Tuesday, October 13, 2015

Tombstone Tuesday - Christina Henschel Hübsch Grave Found!

My 2nd great-grandmother Christina Henschel Hübsch was buried in the Lutheran Home Cemetery in Arlington Heights, Cook County, Illinois.  (Click any image to enlarge.)

Grave of Christina Henschel Hübsch,
Lutheran Home Cemetery, Arlington Heights, Cook, Illinois
Image Credit: Denise Hibsch Richmond 19 Sep 2015 

The real story is how I found her.

Dead Ends
Christina died on 21 Jan 1916 at an “old people’s home” in the Chicago suburb of Arlington Heights, Cook County, Illinois with burial in the same city according to her death certificate. 

Why couldn’t the death certificate informant be more specific?  Stop whining I tell myself, be grateful that you have her death certificate.  I am.  Besides, genealogy isn’t easy.

Christina’s last residence and burial site remained elusive for several years for my cousin and research partner, Linda Hibsch Reeder, and I.   We wrote letters, made phone calls and mined the Internet for cemeteries and funeral homes.  No luck.

Burial at the historic St. Johannes and Resthaven Cemeteries near O'Hare International Airport was considered at one point.  Linda learned of the proposed airport runway expansion which meant that the interments had to be relocated.  A lawsuit was filed to prevent the relocation.  Linda’s inquiries resulted in an invitation to join the lawsuit but she declined since it wasn’t clear that Christina was buried there. The dispute ended in 2012; nearly 1,500 bodies were relocated.

Get Local
Frustrated with the lack of progress, I hired Chicago-based researcher Terri O’Connell, the owner of Finding Our Ancestors, a professional genealogy company specializing in Chicago research.  I hoped her knowledge of local resources and ability to visit onsite could help find the official name of the "old people's home" where Christina died and her burial place.  I emailed Terri all the particulars I had on Christina and waited patiently.  

Success!  With persistence and patience, Terri O'Connell found Christina’s last residence and cemetery location. 

The Altenheim
Christina was an "inmate" of the Altenheim Gesellschaft and was buried in the cemetery that was associated with it.  The German word "Altenheim" translates to “old people’s home”; "Gesellschaft" translates to "community and society".  Thanks to four years of high school German, pronouncing these words wasn't difficult for me but admittedly, “Old People's Home” is easier to say.

Treasure at the Local Library
The image below was excerpted from a book found at the Arlington Heights Memorial Library titled “Some German Name Cemeteries - Cook County, IL” by Gertrude W. Lundberg.

Thank you Gertrude!

See Christina next to my squiggly red arrow on page 3 of the interments at the Lutheran Old People's Home Cemetery. 
Source: Lundberg, Gertrude W. Some German Name Cemeteries - Cook County, IL.
Publisher Unknown. Arlington Heights Memorial Library, 929.3773.
Image Credit: Terri O'Connell

Close-up of this Listing
Unfortunately, the author did not provide sources for her book or the publication date.  I think she just walked the cemetery taking notes from each headstone. 

Author’s transcription: Huersch, Christ. (H.) 28 _ pri1 1842- 21 Jan 191?

  • Huersch: I see Huebsch on the stone but maybe because I’m familiar with various spellings, but never with an “r”.  My family surname Hübsch changed to Huebsch then Hibsch over the years.  Her death certificate clearly spelled the name Huebsch.   
  • Christ.: I see Christe.  Her first name was Christina on early records.
  • (H.):  I didn’t see an “H” on the stone.  Perhaps the author interpreted the “E” as an “H” and thought it was her middle initial.  Coincidentally, Christina’s maiden name was Henschel.
  • 28 _pril 1842: birth date.  The month of birth on the stone, Apr, was clear to me.
  • 21 Jan 191?:  death date.  The year on the stone,1916, was clear to me.    

Help from the Lutheran Home
The cemetery book at the library really opened the door for this research project.  With a copy of page 3 in hand, Terri contacted the Lutheran Home to request additional records.  Luckily she was connected with a nice man who said the facility didn’t keep records back to 1916 but he would contact someone who had already done research in their old records.  Tick-tock.  Terri let some time lapse before re-contacting the facility knowing full well that genealogical research was not their priority.  Patience paid off as Terri was provided a document showing names and grave locations at the cemetery.

Source:  Lutheran Old People's Home Cemetery List [Grave Location],
Lutheran Home, Arlington Heights, Cook, IL.
Image Credit: Terri O'Connell

Transcription of the listing [Header] Reading from South to North, Row 3 cont.
[Plot] 42. Christe Huebsch 4/23/18?? – 1/21/1916

Terri’s Description of the the Cemetery
“She is buried in the Lutheran Home Cemetery in Arlington Heights. It is a very small cemetery with burials going back to the late 1800's. I have walked the cemetery twice and could not find her grave. To be honest, there are many stones that are worn from the elements and could not be read. There is a space where there is no marker for two spots as well. Plus, there is one stone that has a tree stump that has grown in front of the stone and they now look like they have become one unit."

View of Lutheran Home Cemetery, Arlington Heights, Cook, Illinois
Image Credit:  Terri O'Connell

Thumbs Up to Hiring a Researcher
How wonderful it is to have Christina's burial mystery solved thanks to professional researcher Terri O’Connell.  I highly recommend her.  She can be reached at: Phone: (773) 962-1609; Email: Terri@FindingOurAncestors.net; Website:  www.FindingOurAncestors .

Next Steps
Find Christina's place of birth in Prussia, current-day Poland!

My husband and I recently vacationed in Chicago, a bucket list item.  Terri learned that I was in town and asked if I was going to visit Christina’s grave.  No, I said because I was too scared to drive in the big city.  I didn’t want to ask her because I thought it was too much to ask.  But Terri offered, perhaps insisted, that she take me to the cemetery.  So I agreed and I’m glad I did.  Not only did I visit the grave and leave a note, I got to know Terri better over lunch.  I am so fortunate to be the recipient of such a random act of genealogical kindness!

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