The Illinois State Genealogical Society (ISGS—at Honors and Awards Committee is always seeking nominees who have made exceptional contributions to Illinois genealogy.

There are several award categories. These include Community Service Award, Special Recognition Award, Youth Award, Distinguished Service Award, Individual Writers Award, and Volkel Memorial Awards. More information on each of these categories can be found at Past recipients of these awards are listed at

Of special note is the Volkel Hall of Fame and the Volkel Hall of Fame display case, which is located on the first floor of the Illinois State Archives. The Volkel Medal of Honor, the highest honor given by ISGS, is bestowed on deceased genealogists and has been awarded to Lowell M. Volkel, Grace Sims Moyer, Fern Lane Briggs, June B. Barekman, Joseph G. Wylder, Elizabeth A. “Libby” Grimm, Sandra Hargreaves Luebking, Marjorie Vance Rice and Lloyd DeWitt Bockstruck.

For a complete summary of the Volkel Memorial Awards and criteria for selection, visit

The deadline for submitting award nominations is July 1. Don’t delay. Nominate that special entity now. For more information contact

Adoption laws vary by state

The American Adoption Congress supports “unrestricted access to original birth certificates for all adult adoptees” and has posted a useful chart showing categories of legislation that have been passed in each state. Visit and learn if a specific state has unrestricted access, access with restrictions, partial access, partial with restrictions, or sealed.

For example, both Illinois and Indiana have “access with restrictions.” The website also provides additional information for each state including helpful links to related resources.

Utah sets DNA restrictions

A state lawman in Utah, Rep. Craig Hall, is supporting legislation to” prevent mass searches of consumer DNA databases” in order to protect individual privacy. An article posted at presents details of the pros and cons of this new search procedure. At present no such legal enforcement exists in the U.S. Utah would be first with such legislation.

Vietnam Wall veterans photos

The digital Wall of Faces is a database of every American whose name appears on the Vietnam Veterans Memorial Wall in Washington, D.C.

“The Wall of Faces features a page dedicated to honoring and remembering every person whose name is inscribed on the Vietnam Veterans Memorial in Washington, DC. In an effort to further preserve the legacy of those who sacrificed all in Vietnam, VVMF is committed to finding a photo to go with each of the more than 58,000 names on the Wall. The Wall of Faces allows family and friends to share memories, post pictures and connect with each other.” View these photos (along with vital data, home town, rank, unit, etc.) at .

A search can be made for a surname. Fewer than 300 photos are needed to complete the Wall of Faces; Illinois & Indiana have every photo of those states’ Vietnam fallen. Resources for teachers are provided at and at

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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