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Join us at the DuPage County Genealogical Society’s 2014 Conference on February 15, register today.
Originally published-DCGS eNEWSLETTER, OCTOBER 2013, VOLUME 5 ISSUE 5
Carol’s Living Story by Caron Primas Brennan
I won a raffle prize at the DuPage County Genealogical Society’s Annual Conference in St. Charles, Illinois on February 23, 2013. My prize was a Living Story for the subject of my choosing by Janette Quinn of LivingStories.us. In May 2013, I asked her to work with my mother Carol (Koepke) Primas and write her story.
Janette met with Mom twice to interview and digitally record her memories in her Lombard home. I provided many family pictures and documents to help stimulate Mom’s memory (she is 82 and still pretty sharp!) for the interviews. Janette used the family history and photos and also conducted independent research about the places, people, activities and circumstances of Mom’s life. She also encouraged Mom’s own writing about memories and messages she considers to be most important. Finally, Janette melded interviews, research and musings into an almost 50-page book.
My sisters and I were anxious to hear what Mom had to say. While I provided old family pictures, my sisters sent her questions they wanted answered and other suggestions. Even though Dad is no longer with us, there was a lot of his information in the book as well. Mom and Dad had been married over 50 years when he died and had a lot of history together.
We received the final copy a few weeks ago. It is wonderful! Mom has read it several times and we have shared it with other family members. Mom’s brother Dick passed away in 2002. His children were grateful to hear about his childhood through Mom’s story.
From my perspective, it was a great family bonding experience. I think Mom was a bit more open with an “objective third party” listening and taking notes than she would have been with a daughter. It stimulated discussions with all the children about other family members which never made it into the book. The younger generations learned about things they might not have otherwise known – like as kids, Mom and Dick jumping on the bed and breaking it. It is a great legacy. We had copies made for all the daughters and there are enough copies that each grandchild will have one of their own.
After reading it, we are already planning additional “chapters”. It was also noted that while Mom talked about daughters and grandchildren, no mention was made of son-in-laws! We also decided we would like more pictures – but we are a picture-oriented family.
We as a family agree this would be a wonderful experience for all families! Thank you to DCGS and Janette for this great gift!
LivingStories.us is a member of the Association of Personal Historians and the Association of Senior Service Providers. Its principal, Janette Quinn, lost both of her parents at ages 55 and 60 to cancer on September 17, 1973 when she was 18. Her personal and corporate mission is to preserve families’ most valuable assets, the stories of elders in their own words, before it’s too late. She holds a B.S. in journalism from Northern Illinois University and an M.S. in management consulting from DePaul University.
DCGS is celebrating 40 yrs 1974-2014
The DuPage County Genealogical Society was founded in 1974 as the Lombard Suburban Genealogical Society. In May 1981, the Society moved its reference collection to the Wheaton Public Library (WPL.) We have has continued to contribute to its genealogical collection over the years, helping it to become one of the premiere genealogical research locations of the Chicago suburbs.
Join us at this year’s Conference on February15, 2014 in St. Charles, IL.
We have added new content to our Research Resources.
DuPage Families is a collection of cemetery readings and tombstone photographs. Individuals are connected to families as that information is available. Additional information on the individuals and families may be added at anytime.
You can search local cemeteries, individuals, and surnames.
The project is virtually limitless in scope and growth potential. If you have questions or comments, or would like to volunteer to help with data collection and/or entry, please contact Carolee, the DCGS DuPage Families Administrator at email@example.com.
October is National Family History Month
It’s a great time to get started with one of these ideas.
Or make a plan for the coming year to start them all.
1) Write and share a story about one of your ancestors.
2) Plan a research trip.
3) Record the history of your family heirlooms, what’s their origin, how did you get them.
4) Create a family health history.
5) Search collateral lines, focus on an ancestor’s siblings for additional records that benefit your research.
6) Interview a family member.
7) Try a new app for your mobile device and home computer like Dropbox or Evernote.
8) Have your DNA tested.
9) Create a migration map, show where your ancestors lived by creating your own Google map.
10) Send copies of your family tree to your siblings, nieces/nephews, cousins, etc.
11) Make connections by starting a family a blog or Facebook group.
12) Become a Family Search indexer.
13) Cook up some family recipes with stories that go with them; start a family cookbook.
14) Visit a new repository or cemetery.
15) Learn something new – find a program or conference to attend.
16) Use timelines to analyze your findings.
17) Don’t forget to write stories about your life.
I was trying to catch up on my blog reading and read a post on Amanda’s Anaetheum called “It’s Monday! What Are You Reading? Cruise Reads.” Amanda posted as she was about to embark on the Legacy Family History Cruise.
What am I reading? I just finished Nicholas Sparks’s The Best of Me. Get your tissues out if you decide to read that one. Major Pettigrew’s Last Stand is sitting on my desk now ready to read.
Genealogy books I’m reading include Getting the Most Out of RootsMagic 4 and Finding Italian Roots.
So I wonder what you are reading this week. Post your book list in the comments. They can be genealogy or non-genealogy related books.
- Follow Friday – Tony’s Genealogy Blog (generationsbiz.com)
- Follow Friday – Chicagoland Library Genealogy Groups (chicagofamilyhistory.wordpress.com)
- Genealogy Author David R. Dowell to Visit Chicago (examiner.com)
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.
“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.
- 2012 Conference Tracking Your Ancestors’ Footsteps (dupagecountygenealogicalsociety.wordpress.com)
- Genealogical & Historical Societies Need To Provide Benefits For Distance Members (generationsbiz.com)
The DuPage County (IL) Genealogical Society was featured in two posts this week on Tony’s Genealogy Blog.
Do you read Tony’s Genealogy Blog? Tony Kierna is the Genealogy Coordinator for the Schaumburg Township District Library. He also runs the genealogy blog. The library has a genealogy meeting each month on the 2nd Tuesday of the month. A list of meeting topics can be found here.
Check out Tony’s Genealogy Blog and expand your genealogical horizons.
- Tuesday’s Tip – Attend a Library Genealogy Group Meeting (dupagecountygenealogicalsociety.wordpress.com)