Saturday, September 13, 2008

Trip to the Chicago Public Library

Posted by Craig on 9/13/2008 0 comments
I went to the Chicago Public Library this afternoon to register for a library card and do some preliminary nosing around for genealogy. I must say, I left disappointed...

Not because the librarians weren't helpful. Are they ever not helpful?? Librarians are some of the nicest people, and they definitely steered me in the right direction, but the fact of the matter is CPL's genealogy collection is not very extensive.

I was up on the Special Collections floor, but there's a big absence of genealogy resources there. I checked out the catalog and there only a few scattered city directories, from random years, and a few random books on how to research genealogy in Illinois and the like. It's unbelievable, really, how few resources they had there for genealogists - but maybe I was looking on the wrong floor? Most libraries I've been to, you go to Special Collections for genealogy.

The one good thing I found was online. They have a number of genealogy databases that anyone with a CPL card can access, including access to, HeritageQuest, and searchable archives for the Chicago Tribune back to the 1800's. I particularly found the Tribune archive fun to search, as I got a bunch of hits for the names HILBURGER and IGLINSKI - two names I'm researching that also pop up in Chicago records. Maybe I'll take a closer look at these families later - and who knows, in time I could link them to my family.

I have access to these databases from anywhere - as long as I punch in my CPL card info - so that's good. I'll do some looking around later and I'll post any interesting findings here later. But for the most part, the trip to the CPL was disappointing.

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Chicago connections

Posted by Craig on 9/09/2008 0 comments
I'm now officially in Chicago and I start grad school this week.

None of my family is from Chicago, but I thought I'd take a look at some interesting "Chicago connections" I've found in my genealogical research. I'll look for these families, and perhaps other links, when I visit the Chicago Public Library soon to browse through their genealogy collection. I'll be posting the results of that trip in this blog.

So's the links I know of between my family history and Chicago:

(1) My great-grandfather Wallace Kanalley spent some time as a watchman in Chicago as a teenager. He arrived there in 1920 per immigrant records and supposedly stayed there for some time before returning to his native Canada. He later moved to Buffalo, N.Y.
(2) My 2nd-great-grandfather Edward Hilburger had a twin brother named George, born 1880, who moved to Chicago from Buffalo.
(3) My 3rd-great-grandparents Jacob Nicolaus Weber and Catharina Graebel lived in Waukegan, Illinois - about 35 miles north of Chicago - from 1864 to 1866, not long after immigrating from Bavaria, Germany. They then relocated to Buffalo, N.Y.
(4) Two siblings of my 3rd-great-grandfather John McQuaid - William McQuaid and Catherine McQuaid Garrity - moved to Chicago from Canada in the late 1800's.
(5) And finally, the fact I'm 25% Polish probably means I have distant relatives in Chicago, which has a sizeable ethnic Polish population. I don't know of any yet, but there are a few Iglinski's that settled in Chicago...that's my great-grandmother's maiden name and it's a very uncommon surname, so they're likely related.

Again, I'll be going to the Chicago library soon and I'll post anything interesting I find from that trip.

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