The Illinois State Genealogical Society is pleased to announce that it has reopened its office in Springfield and is getting back to normal — including its Death Certificate Lookup Service. Currently only 1916-1947 certificates listed in the Illinois Death Certificate database can be obtained through the ISGS lookup service (which was created to assist researchers who do not have easy access to the Illinois State Archives to obtain deathcertificate copies).

To search the Illinois State Archives Death Certificate Index 1916-1950, visit Then visit the ISGS look-up service website at for further instructions. ISGS members pay the discounted price of $6 per certificate. Nonmembers pay $10, but may wish to join in order to get the discount.


Genealogists everywhere are saddened to learn of the death of Myra Vanderpool Gormley, a well-known genealogist, author, and speaker who passed away from cancer on June 25, 2020. Her books include “Cherokee Connections” (and a follow-up book, “Cherokee Connections: An Introduction to Genealogical Sources Pertaining to Cherokee Ancestors”) and “Family Diseases – Are You at Risk?”

She also wrote a weekly genealogy newspaper column, “Shaking Your Family Tree,” for many years as well as hundreds of articles for genealogical magazines and was a frequent lecturer at genealogy conferences.

She will be greatly missed.


The FamilySearch wiki has a helpful reference page (including links) for Illinois Military Records at Contents include Online Resources, Forts, Wars (Revolutionary through Vietnam), Museums, and additional records.

Be sure to click on the blue box, “United States Military Online Genealogy Records,” for FamilySearch links to other states and more.

Also the National Archives provides a digitized index of World War II Army Casualties in Illinois at Be sure to read the forward, which has specifics. For example, the list includes both battle and non-battle dead or missing, about 300,000 names, between May 27, 1941, and Jan. 31, 1946. The list, arranged alphabetically by county, includes veteran’s name, army serial number, grade, and status of casualty. (A word of explanation of methods of listing and of symbols used follows.)


The National Archives has a helpful website that answers frequently asked questions (FAQ) regarding military personnel records. At many general and specific questions are answered, including what form to use to obtain specific military documents, how to get a family member’s medals, and how to obtain information on the military service of an ancestor’s service in the Civil War (Revolutionary War, War of 1812, etc.). The end of the article includes links to other related resources, including the home page, address, contact information, etc., of the Military Personnel Records Center at St. Louis, Mo.


Michael Strass has posted a helpful article, “Deciphering Draft Registration Cards for Genealogy: World War I,” at The article includes a link to a similar article pertaining to World War II.

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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