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The Vietnam Veterans Memorial, known as the Vietnam Wall in Washington, D.C., was dedicated in 1982 with a promise to never forget the service members who served and sacrificed in the Vietnam War.

The Wall of Faces project began in 2009 “compiling a database of photos of every hero listed on the Vietnam Wall.

Illinois is one of 44 states (plus two U.S. territories and the District of Columbia) which has posted photos (and additional data) of every veteran listed on The Wall, 2,938 from Illinois; more than 57,900 in all. Fewer than 300 photos are still needed.

Visit to learn more about The Wall of Faces and conduct a search/advanced search (for an individual, a surname, a state, etc.).

Additional data that is provided includes dates of birth and death, unit, rank, home of record, remembrances added by family and friends and more.

It is hoped that future generations will better understand the impact of the Vietnam War on American families.

Each name represents a life cut short and a family changed forever by their loss. Putting a face to every name helps further preserve their legacies.

The Wall That Heals

The Wall That Heals includes a -scale replica of The Vietnam Wall along with a mobile Education Center.

The 25th season of The Wall That Heals will begin in Marco Island, Fla., on Feb. 20 and visits 36 U.S. communities throughout the year, including Belvidere from May 7-10 and Wheaton from July 9-12.

For more information on this exhibit and additional tour dates and places, visit

‘Tip of the Day’ book

Have you ever wished you could sit down and talk person-to-person with a genealogical expert in order to learn some of his/her tricks of the trade?

Michael John Neill’s new book, “Genealogy Tip of the Day,” is the next best thing!

Anyone who has been a subscriber to Neill’s daily tips is already aware of his expertise.

His book is a compilation of his Dec. 14, 2008, through June 30, 2011, online tips (without dated news items) always informative and practical, frequently humorous.

Neill is an Illinois native with 30 years of genealogical experience. His tips are sure to be helpful for ANY researcher, whether they are chosen as random selections or specifically selected in the index, or enjoyed as the book is read cover-to-cover.

This book would be a valuable addition to any genealogist’s library and would be a most welcome gift for any researcher.

“Genealogy Tip of the Day” is a soft-cover, indexed, illustrated (with family photos), 286-page book, ISBN 9780578612904, that also provides URLs for the websites mentioned. It can be ordered directly from the author at $25 postpaid. Send name, address and check to Michael John Neill, Tip of the Day, P.O. Box 108, Rio, IL 61472. (An autographed copy is available at $29.75 postpaid. Please allow three weeks for delivery.)

Mystery Illinois photos

The Jewish Genealogical Society of Illinois (JGSI) has posted photos of a mysterious collection of gravestone portraits believed to be from a Chicago-area Jewish cemetery. Martin Fischer’s account of this discovery can be read at

The oval ceramic or porcelain images were discovered late last year in Kentucky as part of the liquidation of the estate of an unidentified Kentucky man who was a vintage hoarder not from Illinois.

The portraits were discovered stashed in a bucket on a train caboose on the property of a man who died last year. The 39 portraits can be seen at

It is hoped that the photographs can be reunited with living family members. Any family member who can identify individuals in the photos are asked to email JGSI at with information.

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.