Tuesday, January 31, 2006

Speaker Spotlight: Tony Burroughs

If you are ever stranded anywhere with Tony Burroughs prepare to laugh so hard your sides will hurt. I found this out in an airport. Who other than Tony could make a delayed flight a form of entertainment? Tony’s quick wit is one thing that endears him to genealogists all over. A third generation Chicagoan and professional genealogist, Tony has taught genealogy at Chicago State University for fifteen years. His first solo book, Black Roots: A Beginners Guide to Tracing the African American Family Tree, was number one on Essence magazine's best seller list and is in its third printing.
Read More About Tony Burroughs


At the NGS conference Tony will present Don’t Get Burned: Getting Around the Chicago Fire of 1871, a look at records that survived the Chicago Fire; Six Phases of African American Genealogy Research, an overview of the building blocks and complexities of African American genealogical research; and Researching Pullman Porters: Railroad Records for African Americans, a review of repositories and records of the Pullman Company, the largest private employer of African Americans at the turn of the century.

Tony will appear on national television this week and next. He says, "PBS television is doing a four part series on African American genealogy for Black History Month. It is called African American Lives and is hosted by Henry Louis Gates. It traces the family histories of seven prominent African Americans (Quincy Jones, Mae Jamison, Whoopie Goldberg and others). The first two hours will air Wednesday, February 1st and the second two hours will air Wednesday, February 8th.” Tony was interviewed for the program. More information can be found on the PBS website http://www.pbs.org/previews/africanamericanlives/ and WNET's website http://www.pbs.org/wnet/aalives/.

Tony’s accomplishments as a genealogist are impressive. He wrote a chapter in The Experts Guide to 100 Things Everyone Should Know How to Do, and was one of three co-authors of the African American Genealogical Sourcebook. He was a featured genealogy expert in six episodes of the PBS television series, Ancestors 2, and was the African American Genealogy expert in the original PBS Ancestors. Tony traveled three continents as the genealogist in search of Jesus’ family in the 2005 BBC documentary, The Real Family of Jesus.

His research on the Underground Railroad in 2001 enabled the Kimsey Crossing home in Tamarora, Illinois to be recognized by the National Park Service's Network to Freedom. Tony’s testimony before Congress in 2000 helped preserve 135 year old Freedmen's Bureau records. He has received many honors, served on several national and regional boards, and has been interviewed for radio, television, and publications.

Tony authored the African American Genealogy chapter in the revised edition of The Source, which will be out this year.

Despite his busy schedule, Tony has managed to trace two family lines back seven generations. His genealogical research has qualified him for lineage society membership in the Sons of Union Veterans of the Civil War, Pioneer Families of New Mexico, and First Families of the Twin Territories.

To learn more about Tony, visit his website at http://www.tonyburroughs.com/.

Be sure to catch Tony’s television appearances on February 1st and 8th!

Sunday, January 29, 2006

Heritage Spotlight: The DuSable Museum of African American History

The DuSable Museum of African American History, founded in 1961, was renamed in 1968 to honor Jean Baptist Pointe DuSable, a Haitian fur trader who was Chicago’s first permanent resident. A goal of the museum is to preserve and interpret the experience and achievements of African Americans. The DuSable claims to be the oldest museum of its type in the country.
Keep Reading About the DuSable Museum


The museum’s galleries include exhibits on a number of topics and a community gallery of art. Some current and recent displays include 100 Plus One … American’s Music Before Motown and Beyond, A Right Given But Denied- Exploring the Civil Rights Movement, and Annie Malone: Black Beauty Culture Pioneer and Millionaire.

The DuSable offers programs for children and adults, book signings, courses, lectures, a museum store, and seasonal celebrations throughout the year. Memberships are available and donations are welcome.

Hours are Tuesday through Saturday from 10 a.m.-5 p.m. and Sunday noon-5 p.m. The museum will be closed on Mondays during the conference. Admission is reasonably priced at $3 for adults, $2 for students and seniors, $1 for children 6-13, and free for children 5 and under. On Sundays admission is free. The museum's website is at http://www.dusablemuseum.org/.

The handicap accessible building is at 740 E. 56th Place in Washington Park. Their phone number is 773-947-0600.

If using the RTA Trip Planner http://tripsweb.rtachicago.com/ you will find the DuSable Museum is one of the choices in the destination drop down list. To take public transportation from the conference to the DuSable, walk north from the hotel .3 miles to the Rosemont CTA. Take the Blue Line (O’Hare to Forest Park) to the Washington and Dearborn Station. Take the Red Line (to 95th/Dan Ryan) to Garfield. Then take the CTA Bus 55 Eastbound to 55th and Payne. Walk .1 mile south to the museum.

Friday, January 27, 2006

Friday, June 9: NGS Banquet Speaker, Craig Pfannkuche

He’s got a booming voice, he’s got an eye for detail and he’s not afraid to get dirty! While we dine on roasted sirloin Friday night at the NGS Banquet, we will be delighted by Chicago’s own Craig Pfannkuche, as he presents “Excavating Grandma’s Privy for Family History Data.” This is sure to be an entertaining topic, and is a popular program in the Chicago area. Born and raised in Chicago, Craig received both a Bachelor of Arts and a Master of Arts from Northern Illinois University. He taught high school American history and anthropology for thirty years.
Learn More About Craig and the Banquet


In addition to teaching, from which he is now retired, Craig has held several leadership positions in area genealogical and historical organizations. He is currently the president of Memory Trail Research, Inc., on the Board of Directors for the Chicago Genealogical Society, the Genealogical Archivist for the Chicago and Northwestern Railway Historical Society, and he’s on the Board of Directors for the McHenry County (Illinois) Genealogical Society.

With whatever spare time he has, Craig is a frequent lecturer on a variety of genealogical topics. He has also written several articles for historical journals and society newsletters.

Come learn what you might find in Grandma’s privy (besides the obvious!) and how it can enhance your family history research.

Register for F344 to reserve your place at this event. A cash bar reception begins at 6 p.m. and dinner starts at 7 p.m. The food, fellowship, and a lecture that is sure to be talked about for years to come are only $45.

Thursday, January 26, 2006

Beyond Chicago: Naperville, Illinois – A Taste of Pioneer Days

Naperville, Illinois has grown to be one of the state’s largest cities, but if you visit downtown Naperville, you will get a taste of its original charm. Jefferson Street is the core of the city, and it still retains small shops and many appealing restaurants.
Read More About Naperville


One Naperville specialty is Pioneer Days in the unique Naper Settlement, located in the downtown area. The settlement is a virtual museum, made up of 19th century homes, shops and public buildings. A popcorn stand there was once an active business. A Chinese gentleman sold popcorn there for many years, saving to bring his lady to America. The former, outgrown Episcopalian Church was moved into the village and is now a site for many Naperville weddings. All of the Settlement buildings contain historical furnishings and factual descriptions. Costumed villagers relate the story of Naperville’s early years and its growth into the city of today.

Adjacent to Naper Settlement is the Martin-Mitchell Museum, a beautifully restored mansion from Naperville’s earlier days. Guided tours are available. The museum building has a library of special interest to genealogists, covering primarily Naperville and DuPage County, but including broader area information.

The Settlement hosts year-round activities, from Civil War reenactments to candle dipping demonstrations. To check out the schedule of events, visit their website http://www.napersettlement.org/. The city of Naperville has a website http://www.naperville.il.us/ which offers dining and lodging suggestions.

Thanks to Nancy Houston for her informative look at Naperville.

Tuesday, January 24, 2006

CGC Member Spotlight: DuPage County (IL) Genealogical Society

The DuPage County (IL) Genealogical Society (DCGS) is an integral part of the Chicago Genealogical Consortium and the home society of Consortium Chairman Jeff Bockman.
Read More About DCGS


DCGS'S focus is on DuPage County families and their histories. Many members’ families were among the first settlers in DuPage County. Membership is from all over the United States and numbers around 175. Society representatives are willing to address queries about early area pioneers.

DCGS meets the second Wednesday of each month, except for June, July and August. After a very short business meeting they get down to the business of genealogy with a featured speaker. Scheduled for this year are "What's New at the Newberry Library" [if you get a chance while you are here for the NGS Conference, the Newberry is a must], "Finding Your Chicago Ancestors," and "Extra! Extra! Read All About Your Ancestors!"

The Society publishes The Review quarterly. The quarterly features both new articles and items from the past, such as 100 Years Ago in DuPage County, newspapers, and census records from the townships. New items feature book reviews and books added to the genealogy collection at the Wheaton Public Library. This library has an extensive genealogical collection, which is available to the public even though the library is undergoing renovations. If you visit, stop and say hello to Donna Freymark, the DCGS Education Chairman and Wheaton Librarian. She'll be glad to get you started in the genealogy department. A DCGS member is available every Friday evening in the library’s genealogy department to assist anyone doing research.

Classes are offered for all levels of expertise in the spring and fall. The five classes can be taken individually or as a group. The classes are offered at a local library and are taught by society members.

The society has a list of publications to its credit. They include Bicentennial Citizens, DuPage Landowners (book or CD), and Index to the Naturalization Records of DuPage County.

Each year DCGS members work enthusiastically on their annual conference. This year marks the society’s 31st conference, which takes place on March 4th. Nationally known speakers this year include John Konvalinka, Elizabeth Kelley Kerstens, Mike Karsen, and Craig Pfannkuche. Three of these will be presenting at the NGS Conference. DCGS’s day-long event will take place at the Hilton Garden Inn, St. Charles, IL. There are three tracks, vendors with plenty of time for browsing, and lunch. Registration varies from $35.00 to $45.00.

For more information about the DuPage Co (IL) Genealogical Society and the Conference, visit the DCGS website, http://www.dcgs.org/, or stop by the DCGS table at the NGS Conference.

Monday, January 23, 2006

Vendor Spotlight: Let’s Get Scrappin’

“My favorite place in Chicago is Shedd Aquarium. Every year my father would take us down to the lakeshore to enjoy the sights and especially the fish! I loved standing in front of the entrance, then looking to my left to see Lake Michigan and the skyline. Every year I'd take pictures and I still have those to remind me of those great summers. June is a great time to get out and sightsee!” says Lili Stephenson.
Read More About Let's Get Scrappin'


Let's Get Scrappin' is Stephenson's company. She started the business to help those who want to share their memories for generations to come. Not only does Lili carry quality scrapbooking products (Top Line Creations), she has large portfolios (12 X 18 and 18 X 24) to preserve bigger documents or larger family trees. Her website also has a place where you can download digital photos to share with family and friends, store them along with traditional photos, and other great tools to preserve your memories.

“With years of being a hobby genealogist, I am different from others who just sell scrapbooking supplies. I'll have our generational wedding book on display at the convention, and can get you on your way to mixing documents and pictures to create a fantastic view of your family history!” Lili says. When she isn’t busy creating treasures, Lili is volunteering at the Buffalo Grove (IL) Family History Center, or taking care of her growing family.

Visit Lili and Let’s Get Scrappin’ at Booth 819. Her generational wedding book is impressive and we are sure you will find it helps inspire you to find new ways to preserve and share your heritage.

The Let's Get Scrappin' website is at: http://www.letsgetscrappinonline.com/.

Saturday, January 21, 2006

CGC Member Spotlight: Northwest Suburban Council of Genealogists

The Northwest Suburban Council of Genealogists (NWSCG) was founded in 1977. Its major purposes are to promote the study of genealogy and history, to conduct programs and workshops, to encourage preservation of public and private records, and to assist members in the study of family history.
Keep Reading About the NWSCG


NWSCG generates a bi-monthly newsletter entitled News From the Northwest. It has created several publications that index records of interest to researchers in Chicago’s Northwest Suburbs. Current projects include donating resources to libraries impacted by Hurricane Katrina and indexing vital records that appeared in Paddock Publications during the 1920’s.

The society meets eight months out of the year (Jan, Feb, Mar, Apr, May, Sep, Oct, Nov) on the third Thursday of the month at 7:30pm. Meetings are held in Arlington Heights, IL in the Forrest View Education Center at 2121 South Goebbert. Speakers at the general meetings provide a wide range of information and experience in order to help the genealogist learn how to research his/her families. Membership is open to everyone. For more information, visit their website at http://www.mtprospect.org/nsgs/ or contact them via e-mail at nwscg@yahoo.com.

We are thrilled to have the NWSCG as a member of the Chicagoland Genealogical Consortium. Dan Wertz and Teresa McMillin are both representatives for NWSCG.

Friday, January 20, 2006

Speaker Spotlight: Jeffrey Bockman

Jeffrey A. Bockman was born and raised in Chicago. After a career in the insurance industry, he decided to apply his engineering, management, and computer background to genealogical research. In the late 1980s, Jeff began collecting ancestors and building on his maternal grandmother's DAR and Magna Carta family tree.
“Unfortunately,” says Jeff, “after learning ‘real research’ techniques, I had to chop down a large portion of the forest.”
Continue Reading About Jeff Bockman


After receiving an MBA in Organization Development in 1994, Jeff became active in genealogy societies and society management. He was a 3-term president of the DuPage County (IL) Genealogical Society (DCGS) and 4-term vice president of the Illinois State Genealogy Society. He has been involved with planning the DCGS Annual Conference for 12 years. Since 1996, Jeff has served as webmaster for the DuPage County IL GenWeb Project, which is now integrated with the DCGS web page at www.dcgs.org .

Jeff started teaching basic genealogy classes and introductory lectures in 1995. Since then, he has spoken at a number of regional and national conferences. Regarding his upcoming conference lecture titled “Real Research on the Web,” Jeff says, “This lecture has really changed since 1996 when I was introducing people to the internet and how to access it to now where new sites and records are being added almost daily.”

A second lecture by Jeff, called “No Birth Certificate? No Problem!” takes a look at the wide variety of primary and secondary sources that can be used if a birth certificate can't be found. It demonstrates that how someone defines a problem can greatly impact his or her ability to solve it. “The one thing that my ancestors did leave me,” says Jeff “is a variety of interesting records.”

In 2004 Jeff self-published a booklet titled "A Gift That Money Can't Buy" which encourages people to preserve their own immediate family history and memories. He has also been published in the FGS FORUM, Family Tree Magazine (UK), and Heritage Quest Magazine. As a result, he receives e-mails from around the world.

“I am pleased that NGS has chosen the Chicagoland area to hold their 2006 Conference. It was an honor being elected as the Chairman of the Chicagoland Genealogical Consortium and the Local Arrangements Chair for the 2006 NGS Conference.”

“I hope that you enjoy the conference and can join me for a lecture or two.”

You can also visit Jeff at http://www.JeffBockman.com.

Thursday, January 19, 2006

Blog Index

CGC Chair Jeff Bockman has created a topical index to this Blog. While the Blog is searchable by keyword in the search box at top left, Jeff knows it will be helpful to have an index too.

To check out the index, go to the CGC site and check it out! The index will be updated periodically, so if you do not find what you are looking for check back soon.

Thanks Jeff!

Vendor Spotlight: Fun Stuff for Genealogists, Inc.

Bev Petersen never used to think of herself as "fun" until she started doing genealogy and realized that there is humor in this hobby. “Who else tracks dead people?” she says. Indiana based Fun Stuff for Genealogists was created because Bev felt that there were not enough trinkets offered to genealogists to allow them to show off their love of the hobby.
Keep Reading About Fun Stuff


One day at an antique show Bev spotted a beautiful antique family tree chart. She put her printing background to work after buying it, and reprinted it because her genealogy friends told her they would buy one. The 1888 Family Tree Photo Holder was printed, and yes, her friends bought them.

As the saying goes, the rest was history. That was 1998. She went on the road. After losing money at her first genealogy conference as a vendor, she realized she needed to sell more items. Her next item was a tee shirt. When that was well received, along came a mug, and on and on. Bev now carries over 500 items for the genealogist and family historian.

Items include magnifiers, clip-art, jewelry, embroidered cardigan sweatshirts, blue jean shirts, tee shirts, canvas bags, historic map reproductions, archival items, mugs, pedigree charts of all sizes and shapes, rubber stamps, scrap booking supplies, journals, bibs and shirts for babies and kids, novelty items like pens, letter openers, coin purses, bumper stickers and much more.

You can see Bev and her "fun stuff" at booths 514, 516 and 518, or if you can't wait until June, you can see her web site at http://www.FunStuffForGenealogists.com where you will also find the store address and a toll free number. Bev says she tries hard to get items out within a day or two of the order, unless she is at a national seminar and out of town.

We can’t wait to see Bev and Fun Stuff in Chicago!

Wednesday, January 18, 2006

Wednesday, June 7th: Opening Session

Starting off this year’s NGS Conference in the States will be Dr. Allen Weinstein. There couldn’t be a more fitting speaker to kick off this national conference. In February 2005, Dr. Weinstein was sworn in as the ninth Archivist of the United States. His charge is to lead the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) into the technological future so that our records of yesterday may be here tomorrow.
Continue Reading About the Opening Session


According to his biography on the National Archive’s website, Dr. Weinstein has had a long and notable career in the fields of academia and politics. In his earlier years, he served as the Professor of History at Smith College and Chairman of its American Studies Program. He later held the position of University Professor at Georgetown University, followed by University Professor and Professor of History at Boston University. He has held visiting professorships at several other universities.

In 1985, Dr. Weinstein founded the Center for Democracy, a non-profit organization whose goal is to promote and strengthen the democratic process. He was awarded the United Nations Peace Medal (1986) and numerous other international awards for his efforts to aid countries in their democratization processes.

In addition to these notable achievements, Weinstein has authored several books and written for numerous scholarly journals. Don’t miss what Dr. Weinstein has to say to the genealogists of America!

The next person to speak at the opening session will be the lively and engaging John Philip Colletta, Ph.D., presenting “They Glided This Way: The Erie Canal and Peopling of the Midwest”. This teacher, lecturer and author comes to us from Washington, D.C. He conducts workshops for the National Archives, teaches at the Smithsonian Institute and other area universities, as well as several regional and national genealogical institutes. Dr. Colletta is also a popular lecturer at national conferences. In addition to numerous genealogy articles, he has authored 3 books: They Came in Ships, A Guide to Finding Your Immigrant Ancestor’s Arrival Record; Finding Italian Roots: The Complete Guide for Americans and his latest, Only a Few Bones: A True Account of the Rolling Fork Tragedy and Its Aftermath. You’re sure to enjoy this speaker!

Glide on in to the opening session and have the honor of hearing this duo officially start the conference week!

Saturday, January 14, 2006

CGC Member Spotlight: BIGWILL

The British Interest Group of Wisconsin & Illinois (BIGWILL) is one of the eight member societies that make up the Chicagoland Genealogical Consortium.
Read More About BIGWILL


BIGWILL’s focus is on the British Isles: England, Ireland, Scotland, Wales, the Channel Islands and the Isle of Man. Their membership is approximately 150-175 from all over the United States. The majority of members are from Wisconsin and Illinois.

BIGWILL President Peggy Rockwell Gleich says, “If you need help locating your ancestors in the British Isles, the British Interest Group of Wisconsin and Illinois may be just the group for you. We have several very experienced members from the British Isles or with a great deal of knowledge who can help with your research.”

The BIGWILL home base is Richmond, Illinois, a small “antique” village in northern Illinois, just south of the Wisconsin border. Meetings are held at Grace Lutheran Church, surrounded by a beautiful cemetery and woods filled with pheasants, deer and other wild animals.

BIGWILL meets the third Saturday of every other month (January, March, May, July, September, and November). Meetings begin at 10:00 a.m. and refreshments are always served.

The society publishes the BIGWILL News, a bi-monthly newsletter. Articles by authors with an array of experience in either British Isles research and/or genealogy will tempt your reading appetite. Books reviews, lists of surnames, a library report and other items are staples. Queries are free to members.

The BIGWILL library is located at Richmond’s Nippersink Library. This collection grows with additions by members and the society. A Research Help Desk is maintained on meeting afternoons at the Nippersink Library from 1-3 pm. The materials are available during regular library hours.

BIGWILL offers a growing database, support groups, members' mailing list, and a great group of people to research with anytime.

The society had a successful 2005 conference with Maggie Loughran & Paul Blake from England. The society has an active role in NGS Chicago 2006.

For more information see the BIGWILL Website at http://www.rootsweb.com/~wiilbig. Something new is always being added. The webmaster has as online calendar to rival anyone around the country! Check it out!

Gleich says, “Whether you are new or an ‘old hat’ to genealogy, a conference is a great way to find out what is going on in genealogy today. A conference also lets you become involved as much as you want to be involved, either individually or with a group. And, oh do you ever learn! And the people you meet are just amazing. The networking possibilities are worth the cost alone. Your whole experience will be wonderful. Enjoy yourselves!”

BIGWILL Members with special roles in the CGC include Susan Sincere, BIGWILL Librarian and Hospitality Assistant; Jackie Torrance, Treasurer, Assistant Registration; Peggy Rockwell Gleich, BIGWILL President, Volunteer Coordinator; Kathy Brady-Blake, society representative and Publicity Chair.

Friday, January 13, 2006

Practical Guide: Chicago Historical Society

For visitors to Chicago of a genealogical bent, the Chicago Historical Society would normally be a "must see" place.
Continue Reading Chicago Historical Society


Regrettably, throughout 2006, the Society's galleries are undergoing a massive renovation project! The museum's galleries were closed in December 2005, and are not scheduled to reopen until autumn.

The Society's research facilities will continue to be available to scholars and researchers on a very limited basis. The Research Center houses an extensive collection of finding aids for those with Chicago-area roots. Early city directories, telephone books and similar items are available. The Center also houses an extensive manuscript collection for significant families and businesses associated with the city.

The Society's photographic collection is impressive. Historical figures of note to Chicago and Illinois are included, but also materials related to the Civil War and the life of Abraham Lincoln are held by CHS. With Chicago's central location, it served as the nation's transportation hub for decades. Your family may well have passed through the city; images worth including in your materials may be found there.

Given the renovation work, anyone hoping to visit the CHS is advised to contact the Society prior to coming, as construction may interfere with some access. Many of the holdings are in storage due to the renovation. They may be reached by telephone at 312/642-4600.

Reaching the Chicago Historical Society is simple by public transportation. The Blue Line from O'Hare to downtown will connect with the No. 22 bus (Clark/Dearborn), which will bring you to the CHS. Be sure to call ahead--but if you have family with Chicago connections, even with the inconvenience of renovations, a special trip may be worthwhile!

For more information: htp://www.chicagohs.org

Thursday, January 12, 2006

Speaker Spotlight: Becky Stewart Higgins

Having lived in the Chicago area for more years than she cares to disclose, Becky Stewart Higgins is thrilled to have the NGS Conference close at hand. “I hope attendees from across the country will take advantage of the wonderful genealogical resources available in Chicago and its surrounding suburbs. “Of course,” she says, “I don’t want them to miss out on our delectable variety of food or outstanding entertainment, either.”
Read More About Becky Higgins


Though most of her life has been spent in the Chicago area, Becky was born and lived her first ten years in a small town in Indiana. While researching her family there, she learned about her “orphan train rider” ancestor. The more she learned about him, the more she learned about the history of the system that placed at least 200,000 children in homes throughout the country over a 75 year period.

Becky’s Wednesday presentation, “They Came by Train,” is being sponsored by the Orphan Train Heritage Society of America, a national organization headquartered in Concordia, Kansas. Higgins is president of the OTHSA.

Becky says, “I can’t describe how thrilled I am to have the opportunity to share not only the history and facts about the orphan train era, but its great significance to the genealogical community. I believe that many a ‘brick wall’ would crumble away by looking for an orphan train rider.”

We welcome Becky and hope that her Orphan Train presentation can help to bring someone’s ancestors home.

Wednesday, January 11, 2006

Volunteer Opportunities Are Still Available!

The 2006 National Genealogical Society conference is slated for June 7-10 at the Hyatt Regency O’Hare. Volunteer opportunities are available that can match every attendee’s interests and background, and can be worked around your conference schedule. Help is needed before, during, and after things unwind. Here’s a rundown on some of the volunteer opportunities.
Learn More About Volunteering!


Registration: Do you like meeting and greeting people? Then this job is for you. Welcome conference registrants, distribute bags, and help attendees feel delighted to be there.

Session monitors: Here’s a chance to listen to the speakers and volunteer at the same time! This job is very simple. Stand at the meeting room door, greet attendees, and answer the proverbial question, “Is this where I’m supposed to be?”

Exhibitor support: Do you want to volunteer before the conference starts? A few people are needed at the hotel on Tuesday, June 6, the day before the conference begins, to help exhibitors find their spaces and get ready for the big event. No heavy lifting required!

Hospitality: Ever think you’d like to be a concierge? Then this job is for you! Be the person in the know who can direct attendees to various points of interest both at the conference and in and around the city. If you don’t have all the answers, you’ll know where to get them. From “Where will the luncheon be held?” and “What time does the exhibit hall open?” to “How do I get to the Newberry Library?” and “What’s playing at the Rosemont Theatre?” your help will be more than appreciated.

Peggy Gleich, president of Bigwill (British Interest Group of Wisconsin and Illinois) is the Volunteer Coordinator for the conference. If you’d like to volunteer or want more information about available opportunities, contact Peggy at P.O. Box 8003, Janesville, WI 53547-8003 or pgleich@sbcglobal.net.

Don’t miss this chance take an active role in a national conference. Won’t you please give us a hand? We look forward to seeing you there!

Tuesday, January 10, 2006

Vendor Spotlight: Document History LLC

When you see Mark Kohls at Booth 911 don’t expect to see him running. That doesn’t mean he won’t be eager to assist you with your purchases. It simply means that Mark will be in the Chicago area for something less grueling than the Chicago Marathon.
Read More About Document History LLC


Mark’s last Chicago Marathon run was in 2000. “It was a horrible race for me,” Mark said. He became dehydrated, which forced him to walk a good part of the way. “That was my worst race ever, though the crowds were fantastic!” he said of his experience.

Kohls is expecting fantastic crowds at the NGS conference as well. His company, Document History LLC, will mark its first year exhibiting at the national conference. He will be promoting a new product, Life Story Recording.

Life Story Recording is a service that helps people pass on their experiences, life lessons, and values to their children, grandchildren and the generations to follow.

Kohls feels that many people find it difficult to start their autobiography. Getting parents and grandparents to begin theirs can be tricky too. He believes the best way to start is with a comprehensive telephone interview followed by publication on CDs or DVDs. Document History provides nationwide interviewing 24x7. Their customers can give copies of their life stories to all of their family members.

While researching his wife’s family, Kohls conducted many interviews and learned their value. These were the inspiration for the founding of his company. “I have found out how incredibly useful oral biographies are for gathering family stories and getting an in-depth understanding of our ancestors. So many people who publish family history have far too little of these,” Mark adds.

A genealogist for 16 years, Kohls serves on the board of the Bay Area Genealogical Society [WI].

If your family story is waiting to be told, stop to visit Mark Kohls at the Document History LLC booth - if you can catch him!

Monday, January 09, 2006

CGC Member Spotlight: Lake County IL Genealogical Society

The Lake County Illinois Genealogical Society (LCIGS) is one of the eight societies that have joined together to form the Chicagoland Genealogical Consortium. LCIGS President Allen Elias offers advice to those attending the conference. “Learn, make connections with people in the field--give yourself a genealogical treat.”
Read More About LCIGS


The society, headquartered in the northeast corner of Illinois, has a strong focus on Lake County and northeastern Illinois. They have published numerous books on Lake County, including vital records indexes, cemetery transcriptions, census abstracts, and many others. A complete list of society publications can be found on the society's website http://www.rootsweb.com/~illcgs/.

Approximately 25% of the roughly 200 members live outside of the area. Many members living elsewhere have roots in Lake County. Some visit to use the LCIGS research collection, housed at the Fremont Public Library at 1170 N. Midlothian Road in Mundelein.

The LCIGS Reading Room's growing collection contains about 10,000 printed items, plus computer resources. The Lake County holdings are strong, but the collection is not limited geographically. The research room is only open when a volunteer is present, so phone ahead to check the schedule if you plan to visit.

A collection of Illinois census abstracts, microfilms of census, WWI Draft Registrations, newspaper, and county probate are some of the items held. An ongoing obituary card file is kept. It is estimated that it presently contains about 100,000 obituaries ranging from approximately 1950 to present.

The society hosts programs at ten monthly meetings each year and publishes a quarterly. Their main event is the fall workshop, held each November. Nationally known speakers, a variety of vendors, a silent auction, and door prizes are a part of the day-long extravaganza. The society offers limited look-ups and answers simple queries.

LCIGS members with active roles in the CGC include Debbie Mieszala, CG, Registration Chair and Blog mistress, and Kathy Brady-Blake, Publicity Chair.

Elias says “You haven’t really lived if you have never attended a national genealogy conference.”

The members of LCIGS welcome you. If you have never attended a national conference, give Chicago a try!

Saturday, January 07, 2006

CGC Chairman's Welcome


Hi, my name is Jeffrey Bockman and I am the Chairperson for the CGC - Chicagoland Genealogical Consortium and the Local Arrangements Chair for the NGS 2006 Conference being held in Rosemont, IL from June 7 - 10, 2006.
Read the Chairman's Welcome


The National Genealogy Society has arranged four great days of lectures & workshops and has assembled a wide variety of vendors. See: Program & Speaker Details or download & print the Program & Registration Booklet (pdf file 994kb).

I hope that you will also register for the CGC's Sweets Home Chicago on Wednesday Evening - June 7th, 2006. This social event will feature the Ken Chaney Xperience, a jazz trio and singer, along with a Dessert Buffet, a cash bar, and the opportunity to visit with friends and various interest groups. Register for session W-130 at a cost of $27.

I would also like to take this opportunity to invite you to visit the City of Chicago. In June it is one of the prettiest cities in the world. Grant Park & Buckingham Fountain, the new Millennium Park, the Art Institute, window shopping on the "Magnificant Mile" of North Michigan Avenue, the Hancock Building Observatory, and Navy Pier are all "Can't Miss" sights. For those that want to do research there are a number of great facilities in the Chicagoland area. Newberry Library is just a few blocks west of the Hancock Building. See the CGC webpage for many local research links.

Since the conference is being held in Rosemont near the O'Hare airport you will need to add a day or two before or after the conference to really see downtown Chicago.

I am not a member of the the Chicago tourism board or being paid to welcome you. I was born and raised in Chicago and have had relatives living in the city since 1853. The nicest commute I ever had was driving from my parents home, in Hyde Park, along Lake Shore Drive, looking at the sun rising over Lake Michigan, on my way to Illinois Institute of Technology. IIT is located just east of the home of the World Champion Chicago White Sox. Take an extra day or evening to catch a ball game with the Sox or visit the Cubs up at Wrigley Field. We also have zoos, museums, and lots of tall buildings.

For those of you who won't be able to visit Chicago you will get to see a mini photo travelogue prior to the opening session and at Sweets Home Chicago.

The CGC Blog has additional sites to visit and conference information.

I would like to take this opportunity to also thank all of the chair people and other volunteers that are working hard to help the CGC and NGS to make this conference a wonderful experience for all.

I hope to see you in Chicago in June!
Jeff

Jeffrey A. Bockman
Local Arrangements Chair, NGS 2006
www.JeffBockman.com

Photo taken from the Planetarium by Jeffrey Bockman

Practical Guide: Getting to the Newberry

Chicago's Newberry Library, at 60 West Walton Street on the city's near North Side, sits opposite Washington Square Park, between Dearborn and Clark Streets. In the summer of 1968, the park resonated during the Democratic National Convention with protestors and police. Now, it provides a breath of fresh air after a long day of research!
Read More on Getting to the Newberry


The neighborhood is now a quiet and increasingly upscale area. The library is one of the largest private research facilities of its kind. Researchers should come prepared with photo ID to register. Lockers on the main floor are available for the storage of personal belongings.

After entering the building and passing the security desk, proceed to the Reading Room. A researcher's card (valid for one year) will be issued, along with a desk assignment. Most of the stacks are closed, but the library's staff and interns respond to call requests with dispatch. Items that are not in closed stacks are in the reading room.

Allow yourself extra time to browse in the Newberry's fine bookshop, located on the main floor. In addition to charts, forms and books of genealogical interest, the shop sells excellent reproductions of some of the collection's rare period maps. An outstanding selection of books related to Chicago's history are also on sale.

To reach the Newberry, take the inbound Blue Line (to Forest Park) to Washington. [You can catch the Blue Line .3 miles N of our hotel.] Disembark at Washington Street station and hop the No. 22 Clark/Dearborn bus, northbound. It will drop you right in front of the Newberry.

On the return trip, board the bus on the Clark Street (west) side of the library for the southbound run. Board the outbound Blue Line train (to O'Hare) at the Clark Street station.

If you need a break from your research, or if hunger strikes, there are a number of restaurants, diners and fast food establishments nearby. Walk east on Walton past Ogden School, and you'll soon be on the famed Rush Street, home to a number of eateries. The library has a break room with some vending machines, dispensing mainly snack items.

The library is open Tuesday through Thursday, 10 am until 6 pm; Friday and Saturday, 9 am until 5 pm.

For more information: www.newberry.org

Friday, January 06, 2006

Local Host Event: Sweets Home Chicago

The Chicagoland Genealogical Consortium cordially invites you to attend our local host event, Sweets Home Chicago! You won’t want to miss this evening of fun and relaxation.
Continue Reading Sweets Home Chicago


Whether far from home or a subway ride away, you will enjoy the fellowship of other genealogists and the special treats that await you on Wednesday evening. We plan to welcome everyone to the area with Sweets Home Chicago. Share Chicago’s fun, where a combination of big city energy and Midwestern welcome will be found.

We will start our evening at 6:30 with the sweet jazz sounds of the Ken Chaney Xperience. Ken’s band was voted the Best Jazz Group in Chicago at the Ninth Annual Reggae Awards, and also won first prize for the Hennesy Best of Chicago Jazz Search. Ken has played all over the world, and has shared the bill with such luminaries as Natalie Cole and Miles Davis. His music will be the perfect start to the evening. Get a taste of the Chicago jazz scene as you mingle at the cash bar or pull up a chair at a table with old and new friends. But don’t fill up on coffee, tea, soda or cocktails just yet…

A dessert buffet will arrive around 7 p.m. You will find sweets in all shapes and flavors, as well as coffee and tea. Do you prefer cheesecake or chocolate fondue? Cream puffs or strudel? Chocolate covered fruit and nuts, or cakes and tarts? Having trouble deciding? Have a few of each! The dessert buffet is designed so that your decision making is limited to how high to pile the sweets on your plate.

Later in the evening the band will start a quieter set as the Ken Chaney Trio. Ken is toning it down so those who desire can break away into interest tables and chat about their common research areas, problems and favorite things. Take some time to pull aside a Consortium member to grill them on the famous Newberry Library, Chicago’s Harold Washington Library, NARA’s Great Lakes repository, or how to catch that subway. If you don’t want to break away feel free to stay where you are, eat more dessert, have another drink, listen to smooth jazz favorites, and enjoy the fellowship of the finest genealogists in the nation.

The bar closes at 9:30 p.m., so be sure to get your final beverage before last call. The event winds down at 10 p.m. so all can get a good night’s sleep before a full day of learning.

Details:
Wednesday, June 7, 2006
6:30 p.m. – 10 p.m.
The Hyatt Regency O’Hare

Don’t forget to sign up for Sweets Home Chicago when you register for the conference. For only $27, you will enjoy a lot of sweet sounds, treats, and friendship. See you there!

Wednesday, January 04, 2006

Vendor Spotlight: Photo Grafix

Eric C. M. Basir owns Photo Grafix, a photo restoration studio serving genealogists nationwide. A popular vendor at local genealogy conferences, Eric’s humble and friendly manner combined with his skill and attention to detail make everyone stopping to see his exhibits feel welcome. The sample before and after photos he displays are a testament to the quality of his work and showcase his strong background in photography and art.
Read More About Eric and Photo Grafix


Many people avoid photo restoration, balking at the thought of having their precious photos lost in the mail or by a careless laboratory. A real comfort to potential customers is that Eric will scan their photos at his booth and return them the same day. He has no limitations on the quality or color of the photos. Each rip, stain, and missing piece are simply a challenge that he enjoys taking on. A reasonable fee structure makes his booth’s service hard to pass up. If you are up for the challenge, a do-it-yourself photo restoration video will be available.

Eric combines his love for photography and photo restoration with a passion for trains. He has observed and researched some of the branch lines of the former Chicago and Northwestern and Milwaukee Road lines. Eric has pointers for railroad buff genealogists coming to Chicago. “If you have some time between sessions, take a look around town at the few remaining switching operations near downtown. The Weber and Skokie subdivisions of the former Chicago and Northwestern have a personal connection to me since I have been photographing them for about 10 years. They are now just about gone. I had the honor of working with one of that railroad's foremost historians in the creation of the books about the subdivisions.” Eric’s favorite rail website is http://www.chicagoswitching.com. He has more railroad website and book recommendations. Ask him about them when you visit his booth.

Eric also writes a syndicated column for genealogy and historical societies.

For a sneak peek at Eric’s restoration work check out his website at http://www.abetterreality.net.

Say hello to Eric at Booth 814 and bring those beloved family photos along!

Monday, January 02, 2006

Genealogy Jaunts Beyond Chicago: The ELCA Archives

If you have ancestors who were Lutheran, you’ll want to check out the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA) Archives, nestled in Elk Grove Village at 321 Bonnie Lane, a short 10 minute drive from Rosemont, IL.
Continue Reading About the ELCA Archives


This archive houses the records of many Lutheran congregations in the United States. Their hours are Monday – Friday, 8:30-5. Appointments are highly recommended.

Speaker Spotlight: Dave McDonald, CGsm

The NGS Conference in the States is a homecoming of sorts for David McDonald CG. Raising his family near Madison, Wisconsin, Dave grew up in the Chicago suburbs. "I'm looking forward to hitting the Newberry for a day while in town for the conference," he says, "but I'm really looking forward to some decent pizza!"
Read More About Dave McDonald and his Presentations


Dave's first presentation, "New Yorkers to the Midwest," is being sponsored by the New York Genealogical & Biographical Society. "My wife and kids' lines are all over New York state. Some rode the Erie Canal to the Great Lakes; others traveled south and onto the Ohio River to get to the midwest." Connecting those lines to the Atlantic seaboard can be a challenge for midwesterners working on their family lines.

Later in the week, Dave will be lecturing on Indiana and Wisconsin research. "Indiana's got some wonderful repositories and libraries in addition to the library at Fort Wayne. If you've got people from there, researching can be a lot of fun." Living near the Wisconsin State Historical Society Library has been a boon, both personally and professionally. In 2005, he began teaching genealogy seminars for the University of Wisconsin's Continuing Education program. "The library and state archives are amazing for the breadth and depth of their collections. And, of course, it's the home of the Draper Manuscripts."

"The NGS conference is always great fun," he noted. "Especially after you've been to one or two, you begin to see familiar faces and get the chance to catch up with good friends." McDonald first attended the NGS conference at Milwaukee in 2002, and journeyed to Sacramento and Nashville. "If you've thought about attending, come. I'm sure any researcher will really appreciate the learning that is possible with so many good speakers under one roof."

We welcome Dave back to Chicago and know that his lectures will help genealogists from all over the country. Someone might even consider springing for a pizza! No sense in eating alone!