Tag Archives: Chicago

Lena’s Postcards #83 – India Gordon

[Postmark: Chicago, Illinois, 30 September 1933, 6 PM]

Address: Mrs. Lena Hackleman, Connersville, Ind., Fayette St.

Chicago. Ill,
Sept. 29-33
The Fair is great
and I am enjoying
every day—Many
wonderful exhibits
The weather has been
fine—Yours, India Gordon

Editor’s note: India (Thomas) Gordon was a cousin of Lena’s husband, John W. Hackleman. India’s mother was Francis Hackleman, a daughter of Hawkins Hackleman.

©2018 copyright owned by Deborah Sweeney
Post originally found: https://genealogylady.net/2018/02/17/lenas-postcards-83-india-gordon/


Letter transcription:

March 15 – 1964

1964-03-15-gry-p-1Dear David: Your letter was here when we arrived. I still think you two should graduate normally. I hope I read your letter correctly that we will be invited to Founder’s Day Celebration on the strength (how else) of your grades. If you go to Kentland, remember what Jeannette Batton said about Bonnie staying there if you spend night in Kentland. I wrote you in another letter that you will have to check with Air France as to arrival time. It is supposed to be at 1:40 p.m. We have heard since then that we can go thru customs in Canada if plane makes a stop there – it may. If we could go thru customs there it wouldn’t take us long to get away from O’Hare. We haven’t decided what we will do when we get to Chicago – I doubt that we will spend much time at Mark’s – you know with all that mail waiting for us we will probably be anxious to get home. No appointments until April 1 so that will give Dad a chance to wade thru things. I do hope you can get the house swept and dusted before we get home. I wish we had you with us here – we can’t read any of the signs around here – it’s all Greek to us. We can see the Parthenon from the hotel – but not from our window – our room is on other side but we can see it from lounge. Everything seems very quiet. We took a walk this afternoon and took a picture of American Embassy. It was refreshing to get to Athens today, after almost a week in a country that is nearly 100% (nearly) Muslim. There are 1,000 mosques in Cairo and they are building more all the time. We really had some nice tours there and saw the tomb of King Tut. Also saw all the things that are in the museum that were taken from tomb. We made 3 trips to the museum. That is a popular place – people coming and going all the time. Do you and Bonnie have work in Boston this summer? From your letter I rather thought you sounded like there is where you will spend the summer. Our hotel room is on 9th floor and we have a very good view of the city and nets in background. We start on cruise tomorrow afternoon but will try to find the beads for you tomorrow a.m. I don’t know what I will be looking for but someone around here surely will. We ate a light breakfast at 6:30 – had a huge breakfast on plane at 9:30 so it is almost 6 p.m. and I think we have waited long enough for food. I think we have both gained – but once we get back home we can lose any extra. This cruise won’t be any help in the weight losing dept. You will have time to get a letter to us when

[page 2] we get to Paris if there is something you need to write about. It is always nice to pick up letters – we had six when we arrived here today – so had lots of news.

Love Mother



©2016 copyright owned and transcribed by Deborah Sweeney
Post originally found: https://genealogylady.net/2016/12/20/athens/

Jealous of Kirk

1963-04-09-gry-p-1Letter transcription:

Sat. the 9th, 1963

Dear David:

Just finished writing to John so thought I had better dash off a line to you.

We went to Chicago Thursday to visit some more travel agencies. I think Dad thought last night when we were spending the second night of going over travel folders that we had too much and it was beginning to get a little confusing, but I think we will be able to get something on paper before long. We found a travel agent we think is pretty good, so I think I will call her – she said to call her collect any time – and tell her what we want and have her fix a trip for us. Dad would like to go part way by ship. Except for the relaxation, I would rather go by air all the way, but since he likes sea travel I think we should go part way by sea.

We stopped to see Shirley and the children. You won’t know Kirk the next time you see him. We hardly knew him ourselves he has grown so much in the past month. Becky definitely does not want grandma to have anything to do with Kirk. When I would hold him she would insist that either her mother or poppa hold him, but not grandma. I don’t want her to be jealous of Kirk so it looks like I may have a problem on my hands until she gets a little older. She had a puzzle that she worked in a flash. Of course it was the most elementary kind, but she knew exactly where every piece belonged.

I presume you have heard from Dr. Bailey about a meeting you will have to attend to get your preaching permit – or whatever it is you have to attend the meeting for. I haven’t talked to Rev. Fields recently about you, but will try to see him tomorrow about when you will have to come home for the Board Meeting.

We are still in the grip of winter. The two days of balmy weather just served to melt some of the snow down and now we not only have snow, but ice and snow on our driveway and on most of the streets around town. Chicago was the dirtiest place I think I have seen this winter. There were still piles of snow, but it looked more like piles of coal. Kentland looked so clean when we got back here late in the afternoon. We had intended to make our trip to Chicago a little vacation outing, but one of Dad’s baby cases didn’t cooperate, so we hurried up there and back. We did stop at Tiebels long enough to eat on the way home.

Love Mother

©2016 copyright owned and transcribed by Deborah Sweeney
Post originally found: https://genealogylady.net/2016/11/07/jealous-of-kirk/

Letter from Aunt Jessie

Letter transcription:

January 3, 1946, p. 1

January 3, 1946, p. 1

Dear Gladys and Roscoe –

I am sending, parcel post, a box containing ties, socks and underwear. Now you may not wish to wear such but – if you have any feeling about this please give them to someone. I shall understand. I know you do not need such but I preferred you whom Silvester admired

January 3, 1946, p. 2

January 3, 1946, p. 2

[page 2] so much thru the years to have these.

So hard to go on without Silvester but strength is given and I must carry on as he would wish.

Hope you are all well and that the new office is installed completely.

With love,

Jan. 3, 1946

©2016 copyright owned and transcribed by Deborah Sweeney
Post originally found: https://genealogylady.net/2016/07/21/letter-from-aunt-jessie/

Next Draft Leaving Friday (Roscoe)

October 3, 1945 envelope

October 3, 1945 envelope

Letter transcription:

October 3, 1945, p. 1

October 3, 1945, p. 1


Dear Mother,

Just got off the O.D. duty and have the news about the draft. I’ll leave here on Fri., Oct. 5, at about 3 p.m. The date is certain but the time is not definite as yet. If everything is about the same as before I should be there as I have it figured Monday about noon. Now again the problem of what you are going to do and what I’m going to do – well since air travel is the way it is they are going to try to get me transportation back from here so that will set the time. I’ll either wire or call you later. If I can get it all on a wire I won’t call – you should get this letter either Fri. or Sat. and that will give you some time to think. If you do meet me you will know where – and if you don’t you can call the O.D. and leave a message.

If you think it would be easier for you just to come to Chi. Let me know, but on second thought how? I think I’ll know

October 3, 1945, p. 2

October 3, 1945, p. 2

[page 2] a little ahead of time here how long I will be able to stay so possibly will let you know by wire or phone.

Two days in a row now without any mail. It possibly is the no Sunday take up of mail in Kentland that accounts for the delay.

It is now 10:30 and we are beginning to get the World Series on the radio on the ward. I don’t suppose you are interested enough to listen. In fact I’m writing this in preference to listening but I want it to be sure and get off on today’s mail.

You had better bring some money. I missed pay day when I was home last time and this time I had just drawn my money for the drafts and didn’t take any on the 1st so I have it on the books but see to miss the regular pays.

Well, I hope before this time next week I will have been with you for several hours. I’ll write again tomorrow –

Lots of Love,

©2016 copyright owned and transcribed by Deborah Sweeney
Post originally found: https://genealogylady.net/2016/06/25/next-draft-leaving-friday-roscoe/

Thank You from Aunt Jessie

1945-09-12 (JMS) frontLetter transcription:

Chicago, Illinois
Sept. 12, 1945

Dear Gladys: We arrived at our own door just 4:30 P.M. every thing unpacked, our dinner over, dishes washed a fire in the grate and now to write notes (no cards) thanking all who were so kind to us giving us such a good time. It was splendid to be in your home again and have the visit and admire the blessed boys – only regret that Roscoe so far away yet this moment he is coming closer. We do hope you will have time for a good visit and that soon he will be home to stay. Silvester feels a bit tired but we will retire early and the morning will find him ok. Again our thanks.

Much love,
Jessie and Silvester

September 12, 1945

September 12, 1945

©2016 copyright owned and transcribed by Deborah Sweeney
Post originally found: https://genealogylady.net/2016/05/21/thank-you-from-aunt-jessie/

Plans on Schedule (Roscoe)

September 10, 1945 envelope

September 10, 1945 envelope

Letter transcription:

September 10, 1945, p. 1

September 10, 1945, p. 1

Sept. 10, 1945

Dear Mother,

Well is seems the plans are going along on schedule. I’m to leave here on Sept. 12 at around 1000 – should be around the Lakes about Sat. noon but that isn’t very definite. I’ll wire you on the way. My roommate has an apartment in Chicago and his wife is here so she is writing them telling them to let us have their place. Does that sound OK? Or are you planning on coming into Chi.? Of course you won’t be able to get me an answer here but I’ll try to call en route. I don’t know how many layovers we

September 10, 1945, p. 2

September 10, 1945, p. 2

[page 2] will have because I think probably this is a special military train and they probably do not make the regular stops but I can at least send a wire. I think the best plan would be to meet me at the North W. depot or some such place and then get a hotel or that apartment. I don’t know what the address is, or Evanston, etc. I know I’m trying to take all this in my hands and not giving you any chance to say but I want to see you even if I can’t see the boys and I’m afraid I might not get enough time to come down and it would be dreadful to be pestered by those patients clear across the country and

September 10, 1945, p. 3

September 10, 1945, p. 3

[page 3] then have to turn around not seeing you. Think the whole plan out and when I call tell me what you can do best. It would be such a hard trip to try to bring the boys up. You wouldn’t get much of a rest, but maybe our good friends won’t want to keep them. Do the best you can Dear and I hope you do get some rest or at least a change in the few hours we will be together. I’ll write again tomorrow if anything turns up. Bring a little money. My Khaki cap. My bath robe.

The new point system doesn’t seem to help out much. I’ll still have to spend about 10 mo. in this man’s navy, but maybe

September 10, 1945, p. 4

September 10, 1945, p. 4

[page 4] there will be another change sometime in the future. In fact there are darn few around here that it does affect. Some of the fellows have as much as 3-4-5 years.

Well, I’ll write tomorrow but I’ll call or wire in the meantime
So love

© 2016 copyright owned and transcribed by Deborah Sweeney
Post originally found: https://genealogylady.net/2016/05/20/plans-on-schedule-roscoe/

Who Were the Parents of Bridget (McGinnis) Thies?

Soon after I married, I reached out to my husband’s extended family to learn more about his roots. In return, I received a large chart with generations of my new in-laws written out in neatly printed block letters. This side of the family contains some of the newest immigrants to our combined tree. Many of these ancestors arrived on American soil between the years 1850 and 1880. Mostly Catholics of Irish and German ethnicity, they settled in the greater Chicago area. One union of these Irish and German lines occurred when Gilbert Thies and Bridget McGinnis married at St. John’s Church on June 10, 1880.

Sweeney Chart

View of the family genealogy chart

The chart contains research which was likely conducted in the 1970s and 1980s. For its time period and scope, the chart became an excellent tool for me to begin my research. However, I soon learned that the chart wrongly attributed parents to Bridget McGinnis that could not possibly be correct. A common mistake! Two women of similar names, ages, and birthplaces merged into one identity. Many Ancestry trees reflect the incorrect parentage as the information from the chart has been passed from one generation to the next without due diligence. While the original chart contains no sources, there are small notations regarding Bridget’s family which were the key to solving this puzzle.

This has been one of those puzzles that I have ignored for many years. I knew the information was wrong, but had not devoted the energy to sorting out the evidence. I possess five documents which allowed me to solve this puzzle when I finally took the time to analyze the evidence.

  1. Bridget’s certificate of death from the Cook County Coroner
  2. Find A Grave Memorial (which I created) with a photograph of her tombstone
  3. Gilbert and Bridget’s family on the 1900 U.S. census, Chicago, Cook County, Illinois
  4. Gilbert and Bridget’s marriage certificate, as well as the record from the church register naming the two witnesses Julia McGinnis and Jermiah [?] Galvin
  5. The family chart with notations regarding Bridget’s family

The Death Certificate

Bridget died on March 25, 1908 at her home at 3016 Popular Ave, Chicago, Illinois. Her cause of death was organic heart disease. She was 52 years old. Other key details include her birthplace of Massachusetts, and both parents’ nativity was Ireland. Because of the time period and because the document was issued from the County Coroner’s office, Bridget’s parents were not recorded. Another key question on the document asked Bridget’s residency: 30 years in Illinois/Chicago. Bridget was laid to rest at Mt. Olivet Cemetery.

0087 - Bridget (McGinnis) Thies (Death, 1908)

Bridget (McGinnis) Thies’ death certificate, 1908

Find A Grave Memorial

I created Bridget’s Find A Grave memorial based upon information from her death certificate. Fortunately, a photo volunteer found Bridget’s grave. Her death date and age correspond with the certificate. She died March 25, 1908, 52 years old. (Bridget’s Find A Grave memorial is linked here).

1900 U.S. census

In 1900, Gilbert and Bridget lived at 3018 Popular Ave, Chicago, Illinois. Either the census taker or the informant on Bridget’s death certificate made an error, or Gilbert and Bridget moved into the house next door between 1900 and 1908. Gilbert worked as a butcher. He and Bridget had achieved twenty years of marriage with five children, four daughters and a son. The census records that Bridget was born in December 1853, Massachusetts, she was 46 years old, and both her parents were natives of Ireland.

Overall, the census details mesh with those of the death certificate, except for Bridget’s age. The census would have us believe that Bridget was born in December 1853 while the death certificate and grave stone tell us that Bridget was born in 1855 or 1856.

Because Bridget was of Irish ancestry, it is important to note that Irish families often conformed to naming traditions. First born daughters were usually named after their maternal grandmothers. Bridget and Gilbert’s oldest daughter was Katie.

Thies, Gilbert - 1900 census detail

1900 U.S. census, Household of Gilbert Thies, Chicago, Illinois (Image courtesy of Ancestry.com)

Marriage documents

The certificate of marriage filed with Cook County, Illinois, gives Gilbert’s age as 30 and Bridget’s as 25. With a December birthday, Bridget turned 26 later in 1880. Calculating her birth from the marriage document pinpoints a birth year of 1854. The county document neglects to show the witnesses of the nuptials, but it was signed by the officiating priest, John Waldron. In the St. John’s church register book, Father Waldron recorded his oath that he married Gilbert and Bridget, with witnesses Jerimah [?] Galvin and Julia McGinnis.

0088 - Gilbert Theis and Bridget McGinnis (Marriage, 1880)

Church register, St. John’s, Chicago, Illinois, Marriage of Gilbert Thies and Bridget McGinnis, 1880 (Image courtesy of FamilySearch.org)

The Family Chart

The chart records Bridget’s parents as John McGinnis and Rose Doherty. Following John and Rose through many census years (both state and federal), vital records, city directories, etc., a summary of their family can be constructed. John and Rose married in Boston on November 28, 1856. Over the course of their marriage, Rose gave birth to at least ten children: Annie, Thomas, Minnie, James, Alice, Rose, John, Mary, Walter, and Frederick.

So why would Bridget McGinnis, the wife of Gilbert Thies, be attached to this family? The confusion lies with John and Rose’s oldest daughter Annie. Her full name, at least on her birth record, was Bridget Ann McGinnis. She was born September 15, 1857, in Boston, Massachusetts. As she grew older, she dropped her first name Bridget and used Ann instead. On June 1, 1880, Annie McGinnis lived with her parents in Boston while ten days later another Bridget McGinnis married Gilbert Thies in Chicago. Two years later, the Boston (Bridget) Annie McGinnis married Thomas Collins on April 25, 1882. In 1900, weeks before she died, Rose (Doherty) McGinnis lived with the family of her daughter Annie Collins in Boston.

So who were Bridget’s parents? The chart provides a clue in its notations as it references Bridget’s obituary. Finding the actual obituary is on my to-do list so presently I must rely on the notations. Seven children are attributed to John and Rose on the chart: Rose, Mary, Frank, Bridget, Julia, James, and Thomas. Some of these children are clearly the children of the Boston couple, but some are not. Frank and Julia were not members of the Boston family, but they were Bridget (McGinnis) Thies’ real siblings.

Sweeney Chart - Bridget McGinnis detail

Detail of family chart showing the Thies and McGinnis descendatns

The chart says that Bridget’s siblings Mary, Frank, Julia and James were mentioned in her obituary. Bridget’s sister Julia was most likely the same woman who witnessed Bridget’s marriage to Gilbert in 1880. Julia McGinnis never married and she died on November 5, 1912. The informant on her death certificate was Ida Healey. Coincidently or not, Ida Healey was Julia Ida (Theis) Healey, the second daughter of Bridget McGinnis and Gilbert Thies. This is a great example of the FAN principle at work. Family members and friends are most likely to be witnesses for momentous occasions. So who would most likely inform on the death certificate of a maiden aunt? One of her nieces or nephews! Ida reported on the death certificate that Julia’s parents were James McGinnis and Catherine Morgan.

While the records for James and Catherine (Morgan) McGinnis remain elusive, they lived in Chicago in 1860. At that time, their household contained four children: Francis, Mary, Bridget, and Julia. Mary and Bridget appear to be twins. Massachusetts birth records reveal twins Mary Ann and Bridget McGinnis, born in Waltham, Massachusetts, on November 1, 1853. A James McGinnis and Catherine Morgan married in Waltham on September 5, 1846.

McGuiness, James - 1860 census detail

1860 U.S. census, Household of James McGuiness, Chicago, Illinois (Image courtesy of Ancestry.com)

While the evidence thus far is not complete, the existing documents do provide enough clues to suggest that the true parents of Bridget (McGinnis) Thies were James and Catherine (Morgan) McGinnis. Once again, careful analysis of primary documents will provide answers to some of our genealogical questions. As genealogists, we should be mindful to do our own due diligence and conduct our own research. Especially when provided with prior research from previous generations!

[Editor’s Note: In this article, some of my evidence was excluded for the sake of brevity.]

©2016 Deborah Sweeney
Post originally found: https://genealogylady.net/2016/04/10/who-were-the-parents-of-bridget-mcginnis-thies/


Silvester Schiele

Letter transcription:

August 16, 1945

August 16, 1945

Aug. 16 45

Dear Folks – Vine wrote me some days ago that Roscoe was leaving for the west coast Aug. 17th. We hope now as Japan has surrendered you will be able to return to private life. It would be a shame if you had to return again to the overseas territory.

We leave for home, Chicago, the 23rd, next Thursday, so don’t write us here, but our home address. It’s beautiful here this time of the year – but we have been away from Chicago 2 months, so we go about one week earlier than usual.

Is John through at Evanston for this year? If he is still there next Friday it would be fine if he would stay with us over Sunday. We would love to have him. Jessie & I are both fine, I am much better, thank the Lord. Jessie’s sister is not so well, arthritis in her back – very painful, we hope to go to Clay City early in September – Hope you will be at Kentland. Our mail is terrible slow here this year. Drop us, even just a line or postal card.

Our love and best wishes


Home address 2028 W. 110th St. – Chicago

[Editor’s note: Silvester Schiele was Roscoe’s uncle. Vine, a nickname for Lovina, was Roscoe’s mother.]

©2016 copyright owned and transcribed by Deborah Sweeney
Post originally found: https://genealogylady.net/2016/04/05/silvester-schiele-2/

Getting Ready to Move (Gladys)

May 8, 1944 envelope

May [Sic June] 8, 1944 envelope

May 8, 1944, p. 1

May 8, 1944, p. 1

Letter transcription:

Kentland Ind.
5-8-44 [sic June 8]

Dear Daddy –

Your letter about the house came today. Sounds Ok. Nothing much exciting to report. I still don’t know which way to come – via Chi. or Laf. – or even by bus from here. If you could meet us at Quincy we could go by bus to there from here but I think I’ll call you or have you call me to settle the issue before we start.

Have been working in the yard some. Have the present growth of weeds about eliminated – I suppose it’s a waste of time and the way I ache all over I am not sure it’s worth it.

May 8, 1944, p. 2

May 8, 1944, p. 2

[page 2] Your shirt came from Seligs – you are going to hate it – it’s very heavy material – even heavier than the first one you brought – at least we got a shirt back and that’s more than we got out of orders so far.

About the train from Laf. – it has to go thru St. L. and would take us from 1:30 a.m. – until 4:30 p.m. to make the trip – could almost do that well on the bus – It leaves here at 10:00 a.m. and gets in Quincy at 7 p.m. – If you could get off on Sun. or any day we might come by bus – but maybe it would be best to come by train. I’ll decide after I hear more from you. Must get this ready to mail.

Love Mother

©2016 copyright owned and transcribed by Deborah Sweeney
Post originally found: https://genealogylady.net/2016/02/26/getting-ready-to-move-gladys/