Saturday, September 26, 2015


I attended my fourth naturalization ceremony this past week as a representative of the Daughters of the American Revolution. I love going to the ceremonies because it makes me feel closer to some of my ancestors that I know went through similar processes. The ancestors I know underwent the process are my great-great-grandparents, Josef Reaber and Christine Konecny.

The 1920 census lists naturalization years as well as immigration years for everyone. Both Christine and Joseph appear in the census as having been naturalized just a few years after arriving in America. The two arrived independent of one another in the late 1880s to early 1890s. In the 1920 census, they are both listed as being naturalized in 1894.
Clipping from 1920 Census
The couple did not get married until 1908, so I assume they did this individually on their own, perhaps even before meeting each other. I do not know if they were in fact naturalized the same year or if they just guesstimated, as Josef often seemed to do with his immigration year, but it's the only reference I have to go on.

According to my great-great-granduncle Josef Konecny, the Bohemian Virtuoso, his father got naturalized after arriving in the States. I believe this is how he and Christine achieved their status as Americans. Children under 18 in the household of a naturalized American also become citizens at the same time.

Unfortunately, there were several John Konecnys who were naturalized in the early 1890s in Cook County, Illinois! Thanks to the passport application of Josef, I have it pinpointed to one who was naturalized on 21 Oct 1896.
Clipping from Josef Konency's Passport Application
I would like to travel to Chicago at some point to see if I can find any additional records (or perhaps even a photograph!) for him at the immigration department or archives. In the meantime, this is all I have.
Naturalization Record Index for Johann Konecny
The other thing in Josef's passport application I found, which is a little upsetting to me, is the relationship between him and his sister, my great-great-grandmother Christine (my namesake). It seems she was not very nice to her brother for whatever reason, and I'm not very proud to share a name with her because of it. Hopefully there is more to this story than what he shares, but this is what I have to go on.
Clipping from Josef Konecny's Passport Application
  • 1920 Chicago, Cook County, Illinois U.S. Federal Census (accessed on Ancestry)
  • Naturalization Record Index, Johann Konecny (accessed on Ancestry)
  • Passport Applications for Josef Konecny (accessed on Ancestry)

Sunday, September 20, 2015

Update on the Harris Family Problem

I had my DAR Fall Forum this weekend, so I wasn't able to prepare a post again this week, but I did want to give a little update on the family I mentioned last week. I went to our local genealogy library on Friday with the rest of the State's DAR members. My one goal was to find information about this Harris line.

Long story short: I found information about the family, but I'm not sure how helpful it is yet.

I found a lot of records for my "son" Patriot, John, and his second wife. I even found where he adopted his wife's children from her first marriage. I have a sneaky suspicion though that the service currently linked to John may not be for John. The source of John's service is the fact that his wife Lavinia received land through a land lottery for being the "widow of a Revolutionary War soldier."

She had been widowed twice by this point though. Sometimes, widows had to prove they were married to the soldier during the time of service to receive benefits on behalf of the man. She didn't marry John until 1816. Her previous husband died in 1809, and they would have been married during his time (if he did in fact serve) during the War.

AND I still haven't proven his first wife yet (my ancestor's mom). I don't "have" to prove her name, but I feel like it would provide a better argument for my case if I can show the prior applications using Lavinia as Lucy's mom are wrong. (Not to mention proving they were wrong about her dying before they got married!)

Then, for David, my other Patriot -- and John's father -- I was able to figure out through some of the ladies who have higher levels of access to previous applications what the nature of Captain David Harris' service was. I was able to figure out the names of the men he supposedly served under, so that will make proving his service with a new source infinitely easier than trying to figure out who is who amongst all of the David Harrises around Georgia at the time.

I'll keep you updated on the progress with this family in future posts, but that's it for the update for now.

Sunday, September 13, 2015

No Post This Week

I had my first DAR meeting as an officer this week, so I didn't have a chance to prepare a post. I did spend some time working on my first supplemental applications. I thought I had them all figured out and ready to submit. Then, as I was finalizing my lineage worksheet, I noticed two big issues.

My first Patriot's wife was listed as dying before she was listed as marrying. Then, my second Patriot, the first Patriot's father, did not have any source of service listed for him. This means I have to reprove his service in the War.

I stayed up all night when I realized it trying to fix each issue. I can argue that Lavinia Harris didn't die until at least another 20 years after they were married, but I won't be satisfied until I find an actual date of death for her.

David Harris' service is the thing that is bugging me though. I have found a man that could be my ancestor, but I can't prove it's him yet. We have a genealogy event at the local library this Friday. Hopefully I'll be able to clear some of this up then.

Saturday, September 5, 2015

Education Levels of My Great-Grandparents

I wanted to look into the education levels of family members. The 1940 census has a column that describes a person's highest level of education. In this post, I will describe the highest level of education for each of my great-grandparents that were enumerated in the 1940 census.

Since my paternal grandfather's parents were Mexican, they were not in the 1940 U.S. Federal Census. My paternal grandmother's parents were Rebert Odell Hitchcock and Joy Decimund Stephens. Rebert's highest completed grade was ninth grade; Joy's highest grade was 11th.
Clipping from 1940 Census
My maternal grandfather's parents were Jesse Lee Findley and Rosemary Christine Reaber. Jesse's highest completed grade was eighth grade. (The 1945 Florida State Census listed his highest grade as "grammar school.") Rosemary was the only of my great-grandparents to graduate high school.
Clipping from 1940 Census
My maternal grandmother's parents were Gerald Dean Richerson and Jessie Roberta Ellis. I haven't found Gerald in the 1940 census yet. He is out of his parents' house by 1940, and he isn't married yet, so I don't know where he is. Jessie is still living at home with most of her siblings. Her highest level of education is listed as eighth grade.
Clipping from 1940 Census
So, after analyzing the education levels of my great-grandparents, I realize about half of them followed the "normal" pattern. Eighth grade was a fairly common end point for a child's education. Not only was additional education not viewed as necessary, but by the time the child was out of or in eighth grade, they were expected to be contributing to the household.

I was interested to see, however, that so many of my great-grandparents continued on into at least part of high school. I think that speaks to my love of knowledge and education myself.

I hope to find out more information about my Mexican great-grandparents in hopes of seeing where they fall in the education spectrum, but that will definitely take a little more digging. In the meantime, I think I'll settle with continuing to look for Gerald in the 1940 census.

  • 1940 Charlotte, Mecklenburg, North Carolina U.S. Federal Census (accessed on Ancestry)
  • 1940 DeLand, Volusia, Florida U.S. Federal Census (accessed on Ancestry)
  • 1940 Fulton, Callaway, Missouri U.S. Federal Census (accessed on Ancestry)
  • 1945 Jacksonville, Duval, Florida State Census (accessed on Ancestry)