DNA websites Ancestry.com and 23andMe have pledged to keep their users’ DNA data private, but recently a Florida judge approved a warrant to search GEDmatch’s database of nearly 1 million users — which is likely to encourage other agencies to request similar search warrants.

This decision “will affect …huge swaths of the population, including those who have never taken a DNA test …because this emerging forensic technique makes it possible to identify DNA profile even through distant family relationships.”

Read The New York Times article having complete information on this important issue at https://tinyurl.com/y48l8mqs.

Honor Illinois military ancestors

Anyone who has an Illinois ancestor who served in the military is eligible to purchase a certificate recognizing such service. The Illinois State Genealogical Society (ISGS) has several projects recognizing the sacrifices made by these veterans.

Certificates are given to applicants who are direct descendants of veterans who lived, died, or was buried in Illinois and actively served in the Revolutionary War, the Blackhawk War, the War of 1812, the Civil War, World War I, or World War II. Indirect Certificates are also available for these wars; the applicant may be an indirect or collateral descendant of the veteran.

The non-refundable fee for each certificate application is $20. One certificate is included in the fee and will be mailed after eligibility has been verified.

Additional certificates can be requested by brothers, sisters, children, or grandchildren of the applicant who wish to apply at the same time as the original applicant and also fill out an application. The fee is $10 each.

Information on all of the ISGS Military Certificates are available at https://tinyurl.com/ycmucfz2. To view a list of all 368 veterans in the ISGS Military Certificates Database visit https://tinyurl.com/wll4jxl. An application form with full instructions can be found at https://tinyurl.com/ru2b394. For questions please e-mail isgsmilitarycerts@ilgensoc.org.

Military stories sought

Anyone wishing to share a story about an Illinois ancestor’s military service may submit it to the ISGS Quarterly Editor, Richard Anderson, for possible publication. Send to isgsquarterly@ilgensoc.org.

Land records

Genealogist Amy Johnson Crow has posted an important article on land records and their importance for genealogists. At https://tinyurl.com/sfsxegh she lists 11 things that are usually found in land records.

For instance, “You might be surprised to learn that deeds typically include the residence of the grantors (sellers) and the grantees (buyers). That’s especially important to remember when you realize that people don’t always live where they own land.”

If your ancestor was the buyer, his previous location, now identified in a land record, can be searched for family data. Similarly, if your ancestor was the seller, knowing his subsequent location is important for finding family information.

Also did you know that learning the names of the witnesses who signed the document might be important? They could be family members or neighbors. In any case, an ancestor’s land record can provide unique clues. Read the article for other important considerations.

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 JBGriffis@aol.com.

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