CGS Mailbag: January 2003
"Trouble with Chicago"
Another CGS member e-mailed the CGS Mailbag asking for help with a "brick wall" saying "I have been doing genealogy for thirty-five years and have never had so much trouble as I have with Chicago."
I advised her that from before the days of Sister Carrie, Chicago has been a tough town in which to succeed, in more ways than economics and genealogy! This member's frustration was based on her inability to find death dates for a single, female cousin and for the cousin's parents. "The cousin," she said, "was listed as living with her parents in the 1900, 1910, and 1920 censuses, but she was not listed as living with them in the 1930 census. The cousin was listed as being age twenty-five in the 1920 census." Our fellow member suspects that the cousin may have "married, moved to a different area, or passed away." The member wants to know where to look for her data "or am I out of luck?"
The suggestions from your "Mail Bag" column's author are:
- Search the Illinois Statewide Death Index (1916–1950) at: cyberdriveillinois.com (accessible through the CGS Web site) to see if any or all of them are listed.
- If either or both the parents are listed, check for a death notice in the newspapers (start with the Chicago Daily News) to see if the daughter is mentioned with a married name.
- If either or both the parents are listed in the Illinois death index, check the death notice for a burial site. Go there and see if the child might be buried with the parents.
- If the "cousin" is mentioned in the death index, you have your answer.
- If the family is Catholic, identify the parish the family attended (Chicago Archdiocese Archives, 711 West Monroe, Chicago), and check the parish marriage listings from 1920 through 1930.
- Check the Chicago AND SUBURBAN telephone directories in 1935 for the cousin's name. As the address in 1920 is a South Side address, contact the South Suburban Genealogical Society.
- Since the family was listed in the 1910 census as living in Adams County, Illinois (a family visit during the enumeration period), be certain to check the 1930 census for the "Uncle" to see if the "cousin" moved to Adams County after 1920. Also check the Adams County marriage records from 1920 through 1930.
- If desperation sets in, send $10 to the Cook County Clerk requesting a search of county marriage records for the three years of choice between 1920 and 1930.
- Don't forget to check the Lake County, Indiana marriage records. That county was an active "marriage mill" during the 1920s. One of the author's relatives "went through the mill" during this period.
Unfortunately, in this case, a search of property records will not help since the parents were renters and not property owners between 1900 through 1930.
As you might know, this author collects Chicago-taken 19th century "cabinet cards" that have people's names on them. It is VERY difficult to find out what happened to most of the young ladies whose photographs are in his collection. Please do help out both the writer of this column and the person who made the request with your ideas for research.