Illinois Ancestors: Probate files invaluable to researchers

The announcement that has added a massive collection of U.S. probate files to its database is welcome news to genealogists. Probate records document the legal process by which a will is proven valid or an estate is settled without a will and provide data often not found elsewhere.

It's time to Pyg out

CHAMPAIGN — If you haven't kept up with the indie music scene, you might not be familiar with many of the acts playing the 11th annual Pygmalion Festival this coming weekend.

Rich Warren: Television technology wars are back

Internationale Funkausstellung (IFA) translates as international radio show, because it dates back to 1924 when radios were the main consumer electronics product. The Berlin-based show always ranked as an important exhibition, but when the Berlin Wall came down it blossomed into the largest and possibly most important electronics show on the planet.

Joan Griffis/Illinois Ancestors: Trump's grandfather made and left fortune recently "invested two years and $10 million to digitize 170 million probate documents dating from 1668 to 2005." Included in this database is information on Donald Trump's immigrant grandfather, Fred Trump, who left an estate worth $500,000 in today's dollars when he died in 1918 in Queens, New York.

Ask 'Mimi,' Sept. 13, 2015

What will Dave Tcheng do after he moves to California later this month?

The multi-instrumentalist will be a senior audio-signal analyst for GoPro, the company that makes the small cameras often used by sports enthusiasts who clip them to their helmets or whatever.

Champaign police seek OK for Tasers

Thoughts? Submit a Letter to the Editor here

University of Illinois police have 31 of them. Urbana has six. And the patrol division of the Champaign County Sheriff's Office has 54 — one for each deputy.

Rich Warren: A few tips for improving Internet radio stream

Internet radios vary in "reception" quality as much as conventional broadcast radios.

Beyond fidelity differences, Internet radios differ between brands in the way they work with your WiFi signal, process and buffer the streaming data bits, and how they "tune" the Internet stream.

For the best streaming, choose the best WiFi router you can afford.

School board launches blog

CHAMPAIGN — The Champaign school board just went digital.

Following through on some members' campaign promises to increase transparency with the community, the Unit 4 school board launched its first blog on Tuesday afternoon.

Beckman gifts honor institute's first director

URBANA — A $5 million gift to the University of Illinois will honor the founding director of the Beckman Institute and its donors, endowing postdoctoral fellowships and a lecture series in their names.

Joan Griffis: Prairie Pages for Illinois students of all ages

The Illinois Historic Preservation Agency (IHPA) first began publishing Prairie Pages in 1985 as curriculum materials for teachers of elementary-age students and "other interested persons." Twenty-four issues (in PDF format), at, can be enjoyed by all. They are: