Illinois Ancestors: Genealogy's top 2 sites hit by attacks

Illinois Ancestors: Genealogy's top 2 sites hit by attacks

According to an article in the online Genealogy in Time Magazine Newsletter (June 21, 2014), and Find A Grave both experienced extended website outages recently. They were flooded with fake traffic in what is known as a distributed denial of service attack, a method popular with Internet pirates. The important thing is that Ancestry announced no user data was compromised in the attacks. and Find A Grave are the No. 1 and No. 2 genealogy websites in the world. Both websites are owned by Ancestry. The attacks were clearly not random. Someone chose to target Ancestry for unknown reasons.

Fortunately, Ancestry now seems to have the issue under control.

Such attacks are becoming more common on the Internet. Sometimes they last for several days. It is not clear why anyone would want to attack Ancestry.

If you have trouble accessing any website, you can check to see if it's down by using a free service — Is It Down Right Now? — at

Free forms from Library of Congress

The Library of Congress has collected many beautiful blank forms for recording family data, such as marriages, births, etc. Some are very ornate; some have spaces to paste in pictures. Families often kept such documents with their Bibles.

The Library of Congress is making its collection of Family Record Forms available, free, so that others can make copies and fill in the blanks with personal data. Visit

As noted by Dick Eastman (June 16 Online Genealogy Newsletter), many of these forms are oversized. If so, they cannot be printed on a normal computer printer that only handles 81/2 by 11 inch paper.

However, you can always save them to a flash drive and then have them printed on an oversized printer or plotter at a FedEx Office (formerly called Kinko) or other service that has such hardware available. You can even send the print image to and either pick up the finished printout in person or have it shipped to you. You will have to pay a few dollars for the printing and shipping, of course.

Dillman genealogy conference

The Dillman Family Association will be hosting its seventh biennial conference Aug. 8 and 9 at the Cambria Suites in Plainfield, Ind. (Plainfield is next to the Indianapolis airport.) The conference cost, $25, includes speakers, DNA results, handouts, use of the Dillman library and door prizes.

(Fifteen distinct Dillman family lines have been found through a DNA program.)

On Thursday evening, Aug, 7, a Dillman library will be set up. All Dillmans, Tillmans or Stillmans are invited to drop by to visit and enjoy refreshments. There is no charge for this event.

For further information, contact Louise Dillman McKinney at

Cherokee students remember Trail of Tears

Last month, 19 students, members of the Cherokee Nation from Oklahoma and North Carolina, retraced the northern route of the Trail of Tears on bicycles. The Trail of Tears refers to the forced relocation of hundreds of thousands of Native Americans in the 1830s to a specially designated Indian territory in present-day Oklahoma, walking 900 miles through Georgia, Tennessee, Kentucky, Illinois, Missouri and Arkansas.

The students had traced their own ancestry and some of them traveled with fathers who had made the trip previously. This years's trip marks the 30th anniversary of the Remember the Removal Ride. The Trail of Tears is now most meaningful to those students, who learned that those Native Americans were such strong people who kept going even though 4,000 of them died.

Kat Russell's account of the trip can be found online at

Deaf collections

The Gallaudet University Library Deaf Collections and Archives has created indexes of birth, marriage and death records derived from various deaf publications such as The Social Worker and the Fay Marriage Index.

Visit and click on the desired link. For example, the Fay Index was created as part of a study "to either refute or confirm Alexander Graham Bell's theory that intermarriage among the deaf led to a greater chance for a couple to have deaf children." Fay's Index consists of marriage records of those couples.

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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