Four Generations

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

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".