Sunday, October 09, 2005

READERS' FEEDBACK: Foster child, 1880 & Mental Institutions

From: Peggy
Just for the "heck" of it, Mary Jane could place a note on the FITZGERALD mailing list at Maybe there just might be someone there who wants to converse with her, in addition to all the ideas you have given her. Thank you for the tip about the Social Security Death Index prior to 1969. I did not know those people would not be listed, although some are once in a while. Thank you for your wonderful work as usual. -- Peggy, Janesville, WI


We're eternally greatful to those who heard the Social Security Administration was just throwing out info on deceased citizens. They rallied forces to put a stop to the practice. The SSDI is how I discovered my maternal grandfather passed away. Lowell S. Froman had been divorced from my grandmother Frances Irene Goering since before I was born. He had not kept in touch with my mom. Neither of us knew until I searched the SSDI that he died in 1989.


If you can afford about $200, Ancestry is worth it in the census. I have taken several folks records back about four or five generations for them.

Full access to all databases currently runs about that amount annually. See: <>
That currently includes:
-- OneWorldTreeSM – Matching just one name could add branches to your family tree.
-- US Federal Census Collection – Access US Census records from 1790 to 1930.
-- US Records Collection – View birth, marriage, death, and military records.
-- US Immigration Collection – Find an ancestor’s country of origin or birthplace.
-- UK & Ireland Collection – Find baptism, christening, marriage and burial records.


In a message dated 10/8/2005 7:36:06 AM Eastern Daylight Time, writes:
-- Illinois State Archives - RECORD GROUP 252.000 - Jacksonville Mental Health and Developmental Center

You gave me a good idea for finding more info on my grandfather who died in Elgin, Kane County, Illinois in 1910. Do you know if the Record Group is the same for that hospital in that year? It was also a state hospital for the insane (at least my ancestor died of that.) Thanks for your great work!

The webpage in question had a link to the TABLE OF CONTENTS <>
for the Illinois State Archives. Indeed, I've located the record group for the "Elgin Mental Health Center" <> in this listing of State Institutions. Record groups numbers vary for different care centers, as indicated below. Isn't the internet wonderful?!!

251.000 – Illinois School for the Deaf
252.000 – Jacksonville Mental Health and Developmental Center
254.000 – Lincoln Developmental Center
255.000 – Illinois Soldiers' and Sailors' Children's School
256.000 – Elgin Mental Health Center
258.000 – Kankakee Developmental Center
259.000 – Illinois Veterans' Home
260.000 – Illinois Soldiers' Widows' Home
261.000 – Peoria State Hospital
262.000 – East Moline Mental Health Center
263.000 – Alton Mental Health Center
264.000 – Chicago State Hospital
265.000 – Dixon Developmental Center
266.000 – Institute for Juvenile Research
267.000 – Galesburg Mental Health Center
268.000 – Herrick House Children's Center

From: Rhonda Houston
From my experience looking for my great-great-grandmother in California, who had a physical problem with her eyes that compliated all the rest of her equal librium, seeing things well and of course, her view on life would have been different from the rest of the population and appeared very strange to those who obvserved her, including her own family at about this same time frame.

Those records for her were destroyed and once in those days, it was very easy to get someone in to one of those institutions for any reason unscientifically presented, and almost impossible to get them unadmitted. In those days, there was no need to keep these records at the local, county, state level. This was a 'holding tank' for those who no one could assess their problem and anyone could be admitted easily. Since the study of psychology and any that related to; it is only today that we recognize records should have been recognized and kept.

The one thing that this insitution had, was a stigma for holding those that were 'deviant to the culture at large', so you see, there was really no logical 'then' or reason for these records to be held and kept. I was terribly disappointed at the end of my search because this ancestor had dropped off the face of the earth and was never heard of again.

From: Dittmar, Frederick M.
One of these days I may call you Pat but Myrt sounds like a nickname now. I love it the way you go out of your way when you answer a question. With Gretchen you answered the question and then expanded with the links and a summary with the value of each. WOW what a lady. -- One question I have is does the town/county local genealogical society have any records of burials or a cemetery used by the hospital? In Norman, the Cleveland County Genealogical Society has the cemetery records for the local State Hospital Cemetery. Just a thought.

DearFRED (not Frank!)
You are right to bring up that the records we seek aren't always placed in the logical spot. When the Hillsborough County, Florida marriage records were being thrown out, Thomas Jay Kemp rescued them. Now he is at, but at the time he was the Special Collections Librarian at the University of South Florida, Tampa. We pray there are like-minded individuals in the towns, counties, provinces and countries where our ancestors once lived.

This past week I attended a genealogy society meeting where the speaker Walt Stock, formerly of the Free Library of Philadelphia, stated that it doesn't matter where you are accustomed to finding records. When you get to a new area for your ancestral quest you "must find the local genealogy guru." He added that the person usually has cobwebs all over. I thought that was a cute way to get the point across. Records of our elusive ancestors can be most anywhere. Its just a matter of persistent searching.

Happy family tree climbing!
Myrt :)
6023 26th Street West PMB 352
Bradenton, FL 34207

No comments:

Post a Comment