Thursday, April 27, 2006

"Work" Your Way to a Free Registration

Would you like an opportunity to attend the NGS conference free of charge AND do a good deed at the same time? Read on!
Read More!

NGS is seeking up to two people to attend the conference and take notes for hearing impaired attendees. The note takers would be required to attend the sessions that the hearing impaired visitors are interested in attending. There are so many wonderful sessions it is likely that the note takers will attend many lectures of interest!

NGS will offer the note taker/s a free registration and one free luncheon each.

If you have been considering attending the conference but were not sure that you could afford it, this is your opportunity! This offer is valued between $239-$274, so sharpen your pencils or charge your laptop battery and get ready for a great conference. Contact Jeanne Lund at for details.

Wednesday, April 26, 2006

Tips For Vendors

If you are vending at the NGS conference, the following tax link might be helpful.
Read Vendor Tax Information

Illinois Department of Revenue - Sales Tax Rules for Out of State Vendors

See their website for details on: Out of State Vendors at Events & Fairs in Illinois:
ROSEMONT is in Cook County - Tax Location ID: 016-0147-4 Sales Tax is 9%

- Note the tax rate is subject to change - verify on their website -

Tuesday, April 25, 2006

CGC Bathing Beauty Contest

Just kidding! But now that I have your attention, I want to let you know that contrary to early rumor, the indoor swimming pool at the conference hotel will be intact and available to those who want to take a dip between sessions. Bring your suit!

Area Jaunts: Guide to Lake County, Illinois

Lake County, Illinois is due north of the conference hotel. It is the northeasternmost county in Illinois. Lake County is bordered by Wisconsin on the north, Lake Michigan on the east, McHenry County on the west, and Cook County on the south. A nice blend of forest preserves, parks, cities, villages, and farm fields make Lake County a bit less intimidating than a large city. Home to many recreation destinations, it is worth a visit if you have the time.
Read More About Lake County


The Lake County Discovery Museum
The Lake County Discovery Museum is one of the ten most popular destination spots in Lake County. This nationally accredited, award-winning museum provides a fun, well-rounded experience. View the world's largest collection of picture postcards, take a stroll through the Mall of History, or take a ride through time in the Vortex Roller Coaster Theater. Hands-on interactive exhibits introduce the history of Lake County in a fun learning environment. The Museum also displays the nation’s largest permanent exhibition on the history and significance of postcards.

In addition to the museum, the Curt Teich Postcard Archives and the Lake County History Archives are located here. These archives are great sources of historical images and Gallery hours are Monday - Saturday, 11 a.m. - 4:30 p.m. and Sunday, 1 p.m. - 4:30 p.m. Admission is $6 for adults and $2.50 for youth ages four to 17, and free for children three years and under. On Discount Tuesdays, admission is $3 for adults, free for ages 17 and under. Parking is free.

The Museum is located at 27277 Forest Preserve Drive, Wauconda, IL 60084

Directions from the Hyatt Regency O’Hare: Take I-294/94 north to Illinois Route 176. Take Route 176 west. The museum is located at Lakewood Forest Preserve, on Route 176 near Fairfield Road. Distance from O'Hare Airport: 30 miles.

Two special exhibits will be running during the NGS conference:

Native American Art: Designs for Life
View over 100 pieces from the permanent Native American collection of the Lake County Discovery Museum. This is the first time these objects have been on public display together. This collection contains exquisite examples of the skill and artistry used by Native Americans as they produced objects that were designed for everyday life. Exhibit runs through August 20.

Tied to the Past IV: The Art of Dennis Downes
This exhibition of work by internationally-celebrated Lake County artist Dennis M. Downes includes research paintings depicting bead patterns and symbols used by Great Lakes Native Americans. Also featured are landscape paintings created while on location in the northern and western United States and abroad. Exhibit runs through June 29.

Cuneo Museum and Gardens
The Cuneo Museum & Gardens is an historic mansion dating from 1914, nestled on 75 acres of vistas and formal gardens. The Italianate architecture is the work of architect Benjamin Marshall, who was commissioned by Samuel Insull to create a summer villa. Owned by the Cuneo family from 1937-1990, the museum is now open for public tours by the Cuneo Foundation. Theatre productions, art fairs and other special events are held here as well.

The Cuneo Museum is located at 1350 North Milwaukee Avenue, Vernon Hills, IL 60061.

Directions from the Hyatt Regency O’Hare: Take I-294/94 north to Illinois Route 60 (Townline Road). Go west on Route 60 to Milwaukee Avenue. Turn right (north). Museum is on the left. Distance from O'Hare Airport: 24 miles

The Volo Auto Museum and Antique Malls
The Volo Auto Museum and Antique Malls is a 30-acre site which contains five showrooms with over 300 collectible and Hollywood cars; four large antique malls with 350 dealers displaying their unique finds; and the Mercantile Mall housing a broad array of gifts and the largest selection of die-cast automobiles in the Midwest.
The Volo Auto Museum is located at 27582 West Volo Village Road, Volo, IL 60073.

Directions from the Hyatt Regency O’Hare: Take I-294/94 north to Illinois Route 120. Go 13 miles west to Volo.

Family Entertainment

Six Flags Great America
Six Flags Great America is a world-class family entertainment destination featuring thrilling rides, spectacular shows and exciting attractions. In all, the park has 13 roller coasters with nearly seven miles of thrilling roller coaster track! In addition to the park's thrill rides are many family attractions including the Columbia Carousel, Great America Raceway and Looney Tunes National Park. Adjoining Six Flags amusement park is Six Flags Hurricane Harbor Water Park, the Midwest’s newest themed outdoor water park. Hurricane Harbor is a Caribbean paradise boasting hundreds of water activities and hours of fun for all ages.

Six Flags Great America is located at Grand Avenue and the Tri-State Tollway in Gurnee, Illinois.

Directions from the Hyatt Regency O’Hare: Take I-294/94 north. Exit at Grand Ave. (Rt. 132) East. Six Flags is located immediately on the right.

CityPark is Lincolnshire's place for dining, shopping and entertainment. Enjoy unique boutiques, the 20-theatre Regal Cinema & IMax, glow-in-the-dark miniature golf, ceramic painting, outdoor summer concerts and a variety of restaurants.

CityPark is located at 250 Parkway Drive, Lincolnshire, IL 60069.

Directions from the Hyatt Regency O’Hare: Take I-294/94 north to Deerfield Road. Take Deerfield Road west to Milwaukee Avenue. Go right (north) on Milwaukee Avenue. CityPark is located on the corner of Milwaukee Avenue and Aptakisic Road, one half mile south of Route 22 and one half mile north of Deerfield Road. Distance from O'Hare Airport: 13 miles

Lambs Farm
Located in Libertyville, Illinois, Lambs Farm is a place that, most importantly, empowers more than 250 people with developmental disabilities to lead personally fulfilling lives. Lambs Farm is also a place where people gather to enjoy the many shops, attractions, and entertainment events. Lambs Farm businesses include the Farmyard, Pet Shop, Country Inn Restaurant, Thrift Shop, and Country Store & Bakery, which benefit programs for people with developmental disabilities.

Lambs Farm is located at 14245 W. Rockland Road, Libertyville, IL 60048.

Directions from the Hyatt Regency O’Hare: Take I-294/94 north to Route 176. Lambs Farm’s entrance is directly across from the exit ramp. Distance from O'Hare Airport: 24 miles.


Marriott Theatre
The award-winning Marriott Theatre has built a national reputation for its musical productions, including classics, seldom done, new works and premiere productions. Performances are Wednesdays at 1:00 p.m. and 8:00 p.m., Thursdays and Fridays at 8:00 p.m., Saturdays at 5:00 p.m. and 8:30 p.m., and Sundays at 1:00 p.m. and 7:00 p.m. The musical State Fair is running through June 25.

The Marriott Theatre is located at 10 Marriott Drive, Lincolnshire, IL 60069.

Directions from the Hyatt Regency O’Hare: Take I-294/94 north to Illinois Route 22 (Half Day Road). Go west on Route 22 to Milwaukee Avenue. Turn left onto Milwaukee Avenue, and then left onto Marriott Drive. The theatre is part of Marriott's Lincolnshire Resort. Distance from O'Hare Airport: 25 miles.

The Genesee Theatre
The Genesee Theatre is Lake County's newest venue for live entertainment. This lovingly restored theatre once hosted Jack Benny (in his home town) and vaudeville shows. The Genesee boasts Broadway shows, musical acts, comedians and more. For more information please visit our website call our Box Office at 847-263-6300 for show times and availability. Box Office open 12:00 p.m.-5:30 p.m. Monday-Friday.

The Genesee Theatre is located at 203 N. Genesee Street, Waukegan, IL 60085.

Directions from the Hyatt Regency O’Hare: Take I-294/94 north to the Belvidere Road East Exit. Continue East on Belvidere towards downtown Waukegan. Turn Left on Genesee Street, and continue north to 203 N. Genesee Street. Distance from O'Hare Airport: 34 miles

Enjoy your visit to Lake County!

Saturday, April 22, 2006

Area Research Facility: Wilmette Family History Center

Nestled in a northern suburb of Chicago is a vital records treasure trove. The Family History Center (FHC) in Wilmette is located a short distance from the Edens expressway (I-94) at 2727 Lake Avenue near the intersection with Locust. The parking lot lies to the west of the building and is easy to miss at night. Don’t worry! Just turn right at Locust, right again at Orchard Lane, and a third right into their parking lot. This puts you right near the entrance of the FHC which is in the southwest corner of the building. Buzz the doorbell for entry.
Read More About the Wilmette FHC

Why make the trip? Cook County Vital records and lots of them. This is the oldest and largest of the Chicagoland Family History Centers. They’ve been actively collecting and holding Cook County films and fiche in their indefinite loan collection. Here’s a sampling:


Chicago Death Certificates 1878-1915. Nearly all of the 655 microfilm reels are on hand. The missing films are all between 1908 and 1915.

Chicago Death Certificates 1916-1945 and Chicago Death Certificates 1946-1947. 100% of films are on hand.

Coroner’s Death Records 1879-1904. All 27 reels are on hand.

County Death Certificates 1878-1909, 1914, 1906-1922 (outside Chicago). Nearly complete set.

Out of Town Deaths 1909-1915. They have 6 of the 11 total reels.

The two main indexes of death certificates are available online at the Illinois States Archives website. Visit and move down the page for the Illinois Statewide Death Index Pre-1916. This is an ongoing project so not all counties are covered for all years. A look at the county coverage page shows that Cook County is indexed from 1871-1915, which makes it as complete as it can be.

The second index is the Illinois Statewide Death Index 1916-1950. The FHC has the Chicago certificates up to 1947 on microfilm. Certificates from 1948-1950 have to be ordered from the Cook County Vital Records office.

This FHC has another index of death records of interest. The WPA created an index of deaths from 1871-1933. The source of the death information is widely believed to have been burial permits as there are many stillbirths (SB) and out-of-town deaths (OT) listed. This index includes the address of the place of death, so it’s a great way to find people with common names.


Marriage Licenses 1871-1920 with indexes up to 1916. They have nearly all the films covering 1871-1916 and some of the films 1916-1920. Be forewarned: many people never returned the certificate to the county after the wedding!

A partial index to marriage licenses is also online at the Illinois State Archives (above) as a part of the Illinois Statewide Marriage Index, 1763-1900. Cook County is complete from 1833-February 1899. Please keep in mind that most pre-1871 records were burned in the Great Chicago Fire of October 1871.


The FHC has the microfiche Birth Index from 1871-1916. They also have a Delayed Birth Index on microfilm. Be sure to note whether the place is listed as Chicago or Cook County as the certificates are filmed separately for these two areas – though there has been some intermingling.

They have all 54 reels covering the Chicago Birth Registers 1871-1915 and all reels for the County Birth Registers 1878-1894. They have all films for births at Northwestern Memorial Hospital between 1896 and 1933.

Chicago Birth Certificates 1878-1922. They have nearly half of the 906 total reels with most of the missing reels in the unindexed period from 1916-1922.

Cook County Birth Certificates 1878-1894. They have 13 of the 31 total reels.

Cook County Birth Certificates 1916-1922. They have 5 of the 34 reels.

There are other films and sources extracting records from newspapers or reconstructing pre-fire records as well. The collection is growing every day.

In addition, the Chicago Catholic Church records have been microfilmed. The Wilmette FHC has a complete set of Polish Catholic Church films thanks to the efforts of the Polish Genealogical Society of America. The FHC is are working to amass the rest of the Catholic films.

The microfilm cabinets are labeled as either “circulating” or “indefinite loan”. When someone orders a film pertaining to Cook County vital records or Cook County Church records, they are keeping the film – paying for the renewals until it is theirs to keep. Sometimes the individual will pay to keep it here. Others are paid for by generous donations and local professional researchers. These films will eventually move from the circulating drawers to the indefinite loan section. If you are visiting the library, be sure to look in both places for the films of interest.

The FHC is staffed by volunteers who are not necessarily genealogists. They are there to help visitors use the facilities and order films. They will not be able to look at films for you or make copies for you by mail. If there are only one or two films of interest to you, you may call the FHC during normal hours to inquire whether they have them on hand, but please understand that they won’t have time for lengthy conversations.

The Wilmette FHC is open 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. and 6:30 p.m. to 9:30 p.m. Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday. Saturdays from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Phone (847) 251-9818. If you go to Google and click on local, then type “family history center near Wilmette IL” without the quotes you will get a very good map. A click on “Hybrid” shows the satellite images with the streets labeled. The FHC is in the part of the building with the dark roof.

Friday, April 21, 2006

The Earlybird Deadline is Here!

Today, April 21st, is the final day for earlybird registration pricing! If you want to save $35 on your registration fee, have your registration postmarked today! When you register don't forget to sign up for Sweets Home Chicago, our local host event, and other luncheons and banquets you wish to attend. See you in six weeks!

Topic Focus: Italian Research (and Beyond!)

If your ancestors hailed from Italy, this year’s Conference in the States has something just for you. On Saturday, June 11, an ethnic track will focus on Italian Research.
Keep Reading About Italian Research

June C. DeLalio, CG will present Extracting Details from Italian Civil Records at 8am. June will discuss how to access these resources. Explanations of how Italian records differ, based on geographical area, time period, and the laws of the time will be provided. Italian State Archives: When & Why You Need Them will immediately follow. DeLalio will teach about determining what an archive has to offer and how to research at an archive. Richard Camaur, JD, CG will continue the day’s track with Researching Italian Church Records. Catholic Church records date back to 1565 in Italy. Learning how to find and evaluate these records will give your ancestral research a big boost. Finish up the day by attending the Italian Roundtable, led by Ms. DeLalio. This is a forum for researchers to learn from one another and to present their research problems.

If you know you have Italian roots, but haven’t determined what town your ancestors are from, you might find Thomas W. Jones’, PhD, CG, CGL presentation on Wednesday, June 7 at 4pm helpful. Five Proven Techniques for Finding Your European Ancestors will summarize “the challenges in learning the origins of European ancestors.” He will present techniques for proving that a person in a European record is your North American ancestor.

Additionally, you might want to attend the Central European track on Thursday, June 8th. Although not solely dedicated to Italy, this track does cover Italy to some extent. Starting at 8am, Richard Camaur will present four back-to-back presentations, starting with Beginning Your Research in Central Europe. This first lecture will cover how to access the records and locate important archives. Catholic Church Records: Precursor to Central European Civil Registration will follow at 9:30am. The discussion will revolve around using and accessing parish registers. Learn how to track down your ancestor’s military records at 11am by attending A Vital Key to Central European Research: Austrian Military Records. Finally, at 2:30pm, Camaur will facilitate a Central European Roundtable to allow attendees to share information and learn from one another on this topic.

This year’s conference is sure to give you some helpful clues to break down your Italian brick wall, or enhance your knowledge of your Italian kin. Happy hunting!

Wednesday, April 19, 2006

Volunteer Opportunities Are Still Available!

The 2006 National Genealogical Society conference is less than six weeks away! This is your chance to help make this conference the best ever. Volunteer opportunities that match every conference attendee’s interests and background exist. Volunteer times will be worked around your conference schedule. Here is a rundown on some of the volunteer opportunities.
Read More!

Registration: If you like meeting and greeting people this volunteer job is for you! Welcome conference registrants and hand out goody bags and meal tickets. You are the first stop in an exciting conference week, and your enthusiasm will be contagious.

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

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 volunteer opportunities, contact Peggy at P.O. Box 8003, Janesville, WI 53547-8003 or

Visit the Chicagoland Genealogical Consortium website and download a volunteer sign-up form, at

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

Tuesday, April 18, 2006

Vendor Spotlight: The National Institute for Genealogical Studies

The Exhibitor Hall is the place to meet book sellers, software vendors and genealogy society representatives. Newcomers to national conferences will be pleased to learn that the Exhibitor Hall also spotlights the many educational opportunities available in the field of genealogy. One such exhibitor is the National Institute for Genealogical Studies (NIGS).
Keep Reading About NIGS

NIGS, in partnership with the University of Toronto, offers the world’s oldest comprehensive web-based certificate program in genealogical studies. According to Louise St. Denis, Managing Director of the Institute, the program is extremely popular. “To date, we have received over 30,000 course registrations. We believe the success is due in large part to the flexibility of the program.”

The Certificate in Genealogical Studies program is delivered entirely over the Internet. Each Monday morning, a message introduces the topic for the week. Students complete and submit their assignments to the Institute’s WebBoard for sharing with the instructor and other students. Optional online chat sessions are available. Individuals can sign up for the full certificate program or take single courses.

Online learning enables people from remote locations to participate in genealogy courses. Students presently registered range from the Yukon to Texas, from Newfoundland to California, and from as far away as Korea and the United Arab Emirates.

NIGS is an international organization providing educational opportunities for all those interested in professionalism in genealogy, from family historians to professional genealogists.

For a limited time, tuition for the course Methodology-Part 1: Getting Started will be offered at half the normal fee. For $40.00 registrants can take this complete course and experience the ease of study that online education provides. This offer expires June 15th, 2006.

See the Institute’s website at: for a list of courses, description of the course content and dates they are offered. Call 1-800-580-0165 for more information or to take advantage of the ‘half-fee’ methodology course.

Be sure to visit NIGS at Booth 219 in the Exhibitor Hall at NGS Chicago!

Monday, April 17, 2006

Earlybird Deadline This Week!

If you want to save money on your registration, be sure to have your registration postmarked on or before Friday, April 21st. The conference promises to be a success and you don't want to miss it!

Chicago Area Shopper’s Guide

The Chicago area is a shopper’s paradise. Possibilities include power shopping at outlet malls, strolling through quaint villages or cruising along on the Magnificent Mile. A few of the best picks are:
Read More About Shopping!

The City

Michigan Avenue
The Magnificent Mile! North Michigan Avenue has become a prime shopping destination within the city. The Magnificent Mile runs from the Chicago River north to Oak Street. Here you’ll find department stores such as Bloomingdale’s, Lord & Taylor and Nordstrom, home furnishing retailers such as Crate & Barrel and Pottery Barn, jewelers such as Tiffany, big name apparel retailers such as Gap, Banana Republic and Ralph Lauren, plus a host of boutiques and specialty shops. The Magnificent Mile also features indoor shopping malls, such as Water Tower Place and 900 North Michigan Shops. For an interactive map of this upscale shopping district, follow the link below:

To get to the Magnificent Mile from the Hyatt Regency O’Hare, walk ½ mile to the CTA Rosemont Station and take the Blue Line subway to Washington Street. Walk 1 block east and catch the #146 bus. Or, continue walking east to Michigan Avenue, and then turn north.

For information about these and other shopping destinations in the Chicago area, check the Chicago Traveler website’s shopping guide at:

State Street
State Street is Chicago's main street, located in the very heart of the city. For 165 years, it's been a major retail hub of the Midwest. The 1922 hit song Chicago gave the street its famous nickname: "That Great Street,” where they do things they don't do on Broadway! There are a lot of great stores to visit including Old Navy, Filene’s Basement, TJ Maxx and Sears.

State Street is not only a shopping, dining and entertainment attraction, but also an historical walking tour. The historic anchors, Marshall Field’s and Carson Pirie Scott, are architectural gems as well as retail giants. Architecturally, the Marshall Field's store is without peer. The Tiffany ceiling is the largest glass mosaic of its kind and the first ceiling ever built in favrile iridescent glass. The Great Clock at the corner of State and Washington has been keeping time for over a century and has been celebrated by American artist Norman Rockwell. Field’s State Street store was designated a National Historic Landmark in 1979 for both its beauty and historical significance.

The Carson’s building is also a National Historic Landmark. Carson Pirie Scott was built in 1899. The building was designed by Louis Sullivan, and is known for the intricate metalwork which decorates the façade. Louis Sullivan is highly regarded by historians and architects as a pioneer in American commercial architecture. The Carson, Pirie, Scott Building is an exemplary model of his work, showcasing his philosophy of form following function.

Other points of interest include the Chicago Theater, the Reliance Building, the Harold Washington Public Library and more.

Dining in the greater State Street area has as much history as its architecture. The Walnut Room at Marshall Field's, a local favorite, was the first department store tea room. Trader Vic's in the Palmer House Hilton and the Billy Goat Tavern, known for its cheeseburgers (and the basis for a famous Saturday Night Live sketch), are also well-known destinations.

From Rosemont, take the CTA Blue Line to Washington. Then, walk 1 block east to State Street.

For additional details, see:

The Suburbs

The shopping center nearest to the Hyatt Regency O’Hare is Woodfield Mall. Located in northwest suburban Schaumburg, it has one of the finest collections of department stores and specialty shops in the Midwest. Here you'll find Nordstrom, Marshall Field's, Lord & Taylor, JCPenney, Sears and nearly 300 stores and restaurants.

With its distinctive collection of shopping, dining and entertainment, it has been voted the favorite suburban attraction of Chicago's visitors.

Dining options are numerous. There are a great many fast food restaurants and specialty food establishments, as well as a number of full service restaurants, such as RainForest Cafe, Vie de France, Cheesecake Factory and Todai Seafood Buffet.

In addition to the many stores in the mall, the surrounding area includes the huge, unique IKEA home furnishings store, a Borders Books and Music, Carson Pirie Scott and Costco. For the convenience of shoppers, a free trolley is available to take you between 7 stops in the shopping district. For additional information, call the Trolley Hotline at 847-923-3880. The suburban Pace bus route #606 runs from the Rosemont CTA terminal to Woodfield Mall.

For further information, see:

Gurnee Mills
Gurnee Mills is the Midwest's largest value-retail and entertainment mall with over 200 manufacturer and retail outlet stores including Abercrombie & Fitch, Bass Pro Shop Outdoor World, OFF 5th Saks Fifth Avenue Outlet, Fossil, Gap Outlet, JCPenney Outlet, Levi's Outlet by Designs, Nautica Outlet Store, Polo Jeans Outlet, Kohls and VF Factory Outlet.

Two food courts offer shoppers nearly 30 eateries. Full service restaurants include Rainforest Cafe, Ruby Tuesday and the Corner Bakery. Family fun and entertainment venues include Bass Pro Shops Outdoor World, which includes a 30,000 gallon fresh water aquarium, fishing demonstrations and a full line of Tracker boats on display inside the store. Other entertainment includes Serpent Safari's indoor reptile exhibit, Rink Side Sports Family Entertainment Center and a 20 screen movie complex.

Gurnee Mills is 33 miles from the Hyatt Regency O’Hare. Take I-90 to I-294/I-94 towards Milwaukee. Exit at Grand Avenue and go west. You'll find Six Flags Great America right across the street.

For additional details, see the Gurnee Mills website:

Long Grove
For those who prefer to shop on a smaller scale, Long Grove is a refreshing possibility. This village was first settled in the early 1800's by German farmers. Now their business district is home to over 80 shops and restaurants that cater to the needs of the modern shopper. However, the early charm is still here. Some of the shops include the Irish Boutique, the Little Viking, the Apple Haus, the Long Grove Confectionery, and the Pine Cone Christmas Shop. There are a number of restaurants to choose from, including the Seasons of Long Grove and the Village Tavern. Long Grove’s shopping district is located at the intersection of Old McHenry Road and Robert Parker Coffin Road. Shopping hours are generally Monday - Sunday, 10 a.m. - 6 p.m.

To get there from Rosemont, take I-90 to I-294/I-94 towards Milwaukee. Exit at Route 22 (Half Day Road) and go west to Route 83. Turn south on Route 83 and west on Robert Parker Coffin Road.

For further information, see:

Hawthorn Shopping Center
Hawthorn Shopping Center is located north of Chicago in Vernon Hills, at the intersection of Milwaukee Avenue (Route 21) and Town Line Road (Route 60.) This indoor mall features anchors Marshall Field’s, Carson Pirie Scott, JCPenney, and Sears, plus 140 specialty stores featuring apparel, gifts, electronics, home furnishings, jewelry, toys and much more. Dining options include a food court and full service restaurants - John's Garage and Ruby Tuesday. Other stores and restaurants are also located nearby on Routes 60 and 21.

Just north of the shopping mall, you'll find the Cuneo Museum and Gardens, which features a 1914 mansion with 75-acres of lakes, fountains, formal gardens, a conservatory of exotic plants and a 9-hole golf course.

Hawthorn Shopping Center is located 25 miles from the Hyatt Regency O’Hare. Take I-90 to I-294/I-94 towards Milwaukee. Exit at Townline Road (Route 60) and go west to Milwaukee Avenue (Route 21.)

For details about Hawthorn Shopping Center, see the website:

Now, go out and shop ‘til you drop!

Tuesday, April 11, 2006

The Arts in Chicago: Theater and Music

Chicago and the arts...where do I begin? An article on the arts in Chicago could easily become a book. Let’s take a peek at some of theater and music possibilities for conference week.
Read More About the Arts

There is an area downtown Chicago appropriately known as the Theatre District. Several theatres are within blocks of one another. Some are very lavishly decorated, with all of the gilt and finery one might imagine and expect in a high-end performing arts palace.

Cadillac Palace
151 W. Randolph
This theatre at the corner of Randolph and LaSalle one opened in 1926. Originally a popular vaudeville spot, it was later used as a movie house. It spent a period of time as a banquet facility, and then a rock concert hall. A restoration was completed and the Cadillac opened its doors to pre-Broadway shows in 1999. Tours are available on Saturdays. Monty Python’s Spamalot will be playing there until June 4th.

The Goodman Theatre
170 N. Dearborn
The Goodman was first started in 1925 at a location near the Art Institute. The building was notoriously poor, and when Chicago created its Theatre District, the Goodman moved locations. During conference week, the Goodman will offer Crumbs from the Table of Joy.

The Ford Centre for Performing Arts, Oriental Theatre
24 W. Randolph Street
The interior of this building will take your breath away. This theatre opened in 1926. Décor was inspired by the Far East and was beautifully restored after years of disrepair, reopening in 1998. Back in the early days the theatre hosted movies and stage shows. A number of pre-Broadway shows are hosted here. Tours are available on Saturdays. Wicked will be playing at the Oriental through July. Purchase tickets by April 30th.

The LaSalle Bank Theatre, formerly the Shubert
This venue opened in 1906. Back then it was the tallest building in Chicago. It was a hot spot for vaudeville shows, and later entertaining acts such as Harry Houdini. The building was remodeled in 1945. It has recently hosted popular musicals including Monty Python’s Spamalot. Valerie Harper in Golda’s Balcony will be playing there May 30th- June 11th.

The Chicago Theatre
175 N. State Street
This beauty first opened in 1921. They offer plays, concerts, and other events. There is currently nothing scheduled during conference week, but if you get a chance to take a tour it is a beauty.

A bit further away are a few others worthy of mention.

Drury Lane
Water Tower Place
175 E. Chestnut
This fairly new theatre will be hosting The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee during conference week.

The Chicago Shakespeare Theater
600 E. Grand Avenue (Navy Pier)
This theatre is located at Navy Pier. During conference week they will host Henry IV, Parts 1 and 2. This show will move on to the Swan Theatre in Stratford-upon-Avon next. Be prepared for a full evening- the show runs 5.5 hours. If that is not long enough for you, check out Hecuba, which is also playing.

The Apollo Theatre
2540 N. Lincoln
Not in the Loop, this theatre is in the popular Lincoln Park area. The Jungle Book will run through June 4th.

The Auditorium Theatre of Roosevelt University
This beauty first opened in 1889. It appears they will be between productions during conference week.

The Arie Crown Theatre
McCormick Place
The Arie Crown was built in 1960. It is 2.5 miles south of downtown Chicago. In June there will be private graduation ceremonies held here, so there are currently no public events during conference week.

Orchestra Hall
220 S. Michigan Avenue
Home of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, Orchestra Hall is on the National Register of Historic Places. Tours are available. During conference week there will be performances on June 4 and June 8-11. Performances will include chamber music, the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, a jazz performance, and a piano recital.

Ravinia is located in Ravinia/Highland Park in Lake County, Illinois. Popular for outdoor concerts and dance events, they also feature an open-air covered pavilion and a couple of indoor venues. Most Ravinia regulars bring a blanket and a picnic basket and enjoy their evening under the stars. Some of the picnic spreads get elaborate, from wine and cheese to full meals.
There is a train that goes right to the park.

For conference week Ravinia will be offering a variety of musical experiences. On Monday, June 5th, jazz vocalist Jan Monheit will perform. Thursday, June 8th and Friday, June 9th, Ravinia will host South African Spectacular: uShaka by Opera Africa. The BoDeans will perform on Saturday, June 10th. Elvis Costello and the Imposters round off the week on Sunday, June 11th. Tickets can be purchased online or in person. Popular events often sell out, so an early online purchase is a wise decision.

Lyric Opera of Chicago
20 N. Wacker Drive
The Lyric Opera of Chicago performs at the Civic Opera House, which opened in 1929.
There are no performances scheduled for June.

For more information in theatre in Chicago see: for a theatre locations map for general theatre information.

Break a leg!

Monday, April 10, 2006

Topic Focus: Central European, German and Polish Research

If you’ve already found your ancestors in the states and now you need to cross the ocean to find out more, this year’s conference has several lectures available to you. Five Proven Techniques for Finding Your European Ancestors presented by Thomas W. Jones, PhD., CG, CGL on Wednesday, June 7 at 4pm summarizes “the challenges in learning the origins of European ancestors.” He will present techniques for proving that a person in a European record is your North American ancestor.
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If your ancestors were from Central Europe (defined for the purposes of this article as Austria, Hungary, Czech Republic, Slovakia, Slovenia, Croatia, parts of Poland and Italy), then you’ll want to be sure to check out the Ethnic Track on Thursday, June 8. Starting at 8am, Richard Camaur, JD., CG will present four back-to-back presentations, starting with Beginning Your Research in Central Europe. This first lecture will cover how to access the records and locate important archives. Catholic Church Records: Precursor to Central European Civil Registration will follow at 9:30am. The discussion will revolve around using and accessing parish registers in this area. Learn how to track down your ancestor’s military records at 11am by attending A Vital Key to Central European Research: Austrian Military Records. Finally, at 2:30pm, Camaur will facilitate a Central European Roundtable to allow attendees to share information and learn from one another on this topic.

German ancestor hunters will be interested in the Ethnic Track on Friday, June 9. Chuck Knuthson will start the day with Beginning German Research. The basics of German research on both sides of “the pond” will be discussed. At 9:30am, the same lecturer will teach German Migrations to America. This topic will cover the reasons for emigration, the paths they took and the journey that they experienced. John T. Humphrey will pick up at 11am with German Ahnentafels by the Thousands as he describes the records created as a result of Germany’s racial policies in the 1930s and 1940s. Information in these records often go back to the early 1700s. To wrap up the day’s learning, Chuck Knuthson will host a German Roundtable at 4pm to provide a forum for people to share their research problems and experiences.

Finally, if Poland is your country of interest, there are three lectures that specifically cover this area. Cecile Jensen, CG will offer Researching Your Polish Heritage Online at 2:30pm on Friday. She describes online sources available to the researcher who has identified their ancestral village. At 4pm that same day, Paul Valasek, DDS, will present his lecture entitled Polish-American Research: Using Resources in the U.S. Finally, on Saturday, Cecile Jensen returns to discuss Polish Archives: Behind the Scenes. This lecture covers the holdings of Poznan, Gdansk, Mlawa, Bialystok and the concentration camp at Stutthof.

If you have other European countries that you are researching, the conference does offer more than presented here. In an effort to keep this brief, only lectures about a very narrowly defined “Central Europe” were discussed. Stay tuned for more!

Sunday, April 09, 2006

Speaker Spotlight: Maureen Taylor

Maureen Taylor, a nationally known expert on history, genealogy, and photography, is the Photo Detective. Maureen investigates photographs the way private eyes investigate cases. She discovers the stories behind her client’s family pictures by following the clues such as a hat, the shape of a woman’s sleeve or a sign in the background. Through her website,, Maureen also offers practical and low cost advice to clients on how to save and organize their pictures.
Read More About Maureen Taylor

Maureen knows photographs. As a photo curator, a photo editor, and now as a freelance writer and consultant, her focus is photography from the little details that date a nineteenth century picture to dealing with digital overload. She is the author of Uncovering Your Ancestry Through Family Photographs, Scrapbooking Your Family History, and Preserving Your Family Photographs.

As a contributing editor at Family Tree Magazine and as a member of the editorial board of Legacy Magazine, she writes about the topics she loves—family history, photography from pictures to pixels, and preserving heirlooms. She’s the Photo Detective columnist for Family Tree Magazine and writes "Saving Your Family Treasures" for Ancestry. Her articles appear in American Spirit, Ancestry and Ancestry’s Daily News, Comair Navigator, Consumer’s Research, The Daguerreian Annual, Family Chronicle, Family Tree Magazine,, Grace Ormonde’s Wedding Style, Heritage Quest, New England Ancestors, Legacy, Memory Makers, Publishing Success, Reunions, and Writers Digest.

As a parent, Maureen loves teaching children about genealogy. She is the author of a guide to family history for kids, Through the Eyes of Your Ancestors. VOYA (Voice of Youth Advocacy) named Through the Eyes of Your Ancestors to its best non-fiction list for 1999 and it was mentioned in Better Homes and Gardens and Martha Stewart Living.

Her passion for genealogy resulted in Maureen researching Meredith Viera’s family tree for a segment of The View. In addition, her numerous television, radio, and print media interviews include Martha Stewart Living, MSNBC, DIY:Scrapbooking, PBS Ancestors, Dear Myrtle, Life Magazine, Better Homes & Gardens, and The Boston Globe. She also shares her tips and techniques in energetic lectures on family history and photography that encourage participants to ask questions about a wide range of concerns from finding their roots to caring for great-grandmother’s scrapbook.

At the NGS conference, Maureen will present On the Newsstand: Writing for Magazines on Friday, June 9th. This lecture, sponsored by the Association of Professional Genealogists, will explain the business side of writing. Topics include networking for contacts, pitching a project and meeting editorial needs.

Maureen Taylor holds a M.A. in History. She lives in the Boston area with her husband, two children, and a tank full of fish.

Wednesday, April 05, 2006

Speaker Spotlight: Barbara Vines Little

While still a young woman, Barbara Vines Little enquired of her grandfather's ancestors...only to be told that her grandfather wouldn't talk about them. Not one readily deterred by familiar averrance, Barbara then began a years-long search for solutions to these and other unanswered queries.
Read More About Barbara Vines Little

After finding and identifying colonial and Revolutionary ancestors in Virginia and North Carolina, she turned to professional research, speaking and volunteering in the genealogical community, first as editor of the Mid-Atlantic Germanic Society’s newsletter Der Kurier, then as editor of the Virginia Genealogical Society's newsletter. Barbara is currently beginning her eleventh year as editor of the quarterly Magazine of Virginia Genealogy.

Additionally, Barbara served as president of the Virginia Genealogical Society and as host society chair of the 1994 FGS conference in Richmond. She later assumed the same role for the 1999 NGS Conference in the States at Richmond.

Her love of manuscript records and the variety of information that they can provide led her to develop her presentation Books and Documents on the Web, which focuses upon the wide variety of original material and published books currently available to researchers through the Internet. The talk tours collections of the Library of Congress, and heads to the website of an individual who discovered Civil War-era letters in the attic of a his new home, with a number of fascinating and eye-opening sites along the way.

The Latest Frontier in Research: Searchable Newspapers Online explores the new world of accessible newspapers. In the past genealogists have laboriously abstracted vital statistics from local newspapers. Today researchers can access the social columns, legal advertisements involving deeds of trust, tax sales, and chancery suits, as well as news of local disasters, memorials of honored citizens, and even the sporting events, graduations, enlistments, engagements, awards and other notices that featured an ancestor.

Putting Your Military Records to Work and Why Should I Have Every Census Record? focus on methodology. Both lectures encourage going beyond the usual in research. They look at the variety of sources and information that can be found, and through case studies show how exploring the depth and breadth of these records can help us solve brick wall problems, especially those involving migrating ancestors.

The Virginia Genealogical Society is sponsoring two lectures on Virginia research. Born in Virginia, How Do I Find Him? focuses on what the researcher needs to know about an ancestor in order to successfully track him or her back to Virginia. Preparing for a Virginia Research Trip: In Person or Virtually takes the researcher on a tour of Virginia resources detailing information that can be obtained online as well as that which can only be accessed in person. Both major research centers and small specialized collections will be discussed.

Currently serving as president of the National Genealogical Society, Barbara is looking forward to the Chicago conference, where she plans to steal a little time to do some research in the Durrett Collection at the University of Chicago.

Join Barbara Vines Little and the other presenters and vendors in Chicago for NGS's 2006 Conference in the States.

Monday, April 03, 2006

Early-Bird Deadline This Month

Don't miss the early-bird deadline for a reduced fee to the NGS conference. To receive the reduced fee be sure to register soon. All early registrations must be postmarked by 21 April 2006.

With the $35 that you save you can sign up for the Local Host Event, Sweets Home Chicago, and still have some money left for the vendor's hall!

Sunday, April 02, 2006

Area Research Facilities: The Arlington Heights Memorial Library

The Arlington Heights Memorial Library (AHML) is just a short drive from the conference site. Why might you make the trip?
Read About the AHML

AHML’s genealogy collection is housed in the second floor's “Kathrine Shackley Room” and features over 8,000 books. Its focus is on Illinois and the surrounding states, and the states that people left or passed through on their way to this area.

In addition to great materials for Arlington Heights, including obituary indexes for the Daily Herald newspaper, high school year books, telephone books and criss-cross directories, they also have an excellent collection of immigration materials. Highlights of this collection include the Germans to America, Italians to America, Russians to America, Famine Immigrants (Irish), and Filby’s multi-volume Passenger and Immigration Lists Index. Once you find someone of interest in these books, you can go into the microfilm room and look at the microfilms of the ships’ lists from the bulk of the 19th century for most of the major ports. See their genealogy page for details.

The microfilm room holds the full set of Chicago city directories, many county histories, the Chicago Tribune from 1861 and the Daily Herald from 1901 to present. Under any given county in the print collection you might find farm directories, cemetery readings, funeral home records, probate and naturalization indexes, and more. Most of these books were published by that county’s genealogical society or local genealogists. Additionally, they have over 125 genealogical periodicals and newsletters.

Near the room’s entrance there is a map case housing a growing map collection. Unique to this library is an index created by staff and volunteers of maps found within the various books in the collection. Are you looking for a historical map of a region in Germany? This card index might hold the key. All new acquisitions are examined for maps and cataloged in this card file before shelving.

Itching to get online? The first floor has many computers available to the public. Check your email or search some of the databases to which the AHML subscribes. Of particular interest to the genealogist are Ancestry, Heritage Quest, America’s Obituaries and Death Notices, Biography & Genealogy Master Index, Biography Resource Center, Chicago Tribune Historical Archives 1849-1984, and Proquest Historical Chicago Tribune 1849-1984. Of the last two, Proquest is the more complete and links you to images of the newspaper pages.

If you are bringing your laptop, you can connect through their wireless network. Go to to view a list of their databases, and if you’re connected through their wireless network you can connect to any of these databases just as though you were sitting at one of the library’s own computers.

The AHML has a "staff" of part-time genealogical volunteers with different specialties. For example, on Thursday mornings from 10 until noon they have a volunteer who translates Finnish and Swedish. Check with the library for more on volunteers with specialties.

The AHML is number 5 on the Newberry’s Genealogy Research Locations map