FamilySearch has posted billions of images of historic records from around the world. However, about 80 percent of them are not indexed. Thus, many of our ancestors’ records are “hiding” in these unindexed digital record images.

The FamilySearch newsroom has just announced that a new tool is available to help find such important information. Called FamilySearch’s new Explore Historical Images feature, this is how it works.

Type in a place name (e.g., city, country) for an ancestor event (e.g., birth, marriage) and Explore Historic Images searches the digital-only collections and returns relevant record collections meeting your criteria. Read more and conduct a search at

Grants available

The Illinois State Historical Records Advisory Board (ISHRAB) is offering grants up to $5,000 to Illinois archival repositories and government agencies to assist in records preservation projects.

The deadline for applying is March 20, 2020. Awards will be announced in early June. For complete information visit or call David Joens at 217-782-3492.

Help for teachers

Teachers use primary sources to teach history to their students. “Document analysis is the first step in working with primary sources” and the National Archives has created a helpful website, Teaching With Documents, at, that provides a variety of primary sources for teachers to use in a curriculum.

Primary source-based lesson plans are also available in 8 topics, including Civil War and Reconstruction (1850-1877) and Postwar United States (1945 to early 1970s).

Teachers will also want to click on the link to DocsTeach in order to have “ access to thousands of primary sources—letters, photographs, speeches, posters, maps, videos, and more.” Also, register for a free account for other resources!

Census security risks

April 1 is the official date for the 2020 US population census to be taken. “For the first time, the 2020 census will primarily rely on online responses rather than paper surveys.” Some recent design changes, however, have officials worried that the revisions may have some security problems. Read Andrea Noble’s article on this challenge at

”The 2020 Census will be crucial in determining how hundreds of billions of federal dollars in about 300 programs are divided among states and localities in the years ahead.”

Celtic conference

The Celtic Connections Conference will be held in Chicago on July 31-August 1, 2020. Current members of the Illinois State Genealogical Society receive a discounted registration price. Visit for a conference brochure with complete information including conference extras and options. Registrations are being accepted now.

Special Research Tool

Dick Eastman’s Online Genealogy Newsletter tells of a Google research tool that is sure to help genealogical researchers. Google is adding millions of new pages to its search index daily.

Wouldn’t you like to know if your ancestors’ names are included? Read and learn how to have Google send you an alert. Start by visiting and follow the directions. Good luck.

Queries, as well as a general exchange of genealogical material that readers would like to share, will be printed in the column for free. Contact Joan Griffis by e-mailing

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