The Grocery Store Business

Going grocery shopping is not one of my favorite things to do.  I always forget my coupons, I can’t find what I’m looking for and more than likely one of my two children will snub their noses at the selections in my cart.  Yet the  grocery store has played an important part in my family’s history.  At a young age I remember my grandfather telling me the story about how he came to be in the grocery store business.  According to grandpa, his family was able to survive the great depression better than most in Chicago, because his family was in the grocery store business.  “And people always have to eat.  People can go without new clothes or new shoes, but people always need groceries”.  –Bud Reilly

So how was grandpa’s family involved in the grocery business?  Turns out that his uncle, Daniel Reilly, listed his occupation in the 1910 and 1920 census as “Grocery Store Clerk”  Was this the same store that Grandpa at one time owned?  Further research into Daniel Reilly and his neighborhood is needed.

Recently we discovered the following picture of my grandfather.  It’s possible this is the store he at one time owned.  A better scan of the picture will be forthcoming, as well as the name of the store and the other two people photographed with my grandpa.  But until then, enjoy!  (And don’t forget to pick up the milk on your way home!)

Who was John Reilly’s Aunt?

In a previous post I mentioned that John Reilly’s passage to America was paid by his aunt Ms. Cusack of Lawndale Avenue in Chicago.  Because John arrived in America in 1905, we can hope that his aunt can be found in the 1900 census.

Sure enough.  The 1900 census lists Alice Cusack, age 31, living with her husband Patrick and four children at 851 S. Lawndale.  According to the census information, Alice Cusack was born in Ireland in October of 1868.  She immigrated to America in 1881 and had lived in the city of Chicago for 18 years.  Her husband Patrick Cusack’s occupation is listed as a “foreman” (or “fireman” ) at an organ company.  Patrick Cusack may have been instrumental in finding John Reilly a job once he arrived in Chicago due to the fact that in the 1910 census we find John’s occupation as a “piano polisher”.

But that’s later.  Now I want to find out more information on Patrick and Alice Cusack.

Patrick and Alice were married in Chicago on July 1, 1890 in Chicago at St. Patrick’s church.  Their marriage certificate lists Alice’s maiden name as O’Brien.  Her children’s birth certificates also list her maiden name as O’Brien.

Now I know Alice and Elizabeth’s maiden name was O’Brien. Maybe I can find out more information about her life in Ireland before she followed her oldest son John Reilly to America.

John Reilly’s Arrival in the States

I’m reading an excellent book right now titled Island of Hope, Island of Tears.  The book features actual interviews of immigrants to the United States and highlights their experiences at Ellis Island and some of the reasons why many left home.  It is interesting to note that during the great migration period of 1892-1918, many individuals crossing the ocean were sponsored by a family member already living in America.

Such is the case of my great grandfather John Reilly. John Reilly left Ireland from the port of Queenstown, Ireland on January 19, 1905.  He traveled for nine days aboard the ship “The Baltic”.  Upon arriving in New York on January 28th, John listed his aunt, Ms. M. Cusack of 851 Lawndale, Chicago, as the “relative or friend” that he was going to join in the United States.  His ship passenger record also states that it was his “aunt” who purchased the ticket on his behalf.  John arrived with $8.00 to his name.  One can only imagine how he managed to get to from New York City to Chicago on $8.00. 

Here is a copy of the front page of the New York Times on the day John arrived in America.

Naming Patterns

In today’s society naming patterns aren’t as obvious as they once were.  Sure my oldest son is named for his grandfather Sam, but many times the parents of today pick a name for many different reasons.  However, when doing family history, researchers must be on the lookout for naming patterns as sometimes it will help move research along. 

For instance, my great grandmother’s marriage record states her name as Beatrice Beauchamp, and her early census records list her as Bessie.  {Which is of course how I knew her} However, in the 1930 census we finally find her as Elizabeth.  It turns out that Bessie Beauchamp’s grandmother was also named Elizabeth.

In the 1900 census the Henry and Stella Beauchamp family can be found living at 173 W. 16th street with their children Fred, Frank, Bessie and Lillian.  Henry is listed as a French-Canadian and it was always assumed that he was the immigrant ancestor.  However, a recently found death certificate for Elizabeth Bouchamp, age 65, with the place of residence at 173 W. 16th street, adds another branch to the Beauchamp family tree.  I believe this Elizabeth to be the grandmother of Bessie and the mother of my great, great grandfather Henry Beauchamp.

And while the relationship is not yet 100% proved, there are three documents that help prove it:

#1.  The death certificate listing the same address as the 1900 census two years later;
#2.  The marriage index listing for Henry’s second marriage that lists his mother as Elizabeth;
#3.  The 1920 census that lists Bessie as Elizabeth…[otherwise known as the naming pattern].

And if your wondering who Henry’s second wife was…that’s for a different day~!  Before I go there, I must also tell you about my grandfather Andrew Reilly being named after his grandfather, my son Jeremy’s discovery of a “Jeremiah”, and my nephew Nicholas’ discovery of another Nicholas!

I’m having fun!

St. Adalber’s Films Ordered

Today I ordered microfilm from the LDS church on the burial records of St. Adalbert’s Cemetery in Niles, Illinois.  I’m hoping to find some additional information on the burial of my great-grandfather Mikolaj (Nicholas) Cygan.  Specifically, I’m hoping to find out if he is buried in a family plot, and if so, who he is buried with.  I am hoping that he is buried with his son, Alfred, who died in September of 1917 at the age of 18 months from Gastroenteritis.

It is interesting to note that little Alfred died during the month of one of the worst outbreaks of polio in Chicago as seen by this Chicago Health Dept. Report found while searching Google Books.  How scary this time must of been for my great-grandparents.  Imagine having three children in the house under the age of 5 and the deadly disease infantile paralysis (polio) spreading like wildfire between siblings, cousins, and neighborhoods.

My dad does not recall my grandmother Clara ever talking about Alfred.   Of course,  Clara came after Alfred.  In fact, my great-grandmother Mary Jockem Cygan would have been 8 months pregnant with Clara when she lost her son Alfred.

Someday maybe I’ll find a picture of Alfred. This is why I search.  To honor those who may have been forgotten if not for my research.

Frank Cygan

I am lucky enough to have a polish obituary for my great grandfather Mikolaj Cygan.  He died in December of 1939 and the obituary lists a sibling Frank Cygan and sister-in-law Maryanna Cygan.  I’ve had this obituary for a few years but was never able to positively identify which of the many Frank Cygan’s of Chicago was my great, great uncle.  However, last week, I discovered that on the Cook County Naturalization website, you can search the declarations  by address only.  So I searched for the same address of Mikolaj’s entry and there he was…Mr. Frank Cygan, occupation Tailor.  Shortly after he declared his intention to become a U.S. cititzen, he married Maryanna Ludwin Kozlik.  Here they are in the 1920 census:

Madness Monday

Today is “Madness Monday”.  According to Genabloggers I am supposed to write about “an ancestor who may have suffered from some form of mental illness or an ancestor who drives you “mad” because you have trouble locating them or locating more information about them.”

Hmmmm…what ancestor drives me mad?  Today I think I will pick Stella Beauchamp.  Stella, my great-great grandmother, mother of Bessie Firmiss, is quite an elusive ancestor.  Here are my notes on Stella, who I cannot find in the 1920 or 1930 census.

1900 Census lists her naturalization status as blank, that she arrived in the US in 1886 and has been living in the country 14 years.
1900 Census lists her as the mother of 4, 4 living.
1910 Census lists her as the mother of 12, 5 living.
Listed as a sister of Michael Reha in obituary of Michael Reha.
Listed as living in Chicago 65 years.

I do know that Stella Beauchamp died on January 24, 1951 and is buried in St. Mary’s in Chicago.  Her daughter Bessie purchased the gravesite.  What I do not know is where she is in the 1920 census.  In 1920, her husband Henry is listed as living with Harry Firmiss but I can’t find Stella anywhere.  She is not listed with any of her other children (Frank, Fred, Lillian and Dolly) so I’m really not sure where she is.  Plus, after I looked a little closer to the family’s 1900 census, it appears that their oldest son Fred, was born in March of 1890 and is listed as being 10 years old on the census.  I cannot find a marriage record for Stella and Henry but according to the 1900 census they were only married for 9 years.  Does this mean Stella was married previous to Henry?  And Fred was not Henry’s son?  Or maybe the census is wrong?

All I do know is that Stella drives me mad 🙂

Stella Reha Beauchamp, 1944.

Scanning Sunday

Sunday is supposed to be “Sentimental Sunday” but instead I’m following the idea of the Family History Fun blog in order to motivate myself to scan the many historical photos I have.

So today I scanned about fifteen photos of my grandparents wedding.

Frank Koranda and Clara Cygan were married  July 1, 1941 in Chicago, Illinois.  Clara was lucky enough to have her mother (Mary Jochim) and grandmother (Magdelina Laskowski) attend her wedding.  They are photographed with Frank’s mother Antoinette Liska Koranda.

The other two photos are from the interior of the church.  I’m posting them hoping that someone will be able to identify the inside of the church as I’m unable to find where they were married.  The photographers of the event were “Candid Photographers Co. of Berwyn”.   

Surname Saturday

As part of my new blog, I will be trying to following the daily blogging theme posted by Geneabloggers in order to help me publish some of the great genealogy finds I have come across. Today is Surname Saturday so I will begin my blog with my current research interest the CYGAN family.

My maternal grandmother Clara CYGAN was born on October 31, 1917 in Chicago, Illinois.  She was the third child of Nicholas (Mikolag) and Mary Yockem Cygan.

What is interesting about this birth certificate is that it is a delayed birth certificate.  Her mother completed the birth certificate on September 29, 1926 when Clara would have been nine years old.  At the time of Clara’s birth the family was living at 2017 W. 17th street and at the time of the birth certificate the family was living at 4538 S. California.   You may also notice that there is some discrepancy of how many children Clara’s mother has had.  She lists herself as the mother of 4 children with 1 being listed as born alive but now dead.   Another research mystery to solve.