The Things You Find

From the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, March 13, 1910.
Rev. Shields was my great-grandfather. And Cermak was Cermak.
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And in case you wondered what a smartass looked like at the turn of the last century, we have this snip about women trying to get men to sign dry petitions.
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© 2019 Tori Brovet/All rights reserved

Ex Libris

Instead of writing a blog post this weekend, I spent far too much time listening to Adele and creating a photo album for a past vacation. I knew perfectly well that I was stalling. I was operating in the nostalgia I could handle, rather than the uncomfortable one that actually needed my attention.

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Hello My Name Is

This woman’s face drifted up to me this week. She came out of a pile of photos, a randomly selected card in a shuffled deck of memories. It has been some days, but I keep going back to her although — and maybe because — I have no idea who she is.

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Unearthed: Aunt Edith’s First Act

Drama teacher, world traveler, film actress, and single woman on the go.

This Unearthed post has been challenging and personal for me.

My blog avatar is a photo of my great-great aunt, Edith Mack. When I began this project, I wanted her to be the guiding spirit of my research. What I know of Edith is fantastic. I dearly want to do her justice and tell her story well.

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Edith, aged 22

However, what I DON’T know of her life is also extensive. Putting her life in my usual chronological format has been like trying to climb a ladder with missing rungs. The gaps from event to event are long.

But as she might say: The show must go on. Instead of a timeline, this one will be more like a scrapbook.

This is not the last time I will write about her. I’m not done with her yet.

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A Whole Mess of Franks

Sometimes a mystery stays a mystery.

Frank Brovet(s), part 1


I should preface by explaining something about me. I grew up in a small family, with a limited amount of relatives. There were maybe a dozen Brovets in the whole country, and I spent my first few decades confident that I knew all of them.

Ah, the assurance of youth.

I think that’s part of why the Frank story frustrates me so. I had this misconception, and I was able to hold onto it well into my 30s. My brain still gets stuck on the point of: I know all of them, so there can’t be more. This Frank situation has been like hearing, “That’s what YOU think,” from the Universe, over and over.

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Frank Brovet, Genealogical Nemesis

The watchmaker, the seamstress, and a mystery.

Last I left off, I was researching Richard Schober at the Newberry Library. He was not my only find that day. Nor the biggest find.

Back then, the Newberry was a rare place offering free access to the Chicago Tribune’s digital archives. I was full of confidence after my first stab at detective work, so I decided to keep going. I knew had relatives in Chicago at the turn of the 20th century. Maybe I could find a marriage announcement or something. Without too much thought, I typed my surname into the search box.

I hope you’re hearing the alarm blaring in your head. I did not hear it in mine.

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