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Let’s Talk Genealogy Discussions

Tidbits and Take-away from Recent Let’s Talk Genealogy Meet-ups.

Click here for upcoming events.

May 23, 2024

  • Use of AI for handwritten text recognition
  • Preparing for a research trip in the ancestor’s homeland

April 27, 2024

  • Find the date and port of arrival for an ancestor who lived in several places, died after 1900, and served in the Civil War: Search all the same resources for his siblings as you would for the soldier; obtain the man’s Civil War Pension Files for places he lived after the War; and compile a list of family and associates mentioned therein. Here is the Anatomy of a Civil War Pension File (PDF).
  • Document a family’s farmland back to the land’s first purchase by the family to fulfill a requirement of the Illinois Department of Agriculture Centennial Farm program. Instructions on tracking a piece of land backwards to the earliest date a parcel came into the family were offered.
  • If you know the land description and just want to see who first purchased it from the federal government, search by the land description on the Illinois State Archives website.

March 28, 2024

  • Toured the Archives microfilm locations for church records, deed indexes, obituary indexes, newspapers, and probate case files.

February 22, 2024

  • Comparisons of genealogy software products which organize inherited family files (one such example:
    Hands-in collaboration

    courtesy of

  • Before posting anything online, understand a site’s Terms, Agreements, and Privacy rules. For example, who owns the data once it is uploaded, will the data be altered or combined with other data without contacting you?
  • Recommendation: Use a software program that stores information on your computer rather than on a website. Some programs incorporate a site’s data in your software without posting to its website.
  • Obtain written consent from each living person you wish to include in a family tree, whether only for yourself, “just for family” or publication (online or in print). This provides some degree of protection if distributed to family and others. A parent may give consent for themselves but not their children!
  • Photos and copyright; DNA; referred to
  • What happens to a priest’s personal belongings after death? Do surviving relatives receive them? (Contact the man’s religious governing body.)
  • Tips to identify the mother of a woman who was born at a home / charitable institution for unwed mothers (If a religious or community group sponsored/oversaw the institution, are the records archived somewhere?)
  • Good starting places for research in a new location ( ; a genealogy society in the county of interest; a county or state research guide)
  • Illinois State Prairie Pioneer Certificate Program (See Projects and Initiatives at

January 25, 2024

  • How to get copies of a court document which partitioned land among the heirs
  • Area residents who went to the California gold fields in the 1840s, 1850s,
  • Artificial intelligence for genealogists,
  • Trying to overcome writer’s block.

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