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It is not too early to start making plans to attend the Federation of Genealogical Societies 2018 Fall Conference on Aug. 22-25 in Fort Wayne, Ind., where attendees will have "convenient access to Allen County Public Library, which houses one of the largest genealogical research collections available with records from around the world."

The categories of topics include technology, records, methodology, DNA, Midwest, African American, Scandinavian (a new track), German, United Kingdom, Eastern Europe and Society Management. A "sneak peek" of the entire program can be found at The variety and scope of materials is most impressive.

FGS also offers a blog for researchers, The Voice, at Why not subscribe in order to keep up with FGS news — including the War of 1812 Pension Digitization Project.

FGS, founded in 1976, represents the members of hundreds of genealogical societies and links the genealogical community by helping genealogical societies strengthen and grow. The society's website is at

More genealogical websites on Internet

Lists of genealogical websites are popular topics in columns such as this. However, a new approach should be noted. A United Kingdom website has recently posted "Doing Your Family History Online — 50 Best Websites for Family History." Our neighbors "across the pond" include knowledgeable genealogists and historians, and although this list includes some websites popular in the U.S. (such as FamilySearch and Cyndi's List), the list includes some helpful, mostly free, and lesser known in the U.S. resources. One does not have to be researching U.K. records to find this list helpful. Visit Be sure to note that a link to more helpful websites is available after the 25th website.

Midnight Madness set for Indiana library

Willard Library, 21 First Ave., Evansville, IN 47710, will be hosting "Midnight Madness: A Genealogical Event," five days and five nights of free research and free workshops, on June 18-22, 2018.

The keynote address will be given by J. Mark Lowe at 9:30 a.m. June 18 and titled "Diamonds, Rubies, and Lumps of Coal."

His other topics that day: 1 p.m., "Pioneers of the Frontier: Using Online Newspapers to Find Early Settlers"; 2:30 p.m., "Taxes Rule the World: Property, Poll, AdValorem, Permission."

Other speakers will include genealogist Debra Smith Renard, Karin Kirsch, Harold Morgan, Stan Schmitt and Pat Sides. Entertainment will also be provided by Sweet Adelines International, the Boom Squad (percussion group), Temple Airs (big band group), the Rhein Valley Brass and the Red Bank Reunion Band. Visit for information (and to register) or call 812-425-4309.

Chicago school being built on gravesite

A $70 million school "is to be built on the grounds of a former Cook County Poor House where an estimated 38,000 people were buried in unmarked graves. Among the dead are residents who were too poor to afford funeral costs, unclaimed bodies, and patients from the county's insane asylum."

Workers were supposed to have until April 27 "to excavate and clear the site, remediate the soil and relocate an existing sewer line."

The Chicago Tribune article on this project can be read at Barry Fleig, a genealogist and cemetery researcher who began investigating the site in 1989 "created a searchable database with about 7,000 names of people ... and made the project public in 2014 [and] will continue to work until he identifies at least 10,000 of the 38,000 people buried."

"These people were forgotten in life and they shouldn't be forgotten in death," he said.

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.