Matthew Connelly has posted a disturbing New York Times article at that reports that the National Archives “is letting millions of documents … be destroyed or deleted.” This is partially because “Congress has simply been unwilling to pay” for the preservation of so many documents. Also did you know that “the National Archives does not plan to maintain any more presidential libraries”?

Ironically, the National Archives recently posted a website praising the presidential Libraries and urging a virtual visit. Learn more at

Connelly is a professor of history at Columbia. “A version of this article appears in print … with the headline: Closing the Court of History.” The Times would like to receive readers’ comments.

On a related note, the federal government recently decided to close the Seattle branch of the National Archives. Thus the records of Washington, Oregon, Idaho and Alaska would be shipped a thousand miles away to Southern California. The office of Washington State Attorney Bob Ferguson “is considering the possibility of a lawsuit against the federal government. Read more at

Free Newsletter

The most recent issue of the Illinois State Genealogical Society’s (ISGS) Newsletter (January/February 2020, Vol. 41, No.1) is available free at . The importance of volunteers is mentioned and additional volunteers are sought for a variety of projects.

For example, volunteers are needed for the joint project with the Illinois State Archives: the creation of an index to The Register of Licensed Midwives, 1877-1930. The list of other volunteer opportunities include 2020 Conference Chair, Legal Assistance (e.g., questions about copyright and publishing), and committee chair positions (e.g., website, advertising, audit). For further information contact Louise Svehla at

Researchers would be wise to take advantage of the many conferences and genealogy meetings scheduled across the state — all mentioned in the Newsletter.

State Archives Helpful

The Illinois State Archives has many records that genealogists seek and Archives staff will search indexed records for Illinois residents at no charge. For a general overview of Archives’ holdings, visit This website also provides a link to a Record of Ancestry chart (to record basic family information) as well as an Archives Reference Request form. (Inquiries may also be submitted by mail, fax, email, phone, or in person.)

At Genealogical Research at the Illinois State Archives is described in more detail: birth records, census records, death records, Genealogical Research Series Pamphlets, land sale records, marriage records, military service records, World War I draft registration records, veterans’ homes, pension, & burial records.

The Illinois State Archives has many databases that can be searched online. Links to these databases can be accessed at

Be sure to take advantage of the Global Database Search. For example, a global search for Albert Porter resulted in links to six databases, two of which provided more information on “my” Albert Porter, listed in the Illinois Civil War records and also in the Illinois Statewide Marriage Index (1763-1900).

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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