Illinois Ancestors: More runaways documented in newspapers

Illinois Ancestors: More runaways documented in newspapers

Joseph Lee Boyle has published his sixth book of newspaper ads pertaining to runaway servants of Pennsylvania. The ads have been taken from 33 colonial newspapers (including New Hampshire, Massachusetts, Connecticut, Rhode Island, Maryland, New York, New Jersey and Pennsylvania) and provide personal information on about 2,800 white individuals (e.g., age, appearance, place of origin, occupation, etc.) with 15 negroes named as such in the index.

The ads themselves paint a not-so-pretty picture of those runaways; the author even questions why owners would offer to have such misfits returned and mentions that many of them became part of the Continental Army (as described in a book by Joseph J. Ellis, "The Quartet: Orchestrating the Second American Revolution, 1783-1789.")

"She snuffs, drinks, and smokes": White Pennsylvania Runaways, 1776-1783 is a 412-page, indexed, softcover book, ISBN 978-0-8063-5855-0, that can be ordered from Genealogical Publishing Co., Inc. (GPC), 3600 Clipper Mill Road, Suite 260, Baltimore, MD 21211 as item #8135//

Stressing family health history

Sharon West, a registered nurse and genealogist, has written an article in the Asheville, N.C., Citizen Times stressing the importance of learning the causes of death of at least the last few generations of your ancestors. Knowing why those relatives died provides helpful clues to warn of one's own future demise. Read her advice at "Let us be intentional in caring for ourselves."

Slave-trade database funded

The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation plans to give a $1.47 million grant to Michigan State University to create an online database called Enslaved: The People of the Historic Slave Trade. "By linking data collections from multiple universities, the website will allow people to search millions of pieces of slave data to identify enslaved individuals and their descendants from a central source. Users can also run analyses of enslaved populations and create maps, charts and graphics." Read more at

RIP Bruce Harrison

The genealogical community is mourning the recent passing of Bruce Harrison, 64, of Waikoloa, Hawaii, co-founder with his wife, Kristine, of Millisecond Publishing Company, and developer of Family Forest, a collection of CDs with data of famous people. The products enable researchers to discover relationships to these individuals. Many of these products have been favorably reviewed in this column. The company maintains a website at and also has a blog at

FamilySearch's 2018 plans

FamilySearch has announced its plans for 2018 at, as reported by Dick Eastman in his Online Genealogy Newsletter. FamilySearch "will be adding new family discoveries, more online connections, expanded global reach, and millions of new sources to search." Be sure to read the comments by readers and responses from Eastman.

FamilySearch is still free but users need to create a free user account.

Reader query

A local reader, Larry M., has used Personal Ancestral File (PAF) as his genealogical software. Since that program is no longer being supported by FamilySearch, he would like to hear from anyone who has transferred genealogical data to another program (such as RootsMagic) and whether or not any problems have resulted. Please contact Larry at or contact this column at Thanks.

Queries, 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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