Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Wordless Wednesday - Blue Star Memorial

Blue Star Memorial Plaque
Abraham Lincoln National Cemetery
Elwood, Will County, Illinois

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Tombstone Tuesday - Lest We Forget

These gravestones do not belong to my family, but are in a cemetery I frequently pass. Many of the oldest stones are reaching the end of their readability. They are also veterans of some degree that should be remembered.

Willard Grove Cemetery, western Will County, Illinois
© 2012 Sally Knudsen

Saturday, May 26, 2012

Kenya, Running, and Genealogy?

We are a family of runners. I was a medal-winning high school runner. My husband was a state cross country champion "back in the day" and even ran professionally. Both of my sons are state-qualifying cross country and track runners. Trust me, we have the t-shirt and hoodie collection to prove it. So it isn't a surprise to find our family camped out in front of the television over the weekend, watching an international track meet.

Part of the recent history of distance running includes amazing athletes from Kenya. My husband raced against many. And while the United States has improved internationally, Kenyans are still medal-winners in many middle and long distance races.

The start list of a recent race prompted a family discussion of names and naming customs. Many of the Kenyan athletes had the phrase "Kip" as part of their name. So we investigated.

Kip generally refers to events surrounding one's birth:
  • Kiplagat - born at sunset
  • Kipkirui - born shortly after dark
  • Kipkemboi - born at night
  • Kipruto - born away from home, on safari
These names belong to an ethno-linguistic group called Kalenjin. This is only a snippet of a complex custom, similar to patronymic naming. I am certainly no expert, just a fan, and there are many articles online, including Kenya Runners and Kenyan Names if you are interested in reading more. When the London Olympics roll around later this summer and you hear a Kenyan name announced, you'll know how to find out what it means. This is how two of my worlds - genealogy and running - collide. 

Kenyan flag clipart courtesy:
© 2012 Sally Knudsen

Friday, May 25, 2012

A Memorable Memorial Day

Last year, my mother and I volunteered to help place flags at Abraham Lincoln National Cemetery the Friday before Memorial Day. It was my second outing, and equally as moving as the first. Watching the literal swarm of flag-carrying volunteers move as a human wave across the grounds is breathtaking.

© 2012 Sally Knudsen

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Wordless Wednesday - Dairyman

Jim Riley, my great-uncle, and his dairy business
Lockport, Will County, Illinois
circa 1930

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Tombstone Tuesday - Really the Riley Family

This is really a family stone, and a little bit unique at that. The Riley family stone memorializes many of my family members. I wish I was tall enough to photograph it evenly.

Virginia 1906-1917 (daughter)
Elizabeth 1909-1940 (daughter)
Lizzy 1866-1948 (sister)
John 1871-1955 (patriarch and my great-grandfather)
Rena 1882-1967 (his wife and my great-grandmother)
Joe 1911-1986 (son)
Irene 1909-1998 (daughter)
Bernice 1914- (daughter)

John and Rena (Blanchard) Riley and their unmarried children, as well as John's sister Lizzy, are all buried in this family plot. Bernice, who died in 2000, is the exception. She is my grandmother and is buried in Elmhurst Cemetery in Joliet, Illinois alongside my grandfather. There was a family rift that I was never privy to, and the reason Bernice is in "both" cemeteries is carried to their respective graves.

South Lockport a/k/a Saint Dennis Cemetery
Lockport, Will County, Illinois
© 2012 Sally Knudsen

Monday, May 21, 2012

Dearest Microfilm

On a recent work outing to obtain several old newspaper records, I needed to visit a local library. It was such a pleasure to pull the drawers of an old wooden card catalog. When I found my microfilms, I then got to use a good ol' microfilm reader.

I love internet access and modern technology as much as the next person, but sometimes it gives one an appreciation "from whence we've come" to use the old technology.

© 2012 Sally Knudsen

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Tombstone Tuesday - High On An Illinois Hill

These are scenes from Mount Calvary Cemetery, high up on a hill overlooking the Illinois River and the quiet town of Seneca, LaSalle County, Illinois. I don't know all its history, but just by walking, this cemetery appears to be home to mostly Irish families, who likely worked on the I & M Canal or in area mines.

These photos don't do the view justice. I will go back again to visit...perhaps with a walking stick!


© 2012 Sally Knudsen

Saturday, May 12, 2012

Many Mothers

Happy (early) Mother's Day to my mother, grandmother (at a spry 93!), and all of our ancestral mothers before us.

Jo Ann
Louise Wilhelmina Dork Hummel (1895-1973)
died Lansing, Ingham, Michigan

Wilhelmina Kopkau Dork (1871-1915)
died Lansing, Ingham, Michigan

Wilhelmina Stachel Kopkau (1842-1914)
died Lansing, Ingham, Michigan

Gottliebe Schmidtke Stachel (1815-1900)
died Lansing, Ingham, Michigan

Anna Maria Macziewska Schmidtke (1785-after 1854)
died Kreis Rosenberg, West Prussia

Christina Brant Macziewska (unknown)
died Kreis Rosenberg, West Prussia

© 2012 Sally Knudsen

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Tombstone Tuesday - The Clifford Mystery

Charles and Elizabeth Clifford, Irish immigrants, have some mysterious (read: not yet known) connection to my Lockport McWeeney and Riley families. Members of my McWeeney family lived with the Clifford's over several censuses. What that connection is, and even more mysterious, the fate of the Clifford's, has yet to be determined.

Charles Clifford has this tall monument bearing his name in South Lockport a/k/a Saint Dennis Cemetery, Lockport, Will, Illinois. And that's it. Just the name "C. Clifford". There are carving panels on each side that are all blank. It doesn't even mention his wife. It is also one of the tallest markers in the entire cemetery.

Is anyone buried in the Clifford grave?

 C. Clifford

C. Clifford, with John McWeeney in the lot

Known census records:

1850 Illinois, Will, Lockport: Charles 31, Elizabeth 29, both from Ireland
1860 Illinois, Will, Lockport: Charles 45, Elizabeth 44, both from Ireland

1852 Illinois Land Tract Database: eight separate Lockport village lot purchases

And then...poof!
© 2012 Sally Knudsen

Monday, May 7, 2012

Born Too Soon

This weekend, I was searching mid-1800's US census records, trying to make new family line connections. On a first name only search, this gentleman and his family showed up, completely unrelated but nevertheless, made me smile.

 1860 US Census: Illinois, Will County, Village of Lockport, p 17, lines 1-7

John Blog, 34, day labor, born in England

John Blog

It's probably a stretch to think his "day laboring" was writing, huh?!
© 2012 Sally Knudsen

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Wordless Wednesday - Canal Office

Plaque at the site of the original I & M Canal office
Lockport, Will County, Illinois
© 2012 Sally Knudsen

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Tombstone Tuesday - Runyon Cemetery

These are the repaired and replacement graves in Runyon Cemetery, in Lockport, Will, Illinois (see my previous post). Unfortunately, it has been vandalized over the years, even inside the boundaries of the Will County Forest Preserve. The cemetery is well-protected by the living neighbors, who were keeping a watchful eye the day I entered the property.  It is a place you would never know existed unless you were knowingly searching for it, which should help keep it preserved.

It is a lovely little spot, isn't it?

approaching the cemetery

 Oliver P., son of Armstead and Mary Crawford Runyon (1846-1853)

Win(i)fred, daughter of Armstead and Mary Crawford Runyon (1847-1849)

Anna Hornbecker Runyon (c1801-1839)
first wife of Armstead Runyon

cemetery view, Anna's grave at back right

Will County Centennial Committee marker, 1936
© 2012 Sally Knudsen