Local History and Genealogy Blog

Rest in Peace Steve Burgess

Friend of the Archives Steve Burgess passed away suddenly on Friday, November 22, 2013. Deepest sympathy to his family and friends.

Steve was on a journey to honor his father, James R. Burgess, Jr., who was the first Champaign County African American State's Attorney and also a lieutenant in the 761st Tank Batallion under George Patton in WW II. Steve's mission was to have a federal building named for his father.

May his mission be accomplished.

Pinning Down Your Family History: How Pinterest can help you display, organize, and share your family and community history

Want to learn creative ways to make your family history more accessible? Interested in participating in a local community online “pinboard?” This program will give you the skills you need to confidently use Pinterest to compliment your family history and local history research. Participants will learn the basics of Pinterest, as well as how to effectively share and organize family photos, memories, and documents.

Try-It Illinois

It's that time of year again!

For the next two months, October 1-November 30, 2013, Try-It! Illinois offers library staff and users of the more than 5,000 ILLINET member libraries the opportunity to survey and evaluate a wide variety of electronic resources. Thanks to the partnerships between the Illinois State Library and the participating electronic resource vendors, there is no charge for accessing these databases during Try-It! Illinois.

Ellis Island, Castle Garden, Customs, and the Old Barge

We all learned as school children how our immigrant ancestors came to America through Ellis Island. The real story about where and when immigrants entered the United States is much more complicated than the story we grew up with. Ellis Island was a New York gateway for the arrival of U.S. immigrants from roughly 1892 to 1924. Although it was by far the largest port of entry and millions arrived during that time, it was one of many ways to enter the United States.