Illinois Ancestors | FamilySearch guide helps with black histories

Illinois Ancestors | FamilySearch guide helps with black histories

Although Black History Month was last month, it is still appropriate to share the news of the FamilySearch Quick Guide to African-American Records that is available at This 15-page resource includes information on beginning research, original records, finding aids and search strategies. Original records include bible records, cemeteries, census, church records, court records, Freedman's Bank, Freedmen's Bureau, land and property, military records, slavery and bondage records, and more.

It is important to note that most of the records mentioned are available through the Family History Library and Family History Centers. To access the data which is online ( researchers must now "sign in," but an account is free.

To learn more about the establishment of Black History Month (which began as a weeklong event in 1926 and expanded to a month in 1976) read details found at The toolbar across the top offers links to related information (exhibits and collections, audio and video — for teachers and researchers — and images).

Giving thanks to Library of Congress

Judy Russell, The Legal Genealogist, has posted a sincere "thank you" to the Library of Congress for its helpful resources for genealogists. There is now "something more to thank the Library of Congress for: a page of items from the Library's digital collections that are free for us to use and reuse without copyright concerns — items that the Library believes are in the public domain, have no known copyright, or have been cleared by the copyright owner for public use. ... The digital collections comprise millions of items including books, newspapers, manuscripts, prints and photos, maps, musical scores, films, sound recordings and more ... The page will be expanded as time goes on. Thank you ... thank you ... thank you, Library of Congress." Read her article and click the link to the new Free to Use and Reuse Sets page (found as source No. 10 at the end of her article) at

EBay success story

Dick Eastman's Online Genealogy Newsletter states, "You never know what you will find on eBay!" His article, at, may inspire others to make use of this service. And it's all been free, as well as another option, the Automated Searches website.

Genealogist explains immigration issues

Genealogist and author Megan Smolenyak, who calls herself a genealogical adventurer and storyteller, has posted a must-read article (which also can be heard as a brief audio), "Chain Migration: What's Changed?" at She concludes, "So if you're truly against family reunification, consider your own family tree. It might be time for you to self-deport."

Be sure to read/enjoy Smolenyak's newsletters at (found under Library category).

New at FamilySearch in 2018

"In 2018 FamilySearch will be adding new family discoveries, more online connections, expanded global reach and millions of new sources to search." At these resources are described in detail. The website also provides a link to 2017 changes. Also on this page, on the right side, is a link to Latest News: "Free Family History Lib-rary Classes & Webinars for March 2018." Readers' comments are also interesting.

FamilySearch International "is the largest genealogy organization in the world, (and) a nonprofit, volunteer-driven organization sponsored by the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints."

Georgia Confederates after Civil War

FamilySearch has a database, Georgia's Reconstruction Registration Oath Books, 1867-1868, at Images of records can then be viewed, and usually contain each voter's name, county of residence, date of registration, race and an oath of allegiance to the U.S. — a requirement for voting.

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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