Joan Griffis/Illinois Ancestors: RootsTech 2017 names prize winners

Joan Griffis/Illinois Ancestors: RootsTech 2017 names prize winners

RootsTech, which was held last month in Salt Lake City and claims to be the "world's largest family-history technology conference," awarded $95,000 in cash and in-kind prizes to OldNews, an android app designed to help users quickly discover their family in historical U.S. newspapers.

The app makes use of the Library of Congress "Chronicling America" collection and is designed to streamline the search process. Read more of this winner and others at

It should be noted that the RootsTech website,, has made videos of that conference's sessions available for future viewing. Researchers should take advantage of these many instructional presentations!

Next year, the RootsTech conference will be held Feb. 28 to March 3.

German church books helpful

SK Translations, a website pertaining to German-English translations, has posted a most helpful article, "The Magic of German Church Books," on its website at

"Before the 1870s, the churches, not civil authorities, meticulously kept track of their members' births/baptisms, marriages, deaths, and more," it reads.

In addition to providing ideas and strategies for locating such records, the website also provides a link to its previous article, "Ten Tips for Deciphering Old German Handwriting," which can be accessed directly at

Anyone with German ancestry is sure to find these articles most useful for research.

Henry County, Va., guide online

The Virginia Genealogist, a website "educating others on 18th Century Virginia," has posted an informative booklet, "Henry County, Virginia: 18th Century Research Guide," at

It includes a list of Henry County inhabitants as recorded in Deed Books I and II (1776-1784.)

To access The Virginia Genealogist home page, visit and discover links to several helpful articles. For example, a click on "genealogy" provides links to 29 articles.

More free webinars

Brigham Young University offers videos of its genealogy webinars at

The website opens with the webinar, "Using Animaps" (a free BYU map program) and the other videos are accessible from the list on the right. The titles cover a wide range of topics, from "Common Mistakes in Genealogy" and "Using the Google Goldmine for Genealogy" to "How Trump Won Defying All Odds" (a Frontline documentary — not a webinar.)

Illinois fall conference scheduled

The Illinois State Genealogical Society will be hosting its 2017 Fall Conference Oct. 27-28 at the I Wireless Center in Moline. This year's theme will be "Build Your Family Tree: DNA, Research, and Writing."

The ISGS website at will have more information as it becomes available, but meanwhile mark a calendar to save these important dates!

Illinois pensioners in 1883

The website of New Horizons Genealogy has posted on its website "1883 List of Pensioners on the Roll: Illinois. January 1, 1883." At are links to each county's pension roll.

Within each county, the list of individuals includes the name of each pensioner, the cause for which they were pensioned, the post office address, the rate of pension per month, and the date of original allowance.

The list includes parents (e.g., Hiram Berry, Sadorus, father, $8; and Susannah Brown, Urbana, mother, $8) and widows (e.g., Elizabeth Cole, Champaign, widow, $20).

At the bottom of the page is a link to "1883 Pensioners on the Roll" where one can access the rolls for other states.

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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