Sunday, February 25, 2018

52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks - Week 8 Heirloom

As the oldest child in the family, I have had the good fortune to have received many heirlooms over time and as my siblings have established their own homes, I have been able to share many things with them. My brother has a chandelier from my mother’s house that once hung in my grandmother’s dining room. Others have mom’s silver and china. But I have the Madonna!

The Madonna is a marble bust of the Blessed Virgin. She is eight inches high and about ten inches wide weighing at least five pounds. She is made of a combination or blue-grey veined marble with her face and neck carved of a plain white marble.

She has had a place of honor in the living rooms of four generations of our family. I don't know where her journey began or where it will end but this is her story as I know it.

I first remember her in front of a mirror in my grandmother’s living room. The mirror was almost floor to ceiling on the wall across from the sofa. About two feet above floor level was a beautiful wooden shelf. Almost like a hearth. It was about ten inches deep. And there she sat. Watching as I danced in front of the mirror. Watching as my grandmother Alice read her newspaper in her chair with the tall lamp illuminating the area as she moved her magnifying glass over the print. It was my privilege to stand behind the chair while my grandmother read her paper and brush her long silver hair.

Eventually the lovely lady moved on to my mother’s living room where she observed our comings and goings from her place of honor in the bookshelves. She shared those shelves with my mother’s treasured books. All of the Readers Digest Condensed Books with the faux leather binding under the paper dust jackets, books from my grandfather’s collection, and the works of such authors as J M Barrie, Robert Louis Stevenson among others.

Still later the lady moved into my home where once again she took up residence in the living room. As she occupied her place on the fruitwood cabinet just inside the front door, once again she kept track of our visitors as well as our own activities.

Now she lives in my daughter’s home where her place of honor is atop the piano. I find this very fitting since everyone in my daughter’s family is very musical.

Undoubtedly, she will find a future home with one of my grandchildren and hopefully the tradition will continue long into the future.

Sunday, February 18, 2018

52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks – Week 7 Frank Valentine Krbec

Frank V Krbec
First Communion
Frank Valentine Krbec was born on 10 Feb 1907 in Chicago, Illinois to Frank and Rose (Bozovsky) Krbec.  He was baptized on 10 Feb 1907 at St Procopius Catholic Church by P Valeriou and the baptism was witnessed by Frank and Catherine Kotonous, his mother’s Grandparents.[i]

Frank grew up on a Bohemian neighborhood in Chicago as a first generation American on his father’s side. His father had been born in Bohemia and immigrated to the United States in 1889 with his parents Jan Krbec and Barbara Sonka, and sister Marie.

In 1910, Frank’s father was a wood worker in a piano factory, the skills he developed there would remain with him as he became a hobbyist at wood working.

By 1917, the family had moved to Cicero, Illinois, a suburb of Chicago and Frank’s father was employed by Western Electric Co., a major employer in Cicero and a subsidiary of the telephone company.[ii]

By 1930, Frank Valentine has married Anne Angeline Mann (nee Franke) and they are living with her children Paul, Alfred, Virginia and Arthur at 2025 Racine Avenue in Chicago. Frank is a window worker in an auto garage.

On 25 May 1932 Anna gave birth to their only son, John Frank in Chicago.[iii] Sadly Anna Krbec died on 28 October 1933.[iv] She was buried on 31 Oct, 1933 at St Lucas Cemetery, in Chicago.[v] After Anna’s death her children with Alfred Mann changed their names and left Chicago.

In the 1940 census, Frank Valentine is shown living with his father Frank and son John Frank at 5404 23rd Place in Cicero, Cook, Illinois and working as a machine operator for a sporting goods manufacturer.

Frank Valentine Krbec died 20 Sept 1987 and is buried at Mt Emblem Cemetery.

[i] Illinois, Chicago, Catholic Church Records, 1833-1925;
[ii] U.S., World War I Draft Registration Cards, 1917-1918 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Operations Inc, 2005.
[iii] llinois, Cook County, Birth Certificates, 1871-1940," database, FamilySearch ( : 18 May 2016), Frank V Krbec in entry for John Krbec, 25 May 1932; Chicago, Cook, Illinois, United States, reference/certificate 18278, Cook County Clerk, Cook County Courthouse, Chicago; FHL microfilm.
[iv] "Illinois, Cook County Deaths, 1878-1994," database, FamilySearch ( : 10 February 2018), Anna Krbec, 28 Oct 1933; citing Chicago, Cook, Illinois, United States, source reference , record number , Cook County Courthouse, Chicago; FHL microfilm .
[v] Ibid

Saturday, February 10, 2018

My Blogiversary and the Olympics!

1988 Winter Olympic Games Program
Calgary, Alberta, Canada

                       It's my Blogiversary!! Eight years of blogging!! I thought I would go back to how it all started.

It’s time once again for the Olympics! I began this blog in 2010 as part to the Olympic Winter Games meme created by Thomas MacEntee. Wow that was eight years ago! I thought I would have run out of ideas long before now.

In 1988 my husband and I were the guests of the 3M Corporation for the Winter Olympics in Calgary, Alberta, Canada. Dave and I spent four wonderful days as we attended the opening ceremony, ski jumping, a hockey game, and both bobsled and luge events.  3M had rented a country club for the use of their guests and there was a frozen pond on the property.  The clubhouse had a place to borrow ice skates, so I was able to ice skate at the Olympics.

Part of the fun of the Olympics, it the custom of trading pins. Most of the sponsoring companies at the Olympics supply their guests and representatives with a special pin designed to commemorate the occasion. As you meet and mingle with other guests, pins are swapped, and it is a real contest to see how many pins you can collect. I think in the four days we were in Calgary, Dave was able to collect about thirty pins, far from a record but a nice souvenir of the trip.

Pin collecting did not end with the Olympics however, as we traveled in later years, Dave continued to collect pins representing our journeys. He especially collected the pins as we cruised in the Caribbean. The pins he collected were attached to his straw hat.His penchant for wearing his hat on trips to the various islands earned him the nickname of “Pin Man”. The Olympic influence doesn’t always end with the closing ceremony.

52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks – Week 6 Favorite Name “Dorette”

This week’s choice was an easy one for me as I have liked it since I first heard it as the name of the daughter of a “friend” of my parents. As it turned out the said “friend” was, actually, my father’s first cousin. His cousin Gordon had named his only daughter Dorette and I loved it from the first even though I did not realize the significance at the time. The name is pronounced as “Doretta” with the final “e” having the sound of an “a”. 

Dorette - Pronunciation of Dorette as a name for girls is of Greek origin, and the name Dorette means "gift". Dorette is a version of Dora (Greek): pet form of Dorothy.[i]

When I began doing genealogy I found that my paternal great-grandmother was Dorette Christensen and her mother had been Karen Dorothea.
Dorette Christensen was born 2 Nov 1857 in Akershus, Norway to Daniel Christensen and Karen Dorthea Christensen[ii]. She was the oldest of seven children and married Johannes Adolf Waldemar Hansen on 12 Dec 1876 at Grønland Parish, Oslo, Norway[iii].

Johannes and Dorette had seven children before her untimely death on 4 July 1887, at the age of thirty. Their youngest daughter, who died shortly after birth, was named Aagot Dorette.

RELATIONS VIA DORA Dodee, Dorae, Doralee, Dore, Dorea, Doree, Doreen, Doreina, Dorelia, Dorelle, Dorena, Dorene, Doretta, Doreyda, Dorie, Dorine, Dorita, Dorrie[iv]

Dorette’s son Adolph, my grandfather, named his daughter Dorothy, and his sister, Dagny, named her daughter Dorette. A great-granddaughter of Adolph's brother Sigurd, was named Dorette and over the years other great-granddaughters and great-great-granddaughters down to the sixth generation have used variants of the name as first or middle names.

My own name is Donna, but I never asked my parents if I was named after anyone. I assumed it was after my father Donald, but I kind of hope it was after that great-grandmother from Norway.

[ii] SAO, Garnisonsmenigheten Kirkebøker, F/Fa/L0009: Parish register (official) no. 9, 1842-1859, p. 77
Filter:Born and baptised (1857)
[iii] Norwegian Lutheran Church, , FHL film 1282502, , Marriage of Johannes Adolf and Dorette Christensen; FHL    microfilm , 1876.
[iv] ibid

Sunday, February 4, 2018

52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks - Week 5 "In the Census"

wikipedia commons

Using the census records is a standard method of tracing our ancestors, but there is more to learn than the names, ages, and occupations of our ancestors.  Each census asks different questions of the population. Some of these questions reflect the social status of the family or individual. Sometimes the work lives of our ancestors are reflected and sometimes we can learn about the education and financial status of our ancestors. Sometimes we learn that there are other children that we need to locate, and we can also learn about the military service of our relatives.

The spelling of surnames can be a roadblock in our research. We need to remember that many of our ancestors spoke with the accents of their homeland when they arrived, so someone from Germany might sound very different to the ear of someone from Scotland or Italy. Also, early censuses reflect the lack of standardized spelling. I found about 15 spellings for the name “Ferguson”.

Sometimes a family or individual is counted twice in a census, so it is important to be aware that the census was not always taken on the same date in every state. The questions relate to a specific date but that distinction is not always clear. My aunt Mary is a case in point:
Mary E Connery, age 6, is enumerated on the 9th of June 1900 in Adrian, Lenawee, Michigan.[i]  She is also found in the home of her parents in Chicago, but that census was taken on June 12, 1900.[ii] The explanation is simple, Mary attended boarding school in Michigan and had traveled home for the summer vacation.

In 1910 her sister Alice appears to be living in both Chicago, Il[iii] and Victor, CO[iv] on the census. The censuses were taken on the 25th and 29th of April respectively, so I doubt that eleven year old Alice had actually been in both places on the dates involved. It’s more likely she was actually in Colorado but her parents listed her as a member of the family rather than someone who was physically in the residence on that date.

Another duplicated person was my grandfather Adolph Hansen, in 1920 he is listed on a census return for Oak Park, Cook, Illinois living with his wife Henrietta and children Dorothy and Donald. His occupation is listed as treasurer for a ship builder.[v] That census was taken on 7 Jan 1920 however on 12-13 Feb 1920 his circumstances have changed. On those dates his is living in the home of an aunt and uncle in Tampa, Florida.[vi]  His occupation was still a treasurer of a shipyard. In this case a company transfer and the time between Jan 7th and Feb 12th-13th explains how he was counted twice.

These are examples of how and why an ancestor could appear twice in the census. Until I checked the dates on the census sheets, I couldn’t understand why Adolph would be counted twice and with Alice, I recognized the names of her aunt and uncle or I might have missed out on the detail that she was sent to Colorado to live for her health. In her later years she often went to the North Woods during the summers for her health.

Don’t ignore what appears to be just two people of the same name maybe they really are the same people!

[i] US Federal Census, Year: 1900; Census Place: Adrian, Lenawee, Michigan; Roll: 725; Page: 5; Enumeration District: 0039; FHL microfilm: 1240725
[ii] US Federal Census, Year: 1900; Census Place: Chicago Ward 28, Cook, Illinois; Roll: 279; Page: 12; Enumeration District: 0851; FHL microfilm: 1240279
[iii][iii] US Federal Census, Year: 1910; Census Place: Chicago Ward 34, Cook, Illinois; Roll: T624_281; Page: 11B; Enumeration District: 1459; FHL microfilm: 1374294
[iv] US Federal Census, Year: 1910; Census Place: Victor Ward 3, Teller, Colorado; Roll: T624_125; Page: 12A; Enumeration District: 0187; FHL microfilm: 1374138
[v] US Federal Census, Year: 1920; Census Place: Chicago Ward 33, Cook (Chicago), Illinois; Roll: T625_353; Page: 7B; Enumeration District: 2120
[vi] US Federal Census, Year: 1920; Census Place: Tampa Ward 2, Hillsborough, Florida; Roll: T625_222; Page: 7B; Enumeration District: 39

Saturday, January 27, 2018

52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks – Week 4 - Dinner for 2

It is an intimate occasion. Dinner for two at the Lake Shore Athletic Club on Lake Shore Drive in Chicago. I am on the rooftop deck of her club on a summer evening with my maternal aunt Kathy.
Kathleen Connery 1920s

Kathleen Connery was born 10 April 1895, the second of nine children born to M J and Alice Fleming Connery. Kathleen grew up in the windy city of Chicago, Illinois.

As a student Kathleen attended St Joseph Academy, in Adrian, Michigan as did her sisters Mary, Alice, Pauline, and Eleanor. Kathy graduated in June of 1913 having finished four years of high school.[i]

As an adult my aunt Kathy lived through two world wars, the 1918 influenza epidemic, the roaring 20s, the stock market crash,  the beginning of air travel and even the very beginning of the computer age. I would love to speak to her about her experiences during these events.

Did any of her friends go to war? How did the “Roaring 20s” feature in her life? What can she tell me about the families left back in Ireland or even possibly of those rumored to have gone to Australia "one step ahead of the British"? That bit of family lore is true as I have DNA matches supporting that!

As a travel agent Kathleen often went to Europe both by air and steamship. She spent time with her Irish aunts, uncles, and cousins in Limerick, Ireland.
Kathleen with Mother and Sisters in audience with Pope Pius XII and Archbishop Bernard J Shiel
circa 1950s

Kathleen winning a contest shipboard.

There were also private audiences with the Pope Pius XII as Kathleen escorted tours to Rome with her mother, sisters and Archbishop Bernard J. Sheil, a family friend.

What glorious stories she would have to tell since her life encompassed most of the 20th century!

[i] Information received by e-mail from the archivist at the Adrian Dominican Motherhouse, Adrian, Michigan.

Sunday, January 21, 2018

52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks - Week 3 Longevity

The prompt this week is “longevity” which brought my maternal grandfather to mind since he achieved the venerable age of 92 years before his death in 1953. 
Michael Joseph Connery
about 1880
Michael Joseph Connery was born on 15 June, 1861 in Kilfinane, County Limerick, Ireland to Maurice Patrick Connery[i] and Mary Leahy. Michael was baptized on the 16th of June 1861 in the parish of Kilfinane with his mother’s brother and sister, Michael and Helena, as his sponsors.[ii]  

                               Figure Baptism record of Maurice Patrick Connery

Michael grew up as the fifth of ten children on his father’s farm in Kilfinane, County Limerick, Ireland.  Michael received an excellent education, even finishing high school which was unusual for the time.[iii]  In 1880[iv], Michael Connery was told by his father to take a cow to market and sell the cow.  The money from the sale of the cow was to be used to pay for an apprenticeship in butchering.  Michael, who had previously thrown his clothes out the window, picked up the clothes and cow, sold the cow, and bought a ticket to America.

It appears that he went directly to Chicago, although so far it has not been proven that he had any connections there. Michael found work in the city where he proceeded to settle. By 1891 Michael was a saloon keeper in the city of Chicago, an occupation he would follow until at least 1906.[v] 

According to family oral tradition, Michael returned to Ireland some time around 1890 to return to his father the money from the sale of the cow that had financed his voyage to the United States. Reportedly wearing a “fine suit” and sporting a “gold headed cane”, Michael caught the eye of a young lass names Alice who determined then and there that they would marry.

Michael married Alice Fleming on 28 June 1893 in the Port Huron home of her sister, Mary Walsh. Michael and Alice settled in Chicago where they raised their family of nine children on the west side. By 1910 Michael had left the saloon industry and was employed in building construction.[vi] By 1913, Michael was involved with Real Estate and eventually opened his own company “M J Connery & Sons, Inc. Beginning as a Real Estate company serving the Garfield Park area of Chicago, M J Connery & Sons eventually added insurance and travel services. Over the years, in addition to his sons and daughters, several of Michael’s grandchildren worked for the company.

Speaking of her father, my mom related the fact that during the depression, my grandfather walked to and from work every day with only a nickel in his pocket. He went home for lunch daily and during the depression, sold half of his real estate holdings to pay off the loans on others. Other stories, so far undocumented, include Michael leading the Chicago St Patrick’s Day parade on a white stallion.

Michael was a staunch Catholic and pioneer member of St Mel Parish in Chicago where he and Alice donated a stained-glass window in memory of their son Leo, who died days short of his eighth birthday.[vii]

Michael Joseph Connery died 16 March 1953 in Chicago and is buried in Mount Carmel Cemetery, Hillside, Cook, Illinois.

[i] Catholic Church Records (Bulgaden Parish, Limerick, Ireland), Diocese of Limerick Baptisms, p55, Baptism of Maurice Connery; Microfilm 02428-01, National Library of Ireland, Dublin Ireland.
[ii] Footnote: Catholic Church Records (Kilfinane, Limerick, Ireland), Diocese of Limerick Baptisms, page 31, Baptism of Michael Connery; Microfilm 02429 / 05, National Library of Ireland, Dublin Ireland.
[iii] 1940 US census, Cook County, Illinois, Population schedule, Ward 30, ED 6, 9B, 721, Michael J Connery.
[iv] 1900 US Census  Chicago Ward 28, Cook, Illinois; Roll: 279; Page: 12A; ED 0851; FHL microfilm: 1240279
[v] Chicago City Directories 1891 and 1906, online images viewed at
[vi] 1910 U S Census, Cook County, Illinois, population Schedule, Ward 34, ED ED 1459, Sheet 11B, , occupation of      Michael Connery.
[vii]  Leo Connery entry, Cook County Deaths, source reference 1375, record number 82, FHL film 1,239,714.