Sunday, January 25, 2015

Henrietta Lucille Kell 1901 - 1967

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

Amalie Petrich b. 1841 Pidda Posen

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

Clarence Francis Brennan 1912 - 1912

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

Marion Elizabeth Brennan 1917 - 2014

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.

Tuesday, January 6, 2015

Genealogy Do-Over, My Way

I have been watching with interest the genealogical challenges for 2015.  Thomas MacEntee’s “Genealogy Do-Overand Amy Johnson Crow’s (she blogs at No Story Too Small) “52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks: 2015 Edition."

As part of the prep work for the Genealogy Do-Over, I have been comparing my current method of organization to others being suggested.  I have been using document oriented organization (file folders for Birth, Death, Marriage, Census, etc.) but I am considering moving to surname oriented with the document description at the end of the file name.  

My current view:

Diana Ritchie’s example from the Genealogy Do-Over Facebook group:

I am thinking about combining the challenges as a way to clean up my family tree.  I have been collecting many scans, pictures and other items but have not been linking them consistently to my tree.   In addition, my primary genealogy software The Master Genealogist is no longer supported.   I am evaluating RootsMagic and Legacy Family Tree to see which one I will move my tree to for the future.  I would like to create a tree that is my “source of truth” and that is not linked to shared tree on Ancestry, FamilySearchMyHeritage, etc.   In my new tree, I will only add people and facts that are supported by documentation and citations.   

The Do-Over is scheduled to last 13 weeks.  52 Ancestors for the year.   I making my plan and I am ready for the Do-Over!