Illinois Ancestors: Rock Island County's records indexes now free online

Illinois Ancestors: Rock Island County's records indexes now free online

The Rock Island County Clerk's Office has indexes to that county's births, marriages and deaths, and these indexes can be searched free on the Internet. Previously one had to visit the county clerk's office to search the indexes. A chart showing the years for which certificates are available can be seen at From this page, one can also conduct a search.

Information found on full records may include "occupations, residences, cause of death, spouses, bride's and groom's parents, burials, and more. ... No information is guaranteed."

"The County Clerk's office offers $5 'genealogical copy' records that are without certification and printed on regular white paper, rather than charge the full $15 for certified copies." A link to a purchase application is provided.

The Rock Island County Clerk's Office is located on the first floor at 1504 Third Ave., Rock Island, IL 61201-8624; phone 309-558-3569. Karen Kinney is the county clerk.

Colonial documents to be made public

The Harvard Library is about to release a new website for its ongoing digitization Colonial North American Project. "Approximately 450,000 digitized pages of all the archival and manuscript materials in the Library relating to 17th and 18th century North America will be made available to the public." These are not genealogical records, but they give insight into the lives of those who lived there — including our ancestors.

Visit and scroll down through sample documents or click on the search box (at the top) and type a surname or other item to search. "This website is updated continuously. Check back regularly for new content and features."

A more recent document, a Harvard Gazette article dated October 28, 2015, "Amid the Old Burying Ground," is most interesting! Also read "Harvard's 'haunted' Houses" at (Genealogical research takes frequent detours, doesn't it!)

Orphaned twin finds family at age 88

Albert Phillip, born in 1929, orphaned, adopted, and renamed Dale Ellsworth Mayland, recently was reunited with family members — thanks to the searching done by his son, Russ. The story of the search as reported in a Bloomington, Minn., newspaper, at, is heartwarming and mentions that other living family members are still being sought.

Enemy aliens had to register during WWI and WWII

During World War I and World War II, all males and females age 14 and older that were "subjects of a hostile nation" and not naturalized, were "obliged to register."

Judy G. Russell, The Legal Genealogist," has prepared a helpful hand-out on this subject using an actual person, Martha Benschura, who became an Enemy Alien, "registered alien 2717868." This article provides information on documents that were created (for both WWI and WWII) and the files that can be searched today as well as resources (books, articles, and websites) for further study. This important article can be found at

Russell's website, at, includes links to her other posts in a variety of categories such as copyright, court cases, DNA, legal definitions, my family (with many touching stories), primary law, records access, Social Security Death Index and more.

German group offers research tips

Anyone with German ancestry, especially if ancestors lived in the New York City area, would be wise to check out the website of the German Genealogy Group (GGG) at and click on the link to Research Tips (accessed directly at

An annual individual membership in the GGG is only $15 and members receive a most informative newsletter via email. A sample newsletter (in PDF format) is available by clicking on "sample newsletter" on the GGG homepage.

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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