I wrote my first genealogy letter to St. Boniface Catholic Church asking for information of my Blickhahn family, as they were members there (figuring if they were buried at the St. Boniface Cemetery, they would indeed have been members of St. Boniface Church). I soon received a response indicating that a search of their records did not reveal any Blickhahns who had been members. As my married name is Watts, and I thought, maybe if the letter came from a Blickhahn. I wrote another letter and asked my dad if I could sign his name and mailed it off. The response he received was slightly different than mine. His stated they did not have any current or former members with the name of Blickhahn, but they continued that they did however receive a letter recently from another researcher searching the Blickhahn family, and gave him my contact information! So much for the problem being not using my Blickhahn surname in correspondence. Next, I believed that the problem was that many churches are staffed with a small number of employees or volunteers and they were just not able to really search for the information and I was just going to have to go to Chicago myself and search their records.
It was 1987 and my two children (6 and 8) were preparing to go out on quad-break (they were in a year-round school in Las Vegas), so I packed them up and we headed to Chicago by train. My mom's parents (Stange) were still living just outside of Chicago in Forest Park, IL at the time and were thrilled we would be coming for a visit. When we got to Chicago, we rented a car and headed to St. Boniface. As we drove toward Downtown Chicago, we noticed the neighborhoods begin to change, thinking things would again begin to look better, we pressed on. We finally arrived at St. Boniface. St. Boniface was now a homeless shelter, and in a very scary neighborhood, so we drove on. We instead went to St. Boniface Cemetery (in a much nicer area of Chicago) and found the graves of the many ancestors buried there. One disappointing thing, I didn't know any more about my ancestors than before I came.