Tag Archives: Illinois


January 27, 1946 envelope

January 27, 1946 envelope

January 27, 1946, p. 1

January 27, 1946, p. 1

Letter transcription:

January 27, 1946

Dear Aunt Gladys –

Mother sent me your letter, and I was to answer right away about the navy blue sox. Somehow or other I always seem to put letter writing off; but I decided to get busy and write you before exams begin.

I’d like very much to have the navy blue sox – that is if you haven’t all ready given them away or something like that. If you have, that is

January 27, 1946, p. 2

January 27, 1946, p. 2

[page 2] O.k.; but if not I’d appreciate them. I’m learning to knit; and so far have one mitten done. Maybe from now on I’ll be able to do my own knitting.

How’s everyone in Kentland? I went home last weekend, and everyone there is fine. In about two weeks our semester will be over and we’ll all be getting a two week’s vacation. I’m really looking forward to that.

Well, I must get busy. It’s almost

[page 3] time for dinner, and I’m not ready.

Thanks again, Aunt Gladys, for all the things you’ve knitted for me.


January 27, 1946, p. 3

January 27, 1946, p. 3

©2016 copyright owned and transcribed by Deborah Sweeney
Post originally found: https://genealogylady.net/2016/07/24/romaine/

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/

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/

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/

Meet at Grandma’s

1945-08-02 (JFY) envelopeLetter transcription:

August 2, 1945

August 2, 1945

Evanston Aug. 2

Dear Mother,

Just a line or two to tell you I think I’ll meet you at Grandma’s. Since you’re not coming till Tuesday that will give me plenty of time to plan things out. I’ll go to Wilmington Saturday. The Mutchlers know the transportation situation and can help me plan how to get to C.C.

Mrs. S. is going to help me send my stuff by express.

So I’ll be seeing you Tuesday –

Love John

©2016 copyright owned and transcribed by Deborah Sweeney
Post originally found: https://genealogylady.net/2016/04/03/meet-at-grandmas/

May 1944

[There are no further letters during the month of May since Gladys and the boys moved to Lake Forest on May 8th. Their stay by the Lake was short-lived however.]

Baby Book - May 23, 1944 summary

Baby book – May 23, 1944

May 23 – 1944

David’s 20th month. 26 1/2 lbs. – 34″ tall

On May 8 we went to Lake Forest to live. There were chickens in the back yard and David put his finger thru the fence and a hen pecked it – He cried but went back and tried to entice the hen again. We took David to the beach and he had lots of fun playing in the sand and throwing rocks in the lake. We had a cottage on the lake near Zion but Daddy was ordered to Liberty, Mo., so we had just one day to play on the beach. David is getting a good coat of tan. He tries to say anything but doesn’t say everything correctly. He acts like he is playing the piano, can point to his nose, ears, eyes, hair, mouth, tummy, feet and where he gets spanked when we ask him to.

Roscoe’s new orders were written on May 26th and delivered on May 30th. He had five days to report to Liberty, Missouri. His new duties were at the Naval Flight Preparatory School at William Jewell College.

© 2016 Deborah Sweeney
Post originally found: https://genealogylady.net/2016/02/18/may-1944/

Romaine’s Commencement (Ruth)

April 30, 1944, p. 1

April 30, 1944, p. 1

[Gladys included this letter from Ruth Mutchler in her May 2nd letter. Ruth was Roscoe’s sister.]

Letter transcription:

Wilmington Ill.
April 30, 1944

Dear folks,

Just a line before I go downtown this morning. I am sewing & must go down to get some thread. It is raining again this morning as usual.

We have been anxious to know what has become of you. In your last letter you said you had been apartment hunting & we have been wondering if you have found one. It will be nice if you can be near Jake while he is stationed there. Romaine & I were in Chicago, all day on Saturday, two weeks ago. We eyed every Naval officer that we saw. Thinking just perhaps

April 30, 1944, p. 2

April 30, 1944, p. 2

[page 2] Jake may have been downtown, but – no see –

We went up for her formal. Had a hard time finding one, but finally found one which we think is quite pretty. It is yellow marquisette. She is getting all excited now, the Senior activities are “stepping up.” Had the Senior play Fri. & Sat. nights. She had so hoped grandpa & grandma would come up for commencement, but Mom wrote & said that it wouldn’t be possible for them to come now. She is still counting on you to be here.

Earl & Chuck are trying hard to get their garden in but so much rain keeps

[page 3] them from it. They now have their potatoes, peas & early stuff such as lettuce carrots & onions in. Earl went fishing

April 30, 1944, p. 3

April 30, 1944, p. 3

for a little while yesterday after-noon, but too cold for that, got two I think he said. He is so busy at the mine, he hasn’t much time for fishing & gardening.

Must run along now. Let us hear from you, haven’t Jake’s address so can’t write to him, so send it along when you write again. Hope you are all well

Love Ruth

Come for commencement if you can. It is May 26.

©2016 copyright owned and transcribed by Deborah Sweeney
Post originally found: https://genealogylady.net/2016/02/15/romaines-commencement-ruth/

A Place by the Lakes (Roscoe)

Letter transcription:

May 1-2, 1944, p. 1

May 1-2, 1944, p. 1


Dear Mother,

At least there is something to report – Joe found a house – a small but livable and reasonable enough. All for $48 per month but not furnished. He called Mrs. Roberts and I suppose she will call you before this arrives. They were able to get it by a friend in Wilmette writing to a friend in Lake Bluff and these people had a friend whose brother in law had a house so you see how things go. Maybe something will turn up in that way for us. The lady in Wilmette is still looking for one for us.

I’ve thought of this for us – Maybe we could take a place at the lakes for a couple of

May 1-2, 1944, p. 2

May 1-2, 1944, p. 2

[page 2] weeks – and that would allow us to be together and would also give you some time to look around and if nothing turned up at the end of that time you could go back home – what about that? We can talk of that when I come home this weekend. I haven’t asked as yet but will tomorrow.

Somehow I’ve contracted a cold and using a few hankies but it isn’t bad. It’s turned so warm today. I’ll wear khaki tomorrow for the first time and have my blue cleaned & pressed for the weekend.

Well, I hope I’ll be able to write of house news tomorrow eve –
Love Daddy

©2016 copyright owned and transcribed by Deborah Sweeney
Post originally found: https://genealogylady.net/2016/02/11/a-place-by-the-lakes-roscoe/

Tune in Tomorrow Night (Roscoe)

April 30, 1944 envelope

April 30, 1944 envelope

April 30, 1944, p. 1

April 30, 1944, p. 1

Apr. 30 Sun.

Dear Mother

Just home from the hospital and writing now so I won’t do like last night. This being Sunday the day was rather dull but business was pretty good because there was extra work due to doubling for a Dr. or two who had the day off – now if I can get next weekend they can work for me, which is only fair if the big braid will see it my way.

No further news on a house, etc. I did talk to a fellow who got one but it was one of these where the Dr. was detached and the word got to this fellow first but he had to take over an unexpired year’s lease. I don’t know if that is good or not. I guess if he leaves he can probably get someone to take over his lease.

I received a letter from you today so probably will not get one tomorrow and you also know why you didn’t

April 30, 1944, p. 2

April 30, 1944, p. 2

[page 2] get the letter one day. Joe said his wife missed a day also so he probably got blamed twice.

I’m reading a book again in the off hours. I’ve forgotten the name of it and it’s over on the dresser and right now Jack Benny is coming on so I’ll probably get this letter full of nothing.

Joe said something about going out house looking again tomorrow – I think again toward Evanston. He wants to go to see the manager of the apartments where he stayed 2 years ago. I’m going to see if I can see the welfare gal again tomorrow to see if she has anything to offer.

It seems that the main topics of these letters is finding a house and why not and this might end like a continue story – will they find a house? Tune in tomorrow night – by courtesy of bla bla

Love Daddy

©2016 copyright owned and transcribed by Deborah Sweeney
Post originally found: https://genealogylady.net/2016/02/09/tune-in-tomorrow-night-roscoe/