there were possibly more children than I have noted and that Gottlieb Reiter died in March 1884.  I will be treating these as hints for research.  On a different tree on MyHeritage, it suggests that Gottlieb Reiter might also have been known by the name of Johann, and that Amalie may have died in Dec 1916.  If that is true, she lived for 75 years.

There is a family story that there was a Reiter family that was sponsored by my grandfather Oscar Primas and his brothers to come to the US after WWII, maybe in the early 1950s.  I was not born yet, but the story was that they were related to the Primas family in some way.  No one I knew could tell me how.  There was a husband and wife with at least one child.  The story goes that the wife did not like it in the US and wanted to move back to Germany, so they did.  The Primas brothers were not happy because they had put time, effort and money into getting the family here, just to have them leave.  At least this information on Amalie gives me a reason to believe this Reiter family was related – Amalie’s Reiter children would be half-siblings to my great-grandfather Paul Primas.  This gives me some clues for seeking out more of the family.

Sunday, January 11, 2015

52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks: Ancestor #2: Clarence Francis Brennan

Clarence Francis Brennan, first born of Stephen Francis Brennan and Anna Elizabeth Marcusen.  Born at home at 4242 Wilcox Street, Chicago, Illinois on 12 May 1912 at 4:20 AM.  Mother was attended by her mother Mrs. Berjetta Marcusen.

His father, Stephen, drove a Chicago street car, probably for the Chicago Railways Company, the precursor to the Chicago Surface Lines.  His mother Anna, worked with her mother in a laundry business out of their house.

Chicago Street Car form Chicagology

Clarence died 20 July 1912 at about 6:00 PM at 4242 Wilcox Street, Chicago, Illinois.  He was 2 Months 10 Days old.  Documented cause of death was “starvation due to pyloric stenosis” with a duration of 1 month.

According to the US National Library of Medicine, Pyloric stenosis is a narrowing of the pylorus, the opening from the stomach into the small intestine.  Pyloric stenosis occurs most often in infants younger than 6 months. It is more common in boys than in girls.  Symptoms usually start around 3 weeks of age with the primary symptom being forceful or projectile vomiting.  Other symptoms appear several weeks after birth and may include:  abdominal pain, burping, constant hunger, dehydration (gets worse as vomiting gets worse), and failure to gain weight or weight loss.  Today this problem is addressed through a surgical procedure. (Kaneshiro, 2013) 

Clarence Brennan lived and died on this street.  X is his house.

I can only imagine what the parents were going through.  This was their first child, a first-born son.  I have to believe they did everything they could, including calling on the doctor for help, to try and make their son healthy.

He was buried 22 July 1912 in either Concordia Cemetery or Glen Oak Cemetery.

Friday, January 9, 2015

Genealogy Do-Over, My Way: Rules of Engagement and Progress

Headng into Week Two, I have managed to avoid the “shiny objects” pretty well this week.  I also heard some great presentations on organization and time management at Virtual APG.

Here are My Rules of Engagement:
1.      I will set up a new tree as my “source of truth” using either RootsMagic or Legacy Family Tree.
a.      To start, I will enter only “bare bones” data (BMD) for no more than 5 generations back.
b.      I will add supporting media and documentation for each item added to the new tree at the time of adding it.
c.      I will use standard source citation formats to document in my tree.
d.      I will decide which software to use by the end of the 13 week do-over.

2.      I will set up a new file system on Dropbox for all my current electronic documents.
a.      I will use the “Lastname_Firstname_ date_document type” naming convention instead of my current one.
b.      Currently held items will be moved and renamed as they are added to the new tree.

3.      I will use a research log and the “to-do” list function in the new tree to track the items I want to follow up on or search for in the future.

4.      I will use the “52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks” challenge as a method to expand the information I have on existing people or to add new people to my tree.
a.      I will focus on what documentation I already have and search for new information only for the Ancestor of the week.

5.      I will follow the Genealogical Proof Standard (GPS). The GPS consists of five elements:
a.      A reasonably exhaustive search;
b.      Complete and accurate source citations;
c.      Analysis and correlation of the collected information;
d.      Resolution of any conflicting evidence;
e.      A soundly reasoned, coherently written conclusion.

I still have not committed to color-coding, but I will continue to evaluate doing this.

Reading through the Do-Over Facebook page for ideas and suggestions.  Investigated several web sites and blogs on organization and managing images/photos.  Learning a lot!

As a test, I have started saving some things to Evernote, particularly information which has one or more images and requires a translation or information.  Rather than keep the information in several files, they will be in one. 

I have set up my “skeleton tree” in both RootsMagic and Legacy to test which I like working with better.  I am focusing on my “52 Ancestors” targets to work with the trees and fill them in.

So far so good!

Wednesday, January 7, 2015

52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks: Ancestor #1: Marion Elizabeth Brennan

Marion 1989

Marion Elizabeth Brennan was born on 1 Oct 1917 in Chicago, Illinois as youngest child and the only daughter of Stephen Francis Brennan and Anna Elizabeth Marcusen. She had two older brothers: Clarence Francis, who died as an infant, and Charles Joseph.

About 1918:  Front Row:  Henry Hanson, Berjetta's nephew and Marion's Godfather; Charles Brennan (Marion's brother), Marion Brennan on her father's lap.
Back row:  Berjetta Hanson Marcusen (Marion's grandmother); Anna Elizabeth Marcusen Brennan (Marion's mother); Stephen Brennan (Marion's father).
Marion – c. 1923

She grew up in a two-flat at 4242 Wilcox Street in Chicago, Illinois as noted in the 1920, 1930 and 1940 US Census enumerations.  Her grandmother Berjetta owned the home and ran her laundry business out of the basement.  Marion helped with the business when she was old enough.  She also had a pet dog that she adored.

Marion and her dog

4242 Wilcox indicated by X in photo

4242 W Wilcox St, Chicago

She graduated from John Marshall High School in January 1936. 
High School Yearbook picture

She attended and graduated from Northern Illinois State Teachers College, now known as Northern Illinois University (NIU), on 17 June 1940. 

Schaeffer House Friends – c. 1939

Her first teaching position was in a one-room school in Brookfield, Illinois. Marion told us she took the trolley to get to the school.  After she married and moved to DeKalb, she taught third grade at Ellwood School in the DeKalb school system, teaching a total of 43 years.

Marion – c. 1940

Marion married Eli Enich, son of George and Yeka Enich, on 9 January 1943 in Chicago, Illinois. They did not have any children.  They lived in DeKalb all their married lives.  As newlyweds they lived with Eli’s parents. 

Eli and Marion Enich Wedding Picture - 1943

DeKalb City Directory - 1959

By 1959, Marion and Eli bought their own home at 129 Harrison Street in DeKalb.  I was told that they had NIU college students rooming with them for several years.   Marion’s mother Anna lived with Marion and Eli from the early 1960s when she sold the family home in Chicago until 1988 when she died. They moved back to Market Street after Eli’s parents died. They were living there in 1978 when I first met them.

25th Wedding Anniversary

After Eli died in 2002, Marion continued living in their home on Market Street until she moved to Green Bay in 2007, first to an independent living community and then to an assisted living residence.   When I asked her about the timing of her move, she told me she was waiting for her 20+ year old cat to die, so she would not have to move him and upset him.  Finally she had no choice and the cat went with her.   The cat lived for a few more years with her in Green Bay and to the best of her knowledge was 27 years old when he died.

1160 Market St, DeKalb IL

Marion Brennan Enich passed away peacefully in her sleep October 23, 2014 at the age of 97 years and 22 days old. Funeral services were held Monday, October 27, 2014 at 2:00PM in the Ronan-Moore-Finch Funeral Home in DeKalb, Illinois.

Here are some things I learned about Marion over the years I knew her.  She loved her brother Charlie and her cats.  She read the Chicago Tribune every day until she was 96 – it was delivered to her in the retirement community.  She kept in correspondence with her college classmates for many years.  She kept her favorite doll from when she was 6 years old – it is now in my care.  She saved and shared many very old photos of her mother’s family.  Some are old tintypes!

We shared an interest in genealogy.  She was distressed because she never found her Brennan grandparents.  She searched for years trying to find her father’s family.  The story was that the Catholic Brennan family disowned Stephen when he married a Lutheran.  Marion told me she thought her grandparents were Michael and Annie Brennan who came from Ireland and ended up in Chicago, but she had no documentation.  Marion believed that her father Stephen was born in Chicago as he reported in the 1910 and 1920 US Census, but was unable to obtain a birth certificate.  According to the Cook County Clerk’s Office “it burned up in the Fire.”  She was told he had “several brothers and sisters” but the only one she ever met was her father’s sister Mary Brennan a few times as a child.  Her Aunt Mary worked (and lived) in a convent on the North side of Chicago, but was not a nun. Marion couldn’t remember the name of the convent.  It would have been in the early to mid-1930s.  We were able to get a DNA sample from Marion before she died.  We are hoping it leads us to finding her Brennan family.