Illinois Ancestors: FamilySearch Wiki reaches big milestone

Illinois Ancestors: FamilySearch Wiki reaches big milestone

The FamilySearch Research Wiki is a free online guide that explains how to find ancestors in various times and places, and recently made its 75,000th article available. Wiki is a Hawaiian word meaning "fast" or "quick," and the FamilySearch Wiki articles definitely meet that criterion.

To learn more about these guides and access some of them, visit

These self-help guides can provide assistance in just about any genealogy category, and although a Wiki, by definition, allows for subsequent additions/corrections, such changes are beneficial to researchers. For example, guides are available for researching in Liverpool, England, New York City, London, Philadelphia, Boston, the Czech Republic, Barbados, Denmark, Italy, and much more.

Boy Scout's genealogy badge

FamilySearch has a most helpful Wiki devoted to the Merit Badge in Genealogy that can be earned by Boy Scouts at Although "the genealogy merit badge pamphlet by the Boy Scouts of America is the primary starting place to learn about genealogy and how to complete the requirements for this merit badge ... if you are interested in further information, learning from some of these online resources also could help a scout meet the requirements of the Genealogy Merit Badge."

Links to a workbook and online resources are sure to be useful to any young man wishing to achieve this merit badge.

Submitted genealogies

In addition to its collection of millions of historical records from around the world, FamilySearch has a vast collection of family information that has been submitted by individuals on pedigree charts, Ancestral File, and other sources. One may conduct a search for an individual or a surname in these genealogies at

A disclaimer reads that this collection has been "taken from pedigree charts and family group records as submitted to the Family History Department since 1978 ... (and) has not been verified ... (and) it is the responsibility of those who use the file to verify its accuracy." Current researchers may add to this collection "to help other researchers."

FamilySearch, the nonprofit, volunteer-driven organization sponsored by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, is the largest genealogy organization in the world. Patrons have free access at or through more than 4,000 family history centers in 132 countries, including the main Family History Library in Salt Lake City.

Access to state resources

The Library of Congress has a list of websites, as prepared by Ingrid Jernudd, that provides links to states having primary source historical material at

The first table lists 66 websites that pertain to individual states; the second list covers multiple states. For example, there are two links to Illinois digital collections. 

It is also noted that researchers should seek local or municipal websites for appropriate historical resources.

Newspaper going digital

Lloyd's List, which claims to be the world's oldest newspaper, will go digital and no longer have a print edition as of Dec. 20.

This newspaper began in 1734 "as a bulletin of information about ship arrivals, departures and casualties in London and continues to cover news of maritime commerce, insurance and energy."

Read more at (This was reported in Dick Eastman's Online Genealogy Newsletter, Sept. 29 edition.)

Include passwords in your will

A helpful article in the Press Republican on Sept. 30, "Your Facebook password belongs in your will," addresses the reality that many Americans have important records on a computer, and therefore provisions should be made for accessing such data in the case of an emergency.

Co-authored by law Professor Naomi Cahn and Lutheran minister Amy Ziettlow, the article includes ways to store passwords, and stresses the importance of making it known how you want your assets handled "once you're no longer able to do so." Read their important views at

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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