Joan Griffis/Illinois Ancestors: New York Historical Society disbanded

Joan Griffis/Illinois Ancestors: New York Historical Society disbanded

"After nearly 120 years, the New York State Historical Association is no more." John Warren's online article earlier this month may come as a shock to some researchers, but the society's demise probably began in the 1940s when it began maintaining art collections and changed its name to Fenimore Art Museum. Nevertheless, researchers are saddened that such a prominent society no longer exists. Read Warren's article at

Church of Ireland parish registers online

According to an article on the GenealogyInTime website, "The Church of Ireland has just published an updated list of historic parish registers for Ireland" and has made it available, free, on the internet as a 96-page pdf document at This color-coded text lists by parish and diocese what baptism, marriage, and burial records exist by date range, and where to find them (including where to find them online.)

It should be remembered that other Irish church records exist as well. For example, in John Grenham's "Tracing Your Irish Ancestors, Third Edition" (MD: Baltimore. Genealogical Publishing Co., Inc. 2006) many pages in chapter 14 provide similar information (in chart format) for Roman Catholic Parish Registers. Ireland also has kept Presbyterian, Methodist, Quaker and other church records.

National Endowment for the Arts and Humanities may end

The National Endowment for the Arts and the National Endowment for the Humanities were created by President Lyndon Johnson in 1965. President Trump has pledged to cut the NEA and NEH from the federal budget in order to save $300 million. Read Caroline Elboar's political report (along with additional reading that can be accessed by links) at Hopefully "Congress will take the time to say, 'Hey, wait a second. We need these cultural elements to our society.'"

New photo of Harriet Tubman found

There have been very few photos of Harriet Tubman, a former slave who led hundreds of enslaved people to freedom in the Underground Railroad. Recently, however, a photo from an album owned by Tubman's friend and fellow abolitionist, Emily Howland, has been discovered. This photo can be seen at

The U.S. Treasury has announced that Tubman's likeness will be on the new $20 bill. Some other interesting facts about this famous lady can be found at

1940 map illustrates America's immigrants

In the 1940s "some Americans feared that immigrants were a threat to the country. Sound familiar?"

Subsequently a group called the Council Against Intolerance published a map "to remind Americans that the U.S. had always defined itself as a country of varied national origins and religious backgrounds." The map shows no state borders and has red ribbons woven across the landscape, showing clusters of immigrant groups and where they settled "from Japanese in the West to Italians in the East."

View this map at

Cayman Islands seek Bodden/Bawden descendants

In 1658, a man from Cornwall named Bodden or Bawden became the first recorded settler of "the previously uninhabited Cayman Islands." Today the government of the Cayman Islands would like to find his true descendants and fly them to the islands "to take them out to Cayman and reconnect them with their family there." For more information on this search visit and read Hayley Dixon's story of the search in the UK's publication, The Telegraph.

Free e-books on DNA for genealogists

Family Tree Magazine is offering free e-books. "Jump Into Genetic Genealogy: Use Genealogical DNA Testing to Solve Family Mysteries" can be read/downloaded at; "Which DNA Test is Right For Me?" is available 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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