Monday, March 16, 2015

Chris Vallillo to perform "Abraham Lincoln in Song"

Make your plans now!

Sunday, March 22, 2015 - 2:00 p.m.

Old Courthouse Museum
103 W. Cherry Street
Watseka, Illinois

The Iroquois County Historical Society is hosting Abraham Lincoln in Song, "a one man show created by award-winning folksinger and folklorist, Chris Vallillo to celebrate the 200th Anniversary of Abraham Lincoln’s birth.  Extensively researched and historically accurate, the program uses period music to look at our 16th President from a whole new angle ... The show covers Lincoln’s life from his birth on the Big South Fork of Nolan’s Creek in Kentucky in 1809 through his death in 1865 at the hand of John Wilkes Booth and lasts approximately 1 hour and fifteen minutes." (Source)

According to the web site,, "For Chris, a good song is as much a work of art as any painting or sculpture. His music has a timeless quality about it, with one foot in the past and one foot in the future."

Abraham Lincoln in Song reached #10 on Billboard’s Bluegrass Album Chart in 2008. The live show and CD are both endorsed by the Abraham Lincoln Bicentennial Commission.

“With Abraham Lincoln in Song, Chris Vallillo takes the audience on a musical journey, making history come alive!” -Phil Funkenbusch, Abraham Lincoln Presidential Museum

For more information, call The Iroquois County Historical Society at 815-432-2215, check their Facebook page at or email

"An astonishing piece of work...enlightening, exciting and entertaining!" -Rick Kogan, The Sunday Papers, WGN Radio

Wednesday, March 11, 2015

Great sites to learn about using the FREE!

We are three days into our free ONE-ON-ONE training sessions at Iroquois County Genealogical Society. (Still going through Saturday, March 14, 2015) I have had a great time. It's amazing how much you can learn just helping someone else learn. Love it and always will.

Sometimes you get a good start with those local resources found at your genealogical society archives or your state archives. Sometimes you get a good start by using online research sites. (Most of us probably do both of those things.)

One excellent online family research site is the FREE, and always will be FREE, site of the LDS church. You do not need to be a member of the church to take advantage of the "largest genealogy organization in the world."

All that, and they have some of the best online training resources ever. If you cannot make it to ICGS for our ONE-ON-ONE training sessions, you can find help in the following.

1 - Training Center - always FREE. You can link to the Learning Center for "hundreds of online genealogy courses to help you discover your family history." Search for specific topics or choose a lesson by place, skill level, subject, format and subject language.

Here's an example: Beginning training on Family Trees in
Free Training Videos

The View This Lesson link takes you to the FamilySearch Family Tree Curriculum page, where you can choose Levels One, Two or Three or training in the Android or iOS apps. Incredible resource, and this is only ONE topic. Some lessons have pdf handouts, videos and actual practice activities and worksheets. It's as though you are sitting in a classroom with a skilled instructor. You cannot help but learn.

2 - FamilySearch Research Wiki - new look, same great info

You may have been on the FamilySearch Wiki pages previously. The initial steps to get there have changed a bit, but the good stuff is still there.

From the FamilySearch home page, hover the cursor over SEARCH and choose Wiki.

This opens the new-look Family History Research Wiki. Remember, the concept of a "wiki" is collaboration, so on the right side of the window, you see links about how to add to the collaboration and creation of content pages. You are probably not there for that purpose right now, so don't click on those links.

You are here to learn more about searching your family history.

Family History Research Wiki
You need to use the clickable map or the search box to the left of the map to get to the research guides and information.

Just for fun, click North America on the map. There is the page you may be familiar with. Now choose United States, either by clicking the link or the next map. If that is not enough info to keep you happy and busy for a while, you already must know more than most of us.

We still have openings for participants in our free ONE-ON-ONE training sessions. Call and make an appointment. (815-432-3730)

We are here to help!

Thursday, March 5, 2015

One-On-One Training is Here! March 9-14, 2015

Have you ever wondered, do you really want to spend your hard-earned money on a premium online site to continue your family history search? Maybe you have a personal account on one of those sites, but you don't really know how to use it very well. Are there some free sites that may help you in your journey?
Iroquois County Genealogical Society volunteers are ready to help you gain some insight and experience in your online quest. Next week, March 9-14, 2015, we are having ONE-ON-ONE WEEK at the ICGS archives in the Old Courthouse Museum, 103 West Cherry Street, Watseka, IL. Bring your research questions and your curiosity. We'll sit down with you to see what we can all learn. If you already subscribe to a premium site, bring your login information and we can work from information you already have found. Either way, we are waiting to help.
A variety of premium sites can be explored:,,,,,,, a German immigration database site and Daughters of the American Revolution. We can also help with the free web site. (Oh, and we will have a sale on our print books for participants.)
This is a free service to help you in your family history journey. All we ask is that you call the ICGS office at 815-432-3730 or email us at to register. We are offering these in two-hour blocks of time (you may extend, if needed).

March 9-14, 2015
Monday through Saturday, 10:00 am - 4:00 pm.

See you soon!!