Genealogy continues to be a favorite hobby of many people around the world and it’s never too late to begin searching for a family’s ancestors. In fact, today’s beginners have the distinct advantage of being able to find many resources on the Internet that previously had to be located in person or requested by mail.

The National Genealogical Society (NGS) has posted a most helpful website, How To Start Your Family Tree, at The instructions are easy to follow and the website has links (on the left side of the page) to free NGS resources (websites, articles, tips, charts, and more). Happy hunting!


Lisa Litton has posted a helpful article on the Internet explaining how important probate records are for a family researcher. The use of case studies, along with a variety of tips, illustrates how family data can be found in estate files. Visit


Dick Eastman’s Online Genealogy Newsletter has included information (again) about the few 1890 census records that DID survive the 1921 fire in the Commerce Building.

Read his recent post at . (His previous article, “What Really Happened to the 1890 U.S. Census?” Can be found at .) The only portion of Illinois data available in that 1890 census pertains to Mound Township in McDonough County.


Does any reader have a collection of “ancestral treasures” that might include a photo of an ancestor in military uniform or perhaps a flag used to drape the coffin of a military ancestor or perhaps a “dog tag” of an ancestor who served in a war? “Dog tags” are a comparatively recent form of identification used by the military. During World War I, they were round, the size of silver dollars and each military service member had to wear two — one to remain on the person when he died; the second “to mark the coffin or grave, often where they fought and died.”

Other interesting details about these tags can be read at —including the fact that New York City school children were issued tags (with their name, date of birth, school district and a serial number) and they were also fingerprinted.


The AIDS Memorial Quilt was first displayed on the National Mall in 1987 with 1,920 panels in memory of the people who had died of that disease. Twenty-five years later, it had grown to 48,000 panels and now the 1.2-million-square-foot quilt is available to view and search online at A link to a PDF file is available if you need a guide. (News of this quilt was announced by “Smithsonian Magazine” at .)


Knute Berger has written an article, “The Mask Wars of the 1918 Flu Pandemic.” Mask-wearing was debated and sometimes enforced — then and now. Read interesting comparisons 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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