Illinois Ancestors: Introduce kids to genealogy

Illinois Ancestors: Introduce kids to genealogy

Many genealogists begin their hunt for ancestors when older family members are no longer available to provide some basic clues.

"If only I had asked grandma to tell me about her family" is the lament of many researchers, including myself. Fortunately, illustrations have been prepared by the Mid-Continent Public Library to encourage a child to have an early interest in his/her family tree.

Visit and click on "genealogy" in the toolbar at the top. Then do a search for "family tree coloring sheet" (without quotation marks) and click on the link to that page.

The chart provides an actual tree with spaces for a child to fill in his/her name along with that of parents and grandparents. After color has been added, the chart could be framed or saved in some special way (or "posted" on the family refrigerator.)

Similarly, a search could be made for "child family tree" (without the quotation marks); then click on the link to that page — which provides spaces for more information on a "tree," such as dates, places and siblings. It, too, could be colored and proudly saved.

That library's website, under the genealogy category, offers many other helpful forms; these include census forms and information (1790-1940), ancestor chart, worksheet, research log and research checklist. The library's website also offers many online resources.

PERSI to move to FindMyPast

The Periodical Source Index, created by the Allen County Public Library and consisting of a subject index to genealogy and local history periodicals in that library, contains more than 2 million citations from 10,000 different periodicals. It has been available on and on HeritageQuest (at participating libraries).

An online publishing firm in the United Kingdom, Brightsolid, is the parent company of FindMyPast and has been working with the ACPL to acquire PERSI. Read Dan Stockman's article on the index's beginnings in the (Fort Wayne, Ind.) Journal Gazette at

Brightsolid plans to link the index to the full text of each article, "something no American firm has been able to do."

Genealogy blogs

The word "blog," as defined by the free encyclopedia called Wikipedia, is "a contraction of the words web log (and) is a discussion or information site published on the World Wide Web and consisting of discrete entries (posts) typically displayed in reverse chronological order (the most recent post appears first.)"

Many genealogists eager to share their expertise on this subject post genealogy blogs on the Internet; finding these blogs has been made easier thanks to an article in Family Tree Magazine called, "Top 40 Genealogy Blogs in 2013" at

Megan Smolenyak has been mentioned in this column as author of many helpful genealogical books and her Roots World blog at is always informative!

Five years ago she embarked on a new project called Unclaimed Persons, created to locate family members of deceased individuals. She (and many volunteers) has worked on 558 cases during these five years, and has solved 340 of them. The 340 families of those persons are no longer wondering what happened to them. Her blog and video at tells of this project.

Meet Dick Eastman

This column has often included genealogical news that had been reported in Dick Eastman's online genealogy newsletter (also considered a blog).

That well-known researcher will be featured at the DuPage County Genealogical Society's seminar from 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Aug. 17 at the Wheaton Public Library.

His topics will be: The Family History World in Ten Years Time; Mocavo: A Comparison of the Best (?) Genealogy Search Engines vs. Google; The Organized Genealogist; and Putting the Genes in Genealogy. The cost is $34 and includes a boxed lunch.

Advance online registration is required and seating is limited to 100. To read more and/or register online (with payment via PayPal), visit For more information write

Attend Illinois conference

It is not too early to register for the Illinois State Genealogical Society's Fall Conference, which will be Oct. 25-26 at Timber Creek Inn & Suites in Sandwich.

The featured speaker will be George G. Morgan.

For more information, visit

Queries, genealogical questions from researchers and genealogical materials readers would like to share will be printed in this column free. Joan Griffis may be reached via email at or by sending a letter to Illinois Ancestors, c/o The News-Gazette, P.O. Box 677, Champaign, IL 61824-0677.

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