Researching is not easy, that is why it is called a journey

First, have you visited the library-of-congress-logo

We have a family reunion photo of my grandfather and others, and on the back it states, Family Reunion, Illinois.

Many of my family are from Nebraska and Idaho, so this is a ‘clue’ to do some more searching.

I went to: usagov_logo1

and clicked on Illinois.

The genealogical website that opened was: Illinois

It gave the hours and the many subjects to research, alas, no how to contact info. What to do?

The link at the top, went to a site with a phone number, and a link to Archives, which opened another page to a form to fill out. This is great, forms that are sent can help tremendously. Today, however, I was looking for something that would not take 4 days – it is Friday and by the time a person on the other end would be able to do anything would be Monday, most likely.

There were three links at the bottom of the Illinois page, so I clicked on each of them.

  1. The first was a similar, but more in-depth page to the contact page I just mentioned.
  2. The second was “The Sangamon Valley Collection (SVC), located on the third floor of Lincoln Library, provides in-depth resources for the study of Springfield, Illinois, Sangamon County and the eleven adjacent counties. The collection, established in 1970, contains materials from the past and present. The Sangamon Valley Collection closes at 1 p.m. on Fridays. Regular library hours are observed all other days.” Did you see they close at 1p.m. on Friday and I am sure that is not Pacific time ~ always keep time zones in mind when calling or emailing.
  3. The third link was a 404, page not found, but I was able to click on the icon at the top and got to the website for the Lincoln Library.

What I do next, depends on what I am searching for. In this instance I am going to search for a link between my grandfather and other family members in Illinois. I have no idea what town or county to narrow it down to, so now what?

What do I know already? This is the question to ask when you have a proverbial fork in the road, always ask what do I know already.

I know that my grandfather was born in Lincoln county, Illinois. (Still don’t know how his family got to Illinois, but that is separate journey from this one, or so I think at the moment).

For now I won’t use link #3

I will use link #1 to gather more information. I have found that forms may take some time for a reply back, which is okay. Sometimes the person doing the research looks in other places than where you will look and this gives you another resource to either check off the list as a dead end right now, or as a found it! and can follow that lead.

Link #2 is what I am going to follow today, because link #1 is now in the hands of someone local . Since I have started this journey, I can go on to more research.

(about filling out forms, avoid words like ‘he’ or ‘she’ or ‘they’ or ‘him’ or ‘her’ of ‘them’, use names in all instances. for example:

We have a photo of my grandfather and others on the back it states Clarke Family Reunion, Illinois.

We (think that we) know that my grandfather [insert name here] was born in Illinois.  Logan, Illinois, or Champaign Illinois. His {insert name here] dad was [insert name here] and his mother was [insert name here] pronounced [this is good to do, if you think the pronunciation is usually different than the spelling), on 22 April ****. [insert name here] (called by his middle name Frank) and Lenora were married in Illinois on ** October (yes spell out the month’s name to avoid any confusion by the reader, their eyes get tired too) **** in Logan County, Illinois – (uh oh, that is something I never paid attention to before. Oct to April is only 6 months. Do I have the dates correct? I will double check). No it must be 1882, because his first wife [insert name here] died in Jul 1882 and they were not living together for some time already-but that is a whole different story.

In the meantime – We know grandpa [insert name here] had a [insert name here] as a cousin, and that they all called (this is where you can put nick names or variations of names a relative may have been called), and [insert name here] [yes, again, so they know if you are talking about the grandfather or the uncle] was born ** Jul **** either in Mercer County, New Jersey or in Illinois, we have not confirmed the birth place.

>>>Here I added more info about the cousins dad and mom, marriage date, birth dates and places, so the research can make sure he/she is following the correct people<<<

Next I put the reason for finding this information: We want to find our families connection to Illinois.”

You may notice that IRAD had a link and so I followed that and it took me to a contact for the specific county for my family, I had copied and pasted the above info into the contact form for that county. Cover as many avenues as you can to find what you are after, there may be more than one way to get to the information you are looking for.

On to Link #2, and after a few phone calls to Logan county researching and a few emails I will have to wait for them to do some researching and email me back.

Note on emails– I have an email that is simple to write when someone hears it. I always spell it after I say it, that makes less confusion and assures that a typo or misspelling is averted and I am not waiting for an email that will never get to me. When you can leave more than an email, leave a phone number or two so that if one way of contacting you doesn’t work, the person you are talking with or contacting can have an alternative to get back to you. Some research can take quite a bit of time, so if you forget, or you wonder why you haven’t received any information, perhaps it was a misunderstanding of your email address and that could be frustrating.

Now I wait and do some more online looking as much as I can and then take a break. Stand up and stretch, walk around the room, get a drink of water, have a bite to eat, refresh yourself before you sit down and continue on your amazing journey to connect with your ancestors.

Published by humblegenealogist @ we do the digging so you can enjoy the tree

Starting in 1970, the experience and journey has created well-seasoned researching techniques. Current and active participation in continuing education, staying up to date with technology, and including weekly contact with other professional genealogists: including family historians, genealogy clubs and historical societies, keeps the knowledge and ongoing learning in an ever changing world up to date.

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