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 www.elginarea.org/egs/.

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.

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