Chicagology Website  

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I came across this website on Chicago and just love it. It is called Chicagology. This page contains blog posts, galleries of photographs, a listing of Chicago newspapers and a fantastic bibliography. Check it out if you enjoy Chicago history or are researching your family in Chicago.

Ancestor Approved Award  

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I was surprised a couple of weeks ago to receive from Lost Family Treasures, the Ancestor Approved Award. Thank you so much!!. I am honored to accept the award.

As a recipient of the award I will attempt to list ten things I have learned about any of my ancestors that has surprised me, humbled me, or enlightened me.......

1. As I begin to write the stories of some of my ancestors, I feel as if I know them, as if they were living today. The little pieces of information that really makes them "alive".
2. My husband and I were surprised to learn his great grandfather was murdered.

3. I learned you cannot always believe every family story you hear. You must always check for the truth in the story, even if it is only one piece of it.

4. The more I research, the more questions form that I want answers to.

5. Sometimes you really have to dig deep into a record to find what you are looking for.

6. Never ever give up because what you seek could be just around the corner.

7. Sometimes it is good to take a break from an ancestor or family because after that break, your mind is clearer and the answer usually comes.

8. The women in my family were all amazing bakers and took good care of their families.

9. I am blessed to have so many family members who served in the military and fought for our freedom.

10. I am thankful my children are interested in their family history. What I do not finish, I hope they will some day. 

Now I pass this award on a couple of wonderful genealogy and or family history bloggers that are doing their ancestors proud in no particular order........

Sentimenal Sunday - A life cut short  

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I am writing a book about my cousin Robert Brouk. I have done a lot of research already on his life and as I continue to find more information, I realize even more what a special person he was. A man who wrote eloquently. A man who went to war in aid of another country. A man who enjoyed the simple things in life like a sunrise or the view from the top of a mountain. A man whose life was cut short by a flight training accident just weeks after his marriage. I wish I would have known this man because I believe he is one of the special ones. It is my hope that the book I publish about his life honors the amazing person he was.

Follow Friday - United Moravian Society  

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The United Moravian Societies has a great webpage for those interested in Czech, Slovak and Moravian events and culture. From this page of Events you can click on a calendar posted by the Czechoslovak American Congress which lists monthly events. This calendar lists events around the Chicagoland area.

Other links include Costumes, History, Dancing, Membership and more.

Wordless Wednesday - Drew and Nana  


My son Andrew as a baby. Roughly 6-8 months old. Sitting with one of his great grandmas, Frances nee Murabito Fratto (1914-2003). Photo taken in Woodridge, IL, 2001.

In another quest to help prove, disprove, or say yes it is probable, that my family did this.....I'm trying to locate U.S. Emigration ship logs. Passenger lists of people returning to Europe.  Family story is my great grandfather, Jaroslav Tregler traveled back and forth between the U.S. and Europe exchanging money. The family was well off in the early 1900's both in Bohemia and Chicago. What I'm finding so far is not true that he traveled back and forth.

Jaroslav immigrated to the U.S. when he was 28 in the very early part of 1913. His (wife?) Anna and two daughters from her previous marriage, Frances and Bozena, along with Anna and Jaroslav's son Jaroslav, arrived April 1913. Anna and Jaroslav were married in Chicago in 1915. It is unknown if they married in Bohemia as well.  Anna's brother Vaclav Svihlik and her oldest son Josef arrived October 1913. The only child to remain in Europe was Stanley Sima, who finally immigrated in 1920, after World War I.

I recently discovered Jaroslav applied to be a citizen in 1914, days before the start of World War I. Applying so quickly after immigration meant in most cases, that the person was intending to stay in the U.S. His occupation was stated as Cabinet Maker.

Jaroslav, Anna and Jaroslav did return to Europe in 1921. I am trying to locate any emigration logs to find a date. Jaroslav Sr., died in Czechoslovakia in 1922. Anna and son Jaroslav returned to Chicago in 1925, applied for citizenship and stayed until death. 

Now my goal is to find some record of them leaving. To write down little stories that go with the family and try to piece together a picture. If you know of ship logs for ships bound eastward, I would love to know where they are located.

Wordless Wednesday - My great grandparents  

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My grandparents, Bessie (nee Zajicek) and Joseph Kokoska. I love this picture of them, especially Joseph's smile. I never knew him but I have heard he was a wonderful man.

My husband’s great grandfather was Aleksandra Urban, (Alexander Urban). This man has driven me crazy for several years. He was born in Telsiu, Lithuania, then Russia, July 19, 1874. He immigrated January 1905, according to his Declaration of Intention, but could not remember a ship name. He stated he sailed from Bremen to Baltimore. I have never been able to locate a ship log for him. Very little information exists in Chicago which makes research frustrating. Alexander died July 19, 1917, leaving a wife and two children behind. He was not naturalized before he died. I wish I could locate more information on him, but it seems I have hit a brick wall and it doesn’t look like it will come down any time soon.

I came across a website recently that I need to spend more time exploring. It is The Association for Gravestone Studies. The website contains a lot of great information on preservation, conferences, archives, and more. I encourage you to take a look.

Tombstone Tuesday: Kaminsky  


This is a Tombstone of my husband’s grandparents, Veronica and Anthony Kaminski. They were Lithuanian immigrants who lived in Chicago.

From Chicago Family History

Anthony Kaminski 1873 – 1941
Veronica Yasulis 1882 – 1936

They were the parents of Joseph, John, Anthony and Bernice. Bernice was my husband’s grandmother.

From Chicago Family History

I have a cousin, Robert R. Brouk, who served in the American Volunteer Group, The Flying Tigers, in China in 1941-1942. In the summer of 1942 he returned home from his service in China, to Cicero, IL. He had a whirlwind romance with Virginia Schaerer and the two were married in November 1942. A month later, Robert was killed in a training accident in Florida while serving in the Air Force.

When I began my research I had no idea what happened to his widow so could not obtain much personal information on him. The other members of that branch of the family had passed or were unable to be found. I got in touch with the AVG group online and by a stroke of luck, was able to obtain his Distinguished Flying Cross Medal. These were awarded Posthumously to many members of the AVG.  His citation and medal are displayed proudly in my home to honor his service.

Years later his widow did contact me, thanks to her son who somehow stumbled across a post I made about Robert. Thanks to her kindness, I was able to hear the story of their romance and short marriage, her life after his death, and receive photographs of him and the two of them along with a typed copy of his diary, written during his service in China. It is my goal to write a book about Robert so he is forever remembered.


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