Before My Time is about the ancestry and extended family of my four grandparents: John Samuel Krentz (Indiana/North Dakota), Margreta Tjode Hedwig (Gertie) Buss (North Dakota), Rosmer Pettis Kerr (Pennsylvania/Michigan), and Evelyn Elvina Hauer (Michigan), and other topics in genealogy and family history.

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Sunday, November 02, 2008

In Chicago, 1892: The Two Milton E. Kerrs, Father & Son

Kerr, Milton E. clk, 385 W. Madison, h. 991 Walnut
(click to enlarge)

I was delighted to find my great-grandfather, Milton E. Kerr, listed in the 1892 Chicago City Directory, which is online at I've been wanting this for some time, as I knew he was living there for a few years around the time of his son's birth in 1891.

I was hoping to find out where Milton was working. Unfortunately, it appears that either this directory had no section for looking up an address to see who was located there, or else that part of the directory is not online. Hence, while I know that Milton worked at 385 W. Madison, I still do not know the name of the company he was working for.

A great timeline at Encyclopedia of Chicago served up a bit of local history for the period when Milton and Kate Pettis Kerr lived there. Kate gave birth to their son in May 1891. That year, 2,000 Chicagoans died in an epidemic of typhoid fever, and 4.300 more died of bronchitis and pneumonia. Would that have been alarming in a city of 1.1 million people? I would think so.

Telephone service began between Chicago and New York in 1892. Hard to imagine, isn't it, in these days of cell phones and Skype? And in June of that year, Chicago's first elevated railway began transporting commuters around town. Good photos in this half-minute video:

"Those who made observation runs early in the day were well repaid," noted a Tribune reporter, "for the people living on either side of the track had seemingly forgotten the warning about the start, and the passengers saw bits of domestic life usually hidden from the gaze of passing crowds."


Evelyn Yvonne Theriault said...

I've also been using a lot of city directories (as wells as vintage postcards) in my genealogy work. In my case I usually work with the Montreal Lovell's which does have the occupations, as well as some that are online for northern New Brunswick. I find that over the past 24 months there's been an acceleration in the amount of information coming online from various government agencies and museums so I don't let myself get frustrated when I don't find something.
Evelyn in Montreal

T.K. said...

It's exciting, isn't it, the increased accessibility of so many interesting records. It sure keeps genealogy vibrant!

Blog Archive


Our Family in Books: A Bibliography

  • My Ancestors in Books (a library of resources and notes pertaining to Reverend Samuel Stone, Major General Robert Sedgwick, Elder John Crandall, and other early Americans in the forest where my family tree was grown)
  • The Zahnisers: A History of the Family in America by Kate M. Zahniser and Charles Reed Zahniser (Mercer, Pa. 1906)
  • History of St. James Lutheran Church [full title: A little of this and a little of that in the 141 year (1861-2002) History of St. James Lutheran Church, Reynolds Indiana] by Harold B. Dodge, published at Reynolds, Indiana, 2002; 170 pages.
  • Lisbon, North Dakota 1880-2005 Quasuicentennial, published at Lisbon, North Dakota in 2005; 391 pages.
  • The Paschen and Redd Families of Cass County, Indiana by Alfred Paschen, c. 2005 (Gateway Press, Inc., Baltimore, MD); 322 pages.
  • Sheldon Community History: Sheldon Centennial 1881-1981, published at Sheldon, North Dakota in 1981; 376 pages.
  • Sheldon, North Dakota 1881-2006 - 125th Anniversary: The Queen of the Prairie, published at Sheldon, North Dakota in 2006; 498 pages.
  • A Standard History of White County, Indiana, written under the supervision of W.H. Hamelle, c. 1915 (The Lewis Publishing Company, Chicago and New York).
  • The Roots of Coventry, Connecticut by Betty Brook Messier and Janet Sutherland Aronson, c. 1987 (Coventry 275th Anniversary Committee, Coventry, CT); 206 pages.
  • "Elder John Crandall of Rhode Island and His Descendants" by John Cortland Crandall; New Woodstock, New York, 1949; 797 pages.
  • "The Descendants of Robert Burdick of Rhode Island." Nellie (Willard) Johnson, Pd.B.: H & L Creations, LLC.

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