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Month: December 2008

IN THE BEGINNING

IN THE BEGINNING

Much time has passed since I started this. Two other blogs relating to this area’s genealogy have materialized in the interim. Ancestor Hunting is mostly about my ancestors and things I learn about genealogy research. Graveyards of South Logan County is about cemeteries, generally but not necessarily located in Logan County. I admit it — I forgot I had this one too. It happens.

This will be about genealogy questions relating to Logan County, Illinois, but not necessarily related to me or my ancestors. I get questions from researchers. I run across something interesting while researching. I confess, I am easily distracted by something interesting. It may be a fact. It may be a question without an answer. Whatever, it is interesting.

If you have an interesting genealogical question or fact relating to genealogy in Logan County, Illinois, email me.

Military Markers for ALL Veteran Graves

Military Markers for ALL Veteran Graves

Logan County has six known Revolutionary War veteran burials, more than two dozen War of 1812 veteran burials and a massive number of Civil War Veteran burials. There are even some Spanish American War veteran burials. Those are just the ones we are aware of. There could be more.

According to new laws of the Veterans Administration, ANY SOLDIER with proven military service can have a free military stone or marker EVEN IF THEY NOW HAVE A PRIVATE MARKER. In 2009 they anticipate having a marker that attaches to the private marker as an option. I couldn’t locate a picture and don’t know if that is on schedule.

This means Revolutionary War, War of 1812, Civil War, Spanish American War, etc. vets can have markers if the proper procedure is followed. There are special markers for some pre World War I wars like the Civil War. Confederate graves may also obtain markers.

Detailed information is available at http://www.cem.va.gov/cem/hm_hm.asp

The form for the marker request is available online. It is not a snap but not terribly difficult either. Proof of service is required. “Service prior to World War I requires detailed documentation, e.g., muster rolls, extracts from State files, military or State organization where served, pension or land warrant, etc.”

They want copies of the actual documents which prove service. Often these documents will come from the National Archives.

It appears you do not have to actually be a descendant to request the marker.
This might be a project for the local genealogical and historical societies and/or the Eagle Scouts, to mark all the graves. In a rural county it is not likely to be expensive if you already have copies of the records — they may already be in local society files or available from a descendant.

Actual copies of Revolutionary War pension records are available at Footnote.com, a subscription service. They also have the Pennsylvania Archives free. Pennsylvania is a state which produced a lot of Revolutionary War vets. Some records are available through Ancestry.com which may be free at your local library. There are other sources.

Many Revolutionary War veterans did not receive a pension but they may have used their benefits to buy land. I have not noticed a lot of that in Logan County but it is something to check. Those who bought land using their military benefit are noted in the record book in Springfield.

Both the State of Illinois and the National Archives have Civil War military records and initial land purchase records. The information the state has is online but it appears you will still need a copy of the federal record.

The person who is going to receive the marker, someone local to the area of the cemetery such as the genealogical or historical society, must sign the application. The cemetery must also sign off that they will allow the marker. Someone must pay to install the marker. Neither requirement is a big deal in rural areas like Logan County but could be major in metro areas.

I know in 2009 we are looking for Lincoln but I know where he is and his grave is already quite well marked. Pick a cemetery and mark the early veteran graves.


A Most Useful Stone

A Most Useful Stone

This stone is not in south Logan County but rather in Mt. Carmel Cemetery in Hillside, Cook County, Illinois. These people immigrated from southern Italy to Chicago. Anna and Leonardo Mallano married in America. Cesare and Antonia Tristano were married in Italy. They came later. Anna Marie and Cesare were siblings.

It’s not an unusual story. It’s not that unusual a stone in Chicagoland.

In south Logan County you very rarely see a picture on a stone. When you do the story is generally tragic.

These four are my husband’s grandparents. Anna died before he was born. He never saw the others looking so young. He never saw these pictures of his grandparents. The stone with pictures is the only view of his ancestors in their youth.

It makes me wish my ancestors’ pictures had been placed on their stones to give a face to their history.

Photo by Kim Kasprzyk

Solving the Mystery

Solving the Mystery

Genealogy is often a mystery. Everyone loves a good mystery, right? In genealogy we want to solve all the mysteries and end up with all the facts. But until we do we need to search out the facts like any good detective.

The tools of a genealogy detective are very much like those of a good reporter. We want to know all the facts. We want to know the source of all the facts so we can evaluate their validity. “Anonymous sources” and those “highly placed sources” aren’t good in genealogy. A good genealogist deals in documented facts.

Let’s take the picture below. Who is it? It is Eliza Sciota Harding, known to her friends as Lida. Hopefully it says that on the back of the picture but most likely it doesn’t. The picture’s owner knew who it was and likely didn’t see the need to write it on the picture. The owner never dreamed we’d be studying it 130 years later. We know it is Lida because we compared it to other pictures of Lida and recognized her, not to mention there were living folks who had known her when we first found the picture. In this case it was easy.

What is it? It’s a picture. Did you think this was a trick question? That was the easy one.

When was it taken? This is harder. It can important in identifying who is in the picture. There are books which tell you what to look for in terms of backgrounds, poses, clothing, etc. If you have a lot of pictures to identify invest in a good book or two.

Lida isn’t terribly old in this picture. How old do you think she is? Can you see that “I don’t want to do this” look on her face? That, her childish body and her shorter skirt are indications of her age. Let’s say she is 10. Since we know she was born in June 1869, if she is in fact 10 in the picture, this could have been taken between June 1879 and June 1880. It was probably taken in the winter because farmers didn’t take time out for such things in the summer when every hour was devoted to work. We know her father was a farmer.

Where was it taken? Perhaps the name and town of the photographer is on the picture or the picture enclosure. In this case she was born, lived and died in a six mile area of the same county so we can be pretty sure it was taken in Logan County, Illinois.

Why isn’t a critical question in this case. We have other pictures which would indicate all of the family members, Lida, her sister, her three brothers and her mother had their pictures taken at what appears to be the same time, same studio, same backgrounds. What about her father? If his picture was taken it did not survive. If there was a family portrait made it did not survive. The father, Benjamin Harding, appears in later family portraits so he wasn’t against having his picture made. Probably his picture was taken when this one was but for some reason did not survive.