Once I find the vital records of an ancestor, I like to dig deeper into their life. I find the details are what makes the ancestor come to life. When my husband and I visited Downer's Grove Public Library in Illinois we were able to find information on his great-great grandfather, Quirin Schmitt, that helped put the flesh on the bones, so to speak.
Downers Grove, Quirin Schmitt
One resource that we found at the library was History of DuPage County, Illinois by Rufus Blanchard, copyright 1882. A full copy of the book is available at google books. I like to read county histories as they provide background information on the area where ancestors lived. It is even better when a biographical sketch of an ancestor is included in the history. Sometimes, the information may be embellished, but through further research I found Quirin Schmitt's sketch to be quite accurate.
Below is the information found in Blanchard's History of DuPage County, Illinois:
"Quirin Schmitt, wagon-maker, repairer and livery, Downer's Grove, was born in Europe April 30, 1853; his parents Roman and Sophia (Tilken) Schmitt, both deceased, were Europeans; of their nine children, seven are living, viz., Nicholas, George, Joseph, Amand, Quirin, Sophia and Therese. Subject, at the age of thirteen, began learning the wagon-maker's trade, which he has ever since followed. He came to Illinois in 1872, and worked one year and seven months with John Walters, of Downer's Grove, whose business he then bought, and has since continued, making a specialty of repairing and building spring wagons, and doing an excellent trade. In 1881, he added a livery to his other business, and is meeting with good success in that line. He married, January 17 1874, Barbara, daughter of Henry and Helena Schumpp, and from this union three children have been born, viz., Eugene, Ida and Helen. Mrs Schmitt's parents were early settlers here, and had six children, five of whom are living. Mr. Schmitt is a Democrat; members of the Catholic Church."
Source: Blanchard Rufus, History of DuPage County Illinois (Chigago: O.L. Baskin & Co., 1882), p120.
The above information led to further research of his parents, brothers, and children. Further research needs to be done as to the actual date of his marriage to Barbara Schumpp. One Illinois Index record has 7 January 1875 which differs from the date stated here. I need to look at Illinois marriage records to confirm. The Eugene that is mentioned as a child is Eugenia. Quirin and Barbara Schump had two more children: Lucy and Alois, after the publication of this sketch. In addition, Quirin remarried Bernice Carpinski, after the death of his first wife, and they had one daughter, Antoinette.
Using county histories can fill in a few blanks in your search of an ancestor's life. How do you use county histories?