Illinois Ancestors: FamilySearch changes policy for online records

Illinois Ancestors: FamilySearch changes policy for online records

FamilySearch continues to be the largest free online source of genealogical records, and while its privacy policy has not changed, it now has a new requirement to access records.

Prompted by some of FamilySearch's partners, who have insisted on authenticated accounts before providing data, the FamilySearch website now requires users to use a registered account to access records on their website. Starting today, one must have a registered account — which is easy to obtain and free.

Anyone who does not already have an account should go to The important point is that they do not share any personal information with third parties without the user's consent, and the website will continue to remain free.

Illinois vets of Mexican War listed online

A comprehensive database listing almost 5,600 Illinois men who enlisted as volunteers for the Mexican War (1846-1848), as compiled by volunteers for the Palo Alto Battlefield National Historical Park, can be found on the Internet at One can browse the 112 pages (from Charles Abbott to John Zuller) or do a search. For example there are 12 soldiers with the surname Black.

Each listing includes the last and first name of the soldier, rank, enlistment date, enlistment place (city not county), state regiment company, discharge date, discharge cause, date of muster out, muster remarks and general remarks.

Helpful resources at heritage center

The Cherokee Heritage Center, established in 1963, has the Nation's foremost collection of historic tribal related documents and artifacts, "cataloging the rich history of the Cherokee people from the 1700s through today." At one can learn about these resources, which include First Families (with information about eligibility requirements—"an ancestor was resident of the Cherokee Nation prior to 1839"), the Trail of Tears Exhibit, and links to related articles.

The homepage of The Center at has links to other categories of information from the toolbar located at the top of the page. Be sure to click on FAQs (frequently asked questions) under the genealogy category.

Postcard publication date tips

Anyone who has a U.S. postcard and wishes to know when it was published can be better informed about these unique cards by reading some tips at "The world's first picture postcards date from the 1860s to the mid-1870s" and this website, based on the book, Beginners Guide to the Hobby of Postcard Collecting, describes the clues that various types of cards provide for dating them.

For example, the publishers' numbering schemes and the amount of postage on the card's stamp provide clues. (1 cent postage was needed on a card sent in 1872. A list of required stamp amounts, 1872-1995, is provided.)

Researcher documents Chicago cemeteries

Barry A. Fleig's website,, provides information on the 806 Chicago area graveyards and Native American burial listings. This website also has some interesting articles such as "Cemetery Hitchhikers & Ghosts," "Same Churchyard — Two Counties," "An Elevator in a Cemetery," "Cholera Cemetery — Chicago 1835" and "Funeral Streetcars."

His blog, at, provides a link to the searchable database of Chicago's Dunning Cemetery, which can be accessed directly at The toolbar across the top of the page of this website includes a link (under Oak Forest) to "History of Cook County Potter's Field Burials." Click on "database" to conduct a search.

"It's people like Barry A. Fleig who realize that cemeteries are vital pieces of history and he's made it his mission to preserve cemeteries, specifically in Chicago, a city that continues to grow that has a long interesting history."

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.

Sections (1):Living