Digitization Highs and Lows

When reading about the “Family History Microfilm Discontinuation,” I had mixed thoughts. I loved the progress LDS has made on digitizing the microfilm in its collection, but I was concerned that the Polish records that I was concerned that these records may not be a priority.

Today, I took a moment to review the films for Pilzno and Konin Poland. The good news is that these films are 89% and 79% digitized, respectively. I was surprised and thrilled. I was already putting a research plan together in my head.

But, then I opened a link to the digitized images for one of the films, and was greeted with:

“To view these images you must do one of the following:
Access the site at a family history center.
Access the site at a Family Search affiliate library.”

I went through all the films and saw the same or similar messages. So while the images are available, they are not yet available on my home computer.

One group of records, Poland, Tarnow Roman Catholic Diocese Church Books, is available as an index of over 1 million records. So for a few of the Pilzno records, I can use the index as a starting point, but I will want to view the images to see what was indexed.

I am fortunate in that I have two locations near me where I should be able to view these images.

Take a Break

Stepping away from the details of work can give you a new perspective.
Yesterday, that moment of joy was watching the eclipse with family. My husband and I are lucky enough that he has family in southern Illinois, an area that experienced totality. Just the event itself inspired and awed me. Experiencing it with several generations made it even more special. We ate moon pies and sun chips. We had our official glasses, but made pinhole cameras from a shoebox and sheets of paper (used separately). We also expanded the light show with a colander and a mirror (also used separately). Continue reading Take a Break

Did Bryant Serve?

The questions raised in “Serving on the Home Front,” came when I was browsing draft registration cards. I browsed the draft cards looking for my Great Grandfather, Bryant Edward Hays. I had started thinking about him while I was reading a novel about a family that lived through the two world wars. Born in 1888 and married in 1916, I wondered whether he served.

He did register for both drafts:

The World War I Draft Registration Card lists Bryant Hays as married and engaged in farming for himself in Polo, Illinois. His card indicated that he had not served previously. He cites “wife & farming” as the reasons why he is claiming an exemption from the service. (1)

Based on the draft categories, marriage may have given Bryant a temporary deferment and farming may have given Bryant a temporary exemption. (2)

The World War II Draft Registration Card lists Bryant Hays as living in Milledgeville, Illinois. The card does not ask about prior service nor provide space to claim an exemption. He used the card that was intended for men born after 28 Apr 1877 and before 16 Feb 1897. (3)

His 1930 Census listed “No” in the column for whether a person is a veteran or not. While this is not absolute proof, it is a good indication that Bryant did not serve in the armed forces.(4)

I look forward to exploring the ways in which people served on the home front in WWI.

~~~~~~~~~~
References

(1) “World War I Draft Registration Cards, 1917-1918,” digital images, Ancestry.com (http://www.ancestry.com : accessed 2 Apr 2017) Card for Bryant Hays. Citing “World War I Selective Service System Draft Registration Cards, 1917-1918,” Washington, D.C.: NARA, M1509, Roll: 1614436.

(2) “Selective Service Act of 1917” Wikipedia/org (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Selective_Service_Act_of_1917 : accessed 10 Apr 2017)

(3) “U.S. World War II Draft Registration Cards, 1942, ” digital images, Ancestry.com (http://www.ancestry.com : 2 Apr 2017) Entry for Bryant Hays. Citing United States, Selective Service System. Selective Service Registration Cards, World War II: Fourth Registration. NARA Branch l, NAI Number: 623284; Record Group Number: 147.

(4) 1930 U.S. census, Ogle County, Illinois, population schedule, Buffalo Township, enumeration district (ED) 3, Sheet 1A (penned), Page 268 (stamped), dwelling 12, family 12, Bryant E Hays household; index and digital images, FamilySearch (http://www.familysearch.org : accessed 7 Jun 2017), citing NARA microfilm publication T626, roll 546.

 

#WW1 #Genealogy

Serving on the Home Front

Recently, when I was browsing through WW1 draft registration cards, I started thinking about the individuals who didn’t serve.

What was the role of the citizens who stayed home? How did they serve their country? What were the different roles in the community?

As examples, I’ve started pinning posters for farming, victory gardens, and rationing.

Besides the roles people fulfilled, I’m also curious of the psychological impact on those that stayed home. Was there guilt, anger, shame, or pride?

I would be interested in talking to anyone else who has these same questions.

#WW1_HomeFront #Genealogy

Header Image: “An opportunity to show patriotism, 13 Jul 1917” Newspapers.com (http://newspapers.com : 13 Jul 2017), clipped by “jlbartimus.” Originally appeared in The Daily Chronicle (De Kalb, Illinois), 13 Jul 1917, Page 3.

More About Bessie

On 30 Mar 2017’s post “Where’s Bessie?“, I wrote,

“A Bessie Greenwell does appear in the 1905 Iowa State Census in Mason City, Cerro Gordo County. She is located at, “Convent E Drummond” with 8 Sisters and a “Veta Greenwell (1).”

I went searching for the original census cards and found the images at FamilySearch.

1905 Iowa Census: Bessie Greenwell, age 9 from Kentucky, is at the St. Francis Convert. Veta Greenwell is age 7 from Kentucky. (2)

My great grandmother would have been age 16 in 1905 and was born in Tennessee. This is an indication that the 1905 Census Bessie is not the same person.

I then looked for Bessie and Veta in the 1900 federal census, but didn’t find any perfect matches. The closest matches are in the West Greenwell and Martha Greenwell households.

1910 Census: West Greenwell (head, 33), Katie Greenwell (wife, 31), William R Greenwell (son, 6), Mary B Greenwell (daughter, 5), Mary Z Greenwell (daughter, 4), Joseph H Greenwell (son, 2), and Mary E Greenwell (daughter, 1). The family is white. (3)

1910 Census: Martha Greenwell (widowed, head, 32), Lillian J Greenwell (daughter, 4), Matilda L Greenwell (daughter, 3), and Bessie M Greenwell (daughter, 2). The family is black. (4)

Further connections between these households and St. Francis Convent appear in an article that mentioned St. Francis Academy in Mason City, Iowa. (5)

1887: School for Colored Children opens in Chicago, Kentucky.

1890: Sisters leave Kentucky on Nov. 30. Francis Academy opens in Mason City, Iowa.

This is enough for me to take the 1905 Census out of my great grandmother’s history, but not enough to connect the 1905 Iowa Census Bessie and Veta with a 1900 Census households.

So, I’m still trying to find where Bessie was in 1910 and what brought a girl from Tennessee together with the boy from Illinois for a wedding in Iowa.

SOURCES
(1) “Iowa, State Census Collection, 1836-1925,” digital images, Ancestry.com (http://www.ancestry.com : accessed 30 Mar 2017) Entry for Bessie Greenwell, Cerro Gordo County, Mason City, 1905

(2) “Iowa State Census, 1905,” digital images, FamilySearch.com (http://www.familysearch.com : accessed 31 Mar 2017) Entries for Bessie Greenwell, Card #622, and Veta Greenwell, Card #623, St. Fancis Convent.

(3) 1900 U.S. census, Marion County, Kentucky, population schedule, Chicago, enumeration district (ED) 80, Sheet. 4-A (penned), line 38-44, dwelling #63, family #64, West Greenwell household; digital images, Ancestry.com (http://www.ancestry.com : accessed 31 Mar 2017); citing National Archives microfilm publication T623, roll 542.

(4) 1900 U.S. census, Breckinridge County, Kentucky, population schedule, Union Star, enumeration district (ED) 7, Sheet. 10-B (penned), line 38-44, dwelling #182 (corrected), family #183 (corrected), Martha Greenwell household; digital images, Ancestry.com (http://www.ancestry.com : accessed 31 Mar 2017); citing National Archives microfilm publication T623, roll 510.

(5) “The Sisters of St. Francis: Missions and Milestones,” 2 May 2016, Transcription, Clinton Herald, Clinton, Iowa (http://www.clintonherald.com : 31 Mar 2017).

Where’s Bessie?

Today I’m focusing on Bessie P Greenwell, my great grandmother. In the 1920 Census, we find her, together with her husband, Bryant Hays/Hayes. (1)

1920 Census: Bryant Hayes (head, 31), Bessie Hayes (wife, 31), and Evelyn Hayes (daughter, 2 4/12)

I believe they were married before 19920, because in 1910, Bryant is with his father (2). However, Bessie is not in her father’s household (3).

1910 Census: Charles W Hays (head, 50), Emma Hays (wife, 45), Bryant Hays (son, 22), Harrold Hays (son, 19), Edgar Hays (son, 17), Max Hays (son, 3), and Ruby Dockery (servant, 16)

1910 Census: Martin Greenwell (head, 58), Rebecca L Greenwell (wife, 58), Tim Greenwell (son, 28), William E Greenwell (son, 23), Robert T Greenwell (son, 19), and Clay Greenwell (son, 15).

In addition, there are no other Greenwell’s in Civil District 2, Washington County, Tennessee.

So, where is Bessie in 1910?

  • Is she living with a sibling, aunt, or uncle? The 1910 census indicates that Bessie’s mother, Rebecca Greenwell, has 10 living children, only four of whom live with them.
  • Is Bessie living with a relative of Bryant?
  • Does a Bessie P Greenwell exist elsewhere is the 1910 census or in a state census between 1900 and 1920?

I didn’t find Bessie with any known Greenwell siblings, aunts, or uncles nor any known Hays siblings, aunts, or uncles.

A Bessie Greenwell does appear in the 1905 Iowa State Census in Mason City, Cerro Gordo County. She is located at “Convent E Drummond” with 8 Sisters of the order and a “Veta Greenwell.” (4)

I have not found any other information about Veta, so I don’t yet know whether there is any relationship the two Greenwell girls. There is also no additional information in the 1905 digital image, except a reference to Card #622. Most likely the digital images are an index of 1905 census cards that had details of each individual.

I did not find the Convent in the 1910 census for Mason City, Iowa.

In trying to find where Bessie and Bryant came together, I found their marriage information (5) for 3 Jun 1916 in Clinton, Iowa. Their parents are included in the database, increasing my confidence in snatching up the right marriage record.

But, what took them both to Iowa and where is Bessie in 1910?

The only relation in Iowa is Bryant’s great aunt who is living in Lafayette, around 83 miles from Mason City. But, Bessie is not in her household in 1910.

Possible next steps include,

  • Find the cards for the 1905 Iowa State Census and see whether they offer more details about Bessie and Veta.
  • Find any archives or manuscripts for the Convent on E Drummond in Mason City.
  • Review newspapers in Mason City, Iowa, Washington County, Tennessee, and Ogle County, Illinois that mention the convent or Bessie.
  • Discover more about Veta Greenwell to see how or if Bessie and Veta are related.

Where else should I look?

 

SOURCES
(1) 1920 U.S. census, Ogle County, Illinois, population schedule, Pine Creek Township, enumeration district (ED) 104, Sheet. 7A-B (penned), line 50-52, dwelling #157, family #157, Bryant Hayes household; digital images, Ancestry.com (http://www.ancestry.com : accessed 30 Mar 2017); citing National Archives microfilm publication T625, roll 398.

(2) 1910 U.S. census, Ogle County, Illinois, population schedule, Buffalo Township, enumeration district (ED) 65, Sheet. 3A (penned), line 31-37, dwelling #53, family #53, Charles W Hays household; digital images, Ancestry.com (http://www.ancestry.com : accessed 30 Mar 2017); citing National Archives microfilm publication T624, roll 314.

(3) 1910 U.S. census, Washington County, Tennessee, population schedule, Civil District 2, enumeration district (ED) 190, Sheet. 7A (penned), line 1-6, dwelling #107, family #107, Martin Greenwell household; digital images, Ancestry.com (http://www.ancestry.com : accessed 30 Mar 2017); citing National Archives microfilm publication T624, roll 1524.

(4) “Iowa, State Census Collection, 1836-1925,” digital images, Ancestry.com (http://www.ancestry.com : accessed 30 Mar 2017) Entry for Bessie Greenwell, Cerro Gordo County, Mason City, 1905

(5) “Iowa, Select Marriages Index,” database, Ancestry.com (http://www.ancestry.com : accessed 30 Mar 2017) Entry for Bryant Hays and Bessie Greenwell, 4 Jun 1916. Citing FHL Film #1840000.

Book Review

I had a wonderful surprise when I visited my local library and checked out the non-fiction new releases. There were several new genealogy books.

W. Daniel Quillen’s Troubleshooter’s Guide To Do-It-Yourself Genealogy (1) was released late summer of 2016 as a 4th edition. Quillen wrote this book for intermediate level genealogists and focusedf other books beginner-level information or specialized areas.

The different chapters offer close looks at collection types with brief overviews and quick actionable tips for how to use online and onsite collections. For researcher’s who understand the basics, the tips provide next steps. More experienced researchers can review what they’ve already found and consider where to look further.

General themes that are woven through the chapters and demonstrated by the author’s own research stories, include:
* Extract information exactly, even names with different spellings
* Move from indexes and summaries to the original records to verify accuracy and identify additional information
* Use the hints to pursue additional leads
* Check out the local libraries near you and near where you are researching
* List items of “genealogical value,” and develop further research items

Chapter 7 on Land Records offers a great example of the analysis of a land deed, a list of items of genealogical value, and the research action steps that were developed. (2)

The book doesn’t have to be read cover to cover, but can be consulted when developing research plans or encountering a specific research challenge. Quillen also curated additional books and websites that supplement his advice related to the different collection types.

#WorldBookDay #ThursdayThoughts #ReadingMakesMe #Genealogy

Sources
(1) W. Daniel Quillen, The Troubleshooter’s Guide To Do-It-Yourself Genealogy, 4th Edition (New York: Cold Spring Press).

(2) Ibid., 116-119.

Naturalization numbers, index, and petitions on FamilySearch

Does anyone have any idea why the naturalization numbers and names mentioned in an index wouldn’t match with the names and numbers on the naturalization petition images? Are there different numbering systems?

I started with the tip sheet (1) that Rosanna Hogarty posted to the Chicago Genealogy page on Facebook. The tip sheet was clear and organized well. And, I was excited to jump right into the search.

But, I was puzzled that for two out of three of my Polish great grandparents that I found in the index, the numbers listed on the index card led me to a petition for a different person.

Match

First, the one that matched. Louisa Smasz’ record in the index (2) did match the record the petition (3). It was also easy to find using the tips provided by Hogarty.

Ludwika Smarz Naturalization Index image snippet
Louisa Smasz in index (record P. 234127) (2)

Ludwika Smarz Petition image snippet
Louisa Smasz petition (record P.234127) (3)

First Mismatch

While I found an index record for Louisa Smasz’ husband, Piotr, the name on the petition did not match. Piotr’s index card (4) listed number P.56992, but the application with number P. 56992 (5) belonged to someone named John Silinskas. The doubly strange part of this is that I have a copy of Piotr Smasz’ petition number P. 56992 (6) that was included in a packet from the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services FOIA request response. The “best reproducible copy” may not be the best, but the petition number and name are readable in the paper copy and match Peter Smasz’ index card. Unfortunately, I couldn’t produce a readable image to share in the blog.

Piotr Smarz Naturalization Index image snippet
Piotr Smasz in index (record P. 56992) (4)

Silinskas Petition image snippet
John Silinskas petition (record P.56992) (5)

Second Mismatch

Similarly, Vincent Szubinski’s index card (7) listed number P.69199, but the application with number P.69199 (8) belonged to a person named Erik Hugo Peterson. I also have a copy of Vincent Szubinski’s petition from the USCIS Genealogy Program (9) that does match his index card and is clear enough to share here.

Wincenty Szubinski Index image snippet
Vincent Szubinki in index (record P.69199) (7)

Peterson Petition image snippet
Erik Hugo Peterson’s petition (record P.69199) (8)

Wincenty Szubinski Petition image snippet
Vincent Szubinski Naturalization Petition from USCIS Genealogy Program (9)

I did try browsing the petition images by the petition date instead of petition number, but didn’t find Piotr’s or Vincent’s peitions in the online images.

Notes

I noticed when comparing the FamilySearch images to the USCIS copies that the image of the naturalization petitions available through FamilySearch are original copies while the copies of naturalization petitions available from the USCIS Genealogy Program are duplicate copies.

I am thankful that the FOIA request yielded the response that I received. One explanation is one the USCIS Genealogy Program website (10):

The USCIS Genealogy Program uses indices unlike any immigration or naturalization index available to the public. Our unique Master Index system is a combination of index tools—partially automated and partially manual—that work together to identify and locate old agency files and records. 

I’m am very curious why a person would be indexed in “Illinois, Northern District Naturalization Index, 1840-1950,” when their petition doesn’t appear in “Illinois, Northern District Petitions for Naturalization, 1906-1994.”

I would love to hear from anyone who knows why this discrepancy is happening or from anyone experiencing similar challenges.

The lesson is to not give up, even if you don’t find the records where you think you should.

References

(1) Rosanna Hogarty; Chicago Genealogy group on Facebook; uploaded file; 20 Oct 2015: https://www.facebook.com/groups/45933825528/: accessed 24 Mar 2016; “How to use the Illinois District Court Records Naturalization files on www.familysearch.org” file

(2) “Illinois, Northern District Naturalization Index, 1840-1950,” database with images, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:XKPS-4HT : accessed 7 April 2016), Ludwika Smarz, 1941; citing Chicago, Illinois, NARA microfilm publication M1285 (Washington D.C.: National Archives and Records Administration, n.d.), roll 164; FHL microfilm 1,432,164.

(3) “Illinois, Northern District Petitions for Naturalization, 1906-1994,” images, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/pal:/MM9.3.1/TH-1942-44405-52448-81?cc=2212212 : accessed 25 April 2016), Cook County > Petitions, 1941, v. 965, no. 233901-234250 > image 708 of 1079, Ludwika Smarz, P.234127; citing NARA NAID 593882, National Archives at Chicago, Illinois.

(4) “Illinois, Northern District Naturalization Index, 1840-1950,” database with images,FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:XKPS-4ZK : accessed 7 April 2016), Piotr Smarz, 1924; citing Illinois, NARA microfilm publication M1285 (Washington D.C.: National Archives and Records Administration, n.d.), roll 164; FHL microfilm 1,432,164.

(5) “Illinois, Northern District Petitions for Naturalization, 1906-1994,” images, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/pal:/MM9.3.1/TH-909-55385-1161-59?cc=2212212 : accessed 25 April 2016), Cook County > Petitions, 1928, v. 326, no. 56801-57050 > image 708 of 926, John Silinskas, P.56992; citing NARA NAID 593882, National Archives at Chicago, Illinois.

(6) U.S. Department of Homeland Security. C-File. U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, Washington, D.C., C-1784133, Piotr Smarz, age 35, Superior Court, Chicago, IL, 7 March 1924, FOIA request fulfilled 15 Feb 2015

(7) “Illinois, Northern District Naturalization Index, 1840-1950,” database with images,FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:XKGY-HP2 : accessed 7 April 2016), Wincenty Szubinski, 1926; citing Illinois, NARA microfilm publication M1285 (Washington D.C.: National Archives and Records Administration, n.d.), roll 151; FHL microfilm 1,432,151.

(8) “Illinois, Northern District Petitions for Naturalization, 1906-1994,” images, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/pal:/MM9.3.1/TH-909-55876-27502-14?cc=2212212 : accessed 25 April 2016), Cook County > Petitions, 1929, v. 375 no. 69051-69300 > image 575 of 963, Erik Hugo Peterson, P.69199; citing NARA NAID 593882, National Archives at Chicago, Illinois.

(9) U.S. Department of Homeland Security. C-File. U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, Washington, D.C., C-2337865, Wincenty Szinbinski, b 15 Jul 1884, Superior Court, Chicago, IL, 30 Apr 1926, FOIA request fulfilled 30 Nov 2010

(10) U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services; “USCIS Genealogy Program – Searching the Index” https://www.uscis.gov/history-and-genealogy/genealogy/searching-index: accessed 25 April 2016

SSA Form SS-5 Leads

It was very exciting when I received the Form SS-5 copies of the social security applications for Vincent Szubinski and Peter Anthony Smasz.

For Peter (1), the form supplied a middle name that I had never found before. The names of his parents were the same as recorded previously except for his mother’s last name. Sophia Wojcik was listed in the Form SS-5, while Sophia Blizniak was listed in Peter’s death certificate. Since the Form SS-5 was completed 30 years earlier and by Peter instead of by another person, as in the death certificate, I set Wojcik as the preferred name in FTM.

Continue reading SSA Form SS-5 Leads

Social Security Requests

I took a risk and opted to request the extracts instead of the full photocopies of the SS-5 application.  The responses contained enough information to verify death date, residence at time of death, birth date, and birth location, but parent’s names were not included.

Since I was looking for information on my two maternal great grandfathers, the extract isn’t enough information. I wanted to see if the parents are listed. I also want to confirm that only Poland was listed as the birth place. So, I will be submitting additional requests.

For information on requesting information from the SSA, visit http://www.socialsecurity.gov/foia/index.html