The Urbana Free Library, which is closed to the public because of the coronavirus, has announced that patrons may request items from its collection and schedule a curbside pickup. Requests can be made by browsing the library’s collection on its website or mobile app or by calling the library at (217) 367-4405. Complete information can be found at

Book returns remain closed. Due dates are extended and no fines will be charged while the building is closed.

The Urbana Free Library’s website is at,


Genealogists need to save the date. On Saturday, Oct. 24, the Illinois State Genealogical Society will hold a virtual conference, “Seeking the Past, Envisioning the Future.” Details will be provided later, but meanwhile Illinois researchers have a great day to look forward to in October. For information on other genealogical events in Illinois, visit the ISGS website at


Genealogist Karen A. Fortin has prepared a helpful handout sheet, “Orphan Trains and the Children Who Rode Them” for interested researchers. The list of resources for researching this subject includes books, videos, websites and online resources. Visit


As parents have become teachers as a result of the recent virus pandemic, it might be helpful to visit some U.S. government websites for information. For example, the National Archives World War I Resources, at, has links to Education Resources (“teach with World War I documents”), articles on WWI in “Prologue” magazine, and more.

Also, the National Archives Library Information Center has an extensive list of World War I military resources at

Smithsonian exhibits and public programs are listed at

The Library of Congress World War I portal, at, offers a link to its “comprehensive portal to its extensive holdings on the subject of WW I” (in blue ink). Be sure to read readers’ comments.

The U.S. Navy has created a portal to include day-by-day listing of documentary histories at This website offers links to a vast variety of other military data.


Genealogist Joe Beine has updated his Online Searchable Death Indexes & Records: a Genealogy Guide ( Illinois updates refer to Clinton, Greene, Jackson, Morgan, Piatt, St. Clair, and Will counties; also, Illinois Firefighter Line of Duty Deaths. Bartholomew County cemetery records in Indiana have been updated. View his website for a comprehensive list of state-by-state links to online death records.


It is not too late to celebrate Jewish Heritage Month, first proclaimed by President George W. Bush in 2006, to recognize Jewish people “living in and contributing to the social fabric of the U.S.” Some interesting facts, at, recognize many familiar individuals, including Emma Lazarus, who wrote the famous lines on the Statue of Liberty. “Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to breathe free. The wretched refuse of your teeming shore. Send these, the homeless, the tempest-tost to me. I lift my lamp beside the golden door!”

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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