Recently, I was trying to write about my father’s Aunt Christine.  I only had the privilege of meeting her a couple of times when I was around 8 or 10 years old.  When I met her, she had two grown sons.  I thought her sons were her only children.  My father was not close to her and rarely saw her so he didn’t know much about her life.  As I researched her, I became very confused.   It seems she had seven children with at least 3 different men.  Each time she married; the children’s surname changed to whomever she married.  It was hard to keep track of who belonged to who.  This is where a timeline came in handy.  Using a timeline to record the events in your ancestor’s life helps organize your genealogy research, and find gaps in your research.  Here is my timeline for Christine.

1913 – Christina has a baby girl in June 1913.  The name of the child is listed as baby Manfroid (same birth date as her daughter Marion).  On Birth Certificate the father’s name is erased, but still readable and it says Frank Gauger and occupation is machinist.  Also, father’s birth place erased, but still readable as Chicago, Illlinois.

1913 – Christina gets married in November of 1913 to an Orrey Levi Wheat

1915 – Christine has a baby girl, Harriet according to the 1940 census.

1918 – Christina has a baby girl Louise according to the 1930 census.

1919 – Christina has a baby girl Dorothy Butendorff

1930 – Christine is living in Forest Park, Illinois with daughters Marion, Harriette, Louise, and Dorothy Butendorff.  There is no husband in household, however she states she is married.

1933 – Christine’s son George Ciancio Jr. is born.  This according to the SS Index.

1935 – Christine’s son Ronald Ciancio was born.  This according to the SS Index

1939 – Christie’s daughter, Joyce Ciancio is born. According to 1940 census.

1940 – Christine is married to George Ciancio and has three children by him.  George Jr.  5 years old, Ronald 4 years old, and Joyce 1 years old.  This means that she must have divorced Robert Buttendorf somewhere between 1930 and 1933 when George was born.

1940 – Christine’s daughter, Marion Butendorff, is married to Victor Vartan living in Chicago, Illinois and they have a 7 month old son according to the 1940 census.

1940 – Census lists Robert Butendorff as single and he is living alone.

1940 – Christine’s daughter, Louise, is married to Herbert Kanning on the 1940 census.

1940 – Christine’s daughter, Dorothy, is married to Herbert Reichert. Dorothy and Herbert have a three-year-old daughter according to the 1940 Census

1942 – Robert dies and on the death certificate Christine is listed as wife.

1942 – Robert’s WWII draft card does not mention Christine. 

1950 – Christine is living with her two sons George and Ronald according to the 1950 census.

1970 – Christine Ciancio dies.

I love and miss you!

I haven’t posted in awhile.  My husband was sick for several years and in the last two years I became his full-time caretaker.  He succumbed to his illness on June 8, 2020.  Since his passing, I am having hard time getting back to my genealogy and this blog.  This last week I have worked on genealogy again.  Today I thought I would do a short post to let everyone know I am still here and hope to post more often now that I have more time and things (I hope) have settled down.  

We had a nice grave site ceremony for my husband with the Marines and a flag ceremony.  Afterwards, we had a picnic lunch at the state park near our home, one of my husband’s favorite places. 

He loved the outdoors and nature.  Before he got sick our favorite thing to do was to go camping in our trailer and before that in our pop-up trailer, and tent camping when we were young.  

He also loved cars and all things mechanical.  His first car was a 54 Buick that he inherited from his father.  When I met Bruce he owned a ’69 Plymouth Barracuda and ’69 450 Honda Motorcycle.  I have many fond memories of our motorcycle adventures.  He noticed me because of my ’69 Camaro Convertible. 

We traveled all over the United States and saw many of the National Parks. Our favorite is Glacier National Park in Montana.  We have been to most states.  Our plan was to drive to Alaska when I retired, but it was not to be.  By the time I retired there was no way that Bruce could have endured a trip like that.  But I have many good memories the trips we did take.

Bruce loved sports and played baseball, softball, tennis, and ran. He was an avid sports fan of the White Sox, Cubs, and Bears. He enjoyed working on his own cars and machines. He was very handy around the house building us a fireplace and cabinets. His last few years his physical activity was diminished until he was unable to walk. It was so sad to watch my once athletic husband unable to do things for himself that he once enjoyed.

We were together 49 years and hoping for 50.  If you count the year we dated, we were together 50.  

On Bruce’s last day I told him that we didn’t have an easy life, but we had a good life.  He told me he was happy and thank me for taking care of him.  There was no need to thank me, I would do it all over again. As he took his last breath, he held my hand and squeezed it. It was his last “I love you” to me.   I love him and miss him, but at least he suffers no more and is at peace. 

Cursive Handwriting Obsolete

Letter from Aunt Emma 2

Is cursive handwriting becoming obsolete?  Recently, I heard for the first time, they are no longer teaching cursive handwriting in schools.  I asked my grandchildren if they learned cursive in school.  My two granddaughters 16 and 18 were taught cursive in school.  My 13-year-old grandson said, “What’s cursive?”  We explain cursive handwriting to him, and he confirmed that he has not learned it.  Some where in the three years between my 16-year-old granddaughter and my 13-year-old grandson they quit teaching it.  I haven’t heard why, but I can think of a couple of reasons.  They may think it is unnecessary because people now days use computers, tablets, and phones to communicate and are typing on a keyboard or keypad and there is always printing.  So do we really need cursive?   I happen to be old fashion and think they should still teach cursive.  Your signature is unique, and I would think less likely to be copied than a printed signature.

Then the genealogist in me thinks about all the old documents that are handwritten.  Who will read these documents when there is no one left who knows how to read cursive handwriting?  I suppose there will always be specialist around that will be able to do it.  If you find an old letter written in cursive, you could take it to a specialist and have it deciphered for you.  Just like I do now when I find letters written in German, or when I find documents written in old German script, I need to find someone to translate them for me. I think of all the genealogy documents around that will be lost to future generations if they cannot read cursive.   I know genealogy is changing too, and now with all the indexes on-line, it is easier to find someone, than scanning though microfilm reels.  So some things may be typewritten for them, but if you want to look at the original, you will want to be able to read it.  Sometimes when I can’t find an ancestor in an index, and I know he should be there, I get the microfilm and search it.  I have found ancestors this way that I would have missed,  if I believed the index.  In order to do this, I need to know how to read cursive handwriting. I  have kept journals for many years now that are written in cursive.  I guess my grandson and great-grandchildren won’t be able to read them. Maybe they won’t want to, but that’s another story for another day.

I’m a believer that they should teach cursive, but they are not going to listen to me so  I guess only time will tell.  In the meantime, if you agree with me, maybe we should start teaching our children and grandchildren to write in cursive so they will be able to read historical documents for themselves.

Daily Prompt: Handwriting

Home Sources

One of the first steps in starting your family tree is to look around your house and ask your relatives for anything they may have to help you get started.  Some of the things to look for are of course birth, marriage, deaths, and baptism certificates, but also, letters, post cards, pictures, baby books, funeral books, funeral cards, school report cards, diplomas, family bibles, confirmation certificates, membership cards, naturalization records, Journals, address books, date books, and this is just to name a few.  You never know what you information you can get from these things.  Never discount anything.  People sometimes wrote stuff down on little scraps of paper. When I read old letters they will sometimes mention other people, and then I have found myself searching for the people mentioned in the letters.  I have a date book of my grandmothers. Not only did she record every date accurately, she made comments next to each date about the person or event.  For instance, she wrote that her cousin Julius Reinhardt was somewhere in the South Pacific.  She started this date book during World War II.  That not only told me she had a cousin Julius Reinhardt, but also that he was stationed in the South Pacific during WWII.

Here are some of the things that I have in my house that were given to me by my mother a long time ago.

Letter to my Grandmother

Letter to my Grandmother

Aunt Liz in theatrical dress

Aunt Liz in theatrical dress

Grandpa Kaiser's Baptism Certificate

Grandpa Kaiser’s Baptism Certificate

Grandpa Kaiser Certificate from Texico

Grandpa Kaiser Certificate from Texico


Early years at Texico

Fred Kaiser sitting on wheel about 1920.

Grrandpa at  work (Texico)

Grandpa at work (Texaco)

Mom's sixth grade class

Mom’s sixth grade class

I have many more items that I have not scanned yet.  But this gives you an idea of what to look for around your house.

From these documents I can get my grandfather’s birth date, place of birth, where he was born, his parent’s names, where he worked, and how long he worked there.  The pictures tell me what jobs he did while working at Texaco. The letter written to my grandmother gives me her address and an address in Ottawa, Illinois.  It connects her to her Bower side of the family in Ottawa.  The picture of a great aunt shows that she was in some kind of play around 1900.  The class picture shows that my mom (second row, first one on the left) went to Gray School when she was in sixth grade.  Not only do I get the dates, but also a glimpse into their lives.

You might want to check out the following sites to read more about home sources.

Genealogy Today


Lisa Louise Cooke’s Genealogy Gems