The Champaign County Genealogical Society will host Celestina Savonius-Wroth, the Head Librarian of the University of Illinois’ History, Philosophy, and Newspaper Library (HPNL), who will explore the Illinois Newspaper Project’s online digital collection. This valuable resource was created by the HPNL and the Department of Preservation Services at the University of Illinois Library.

“Find Your Ancestor in Illinois Newspapers” will be presented on Tuesday May 11, 6:30 – 8 p.m. Read more and register at to receive a Zoom link. Finding one’s ancestors in newspapers can add a new dimension to a family history.

What caused the Chicago fire?

It was 150 years ago, October 8, 1871, that a terrible fire raced through the city of Chicago. The fire was supposedly started after Mrs. O’Leary’s cow kicked over a lantern; however there are some today that believe the fire was started by a comet since several other fires were also reported on that day. Read of this theory at and/or enjoy the Great Chicago Fire website (with many related links) at

Michigan’s resources detailedJudy G. Russell, “The Legal Genealogist,” has posted helpful information for anyone researching ancestors in Michigan at Did you know that Michigan was home to several Native American tribes, and was first claimed by France as part of the New France colony?

Also visit The Advancing Genealogist website at and learn how to hunt for links to historic Michigan laws. (This site may also provide help in locations other than Michigan.)

Use checklist to record research progress

Beginners as well as advanced genealogical researchers are wise to keep a checklist for each person being researched in a family tree. For example, the National Institute for Genealogical Studies has posted a genealogical checklist at which includes an important second page where one can record and date an item that has been researched along with the results—thus preventing a repetitious visit or perhaps reminding to visit that site for a different person or reason for searching.

The Mid-Continent Genealogical Society has also posted a good Research Checklist at There are many others online. Be sure to use at least one of them!

Digitized county histories to be identified

“Genealogy Addict” Linda Stufflebean has taken on a massive project. Her personal search for county histories (often called “mug books” has led her to tracking down such references that have been digitized—and thus more easily researched. Her plan is to post a list of each state’s DIGITIZED county histories and so far she has completed the list for one state: Delaware, accessible at “One state finished; only 49 more to go.”

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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