Working With Local Historical Societies

While out running some errands today. I made an unexpected, but long over due stop at the Morton Grove Historical Society (in IL). Though  Morton Grove is only about 20 minutes away by car, depending on traffic, it is not an area that I get to often. The reason for this stop is because my paternal Great Grandmother, Ella (Jonas) Jaeger was raised in Morton Grove and I was interested to see if the historical society would have any information on either the Jonas or Jaeger family.

The Historical Society was not open today and their museum can be viewed by appointment only. I went into a small building off the side of the museum and met a wonderful women by the name of Mary. Now this stop was meant to be super quick, my oldest daughter was in the car and needed to be someplace quick (she was meeting up with an old friend from High School). So Mary did a quick search in her computer and told me that she had a picture of a Max Jonas (Max is Grandma Ella’s younger brother) and she might have a few other things as well. I asked if it was possible to come back and see her in a bit so that I could drop my daughter off, and she was more than happy to have me come back. I ran my daughter to meet her friend and got back to the society as quick as possible.

Mary pulled the original picture and made me a photo copy. Unfortunately, Max may be in the photo (which is from 1911 I believe), but the listing of names does not tell us how to identify the child in the picture. This particular picture is of a classroom setting, so there are many boys and girls in it. At this point, I have no other picture of Max to compare this one to. I will end up sending a copy to an Aunt and hopefully she will be able to pick him out.

Mary also found another picture that had a Margaret and a Mary Jonas in one other picture, I am not sure if they are related to my family or not, but she made me a copy of this photo as well. They also had a few letters that were sent out in 1966 to the graduating class of 1916 for a class reunion, these letters were signed by a Ted Jonas. At this point, I have no Ted in my family files.  But you never know if he will end up related.

Mary was more than pleasantly helpful. I enjoyed spending some of my afternoon with her, going through the information they do have. This family line is not one that I have done any research on in the past. Mary gave me a few tips to aid in my research on this line. Hopefully within the next week  I will be able to work on these tips and maybe move the family line back a bit more.

If you are ever in the area of the Morton Grove Historical Society. Take time to check it out. I am glad I did.

Thanks again to Mary for all your help today and a special thanks to all the people who take the time to donate information and photo’s to their local societies!



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  1. Coming early next year, I’ll be putting on a seminar on geneaological research in conjunction with the Morton Grove Historical Society (I’m also on the Public Relations committee for the Society). MGHS strives to be a valuable resource for the community – let us know what you would like from us and we’d be happy to see what we can do.

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