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After our summer sabbatical, our general meetings and programs start up again on Wednesday, September 18, 2013.  This program is a joint presentation by DCGS and the DuPage County Historical Museum held at the Museum, 102 E. Wesley St., Wheaton, IL.  Our social time starts at 6:30pm and the meeting starts at 7:00pm.  Consider spending the afternoon at the museum, in the research library, viewing exhibits, or maybe book a guided tour. 

Exhibits on special loan from the Illinois State Military Museum include:

36th Illinois Infantry Regiment National Colors
Infantry Regiment of the Civil War, also known as the Fox Valley Regiment was organized in Aurora in September of 1861.  According to the Adjutant General’s Report, the Regiment included 965 officers and enlisted men, forty-seven being from DuPage County.  Officers from Cook, Grundy, Kane, Kendall, Lawrence, McHenry, and Warren Counties completed the regiment. 

8th Illinois Cavalry Guidon
The guidon flag was carried by the soldiers of the 8th Regiment of the Illinois Volunteer Cavalry during the Civil War.  Beginning in early 1862, the 8th Illinois was stationed in Washington D.C. and attached to the Army of the Potomac, fighting in their first battle at Williamsburg.  The unit also fought in a number of engagements including Mechanicsville (Seven Days Battle), Hanover Court House, Seven Pines, Brandy Station, Middleburg, Upperville, and Gettysburg. 

[Excerpted from Exhibits -DuPage County Historical Museum



Saturday, February 15, 2014 in St. Charles, IL.

Our 2014 conference speakers are Debra Mieszala, CG, Marsha Peterson-Maass, Steve Szabados, and Paul Milner.

As requested, we selected more methodology topics geared toward the intermediate to advanced genealogist.

And we added a fourth track, Fundamentals of Genealogy, specifically designed for “newbie’s” that will be presented by Marsha Peterson-Maass of the Newberry Library.

Early registration with a DCGS membership gets you the best prices.  Become a Member and Register for the Conference today.

Download the flyer or the brochure to hand out at your genealogical society meetings.

Breaking Down a Brick Wall: A Case Study in Unlocking My Irish Ancestry How I Found the Marriage Record of My Irish Great-Great Grandparents
Presented by Nancy Thomas

Learn how listening to family stories can lead you from known facts to the unknown. Newspapers, census records, church records, online indexes, and maps resulted in the breaking down of a major brick wall. This presentation will show the step-by-step process and analysis used to tackle Irish research successfully.

Next General Meeting – March 21, 2012 – Social starting at 6:30 PM – see Meetings

This meeting will be held in the:
Lower Level Meeting Room
Wheaton Public Library

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November Speaker

Join us November 16, 2011 at the Wheaton Public Library to hear Discovering the Naperville Family History Center.
This presentation will include what you can do before you visit and tips on searching the Family History Library catalog. Find out why you may want to join the patron’s mailing list and Yahoo groups. Attention will be given to Chicago ancestor resources at the Center.

The meeting will be held at the library’s lower level meeting room. The library is located at 225 N. Cross Street, Wheaton.

See you there!

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This post was written by guest blogger Laura Cosgrove Lorenzana.

I attended the DuPage County Genealogical Society’s October Meeting last night, along with Jennifer Holik-Urban and Terri O’Connell. Jen suggested I go because Thomas MacEntee was providing the program, and since I was born and raised in Elmhurst, I thought it’d be a good idea to check out the group. The meeting was held in the Wheaton Public Library; it’s a large and lovely building and the meeting space was equally large and comfortable (don’t know what brand of chairs they used, but boy, were they cushy!) They provided coffee and some great home-made cookies and such…very yummy!

Being relatively new to the Genealogy community, I really didn’t know about Thomas MacEntee, other than the fact he is the creator of the GeneaBloggers website, and I follow him on Twitter. Thomas presented: Social Networking: New Horizons for Genealogists “the basics of blogging, Twitter, Facebook, wikis and more in an easy-to-follow session that cuts through all the hype and the lingo.”

Wow. Having worked with technology in the past, I know how confounding it can be. Thomas has a way of breaking it down and clearly and concisely explaining how it works and the benefits it can create for both amateur and Professional Genealogists. He provided simple definitions of the key terms in utilizing Social Media/Social Networking; broke down how to use each of the major platforms of Facebook, Twitter, Google+, defined and explained blogging and even covered wikis and how the information there can benefit genealogical researchers.

The audience, of about 25, was definitely engaged with Thomas and I believe that his open style provided a level of comfort often missing in programs run by technology people. Our little group, augmented by Pat Biallas and her husband, helped Thomas with examples of tweets and blogs, as well as commenting on what he was presenting.  The audience asked cogent questions and Thomas’s ability to quickly answer with informed material made the presentation complete.

If you have not been on the Geneablogger site, I highly recommend it. Thomas has put together a laundry list of tools to use to leverage both social media and your genealogical research. Also, don’t forget to check out the DuPage County Genealogical Society’s meetings; we felt very welcome and I’m looking forward to becoming a member of the group.

You can find out more about Thomas McEntee and the programs he’s presenting at his website, High Definition Genealogy ( You can find the latest information on Thomas’s upcoming presentations, including the one he’s doing for the Chicago Genealogical Society on November 5, 2011 at the Newberry Library at 1:30 p.m. You can do a little research AND hear a great presentation!!  What a great way to spend a day.

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Join us on Wednesday, October 19, 2011 for our next general meeting. Come hear Thomas MacEntee talk about Social Networking: New Horizons for Genealogists.

Thousands of genealogists and family historians have discovered new ways to expand and improve their genealogy endeavors using social networking, also called social media networking. Learn the basics of blogging, Twitter, FaceBook, wikis and more in an easy-to-follow session that cuts through all the hype and lingo.”

The meeting will be held on Wednesday, October 19 at 7:00 p.m. at the Wheaton Public Library.

Hope to see you there!

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Join us on Wednesday, October 19, 2011 for our next general meeting. Come hear Thomas MacEntee talk about Social Networking: New Horizons for Genealogists.

Thousands of genealogists and family historians have discovered new ways to expand and improve their genealogy endeavors using social networking, also called social media networking. Learn the basics of blogging, Twitter, FaceBook, wikis and more in an easy-to-follow session that cuts through all the hype and lingo.”

The meeting will be held on Wednesday, October 19 at 7:00 p.m. at the Wheaton Public Library.

Hope to see you there!

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Guest blog post by Patricia Desmond Biallas

“I LOVE the Civil War! It was wonderful! Fabulous!”

Those were the opening remarks of Craig Pfannkuche at a recent program co-sponsored by the DuPage County Historical Museum and the DuPage County Genealogical Society.  The program, entitled  “Using Non-Federal Civil War Records in Family History Research,” was held last week at the Wheaton museum.

Pfannkuche, a former high school teacher who taught history and anthropology for 30 years, has continued to put his curiosity, research skills, and experience as an educator to good use since his retirement. In addition to lecturing on family history topics, he’s served as Genealogical Archivist for the Chicago and Northwestern Railway, and board member for both the McHenry County Genealogical Society and Chicago Genealogical Society.

Aptly dressed in a navy jacket and gray slacks, the speaker, who noted that he had ancestors serving on both sides of the war, made history come alive for those in attendance with his energy, enthusiasm and humorous anecdotes.

“Lots of records were kept by the federal government, states and counties, and the Quartermaster corps just churned them out—all to our benefit,” he told his audience of genealogists.

“Early on,” he explained, “young men signed up in droves for the ‘Adventure of a Lifetime.’ Friends, brothers, neighbors and classmates often joined up together.

For the most part though, the war was fought by draftees, and regiments were raised by the states which each had a quota. That created records.”

“Counties having trouble meeting their quotas,” Pfannkuche explained, “offered cash bounties to entice volunteers to join, and many young men went from county to county enlisting wherever a bounty was paid. They’d sign up, collect their bounty, and run off to another county to do it all over again.  That created more records.”

And draftees with the money who didn’t want to go to war, could hire themselves a substitute to take their place for $300. That created records too,” he continued.

While Pfannkuche noted that pension files and military service records may be found through the National Archives, he also encouraged researchers to investigate other federal records: the OR (Official Record of the Union and Confederate Armies in the Civil War), the ORN (Official Record of the Union and Confederate Navies in the Civil War, and the Roll of Honor: 1865-1923, which contains the official record of veterans’ burial places during those years.

But Pfannkuche also promoted checking county and state records as well when searching for a Civil War ancestor. “Most states have Adjutant Generals. Write to the Adjutant General of the state where your ancestor was discharged from. You may be told that  they’ve transferred their records to the state archives, but contact them anyway—maybe not all the records have been transferred.”

For those whose ancestors were in the Confederate Army, Pfannkuche suggested contacting the United Daughters of the Confederacy whose records are in Austin, TX.

But while the starting point for most Civil War researchers is often via keyboard, mouse, and the internet through genealogy and government websites, Pfannkuche encouraged his listeners to go much further than that.

There’s a treasure trove of resources beyond traditional federal records for learning more about those who played a part in one of the most significant chapter’s of our nation’s history, he professed.

“Don’t stop after seeking pension files and military records from traditional sources like the National Archives or state muster rolls. While they may provide the raw data—facts and figures—they don’t give the full story. There ARE other avenues to pursue in search of your Civil War ancestor,” he insisted.

His suggestions?

“GO! GO to the county where your ancestor served.  VISIT the area where your ancestor fought….where he was mustered in, or out.  If he fought at Shiloh, go to Shiloh!”

“Visit the local museums,” he encouraged. “Talk to the curators. Ask if they have  local regimental histories from the Civil War.  Read the diaries, journals and letters of soldiers from areas where your ancestor served. Read the historic newspapers of the day—in person, if possible—not all historical newspapers are online,” he pointed out.

“Examine the photo collections. Look at the artifacts. Review local histories that can’t be found in any other library or museum,” Pfannkuche continued. “Visit the local cemeteries, look at the monuments, examine the headstones. Most of these kinds of things aren’t indexed! You just won’t find them online.”

The program was one in a series of educational lectures being held at the DuPage County Historical Museum in recognition of the Civil War’s Sesquicentennial. Remaining programs include: Disease, Wounds, Hospitals and Hygiene: The Medical Side of the Civil War (October 8 from 1-2 pm); and Civil War Nurse Clara Barton (October 15, 11-2 pm).

An exhibit “DuPage County and the Civil War: A Local Perspective will also run at the museum through September 2012. Museum hours are 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. weekdays and noon to 4 p.m. Saturday and Sunday.  For more information about the programs or exhibit call (630) 510-4956.



Patricia Desmond Biallas, is a budding genealogist who began researching her family history two years ago. She is very much looking forward to her first research trip next week to the National Archives in Washington, D.C. where she hopes to obtain military records of her great-grandfather, William Donar, who served in both the 8th Regiment Illinois Infantry in 1861, and the 25th Regiment New York Infantry National Guard in 1862.

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Many DuPage County libraries have genealogy groups that meet monthly or most months of the year. Indian Prairie Library in Darien is one such library.

Their genealogy group meets the fourth Thursday of the month from 1:00 to 3:00. You can view their 2011 topic schedule here.  Our own Jeff Bockman will be speaking in September on Real Research on the Web.

The group is meeting this Thursday, June 23, in the meeting room. The topics are newspapers and scanners. The library is located at 401 Plainfield Road, Darien. I will be there. Will you?

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Have you heard about the amazing speakers that will be presenting during the 2011-2012 year for the DuPage County Genealogical Society? If not, here is the information. Be sure to check out our website for additional information.

DuPage County Genealogical Society Meetings

2011/2012 Programs

Time: Join us for light refreshments at 6:30 p.m.

Meeting and Program being at 7:00 p.m.


The September meeting will be held in the upstairs meeting room of the
DuPage County Historical Museum located at 102 E. Wesley Street, Wheaton, IL

The October through May meetings will be held in the lower level meeting room of the
Wheaton Public Library located at 225 N. Cross Street, Wheaton, IL



All programs are held on the third Wednesday of the month from September through May.


September 21, 2011

Using Non- Federal Civil War Records in Family History Research

Presented by Craig Pfannkuche


October 19, 2011

Social Networking: New Horizons for Genealogists

Presented by Thomas MacEntee


November 16, 2011

Discovering the Naperville Family History Center

Presented by Sandra Trapp


January 18, 2012

Visualizing your Genealogical Data: Excel, OneNote, Maps, Blogs

Presented by Jennifer Holik


February 25, 2012 at the Hilton Garden Inn

DCGS Annual Conference


March 21, 2012
Breaking Down a Brick Wall: A Case Study in Unlocking My Irish Ancestry

Presented by Nancy Thomas


April 18, 2012
Finding and Using Sanborn Maps

Presented by Jeffrey Bockman


May 16, 2012
From Land Records to Google Earth: Mapping Your Family’s Place

Presented by Jane Haldeman

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1940 census

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