Four Generations

Four Generations
Loretta, Don, Vicki with Andy, Grace and Clarence Hilb

Sunday, November 20, 2011

1940 US Census and

First let me congratulate for partnering with NARA in presenting the 1940 Census.

The above link will be worn out by 10am on April 2, 2012.  I hope that I am able to get online and use the new Census to fill some holes in my current research. 

I have been researching daily since 2003 when my father passed away. I have found information in census records, land records, wills, bibles, obituaries, newspaper articles, court records, etc., but have been patiently waiting for the 1940 census. I have ideas of where family members were, but need the verification to confirm my suspicions. Suspicions, yes it appears that my family is no different then any other. We had brothers marrying sisters, brothers divorcing one sister and marrying another, adopted children, lots of relocations, I have found half siblings I never knew about, marriages that were surpises and people in prison.

The census records help me build a timeline of where people were and are and possibly lead me to where they were inbetween. 

Who do I need to find? Well there is Rudolph Schubnell my maternal grandfather who was married three different times and had a couple of families. Would like to know what happened to the middle wife. My father Donald Hilb while he will only be 13 in the 1940 census, I want to see the neighbors around him then. (He provided two of my half siblings I discovered after his death) I want to be able to track the neighbors as they story I was provided was dad and G were neighbors for a few years. My mother as there is confusion who she was actually residing with around this time. My list goes on like a roll of toilet paper.

Thanks to GeneaBloggers Thomas MacEntee for posting the information about the census and always keeping us informed. 

P.S. Is it April yet?

Friday, July 1, 2011

Rudolph marries Edith

1937 found Rudolph once again marrying.  He married the grandmother I grew up knowing, Edith Gertrude Tryon. 

Edith and Rudy had 4 kids; Richard in 1938, Noreen in 1942, Sharon in 1946 and Michael in 1957.  In 1949 Edith, Rudy and all 5 kids moved to Phoenix. The story is Rudy was transferred for works purposes. He was an electrician with the union and jobs were more plentiful in Phoenix. This story was believed until
about 18 months ago.  Now I have more questions and information to find.

October of 2009 I received an email from a gentleman looking for his birth parents. He had found his birth fathers family and unfortunately his father had passed away in 1984. He knew his mothers first name was Grace, born in Wacounda, Illinois September 12, 1928 and her family moved to Phoenix in early 1949. Well, imagine my surprise as this guy just described everything about my mother. The next morning we met as he resides 10 minutes from where I have lived for the past 14 years. There was no doubt in my mind when I walked into that restaurant that he was family. It was like my grandfather Rudy was looking at me. Of course being the genealogy researcher I am, I did confirm everything via several documents. Also my mothers reluctance to meet him really sealed the deal.

Tip #9: Be very open to finding almost everything and anything when your doing your research. Remember, our parents had a life before us and while we never want to think they had secrets, they certainly did!  Okay, well my parents definitely did.

Where do we go from here?  Come back soon...

Sunday, June 5, 2011

So what happened to Grace and Rudolph after Patsy's Death?

Rudolph had full custody of Grace at the time of Patsy's death.  They resided in an apartment in Chicago and had a housekeeper Theresa. 

Rudolph married Mary Kern of Joliet Illinois on July 2, 1932(per their marriage certificate).  Rudolph was 26 and Mary was 18.  The marriage took place in Chicago Illinois. 

It is not clear of how they met or where they resided during the marriage.  It could have been Chicago or it could have been Hammond Indiana where Rudolph filed for divorce.

There is an article in The Hammond Times March 22, 1937:
Rudolph Schubnell, 2855 Truman Avenue Hammond today filed divorce proceedings in Hammond Superior court against his wife Mary whom he married on July 21, 1932.

The couple separated on November 16, 1936, when according to the complaint Mrs. Schubnell left home. She was his second wife and is alleged in the bill to have scolded her husband because of an 8 year old child by the first marriage.

TIP #8:  Watch those dates.  The marriage certificate shows the date of marriage as July 2, 1932 and the newspaper shows July 21, 1932.

I have attempted to locate a copy of the divorce proceedings with no luck to date. Probably have to make a trip to Hammond and do the research myself.

I want to know a little bit more about the scolding Rudolph got about the 8 year old (my mother Grace). There are stories that my mother resided with Aunt Dorothea and Uncle Bud for several years while growing up.  Could this have been during the time frame Rudolph was married to Mary and the scolding was because she found out about Grace?  More research to go....

Note: Aunt Dorothea and Uncle Bud aka Dorothea and Bud Schwartzentraub. Bud was Rudolph's business partner for several years.  We always considered them family.

Saturday, April 30, 2011

Arthur Rigney What happened to him?

So, I have to have as many of the pieces to a puzzle as I can get. I wrote to the archived records section of the state of Illinois and requested everything and anything they could tell me about Arthur and how he served his prison sentence.

Per the records I received:
Arthur was received into Joliet Prison on April 8,1933 with a sentence of 35 years for murder. He is described as:
Race: white
Age: 48
Hair: dark grey hair
Eyes: grey green
Height: 5'8 3/4"
Build: medium
Weight: 165
Education: 8th grade
Religion: Methodist

Released from prison: January 7, 1952.

So Arthur served 19 years of his 35 year sentence. Records show that January 7, 1952 would have been the earliest he could have been released. 

No one knows for sure what happened to Arthur after his release. We do have his death certificate showing his date of death as February 27,1961 at the Maple Lawn Rest Home in Palmyra Missouri.  Arthur's brother W C Rigney (who was a witness at trial) was the informant.

Am I done with research on Patsy and Arthur? No!  I have a photo taken at a family reunion of Arthur's family and we believe it contains my grandmother Patsy and mother Grace as well.  I just have to find a picture of Patsy to prove it.
So who do we work on next...

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Rigney Gets 35 Years on Charge of Murder

Arthur's attorney sought to withdraw the guilty plea to murder and enter a plea of manslaughter.  the judge denied the motion. 

The state attorney did not seek the death penalty but requested a heavy sentence. The plaintiff attorney plead for a light sentence asking for the minimum term.

Judge Eldredge advised: "There are two things which excuses a person from killing another. One is in defense of his own life, family or property and the other insanity. There is nothing else which gives any person the right to take the life of a human being. Voluntary intoxication is no excuse for crime. That is the law the world over."  He was sentenced to 35 years in the State Prison at Joliet Illinois.  He started the sentence on April 5, 1933. 

Palmer Byrne the attorney appointed to defend Arthur was then awarded $150 for his defense of Arthur.

WOW!  Lots of information on what happened to Patsy! What happened to Arthur? See ya...

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Judge Hears Testimony to Fix Penalty

Arthur Rigney took the stand at 11:10 am on March 31, 1933. Through questions from his attorney he told the story of his life. He told of giving Patsy money and of alleged illicit relations with her. He testified about his wife and daughter in New York. He told of proposing marriage to Patsy. 

He was born on a farm in Palmyra Missouri a part of a family of four boys and three girls.  He spoke of residing in Hannibal with his wife, daughter and in laws and their move to Cicero New York. He left New York because his mother in law mistreated him.

He told he met Patsy a year ago January via an introduction by Earl Smith in Naplate.  Patsy was residing at the same house but with the Webb family.  Arthur saw her regularly.  He told of taking Patsy to shows and dances and that after he broke his leg he recuperated at the Webb home with Patsy. He was in love with her when he started his three week stay there and more in love when he left.

He said on one or two occasions he talked with Patsy about marriage and once asked her if she would like to be his wife. She laughed and asked if he was married and he said yes and she told him he needed to get a divorce.  He said he was giving Patsy money and she only asked for money on two occasions. Once was for $10 to buy a coat and another to loan Mrs. Webb $10.  He said Patsy never bought a coat but bought someone else a present. He said Patsy was not running around with any man but him. 

It is amazing the detail you can find in newspaper accounts.  See ya soon....

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Rigney Pleads Guilty to Charge of Murder

TIP #7: By reading these older articles you will notice and learn about the justice system then and the major differences between then and now.

Arthur Rigney plead guilty to a murder charge before Judge Edgar Eldridge in the circuit court on March 27, 1933.  The judge did not immediately sentence him but scheduled the next morning to hear evidence in the case. 

Before accepting Arthur's plea the judge appointed Palmer Byrne as Arthur's attorney.  The judge reminded Arthur that if he plead guilty the court was mandated to sentence him to a minimum of 14 years and possibly life imprisonment or the death penalty. Arthur confirmed knowledge and plead guilty. 

Palmer Byrne advised that Arthur was going to take the stand and it would take 2 days to present evidence in this case.

Harley Patterson a co-worker testified that Arthur was drunk the night of the shooting.  W O Rigney brother of Arthur testified about Arthur's unhappy married life. He alleged that the parents of Arthur's wife interfered in their life. He advised Arthur was a good provider. He said that shortly before the marriage Arthur advised his father he did not love the girl and did not want to marry. The girls mother and step-father owned allot of land around Hannibal Missouri and the girl insisted on going with Arthur.  Shortly after they married Arthur started to build them their own house. Once the foundation was completed his mother in law told Arthur her daughter would never be allowed to reside there. The wife and mother often went out to shows together and Arthur would have to go out alone. When the family all moved to Syracuse New York, Arthur and his wife separated and Arthur returned to Hannibal and then to Ottawa.  Many character witnesses were called and they advised Arthur never had been seen drunk before that night. 

Come back for more...

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Slayer Paces All Night In His Jail Cell

Arthur explained, "I loved the girl and just lost my head."

Arthur, at the county jail ate regularly and until the night before the verdict was due, slept with no problem. This night (February 25, 1933) he paced the floor of his cell all night keeping others awake. 

March 8, 1933 it is decided to present the case to the grand jury March 13, 1933.

March 15, 1933 fire destroys auto, garage at murder scene. Fire of an unknown origin destroyed the garage
at the John McCormick home, where Patricia Schubnell was murdered.  A year prior the garage was struck by lightening and destroyed. the structure that burned was a new structure.

March 17, 1933 A murder indictment was returned by the grand jury against Arthur Ringney. 

Another interesting article is: Raymond Hall of Naplate was indicted on a bill charging him with assault with a deadly weapon and intent to roll Felix Wajculas, Naplate junk dealer. Wajculas sustained a fractured skull in a holdup in January.

Who is Raymond Hall?  Have to check back for that answer...

TIP#6: While you might be reading the news article for certain facts, be open minded about what else is on the page.  The particular page about the murder indictment has been read by myself 5 or 6 times before I saw the next paragraph about Raymond Hall.  Raymond plays a part in Patsy's life as well.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

John P McCormick testifies

The murder happened at the home that John P McCormick was renting and Patsy was residing in. John advised that he resided in Chicago two years prior and knew Patsy then.  They were never sweethearts.  John only knew Arthur Ringney by the name "Geranium".  He had met him 2.5 months prior at his home. Geranium came there to see Patsy. He was not sure if they were in love, and never thought it was a serious case. Patsy went to shows and things like that with other fellows. Geranium thought she should stick to him better then she did.

McCormick said he went to bed about 1:30 and was awaken around 2:00 am by the click of a gun. Patsy was lieing on the bed next to him fully clothed with the exception of shoes and stockings. He asked Geranium what he was doing with the gun and Geranium told him he was going to kill her.  He then turned and ran downstairs.  John told Patsy to go to the other room to quiet things down.

Geranium came back upstairs and told her several times he was going to kill her. Patsy told him he was yellow. Then "I saw him fire the gun". He took the gun from Geranium and Geranium ran from the house. John placed the gun on the table by the door and it later disappeared.

The Jeffries testified as well as Felix Wacjulas. The witnesses were released from custody after their testimony with the exception of Felix. He was taken back to the jail for further questioning about the gun. Felix was a junk dealer. More about the verdict and jury...

P.S. Reading through the news account makes you feel like you were there. Wish they could find the original court transcripts.

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Divorcee, 21, Murdered by Jealous Lover

Arthur Ringney was married but separated from his wife and child.  The wife and child were residing in New York with her parents.

Fern Saunders sister to Patsy was notified and said relatives would come to Ottawa to claim the body. (How did they know to notify Fern versus Patsy's father Elmer?) Elmer and Fern went to Ottawa the afternoon of Thursday February 23, 1933. They first spoke with the sheriff and then the witnesses at the jail.

Patsy is survived by three brothers Elmer, Stephen and Joseph as well as her sister Fern and father Elmer.

Thursday evening February 23, 1933 the coroner's jury heard testimony in the murder of Patricia (Patsy) Schubnell and held Arthur Rigney over for the March grand jury. 

Several individuals testified in front of the coroner's jury including Arthur.  He advised his associates know him as "Geranium".  He had been working for Congress Construction Company at Marseilles. He had been off work for about three weeks and had spent most of that time at the McCormick residence with Patsy.  He advised he had known Patsy for about one year and three or four months and had been keeping company with her for eight or nine months.  They went to shows and dances and were sweethearts.  They were not planning on getting married right away.  He thought he had a claim on her.

Tip #5: Newspapers contain so much information. They can lead you to various other discoveries.

Come back and I will reveal the testimony of John P McCormick...

Sunday, April 3, 2011

Divorcee Slain By Lover - Killer Arrested as He Returns for Coat and Hat

The headlines were a real eye catcher.  Who could resist reading the story. 

The paper: Daily Republic - Ottawa Illinois - Thursday February 23, 1933
Price of the paper was THREE CENTS

"Infuriated because he found his sweetheart in the bedroom of another man, Arthur Ringney, 46 a Hannibal MO, steel workers employed on the waterway at Marseilles, shot and killed Mrs. Patsy Schubnell, 21, a beautiful titian haired divorcee, at the home of John McCormick on the Ottawa avenue road in Naples, at 2:30 this morning."

Lots of clues here: 1. Arthur Rigney - 46 - from Hannibal MO
                             2. Arthur's place of employment
                             3. Patricia aka Patsy - hair color
                             4. Location and time of murder

The article goes on to include Arthur returning to the McCormick residence 45 minutes after the shooting for his coat and hat. (Remember this was Illinois in February).  He made a statement: "I'm sorry I didn't have more bullets to shoot McCormick." He was taken to the county jail were he confessed to Sheriff E J Weiter and Elmer Mohan state attorney.  The witnesses McCormick, Wajculas and the Jeffries were jailed as witnesses until after the coroner's inquest.

The article then relates how Patsy ended up being there in Ottawa, residing in the McCormick home and her plans to return to the Chicago area the day of her death.  It is said that Ringney was going to accompany her to Chicago.

McCormick and Wajculas shared a room while Patsy stayed in the other bedroom.  Around 1:30 am McCormick and Wajculas went to to bed and the Jeffries went to Patsy's room to sleep.  Patsy and Arthur stayed downstairs for a short time and Patsy told Arthur she was going upstairs to sleep in her room. When Arthur went upstairs a short time later he found Patsy laying fully clothed on McCormick's bed.

McCormick was not aware Patsy was there until Arthur started yelling that Patsy was double crossing him and pressed the trigger of the revolver that failed to fire.  He then went downstairs and loaded the gun. During this time Patsy went to her own room and closed the door. Arthur returned, taunted back and forth with Patsy about killing her for double crossing him, and he shot her five times. One was in the region of the heart, another a short distance away and three in the face. 

McCormick grabbed the gun from Arthur, who then ran down the stairs and out the front door in his shirt and pants.  McCormick placed the gun on the table by the front door and ran after Arthur.  During this time the gun disappeared and according to all accounts was never recovered.  Much more information to come including contact with Arthur's living relatives....

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Patricia Shubnell (Schubnell)

So the newspaper articles were a wealth of information and also educational. Patricia was residing in Ottawa in the home of John McCormick. Patricia actually resided there first with the Glenn Webb's and when they moved and John started renting, Patricia asked to stay for a couple of weeks as she was moving back to Chicago and only wanted to move once. John agreed, but i think he probably wondered about his decision later. 

On February 22, 1933 Patricia, Arthur Rigney, John McCormick, Felix Wajculas, Louis and Earl Jeffries, Betty Jean Wagner and a few others were at the McCormick residence dancing and partying. Around midnight Patricia decided to go to bed.  She had her own room and John and Felix were sharing the other room until she moved out.  When she got to her room, it was already occupied.  Fully clothed she went into John and Felix's room took of her shoes and lay down on the bed next to John.

Arthur Rigney was in love with Patricia, but it appears she was not in love with him.  He came to John's room and found Patricia in bed next to John and went crazy yelling.  John woke and told Patricia to go to the other room until Arthur calmed down.  Arthur ran downstairs to his bag and grabbed his gun. When he came back upstairs he yelled at Patricia how she had cheated on him and was going to shoot her.  She tautened back that he did have the guts to do it and he shot her three times.  Death was instant at 2:20am on February 23, 1933.

Arthur ran down the stairs, dropped the gun on the hallway table and ran out the door and down the street.  John ran after him, but was not able to catch him.  When John returned to the house the gun was gone. (It never was recovered through the entire investigation.) Felix Wajculas had called the sheriff.  Since it was February and they were in Chicago it was cold out. Arthur realized he left his coat and hat at the McCormick house and went back to get them. When he returned the sheriff was there and arrested him. 

The Jeffries had been in Patricia's room and they left the residence and headed for their home in Streator, on foot.  The Jeffires, John McCormick and Felix Wajculas were all detained for the length of the trial. (Additional reading I have done indicates the reason for this was the transient nature of the group and the court did not want them to disappear.  This was a common practice in those times.)

More on the trial next time.....

Saturday, March 5, 2011

Patricia Shubnell

Logic: With Patricia being murdered via a gun there had to be police involvement, media involvement and medical records. What was going to be the easiest and quickest to get? Media - newspaper stories.

Research:  So contact the local Ottawa paper? No they couldn't help. Contact the Chicago Tribune? No nothing there I could find. Hm.

Resources: Ottawa Illinois is in LaSalle county.  There is a local genealogical society website. They can more then likely help and/or direct me where to start my search.

I made contact with them and explained I would not be able to travel to the area for awhile.  I was more then willing to reimburse expenses and time if someone could help me find the articles. What a wonderful group of people. They not only found the articles and sent them to me, they helped fill in several holes in the family tree.

Tip #4: Use all your available resources.  Genealogy Societies, Historical Societies and Special Library Sections have very knowledgeable people about the area and history and are great help. Always offer to pay for the services.

Oh, i bet your looking for the results from the newspaper articles.  Okay, but your gonna have to come back for more information...

Saturday, February 26, 2011

Patricia Snave Shubnell (Schubnell)

So we have a name, where do we go now?  Search the Internet and see what pops up?  How about the Illinois Statewide Death Index?

Okay, Patricia Schubnell?  Nothing. So, she could have gotten married again, but I also know that you have to be creative with spelling and finally after many tries found her under Patricia Shubnell.

Last Name          First Name   Middle    Sex/Race    Age   Certificate #   Date of Death   County
SHUBNELL      PATRICIA   V             F/W         UNK  0500059       1933-02-23     LA SALLE   
City                              Date Filed
OTTAWA TWP          33-02-23
Excellent, I know had her:
  • middle initial - V (hm wonder if it's Victoria like me)
  • date of death
  • death certificate number
  • location of death
Was this enough? Was I done? Absolutely not.  Mom was born 09/12/1927 which would make her 5 when her mother died.  You would think at that age she would have a memory of her mother. Was she blocking it out or was something else going on?  Also another question was why did she die in Ottawa Illinois?  I didn't remember anyone ever talking about Ottawa Illinois.

I sent away for the death certificate. Okay, i sent my money on Saturday do you think they will receive it and send the certificate on Monday? No way.

Tip number 3: Patience is a virtue we must all possess!

Okay, it's here, let's see what it says!

I know it is a little hard to read:
  1. Patricia V Shubnell
  2. Ottawa Ave
  3. Female, White, Divorced
  4. Husband: Rudolph Shubnell
  5. Date of birth: 02/27/1909
  6. Age: 23 years 11 months 26 days
  7. Trade: none
  8. Industry: none
  9. Birthplace: Chicago, Illinois
  10. Father: Elmer C Snave York Pennsylvania
  11. Mother: Amelia Thompson Derbyshire England
  12. Informant: Elmer C Snave 1517 E 63rd Place Chicago
  13. Burial: OakWood Cemetery Chicago Illinois 02/25/1933
  14. Undertaker: W. F. Bailey Ottawa Illinois
  15. Date of Death: 02/23/1933
  16. I hereby certify, that I took charge of the remains of the deceased herein described, held an Inquest thereon and from the evidence obtained find that said deceased came to her death on the date stated above and that Disease or injury causing death was: from gun shot wounds through the lungs and heart.
  17. Manner of injury was: Murdered at 2:20am, death occurred immediately.
  18. Homicidal
  19. H S Lester MD Coroner
WOW, this was really a shock and completely different then those family stories.  Need some time to think this one over and plan the next steps.  See ya soon...

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

So where do we start looking for mom's mother?

Okay, where to start? Well I knew we had to start backwards and find out about Grandpa Rudolph's (mom's dad) marriage to mom's mother (we had no name). I did know that the family story was that she died in a nut house.  Of course i never believed that and speculated she was a hooker. Rude child that I was. To many secrets about it and I was sure it had to be something juicy. I did know that no one spoke about her and this was not going to be an easy journey. So we started in Chicago where mom grew up and her half brother and sister were born. 

So for some reason instead of writing to Cook County I wrote to Lake County vital records and they willingly checked their records from 1839 to present date for a marriage between Rudolph Schubnell
and an unknown and did not find anything. No surprise there. 

I wrote to Cook County vital records and they checked 3 years before mom's birth and found nothing.

Well, what about Crown Point, Indiana.  This is close to Chicago and was well known for the quick marriages.  A search there found the marriage license.  Now the problem was reading her name. Patricia
Snaoe, Snaue, Snare and we finally figured it out Snave!  Yahoo we are on a roll.  Document that source!

From the marriage record we now had her full name, date of birth, where she was born, where she currently resided, her parents names, occupations, and luckily all the same for my grandfather.

So here are the vitals:
Grandmother: Patricia Snave
Date of birth and location: 02-27-1908 Chicago Illinois
Current residence: Chicago Illinois
Occupation: nothing listed
Father: Elmer Snave
Birth place: York, Pennsylvania
Current residence: Chicago Illinois
Occupation: Electrician
Mother: Amelia Thompson
Birth place: England
Current residence: Died
This is Patricia's first marriage.

Grandfather: Rudolph Schubnell
Date of birth and location: 05-31-1906 Chicago Illinois
Current residence: Chicago Illinois
Occupation: Electrician
Father: John Schubnell
Birthplace: Germany
Current residence: Chicago Illinois
Occupation: Painter
Mother: Freda Keil
Birthplace: Germany
Current residence: Dead
This is Rudolph's first marriage.

Married 08-31-1927 by the Justice of the Peace.

Lot's of valuable information gathered outside of finding the name of my grandmother.
  •  Rudolph and Elmer were both electricians.  Is this how Rudolph and Patricia met? 
  •  Both great grandmothers were deceased at the time of this marriage. 
  • Germany was the birthplace of both Schubnell parents
  • York Pennsylvania was the birthplace for Elmer and England for Amelia
  • Dates of birth and places of birth
  • First marriages for both Rudolph and Patricia.
Lot's of information got added to Family Tree Maker. Come back later for more...

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

So what does that have to do with genealogy?

The strange behaviors in Mom after Dad's death made me realize I needed to find out more about her background and family.  I pulled out the old genealogy documents that I had saved and started fresh. I purchased Family Tree Maker and started entering what I knew.  Of course being the independent person I am I did not read any of the important material until about 6 months into my research.  I then realized I now had about 2,000 family members with all sorts of vital statistics but had not sourced a single one of them.  Well I knew where the information came from, but your supposed to document it for those that don't know?Guess that makes sense!

Well, research slowed down while I went back and sourced all those entries. 

So here is my second tip:  Cite your sources! Definitely pick up a copy of :

Evidence Explained by Elizabeth Shown Mills.

This will be a very valuable resource for years to come.  Come back later...

Monday, February 21, 2011

Time Delay

Well, as we all know we always have good intentions when we start a project.  As it happens the genealogy project got put on the back burner until 2003. We would come to regret that decision as so many people passed on that could have filled in some blanks for us.

So here is my first tip: Write down all those stories people are telling, document where those pictures were taken and who is in them, ask questions now before there is no one to answer them.

In August of 2003 one week before his 76th birthday, dad (Don Hilb) passed away from congestive heart failure. This is a hard enough thing to happen, but I will never forget his last words to me, "things are gonna be different."  I had no idea at that moment what he meant, but it did not take long to find out. 

Mom called in the middle of the night to let us know he had passed.  We called her the next morning and asked what she wanted us to take care of and she said nothing. Debra (my younger sister) and her Brother Richard and his wife Sue were with her and they all had assignments and would take of things. They would let us know when the services were to be. Richard was going to organize the services. Hurt? at the time no, we thought she was just grieving.

The services were military in nature and he is buried at Veterans Memorial Cemetery in Phoenix Arizona. Normally, the immediate family sits the closest to the casket during the service. Debra and Mom sat by him with Sharon (mom's sister) and Dwight and Richard and Sue. Karen (my older sister), Andy(my son and only grandchild) and I were told we could sit in the back. Hurt? at the time no, we thought she was just grieving.

A week or two later, dad's words came true and we realized she was not grieving. Andy and I received certified letters from an attorney advising of the fact that my mother was the beneficiary of dad's estate and she was calling in the loan in full that Andy had borrowed from her and dad. Yes, and by the way, please don't make direct contact with her, work through the attorney. We had a short window to respond. Hurt?No, Angry and confused on what was going on.  I thank God everyday for my sister Karen.  Whenever I have needed to talk she has always been there.  I called her and read her the letter. She was ANGRY.  She told me that mom told her at the wake for dad that she and dad were going to write off the loan as Andy's graduation present from trade school.  This was only a couple of months away. Karen, wrote a letter to the attorney and my mother and reminded my mother of this conversation and we then received a letter from the attorney advising mom was not going to require reimbursement, but did not want contact any further.

Angry? YES!  Over the next several years, Andy made attempts to contact his grandmother with no results. He agreed to meet in neutral ground, she agreed and last minute changed her mind. She told him to come to her house, he did and she and Debra went in the house and locked the doors and did not answer the bell. They moved to a new house. He figured out where and went to see if she would talk with him. Debra threatened him with the police. He left it alone. He not only lost his grandfather on August 9, 2003 but also his grandmother. Stay tuned...

Sunday, February 20, 2011

The responses to our initial letter

The responses we got were amazing! They came from all over the United States: Colorado, Missouri, Illinois, Kentucky, California, Ohio, Maryland and Florida to name a few. There were those that provided information and those that immediately determined that we were not related. There were those that invited us to visit and have drinks with them and those that wanted no further contact. All in all we were on our way to what we were sure was going to be a quick find about our family history. Boy were we in for a surprise.

One of the responses came from Rebecca A Hilb who was also developing information on the family tree. She shared some of her contacts and findings and the most exciting thing she shared was a family tree developed by Martin Hilb of Switzerland.  This hand drawn tree would lead us on a great adventure.

Another response came from our paternal grandmother Loretta Hayes Hilb with a listing of hers and our grandfather Clarence's siblings.  Her final comment while at the time we thought she was just being funny, would much later come true: "The Hilb History so far, will continue, hopefully will not let the skeleton's out of the closet."

More to come..

Saturday, February 19, 2011

How did I get started?

In June of 1980 my sister Karen and I decided to start researching our family background.  I don't remember what prompted this need, but we wrote a very lovely letter and sent out numerous copies to people with
the last name Hilb that we had found in various phone books.

Our letter: We have obtained your names from telephone books because we are researching our family background. We believe that you may be related and we are writing to ask for your help in obtaining information. We are Vicki and Karen Hilb, daughters of Donald R. and Grace A. Hilb. Donald's parents
are Clarence and Loretta Hilb. Grace's parents were Rudolph and Edith Schubnell.

We are really just getting started on obtaining information and will be very grateful for anything you can provide. We plan to compile the family tree and will be glad to provide you copies or any information your interested in.

We'd like to know the following:
1.  Your birth name, place and date.
2. Your parents names, place and date.
3. Marriages, divorces (dates), brothers, sisters, Aunts, Uncles, Cousins, Children, etc.
4. Copies of birth certificates, death certificates, letter, photographs. Copies will be at our expense.
5. Information on where the family originated or where we can obtain further records.
6. Possibly the Hilb name or Schubnell name has been changed. If you know of anything like this please let us know.

Any information you can give us whether it is a fuzzy recollection will be of assistance and give us someplace to start.

Please call us or write us. We will be glad to reimburse postage or accept collect calls.

A stamped self addressed return envelope was included.

Now in 1980 both Karen and I were living on our own. Karen was in Alhambra and I was in Fullerton. While we were both employed, typing these letters and providing postage, offering to pay for copies, calls, etc was a big expense for us.  We were interested to get started.  At that time we knew nothing of genealogy libraries and our public libraries did not have genealogy resources that we knew of.  We were dependent on our letters to help us get started.

Stay tuned for what happens next...

Welcome to FindingFamily101

I'm glad you've stopped by and hope you will come back often.
This is a new venture so please be patient while I learn all the
ropes. Hopefully my experiences of doing research will help
those just getting started and those stuck on the "brick wall".