The subscription-based website, MyHeritage, has made the following announcement because they “want to help our community in these challenging times and give people a fun activity to do when they are isolated at home that is genealogical, enjoyable, and free. …Anyone can access the (U.S.) yearbooks for free, without even having to sign up, through May 23, 2020.”

Visit https://tinyurl.com/yab7xe4f to conduct a search.

On a personal note, my search for anything on my husband at this website resulted in a “hit” for our son (who shares his father’s name). A pleasant surprise — which has been shared with others in the family — was a photo of his high school’s band, which included his sister and many of their friends. So many happy memories to share!

Also MyHeritage has “made it easy to share the yearbook pages on social media. Anyone who shares a yearbook page on Twitter, Facebook, or Instagram with the hashtag #LookingGood and #FreeYearbooks and tags @MyHeritage will enter a draw. Each week we’ll select one lucky winner who will receive a free MyHeritage Complete subscription.”

GRAVESTONE CLEANING

BillionGraves has partnered with Save Your Stones, a gravestone preservation company, to

offer excellent guidelines for cleaning family headstones that have suffered from weathering, erosion, vandalism and neglect. Although some damage cannot be corrected, knowing how to remedy some tombstone problems can make those ancestors’ final resting places as beautiful as possible.

“The owner of Save Your Stones, Jarrod Roll, is a professional museum curator in Sparta, Wis., trained during graduate school to clean stone, so it was a natural step for him to begin a gravestone preservation business.”

“Gravestone Cleaning Tips” can be found at https://tinyurl.com/ydg5ug2b and includes illustrations of “before cleaning” and “after cleaning” of specific cases of damage. BillionGraves also encourages taking photos with the free BillionGraves app — which also will post GPS-linked images of the gravestones on the website.

JEWISH GRAVESTONES

The website called B & F: Jewish Genealogy and More has posted a most helpful article by Philip Tauring, “Deciphering Jewish Gravestones,” which interprets the text found on such stones. A case study of a gravestone photographed in Warsaw illustrates the Hebrew information duplicated in Polish. Learn how to interpret the day of the week, how to calculate the year, and more.

The Table of Contents includes Hebrew letters, easily confused letters, Hebrew abbreviations and acronyms, death phrases, and so much more. Visit https://tinyurl.com/y72qps6v. (For anyone wishing to print the article, there is a link to a PDF version.)

COURTHOUSE RECORDS

Genealogists rely on records maintained by clerks of county courthouses to obtain vital records (e.g., marriage, birth, death, probate, deeds, and court). Staff of Illinois Regional Archives Depository has compiled a chart showing the earliest dates of such records in each Illinois county at https://tinyurl.com/yc5xxx75. There is also a link to courthouse addresses and cost information.

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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