Melanie's Genealogy Quest

My genealogy research journal. Current names I'm researching: Liden (Peterson), Bill, Kampfert, Donovan, Scheifelbien, Zoss, Gfeller, DeGrasse, Fagan, Zukausky(varied spelling)

Location: Illinois, United States

Tuesday, October 06, 2015

Jim Liden 1948-2010

Today would have been my dad’s 67th birthday! In honor of that he is my first featured ancestor in what I hope will become a regular series.
James Robert Liden was born to Hazel (Donovan) and Vernon Liden on October 6, 1948. He was the third of four children. When he was born his father was 31 and his mother was 28. He joined big sister Margie and big brother Ed. They lived on the south side of Chicago.
Jim (in front) with cousins
When he started school in about 1953 he attended Sacred Heart grade school near 70th & May in Chicago. At about the age of 6 or 7 he contracted rheumatic fever. It’s suspected that this illness led or contributed to the heart problems that he had throughout his life. In 1958 at age 9, he became a big brother to sister Pat.
He later told me stories that during his grade school years he wanted to be a priest when he grew up. Even pretending to give communion with "wafers" he had cut from bread using a milk jug cap. By many accounts he was a sweet and caring child.

He began high school in 1962 and attended St. Rita High School on Chicago’s south side. He struggled academically and left St. Rita to attend a Chicago Public School. He said that after a week at the public school he knew if he stayed he wouldn’t graduate. He begged his father to help him reenroll at St. Rita. He took a part time job to pay his own tuition as part of the deal. He pulled his grades up and his parents paid for the rest of his high school education after that year. He took an extra year to complete high school and graduated in 1967. In a funny coincidence, during his time at St. Rita he had band with Mr. Louis Ricci who would later instruct his future sisters in law (Margaret and Charmian), brother in law (Art) and his daughters (Melanie and Paula).

When he turned 18 the Vietnam War was still going on. When he went to register for the draft it was discovered that he had a very irregular heart beat and other heart issues so he was declined. His brother Ed was drafted and served in Vietnam.

At some point after high school he worked as a manager at Dog N Suds and that is where he met Connie in 1968. Jim and Connie were married in February 1971 in Chicago. This was followed by the birth of their first daughter Melanie in September of the same year. At that time they still lived on the south side but further west. Jim’s father passed away when Jim was 25, in 1974. Around that time they moved to the south suburbs and lived in apartments in Chicago Ridge and Alsip. It was while they lived in Alsip that their second daughter Paula was born when Jim was 28.
Jim with daughter Melanie
At age 30 in 1979 Jim and Connie divorced. Jim moved to an apartment in Bridgeview. He also lived in various other suburbs including Frankfort and Bolingbrook. During this time his career focused on restaurant management including Rustler Steakhouse and Taco Bell. Also in 1979 Jim’s mother Hazel died.

In the summer of 1979 Jim took a road trip with his then 8 and 3 year old daughters. The trip was from Chicago to California with various side trips along the way. This included a meet up with his brother and sister Margie in Las Vegas. Time was spent in southern California, including a trip to Knott’s Berry Farm before returning to Chicago just in time for Melanie to start 3rd grade!

In 1984 Connie had a son Robert who was given the last name Liden and Jim always referred to as his son.

During these years Jim was very active in YMCA Indian Princesses with Melanie and Paula. He was also very involved in the Young Single Parents Group. Both groups involved many camping trips which Jim loved. And he brought along any gadgets that he could find. At one time he owned a tent large enough to be called "the hotel." It could sleep 8 people!

In the mid 1980s he lived in Summit, IL. By this time he had transitioned to driving a truck for various companies. All local driving.

In 1988 at age 40, Jim moved to Homewood, IL and married Mary Carter. They divorced in 1989.

In the early 1990s he lived in South Holland and shared a home with Carol White, though they never married.

Jim became a proud grandfather for the first time in 1994. When Paula welcomed a baby girl.

In 1998 he moved to Cleveland, Tennessee and married Debra Moore. During this time he also did some long haul truck driving. While living in Tennessee he became a grandpa again when Paula had a son. Not long after this Jim was back in the Chicago area.

In the early 2000s he took a truck driving job in Central Illinois. Briefly he lived with his Aunt Rose in Chillicothe and then he settled in Decatur, Illinois. He loved Decatur, often saying it was the best place he had lived. In 2008 he married Nancy Matich. Unfortunately his health was on a slow decline. It was around this time he had a defibrillator implanted. This seemed to be a miracle worker for a while, as he felt better than he had in a decade. Unfortunately years of an underperforming heart, and the medication to support it, had starved his liver of blood. Liver complications began to become more frequent. When he and Nancy separated he relocated back to the Chicago area to be closer to family. He insisted he didn't want any of his kids have to take care of him, so he moved to a place near his sister Pat. On his birthday in 2009 he found out he was going to be a grandfather again. He told friends he had to be here to meet his grandchild.

In April 2010 Jim's daughter Melanie welcomed a baby girl and Jim got to meet his granddaughter.

On July 12, 2010 Jim passed away at his home in Oswego. Not from any of the heart problems that had followed him since childhood but non alcohol related cirrhosis.

Jim was a loving father and grandfather. He loved camping and cars. The Bears, the Blackhawks, and NASCAR were among his favorites. He enjoyed his "puter" and always said he knew just enough to break it.

He was my dad but he was also my friend.
Jim with his grandchildren and Connie - May 2010

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Sunday, April 21, 2013

Shirley (Kampfert) Bill

Last week was the 30th anniversary of my grandmother's death. Even after all this time I felt enough sadness that I had to wait to write this post. As a kid I realized that my parents were younger than many of my friends parents. One of the benefits of that was that I also had young grandparents. And yet I lost all of them well before most of my friends. I clearly remember the resentment I had for friends who had all of their grand parents, and in some cases great grandparents. Even worse were those kids who complained about "having" to visit those grandparents. What I wouldn't have given to be able to visit any of my grandparents. As I got older the resentment lessened, but if I'm honest it never really disappeared. But I did take a valuable lesson from it. The lesson there is that you never know what will happen. So we need to value every day we have with our loved ones. There may not be a chance to "cram for finals" at some later date. I was never more glad of that than when my father passed on shortly after a complicated birth of my daughter. Because of my own health issues I could not spend the time at the end that I would have liked. But because I had lived the life I had, I didn't have any "last minute" messages to give him. Would I have liked to spend more time with him? Of course. But I never felt like we had any unfinished business. Our relationship had almost always been pretty open and honest. But that's all a story for another post.
I have made no secret that not having the chance to know my grandparents that well is what spurred my interest in genealogy. What better time to begin my profile series than on this anniversary of my grandmothers passing. And who better to start with than the woman herself.

Shirley Kampfert was born to Margaret (Schiefelbein) and Arthur Kampfert on January 23, 1927 in Chicago Illinois. She was the third of five children. All were girls, Mildred, Evelyn, Shirley, Violet and Ethel all grew up on the south side of Chicago. Shirley made her first appearance in the US census in 1930 at the age of four when she lived at 4318 S. Fairfield. They lived on the second floor of the house owned by Margaret's parents Elenore (Radekopf) and Robert Schiefelbein. Ten years later a 14 year old Shirley was still living with her family on Fairfield. By then she was attending what was probably eighth grade at an unknown grade school. I do know that she went on to attend and graduate from Kelly High School and graduated in 1944 or 1945. She lived with her family on Fairfield until she married Louis Bill Jr. on May 19, 1951 at Peace Lutheran Church. They had five children, Connie, Charmian, Robert, Margaret and Arthur. Shortly after the birth of their first child they moved to a house at 6225 S. Natchez where they lived the rest of their short lives. Louis died February 22, 1977 and Shirley followed in 1983.

Shirley became a grandmother for the first time in 1971. She would be the grandmother of nine but only knew three of her grandchildren. She worked for some time at the Ben Franklin in the neighborhood and later as the church secretary at Messiah Lutheran Church on 62nd & Monitor also in Chicago. She always enjoyed easy listening music and often played it in the house. She also enjoyed sewing and was often found at her sewing machine making clothing for herself or a family member. Shirley was a loving person who I only wish I had known longer. She passed on April 11, 1983 at the age of 56.

If you have any information or memories to add, please do so in the comments of this post.

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Monday, March 18, 2013

Oops I I found what I wasn't looking for (partial repost)

This was originally posted at Melanie Thinks

Genealogy research is full of hints that seemingly lead nowhere and searches that give no results. When you find that special nugget of new information it's worthy of celebration. So when you find something by accident I think it deserves extra celebration. I logged onto Ancestry the other day to look up a birth date since I wasn't at home to have access to my full database. I happened to glance at the Member Connect Activity list and saw a name I didn't recognize had added a census record for one of my great grandfathers siblings. Out of curiosity I clicked on the "view in tree" link. And to my delight, the above picture appeared! The baby on his mother's lap is my great grandfather. I have seen pictures of him as a young man and pictures of his father much older than he is here. This picture was taken in mid 1892 and may be one of the oldest pictures I have of my family (so far.) Not a bad little accidental find in my opinion!
Thanks to "MamaMisch" for posting this! Bill family photo on Ancestry

Information about this picture:
The family of Gottfried (Godfred) & Elizabeth (Zoss) Bill Roanoke, Woodford, Illinois, USA L to R: Back Row - Fred, Alice, Godfred, Jr. Front Row - Adolph, Godfred (father) holding Ben, Elizabeth (mother) holding Lewis, Mary, Herman (standing in front of Mary) Hulda and Walter were not yet born when this picture was taken in the summer of 1892. Godfred and Elizabeth had a total of 16 children born to them, 10 of whom lived to adulthood. Once child, Emma (born 10 MAY 1884 in Roanoke, Illinois) died a tragic death on 31 MAR 1892 as her father was burning corn stalks in an open field. Emma was standing too close, and her clothing caught fire. She burned to death as a result. Emma is not shown in this family photo; therefore, it was taken later in the year of 1892. This family originated in Bern, Switzerland, and emigrated to America prior to May of 1884.

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Let's get this pary (re)started!

I'm trying to jump start my genealogy quest! What better way than to restart this blog. I have blogged about genealogy a few times on my other blog so I'll first migrate those posts over and then we'll see what happens!

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Still here

Just merged the family file on to the site. I admit, this is becoming my favorite because everyone can contribute. Not a member? If you are part of my tree let me know and I'll send you an invite. If not, head over and start your own tree!
Now back to looking for sources...
Speaking of which, I have created a new file where I have started from the beginning and am trying to include documentation of my sources like a good genealogist. Unfortunately this means repeating some research that I didn't document the first time (shame on me!) but I've already discovered some things by looking at records I hadn't reviewed in a long time. I don't recommend everyone "start over" but I can't emphasize enough what a good idea it is to review things added years before. Sometimes new clues jump out at you. And THAT'S always a good thing!
Happy hunting

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Thursday, February 14, 2008

I love the web

My new toy is I love this little networking site. It's like Facebook for genealogists. The only drawback is you can't load a gedcom yet. Of course by the time you can, I will have built my tree on the site. Oh, and if you find out one of your relatives is already signed up, you can't connect to their tree. But they said they should be able to change that soon... It's great fun. If you're a member of my family let me know if you haven't got and invite and I'll fill in your branch!

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Networking site

I have been playing with and slowly adding family members. It's a great concept. I only wish I could upload a gedcom instead of adding by hand. Of course they will probably add that AFTER I finish adding everyone! If you are interested in seeing what I've got up and haven't gotten an invite let me know and I'll add you as a friend until I get to your "branch" :-)

Friday, August 03, 2007

I'm still here

Still poking around on Ancestry and the "hints" they are offering. It's kind of nice because even though most are sources that I have already, it forms a list of sources for the person and you can look at that for holes. Me like!
Liden/DeGrasse Reunion was July 28. I had a great time! It was good to see everyone who came out, only wish it had been more.