Andrew Kaiser, tinner and tinker

East Lincoln Highway (1912)
This photo shows East Lincoln Hwy, DeKalb, IL in 1912 from Seventh Street looking West. Andrew Kaiser operated his tinning shop at 622 E. Lincoln Hwy at this time. In this photo, his shop was located in the building near the car parked on the left side of the road, in the two-story building with the large sign that says “Drugs.” (Image source: NIU Digital Archives, Ritzman photo collection.)

For over 30 years, the Kaiser family ran a successful sheet metal shop in DeKalb, IL. (I wrote about the later years of this shop in this earlier post!) Andrew Kaiser and his two youngest sons operated the shop, but the family’s history in tinsmithing didn’t start in DeKalb. The patriarch of the family, Andrew Kaiser, had been a tinner and metal worker for nearly his whole life, and his career lasted for over 50 years. His long career even includes some exciting surprises! Continue reading “Andrew Kaiser, tinner and tinker”

Family History at the Library

Weil_Eva_reading
My love of reading started young, and was probably influenced by the many teachers in my family, and my aunt who was a librarian.

I have always been a ferocious reader, and always interested in the past. My interest in literature, history, public service, and genealogy has led to a career as a librarian. Last year I completed my MSLIS, but my family’s connection to libraries does not start there! Continue reading “Family History at the Library”

In memoriam: George F. Astling (1946 – 2018)

George F. Astling, 72

 
Astling_George_1958_4-HShow_ShowCow_2
George with his cow at a 4-H show in 1958.

George Frank Astling was born in 1946 in Sycamore, DeKalb County, Illinois, and passed away 19 November 2018 in Sycamore after battling Parkinson’s disease. He was the son of Donald and Vera (Angel) Astling. George grew up on the family farm, and as a youth, was an active FFA member. He often showed cattle at the county and state fairs. He graduated from Sycamore High School in 1964. After high school, he attended Southern Illinois University at Carbondale studying Horticulture, and graduated in 1969. Continue reading “In memoriam: George F. Astling (1946 – 2018)”

Christmas on the German Front — 100 years ago

One hundred years ago, my great-grandfather Glenn Kaiser wrote a Christmas letter home to his mother. He had just received his Christmas box that his mother sent. Below is a transcription of that Christmas letter.

Kaiser_Glenn_WWI_letter_1918-12-25_full
(Click on the image above or this link to read the full letter.)

Continue reading “Christmas on the German Front — 100 years ago”

My Early Illinois Ancestors

Today is Illinois’ 200th birthday! My family tree has some very deep roots in Illinois. Some interesting Illinois stats from my family tree include:

  • Illinois-home_image-01_byEva_wC-01Three out of four main branches of my family tree have very deep roots in Illinois, spanning at least 5 generations.
  • Six out of my eight great-grandparents were born in Illinois, and 12 out of my sixteen great-great-grandparents lived in Illinois during their lifetimes.
  • My earliest ancestor to arrive in Illinois was William Tompkins and his family, who settled in Champaign County in 1822. (More about him in a minute!)
  • My 4th great-grandfather Alexander Holbrook was another early Illinois ancestor, arriving in probably about 1828.
  • The 3rd great-grandfather Johann Wilhelm Mueller and his family arrived in Chicago in 1856, 15 years before the Great Chicago Fire.
  • The Drake family has lived in DeKalb County, Illinois for over 150 years (and still lives there today!), spanning at least seven generations. They had lived in Illinois since about 1845. My Fish ancestors, who married into the Drake family, also arrived in Illinois about 1846.
  • My Swedish ancestors arrived in Illinois a little bit later, starting with the Johnsons in 1870, and Medine family in 1881.

While many branches of my family tree are rooted in Illinois, I wanted to learn more about my earliest Illinois ancestor, William Tompkins, and his family. Continue reading “My Early Illinois Ancestors”