Wednesday, March 29, 2006

Speaker Spotlight: Patricia O’Brien Shawker

Patricia O’Brien Shawker's primary genealogical interests are in Maryland records and federal records at the National Archives. Patty was born in Washington, D.C. and has been able to spend much time developing her expertise in federal records. She is a member of the APG, BCG, NEHGS, NGS, the Maryland Genealogical Society, and the NSDAR. She serves as Treasurer of the National Genealogical Society and the Assistant Director of the National Institute on Genealogical Research. Patty will be giving three presentations at the NGS Conference in Chicago.
Continue Reading About Patricia Shawker

Thursday, 8 June 2006 – Birth of a Nation: Papers of the Continental and U.S. Congress
This lecture will address the congressional records from 1774-1837. Created early in our nation’s history, these records are a rich resource for genealogists.

Thursday, 8 June 2006 – Passport Applications
Passport applications can be an excellent source of genealogical information, especially for immigrant ancestors and those ancestors who were known to either work or travel outside the United States. NARA has the passport applications that were issued from October 1795 through 31 March 1925.

Saturday, 10 June 2006 – The National Archives: A Case Study Using Federal Records
Using a broad range of federal records, more information can be found about our ancestor’s migrations and other information about their family and friends. Some of the records groups covered are lesser-known but as will be demonstrated, can still yield genealogical information.

These lectures are sure to enlighten attendees on a number of federal records invaluable to genealogical research.

Tuesday, March 28, 2006

Exploring the Area: Family Adventures

A number of conference-goers might be bringing along family members who will want to find other things to do with their time. Here are a few suggestions in nearby DuPage County.
Read More About Family Adventures!

DuPage County has a number of places of interest to children. Santa's Village Amusement Park is located in the beautiful Fox River Valley at East Dundee. It is affordable and has free parking and picnic areas. Divided into three parts, Old MacDonald’s Farm, Santa’s World and Coney Island, the park has 30 rides, live shows and other attractions. Located at the same site is a water park with kid’s pools, tubing and water slides. Nearby you will find Grand Prix Go-Karts and Bumper Boats.

The DuPage Children’s Museum is located in Naperville. The museum, on Washington Street just south of Ogden Avenue (Rte 34), is hard to miss with its brightly painted exterior. The hands-on museum lets kids experience the worlds of art, math, and science. There is a family resource center and library.

Cosley Zoo in Wheaton is another place small people might enjoy. It’s not a big city zoo, but a nice place to go on a summer afternoon. Goats, llamas, horses, and deer are among the inhabitants. An historic train station is also located in the park along with a caboose. There are picnic areas, a gift shop and a concession stand. The zoo is located at 1356 North Gary Avenue.

Outside of West Chicago, in the heart of Illinois farm land, is a pleasant site for visitors of all ages. The Kline Creek Farm is located on County Farm Road, just north-east of town. A real 1800’s farm, the barn, house and out-buildings are original. The charming house is furnished just as it was when the family lived there. There are guided tours regularly. It is a good way to remind ourselves of “the way things were” not too long ago and to show our children the good (and maybe some of the bad) of the “good old days.”

Cantigny is a great spot for everyone. The estate was built as a home for Robert J. McCormick who lived there until his death in 1955. The mansion, maintained by the Cantigny Foundation as an historic building, has 35 rooms, 12 fireplaces, 13 bathrooms and four staircases. The foundation is in the process of restoring it to its original condition. The First Division Museum at Cantigny is dedicated to the memory of the 1st Infantry Division of the U.S. Army. In 1993 an enlarged museum was opened holding state of the art interactive and experimental exhibits.

The grounds and greenhouses of the estate are a joy to visit. There are a greenhouse, outdoor nursery, and a formal garden. There are so many beautiful flowers and plants to see you can spend all day. All flowers and plants are grown on the estate. In addition there are a golf course, clubhouse, and picnic areas on the property. This estate is located on Roosevelt Road (Rte 38) just west of Wheaton.

All of these sites are easily reached from the conference site by way of Illinois Toll Roads.

Monday, March 27, 2006

Speaker Spotlight: Gary Mokotoff

Gary Mokotoff is an author, lecturer and leader of Jewish-American genealogy. He will be giving two lectures at the conference of interest to persons with Jewish ancestry: Beginning Jewish Genealogy and How to Document Victims and Locate Survivors of the Holocaust.
Keep Reading About Gary Mokotoff

Gary’ credentials are extensive. He is the first person to receive the ALifetime Achievement Award@ of the International Association of Jewish Genealogical Societies (IAJGS). He is the author of a number of books including the award-winning Where Once We Walked, a gazetteer which provides information about 23,000 towns in central and eastern Europe where Jews lived before the Holocaust, How to Document Victims and Locate Survivors of the Holocaust, and Getting Started in Jewish Genealogy.

Mokotoff is also known for his application of computers to genealogy. Among his accomplishments is co-authorship of the Daitch-Mokotoff soundex system; the JewishGen Family Finder, a database of ancestral towns and surnames being researched by some 50,000 Jewish genealogists throughout the world and the Consolidated Jewish Surname Index. He is publisher of Avotaynu, the magazine of Jewish genealogy and past president of IAJGS. He is/was on the Board of Directors of the Federation of Genealogical Societies, Association of Professional Genealogists, International Institute of Jewish Genealogy, JewishGen, Association of Jewish Book Publishers and Jewish Book Council.

Special Needs Request

A hearing impaired person will be attending the NGS conference. They want to find someone willing to type for them in the lectures they want to attend. If anyone is willing to help with this, please contact Jeanne Lund at for details.

Saturday, March 25, 2006

Some Thoughts from the Blog Master

Thank you for making the CGC NGS Chicago Blog a great success to date. We had our 2000th site visit today, with our visitors viewing over 5400 pages on the blog since we launched in January. Our visitors have been from all over the world, but mainly hail from the U.S. and Canada.
Please Read On!

I would like to take the time to thank our many contributors. With just over 10 weeks to go before the conference is held we certainly are not finished blogging! We will probably come up with at least 40-50 more articles to post in the coming 10 weeks. Blog articles come from members of the Chicagoland Genealogical Consortium publicity committee, host society members, speakers, vendors, and friends in genealogy.

I am not the only writer contributing to the blog. I want to thank all of the speakers, vendors, and CGC members who have supplied material for the blog to date. A special thanks to Kathy Brady-Blake, Teresa McMillin, David McDonald CG, Eric Basir, and Nancy Houston. Each of them deserves an extra effort award.

Keep in mind that you will not see all of the articles posted to date when you scroll down the blog's main page. Some have been archived. If you click each month's archive on the left side of the page, you will see links to all of the articles. We might revisit some of them as the conference approaches. I know that the public transportation trip planner piece will come in handy for many as we near the conference.

We will be adding local restaurant information, more spotlights on speakers, lectures, and vendors, and just plain good information. We want you to have a great conference experience and hope that these pages are helping you to plan your days at the conference.

As a final note, remember when registering that the CGC welcomes you to attend the CGC 's Local Host Event, Sweets Home Chicago. It will be a wonderful night filled with sweets, sounds, and friendship.

To future articles! Keep that information coming in!

Thanks to all,
Debbie Mieszala, CG
CGC Registration Chair
Blog Master

Friday, March 24, 2006

Vendor Spotlight: Heritage Books & Willow Bend Books

Heritage Books and Willow Bend Books will be exhibiting at the NGS Conference in Chicago. If you've ever roamed through an exhibit hall where Willow Bend Books is a vendor, you'll know that crowds of book browsers tend to congregate around its tables, which are filled to overflowing with helpful titles for genealogists and historians alike. The vendor encourages browsing and the knowledgeable staff can often point you to exactly the right title to help you with your research. Whether it be newspaper abstracts, census records, deed indexes, reprints of classic reference works, or What Did They Mean by That?, the vast selection of books is sure to include something you've been eager to get your hands on.
Read More About Heritage Books and Willow Bend Books

The vendor invites you to wander by their square of booths at the conference (#117, 119, 216, 218) and stay to browse or buy. Make up a wish list in advance by checking out the vendor's websites at and You can also stay up-to-date on new titles and specials by subscribing to the Heritage Books eNews, a twice-monthly email newsletter. The subscription page and archived issues are at, or simply visit either site's homepage for the link.

Thursday, March 23, 2006

Hot Dogs! Get Yer Hot Dogs!!

So, now that you know what Chicago Style Pizza is, the next logical question is: What is a Chicago Style Hot Dog? The uniqueness of a hot dog from the Windy City is not so much in the dog itself, as it is in the goodies packed with it on the bun.
More About Chicago Style Hotdogs!

The true Chicago Style dog is a steamed, all-beef frank. The frank is nestled into a poppy seed bun, lined with mustard. Next come the onions, sweet pickle relish, tomatoes (half slices or wedges), a dill pickle spear, hot peppers and a sprinkle of celery salt. Don’t try to eat this while driving! Wait—did I mention ketchup? No! That’s a trick question! There’s no ketchup on a Chicago Style Hot Dog. If they serve ketchup, it’s for the fries that you must order on the side. Or maybe you prefer onion rings…

Fluky’s is given credit for inventing the “Depression Sandwich” as it was known during that era. Fluky’s first opened its doors at the corner of Maxwell and Halsted in 1929. Fluky’s is alive and well today, as are many of their competitors. They can be easily found anywhere in the city and no matter where you go, they’re great! So get out there and enjoy!

Wednesday, March 22, 2006

Topic Focus: Illinois and Chicago Lectures

If you have ancestors with connections to Chicago or Illinois, the NGS conference will provide many opportunities to develop new research strategies.
Read About Chicago and Illinois Lectures

On Wednesday, an entire track will be devoted to Illinois research. First, learn about Chicago Genealogy 101 from Grace Dumelle, author of Finding Your Chicago Ancestors. Grace will address some of the challenges of Chicago research, and also provide details about some of Chicago’s more unique resources. Alternately, in the Records Track, Peter W. Bunce of the National Archives will speak about Prairies to Skyscrapers: A Genealogical & Historical Perspective of Illinois Through Federal Records. Learn about the federal sources from the Director of the NARA Great Lakes Region. After lunch, another expert on Chicago research, Tony Burroughs, will present Don’t Get Burned: Getting Around the Chicago Fire of 1871. Hear Tony’s advice on how to get around this potential brick wall. At the same time, the GENTECH Track will feature The Illinois Digital Archives by Andrew Bullen. Learn about the primary source material and historic publications available on this website. Later, in the afternoon, Jack Simpson of the Newberry Library will speak about The History of Genealogy at the Newberry Library. Learn about the library’s history, and its significant genealogical collection.

On Thursday, there will be several talks of interest to those with Midwestern ancestors. Among these is Michael John Neill’s presentation, Outside of Cook: Illinois Courthouses. Michael, an expert on Illinois research, will discuss the wealth of information that can be found in court records.

On Friday, Jeanne Larzalere Bloom and Debbie Mieszala will present An Option in Post-Adoption in Illinois. This talk will explain the options available for searches by adopted persons, adoptive parents, birth parents, and surrendered persons under current Illinois law.

There will be talks of interest to Chicago researchers on Saturday, too. In the morning, Grace Dumelle will discuss Tips & Tricks for Cook County Vital Records. Learn how to be successful in this vital area of research. Later in the day, Loretto Dennis Szucs, author of Chicago & Cook County: A Guide to Research, will present Chicago and Cook County Research on the Internet. Learn about the newest online sources for Chicago area research. Finally, Tony Burroughs’ talk, Researching Pullman Porters: Railroad Records for African Americans will explain how to use records found in Chicago to research Pullman employees throughout the United States.

Whether your ancestors stayed in Chicago for several generations, or only passed through, this conference will provide you with new tools and strategies for researching their lives.

Tuesday, March 21, 2006

Speaker Spotlight: Jeanne Larzalere Bloom, CG and Debra Mieszala, CG

What do Jeanne Larzalere Bloom and Debra Mieszala have in common? As children, they both loved hearing stories about their families. That interest eventually evolved into a life-long passion for genealogy. This pair will be presenting the lecture An Option in Post-Adoption in Illinois on Friday, June 10, at the NGS Conference.
Read More About Jeanne and Debbie

This duo brings much experience to the subject of adoption. Both have earned the credentials of Certified Genealogist and Confidential Intermediary [Illinois]. As certified genealogists, Debbie and Jeanne have the proven skills to be successful in their latter role. Only instead of researching the past, they research the present. A Confidential Intermediary is involved with doing searches for birth family members of petitioners under court order.

Debbie Mieszala grew up in Lake County, Illinois. While she was interested in the family stories her mother told her, she wasn’t especially interested in history. Then in high school, her history teacher burdened her with a family research project. She submitted an old dusty, fan-shaped family tree that a great aunt had put together. The teacher threw away all of the students’ projects after they had been displayed. Debbie was compelled to recreate that family tree using years of her own research time. From that exercise grew her love of genealogy. By the way, that family tree that she had to rebuild from scratch is now larger and more accurate than the one that was destroyed!

Jeanne’s early years were spent in Hays, Kansas. Her hometown was filled with colorful history that involved the likes of General Custer, Buffalo Bill Cody and Wild Bill Hickok. She majored in history because of all the “cool” classes that she could take. But it wasn’t until the 1990’s, that she became passionate in her pursuit of genealogy and family history. It all began when her father asked “Why did your great-great-grandfather enlist in an Ohio Civil War regiment when his family was from eastern Pennsylvania and how did he end up in Kansas?” It is obvious where that question has taken her in life! In addition to Jeanne’s credentials mentioned above, she is the editor of the Chicago Genealogical Society’s newsletter.

If your research takes you into the realm of adoptions, be sure not to miss this lecture. Debbie and Jeanne will be able to give you some great insights to further your knowledge.

Sunday, March 19, 2006

Speaker Spotlight: Ruth Ann (Abels) Hager, CG, CGL

Ruth Ann has been researching for 31 years and is a reference specialist and web designer in the Special Collections Department of St. Louis County Library in St. Louis, Missouri. She has a bachelor’s degree in history and a Master of Arts degree in teaching in the area of educational technology. Hager is the author of The Hager Family and The Schieber Family History, and is the editor of Jefferson Township Cemeteries, Nodaway County, Missouri and A Schieber Research Journal. She will be giving five presentations at the NGS Conference in Chicago.
More About Ruth Ann (Abels) Hager

Tuesday, 6 June – Ins & Outs of Expanding a Library’s Genealogical Web Site (NGS Special Pre-Conference Meeting for Librarians) Hager has been her department’s web designer since the launch of its first set of five pages eight years ago. Her department now has over 1,000 pages and has gone through a complete revision in 2005 and the site is still in transition. She will offer suggestions of how to formulate a game plan for your library’s genealogical Web site, and how to carry it out.

Wednesday, 7 June – National Genealogical Society Book Loan Collection
This collection of approximately 25,000 books, 8,000 of which are family histories, is housed in St. Louis County Library’s Special Collections Department. This collection circulates through interlibrary loan, so these books are available to researchers whose home library offers this service.

Thursday, 8 June – World War I Draft Registration Cards
In 1917 and 1918, men aged 18 through 45 who were not already in the military had to register for the World War I draft. In doing so, these men, born between 11 Sept 1872 and 12 Sept 1900, gave a range of information—such as date and, sometimes, place of birth—that is helpful to genealogists. Now indexed on and Ancestry Library Edition, these records are easier to locate than ever before.

Friday, 9 June – Why Are Those Land Descriptions Important? (BCG Skillbuilding Lecture)
Many researchers work with land records, yet do not obtain maximum benefit from those records because they have not worked with the land description portion of the records. If you have deeds and other land records in your files, and have not worked with the land description in each, you may have the clues you need in your possession—and not know it!

Saturday, 10 June – Spottswood Rice, USCT Soldier: A Case Study
Spottswood Rice was a slave in Missouri until September 1864 when he enlisted in the U.S. Colored Troops. Able to read and write, he wrote two letters that earned him a place in American History and are preserved in the National Archives. The story of Spottswood, his children, and grandchildren, span over 100 years of American history.

Saturday, March 18, 2006

Registration Reminder

The deadline for the reduced early-bird registration fee is just over a month away!

NGS member registrations postmarked on or before 21 April 2006 are just $175. After that date the NGS member registration fee is $210.

Non-member registrations postmarked on or before 21 April 2006 are $210, and after that date they will be $245.

Register early and use the money you save for goodies at the vendor's hall!

Friday, March 17, 2006

Speaker Spotlight: Thomas W. Jones, CG, CGL

Thomas W. Jones, Ph.D., CG, CGL, is the NGS Quarterly editor, Board for Certification of Genealogists (BCG) trustee and past president, and a former Association of Professional Genealogists trustee. Tom’s interest in genealogy began in 1964. Since that time, his personal and professional research has taken him to records of all states east of the Mississippi, plus Arkansas, Missouri, and Texas. He can frequently be seen doing on-site research in courthouses, libraries, and archives across the country, including the Family History Library and other major genealogical repositories. Tom has also conducted research in records of France, Germany, and Ireland, and done on-site research in Ireland.
Keep Reading About Thomas Jones

A Certified Genealogist since 1994, Tom Jones is a genealogical educator who speaks and writes frequently on genealogical evidence, proof, and problem solving. He lectures at national conferences and institutes and has written several articles for the NGS Quarterly on analyzing difficult genealogical problems and developing sound conclusions. Tom is also a professor of education at Gallaudet University in Washington. D.C.

Tom Jones will be a featured speaker in the BCG track at the NGS 2006 conference. His two talks, Genealogical Skill Building: The What, Why & How and Problem Solving with Probate will provide attendees with valuable information about the skills and methods necessary to do quality genealogical research. In addition, he will be a participant, along with Connie Lenzen, CG, and Ellisa Scalise Powell, CG in the BCG Certification Workshop. Those with questions about the certification process and requirements are encouraged to attend this session.

Wednesday, March 15, 2006

Tourist Attractions: Oak Park

If you love the thought of exploring a village filled with historic homes, beautiful tree-lined streets, sprawling parks and unique shopping experiences, then you might want to consider a visit to Oak Park, Illinois. Oak Park is nestled on the west side of Chicago, just north of I-290 at Harlem Ave. It shelters homes of various significant architectures ranging from Victorian Painted Ladies to Prairie Style to Art Deco.
Read About Oak Park

Oak Park was settled in 1839 when Joseph Kettlestrings, originally from England, built his home there. The settlement grew slowly, but after the Chicago fire in 1871, many people escaped from Chicago city life to this quieter area. It wasn’t until 1902 that Oak Park officially became a village. Since its settlement, this area has been marked by notable people and significant architectural styles.

Frank Lloyd Wright, known for developing Prairie Style architecture, spent the early years of his career in Oak Park, from 1899-1909. His home and studio still stand, along with 25 other buildings designed by this architectural great. Ernest Hemingway was born in 1899 in a small Victorian home on Oak Park Avenue. The streets of this village are dotted with many painted Victorian ladies, reminiscent of days gone by. Interspersed with the Victorian beauties are several Prairie Style homes designed by Wright and his contemporaries. Examples of the 1950’s Art Deco style of architecture may also be found there.

Visitors to Oak Park have many options for whiling away an afternoon. The downtown area provides an array of shopping and eating opportunities. Parking is ample and the village offers a free shuttle service to transport people between popular sites within its boundaries. The Oak Park Visitors Center has a PDA driven, self-guided tour of the exterior of 15 Painted Ladies. People can also visit the Unity Temple, which was designed by Frank Lloyd Wright or discover Wright’s home and studio. Bookworms might wish to explore Hemingway’s Birthplace and Museum. The Historic Society of Oak Park/River Forest gives tours of their facility, as well. These are just a few of the possibilities available.

Come enjoy a few hours or a full day in Oak Park and discover why this is “The Place They Called Home.”

Monday, March 13, 2006

Speaker Spotlight: John W. Konvalinka, CG

John Konvalinka was born and raised near New York City. He remembers being interested in history from an early age, but wishes he’d listened more closely when his great aunts (daughters of the Konvalinka immigrant ancestor) told him stories about the old days with their Bohemian father and Irish mother, whom he met and married within a year of arriving in the U.S. As well as filling in some of the gaps by finding other Konvalinkas and researching old newspapers, with the help of the Czech archives he was able to locate his great grandfather’s birthplace and trace the family back to the 18th century.
Read More About John Konvalinka

He’s been even more fortunate with two other lines: tracing his Sanders and Rose ancestors back to the 13th century in England and Scotland. Fortunately, both families owned property (which remained in the family for many centuries) and left good records!

But this and his other genealogical activities had to wait a good number of years. His four years as a Navy pilot, plus almost 35 years working with the Accenture (the management consulting firm) and Comcast (the cable television network) – to say nothing of raising three children – really got in the way of his genealogical research.

Nevertheless, when freed from the shackles of having a day job (at least temporarily) he became deeply involved in genealogical research in this country and in the U.K. – which also provides a nice reason to visit his daughter and brand new British granddaughter. He qualified as a Certified Genealogical Records Specialist (sm) and a Certified Genealogical Lecturer (sm).

He has lectured at a number of national, international and regional genealogical conferences, and taught genealogical courses at Rutgers University and the Princeton (NJ) Adult School. At NGS he will be presenting Super Sleuthing the Census: Beyond Population Schedules & the Federal Census, The Other Side of the Courthouse- Adding Law Libraries and Legislative Records to Your Research Plan (with Sandra Hewlett), Traditional Computer Based Genealogical Research: Not "Either/Or" but Both, Your Immigrant Ancestor: Find Them in Cyberspace, Making Your Case Using the Genealogical Proof Standard and co-chairing (with Sheila Benedict) the Britain and Ireland Roundtable.

He maintains a website with his family history and other information at

Friday, March 10, 2006

The Irish American Heritage Center

If you enjoy Irish culture, then you may want to plan a visit to the Irish American Heritage Center (IAHC). The IAHC is on the northwest side of Chicago, less than 8 miles from the Hyatt Regency O’Hare.
Keep Reading About the IAHC

The heritage center has a library which is open to the public. The hours are Monday-Thursday 4-8:00 p.m., Friday 1-4:00 p.m., Saturday 9:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m., and Sunday 1-4:00 p.m. The holdings include items of genealogical and historical interest, Irish literature, Irish-American newspapers and periodicals as well as a facsimile edition of the Book of Kells, the world’s most famous illuminated manuscript, which has been called “the work of angels.”

The IAHC has many ongoing programs, including concerts, a theatre group, art exhibits and music lessons. The IAHC museum is open by appointment only.

Looking for a fun way to spend Saturday night after the NGS conference? How about visiting the IAHC’s The Fifth Province pub? It is open 5:00 p.m. – 1:00 a.m. and pub food is served from 6-10:00 p.m. Live Irish music begins at 9:00 p.m. There is no cover charge and plenty of free parking.

For additional information, see their website at or call the IAHC at 773-282-7035.

Thursday, March 09, 2006

On the Side: Chicago Tourism Websites

While planning your trip to the NGS conference, be sure to check out some of the following websites for things to do when visiting Chicagoland.
Check Out the Tourism Websites!

The Chicago Traveler website has a lot of useful information and links for travelers on everything from museums and shopping to event calendars and interactive maps.

The Chicago Convention and Tourism Bureau has a very extensive calendar of events on their website. There is also an online form for requesting travel brochures.

Chicago City has lists of attractions and links to a number of sites.

The Chicago & Illinois Tourist Office site has brief descriptions and links to places of interest in and around Chicago, such as museums, nightlife and neighborhoods. The site has sample itineraries for shopping, art and architecture and other areas of interest.

The state of Illinois’ tourism website has a wealth of information for travelers, including guides for those interested in state parks, Abraham Lincoln, antiquing or theatre.

And, of course, there is always Google to help you find the information you need to make your trip a success. Whatever your interests, you’re sure to find things to see and do in Chicago.

Wednesday, March 08, 2006

Genealogy Jaunts: Wisconsin Historical Society

Visitors to the NGS Conference in Chicago may want to set aside some extra research time at the Wisconsin Historical Society Library on the campus of the University of Wisconsin in Madison. It was at this society that Lyman Copeland Draper served as corresponding secretary from 1854 until his retirement in 1886.

Yes, that Draper.

Yes, those manuscripts.

Yes, this library!
Read More About the Wisconsin Historical Society

In addition to the Draper materials, the building also houses the Wisconsin state archives which plays host to the original records of the Mineral Point land office. If your ancestors were among the so-called “badgers” of the lead mining region, a visit to the archives will be well worth the effort.

Along with the state archives, the collections of the historical society library include an astounding array of historic journals, newspapers and published local histories and family genealogies. The scope, while obviously strongest for Wisconsin, is exceptional for its coverage of the New England states and New York, as well. Federal census schedules through 1930 and Canadian census holdings from colonial times (1666) through 1901 are available for use.

In addition to explicitly “genealogical” materials, the library houses a wide-ranging array of journals of historical interest: labor newsletters, city directories, church directories and yearbooks and statistical analysis of all sorts. The library is also an official depository library for the United States government, including maps and other assorted materials worth considering.

Getting to the state library will be a simple task for attendees at Rosemont. A round-trip shuttle bus from O’Hare to downtown Madison runs throughout the day and into the night. Madison-bound customers are literally dropped at the library’s door! The terminal stop is at the University of Wisconsin-Madison’s Memorial Student Union at 800 Langdon Street. The historical society’s library sits between Langdon and State Street, just across from the Union, at 816 State Street.

The Van Galder/Coach USA bus departs from O’Hare for Madison as early as 6:00 a.m., reaching Madison at 9:35 a.m. The last return bus from Madison to O’Hare makes its departure at 6:00 p.m., reaching O’Hare at 9:10 p.m. Round-trip adult fares are $48.00.

Van Galder Bus:
State Historical Society of Wisconsin:

Tuesday, March 07, 2006

Speaker Spotlight: Chuck Knuthson

Chuck Knuthson has only been to Chicago once and is really looking forward to the conference! He will make the most of his trip, with plans to stop in Fort Wayne and Cleveland for personal research.
Read More About Chuck Knuthson

Chuck, who hails from California, says, "My paternal g-g-grandparents (Jacob Knuth/Knuthson and Regina Meier) emigrated from Germany, Jacob from Holstein in northern Germany in May 1852, and Regina from Bavaria in southern Germany in October 1853. They lived in New York City for several years, where they met. They married in early 1855 and had two children before they left in the summer of 1859, sailing to Panama and crossing the Isthmus and then sailing to San Francisco. They traveled about two hundred miles north to Downieville, Sierra County, California where my great-grandfather was born a few months after their arrival. They lived the rest of their lives in Sierra County and the family has been in California ever since."

Chuck's German heritage makes him well-suited to present several lecures on the topic. Beginning German Research (F303) will cover the basics of how to research German immigrant ancestors in both U.S. and foreign records. A brief explanation of the importance of U.S. research will be followed by an explanation of the kinds of records likely available in Germany as well as issues that must be addressed in doing foreign research, such as identifying our ancestor in the foreign records, dealing with foreign language(s), unfamiliar handwriting, changing European place names and jurisdictions, etc.

German Migrations to America (F312) will chronicle emigration from Germany to America over the last four hundred years, including a brief examination of the various periods of German immigration, possible reasons for emigration, ports or departure and arrival, the journey and several other factors.

Chuck will lead the NGS German Special Interest Group Roundtable (F330). This roundtable will allow members and others interested in German research an opportunity to share research experiences and strategies, discuss repositories and research resources, ask questions, discuss what should be available online at the German SIG site, etc. You do not need to be a member of the German SIG or even a member of NGS to attend this informative session. If you have an interest in German research, you are encouraged to attend and participate in the discussion. All are welcome.

Chuck has been studying and conducting genealogical research for thirty years. For the past twelve years he has instructed beginning genealogy classes at two Sacramento-area community colleges. He lectures locally, regionally, and nationally, and is the volunteer coordinator for the Sierra County GenWeb website of the California GenWeb Project, and a volunteer librarian at the Sacramento LDS Family History Center.

Chuck has completed seminars at Brigham Young University, the Salt Lake Institute of Genealogy, the National Institute on Genealogical Research, and the Institute of Genealogy and Historical Research. He has attended numerous local, state, and national seminars, institutes, and conferences. Chuck serves as Treasurer for the Federation of Genealogical Societies, is President of the 1,300-member Sacramento German Genealogy Society, and is a member of numerous other genealogical and professional organizations. He is working toward certification as a professional genealogist. A retired police captain, Chuck served for thirty-two years with the Roseville California Police Department.

Chuck has a busy schedule, with the Utah Genealogical Association seminar in March, NGS in June, and FGS in Boston. We are fortunate to have him visit us in Chicago and wish him well on his genealogy jaunts in the Midwest!

Monday, March 06, 2006

CGC Member Spotlight: The Elgin Genealogical Society

The Elgin Genealogical Society (EGS) is one of the older societies in the Chicagoland Genealogical Consortium. The society began in 1972 and originally met in the homes of members. As the society grew they formed a partnership with Elgin’s Gail Borden Public Library (GBPL), and meetings are held at the library. When the library opened its new facilities in 2003, the society moved across the street with them and continue a wonderful relationship with this fantastic facility.
Read More About The Elgin Genealogical Society

Although EGS no longer has a day-long conference as many societies do, members and friends enjoy 23 meetings and programs each year. EGS meets the first Tuesday of each month at 9:30 a.m. and the third Thursday of each month at 7:00 p.m. The programs are different and many members attend both meetings. The annual meeting is held in December. There is no evening meeting that month.

Since 1972 EGS has worked to bring together persons who are researching family history; to inform people of the value of and the need for preserving family and local history; to provide information, methods, and practices of family research; to foster idea sharing; to seek, preserve and make available material concerning past and present families; and to encourage officials to preserve public records and genealogical collections and make them accessible to interested persons.

In memory of Pat Lose, the society's first president and a founding member, $1,500 was donated to the GBPL, which they used to start a genealogical collection. From that beginning, the collection has grown to over 3,000 books, according to Bill Blohm, the society's liaison with the library and the librarian who specializes in genealogy. Many of these books have been added through the EGS 50/50 program with the library. Members contribute on an individual basis toward the purchase of genealogy books and other materials chosen by the society. After half of the book’s cost is raised by EGS, matching funds from the GBPL complete the purchase. These books and materials, covering many genealogical subjects and geographic areas of North America and Europe, become a part of the library's genealogy collection.

The society’s quarterly publication comes out in March, June, September and December and is mailed to all members. Free queries may be submitted to the newsletter editor and will appear as space permits.

As part of the EGS Newspaper Indexing project, the Vital Records Surname search provides a way to find obituaries, birth notices, and marriage announcements listed in Elgin newspapers from July 1, 2002 to date. In addition, records for newspapers that were published as early as the 1850’s up to 1915 are being entered as time permits. This project is housed on the GBPL Website under Community Links.

Based on the Kane County Pioneer Certificate Program, Kane County, Illinois Early Families 1833-1885 is a fully-indexed book including over 4,100 names. Written in narrative style, the book chronicles 102 early county residents tracing down to the present generation. A few copies of this book, which received an Elgin Mayor’s Award, are still available for purchase from the society.

The society has completed many other indexing projects including some that were done in conjunction with the Elgin Historical Society and with Kane County Genealogical Society. For a listing of these projects, please see the EGS website at

The Elgin Genealogical Society is very excited to have the opportunity to work as part of the Chicagoland Genealogical Consortium to host NGS Chicago 2006. In response to the cost of the NGS conference, EGS member and conference speaker Becky Higgins said, “It is not a question of whether you can afford to go to the conference, it is a question that you can’t afford to miss a conference of this magnitude.” It is not often that a national conference comes to us and we have to make the most of this opportunity.

If you are in the area and have nothing to do the Tuesday before the National Genealogical Society Conference in the States begins, EGS is having a program on June 6. They invite you to come out and see them.

Sunday, March 05, 2006

Announcement: Taping of Conference Sessions

The National Genealogical Society (NGS) will not be using a taping company to tape sessions at this year's Chicago conference (June 7-10, 2006). As most of you know, they have done this in previous years and the tapes were offered for sale to attendees at the show and also to the public to purchase after the event.

NGS has made this decision due to lack of demand for conference tapes and cost considerations.

Conference attendees will NOT be allowed to personally tape a particular session without the speaker's permission. The permission, if granted, is only for that particular session.

Speakers may record their own sessions.