Monday, November 23, 2015

The Great Thanksgiving Listen

The holidays are the perfect time to learn more about your family history and StoryCorps wants you to interview your relatives this Thanksgiving as part of the Great Thanksgiving Listen. Download the StoryCorps app which will help you select questions, record your interview and upload it to the StoryCorps archive in the American Folklife Center at the Library of Congress.

StoryCorps is specifically encouraging students to interview their older relatives this Thanksgiving but all ages are welcome to use the app and upload their interviews.

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Common People by Alison Light

If you need inspiration on how to write a good family history, I highly recommend Common People: In Pursuit of My Ancestors by Alison Light. It is exactly what a family history should be.

Light recounts the history of her family not just through anecdotes and data taken from census records but she recreates the world of the working poor in which her family lived. She researches workhouses, insane asylums, slums, and pauper’s graves. She describes the lives of bricklayers, Baptist preachers, domestic servants, and those in the navy. She reads local histories to understand how the geography of a place shaped her ancestors’ lives. Through Light’s research, she gains a better understanding of her ancestors and the worlds they inhabited.

I’ve always felt that while doing genealogy, you learn just as much about the history of society by the records your family leaves behind as you do about your ancestors--and sometimes, you may end up learning more about society than you do about your own family. Light demonstrates that genealogy is more than just names and dates but is really about bringing to light the lives of the “common people” and how politics, wars, religion and geography have affected the lives of everyday citizens.

This book also demonstrates why it's important to read local histories and to do your historical research while doing genealogy!

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

Glenview Veterans' Oral History Project

The Glenview Veterans Oral History Project was a collaboration between the library and Glenbrook South High School. Glenbrook students interviewed local veterans at the library between 2009 and 2010. These oral histories are now available for you to watch on YouTube.

Happy Veteran's Day.!

Sunday, November 8, 2015


Come learn about HeritageQuest this Wednesday at 10 AM. HeritageQuest is a great basic database for beginning genealogists. Find great local and family histories, military records, and censuses with this library resource that you can use from home!

Register online or call the Reference Desk at 847-729-7500.

Thursday, November 5, 2015

Local Author Fair

The library is hosting a local author fair this Saturday from 11 AM - 2 PM. There are a couple of drop-in sessions that may be of interest to family historians.

If you're interested in putting together an oral history project:

Storytelling from the Oral to the Written
Members of the Alliance Fran├žaise du North Shore
12:45 PM-1:30 PM • Youth Program Room

Everyone has a story to tell, but for those personal stories to be remembered and preserved, they have to be purposefully recalled, communicated, and recorded. The presenters, whose contributions to a video and print project as interviewer, narrator, transcriber, translator, and editor, will reflect on the interactive and collaborative process of engaging with multiple narrators and their personal stories. Their work to capture the first-hand experiences of children and young adults during World War II can easily be adapted to other themes and objectives, perhaps, to preserve family stories. Presenters: Margot Steinhart, William Sand, and Denise Rano.

If you need to figure out how to get that family history published:

Sharing Your Story: Tips on Getting Your Writing Published
Dina Silver
1:30-2 PM • Multipurpose Room

Learn about the world of self-publishing and how to transition from self-publishing to traditional publishing from an author who has been successful with both.

You can also meet and talk with local authors (including local historian Bev Dawson) in the Community Room.

Tuesday, November 3, 2015

Glenview & Explore Chicago Collections

Chicago Public Library just unveiled their new Chicago archives portal, Explore Chicago Collections. You can easily search several Chicago-area archives from one site. This is a great new local history or genealogy tool!

There are even some great old photographs available online for Glenview. Here's a sampling:

From the Chicago Daily News, ca. 1917; collection: DN-0068864

Image of a man drinking from the bear fountain originally located at Glenview Road and Pine Street in Glenview, Illinois. Edwin S. Jackman dedicated the fountain at the first Glenview Day on September 15, 1917. The fountain is presently located east of the former village hall, now the Park District building in Jackman Park.

Forest Preserve District of Cook County Records
Forest Preserve District of Cook County Records
Two photographic from the Forest Preserve District of Cook County of a Picnic at Small Harms Woods, Glenview Preserve, ca. 1900-1925.

From the Chicago Daily News, 1912; collection: SDN-057775
Caddies holding golf bags in front of them, standing in front of a canopy on the grounds of the Glen View Golf Club in 1912.

Thursday, October 29, 2015

Surname Meanings and History

Understanding the history of your ancestors' surnames may help you with your genealogy research and can give you a clue as to your ancestors' lives.

Most surnames fall into four categories:
  • Descendants/Given names -- prefixes or suffixes are added to a given name to establish a relationship. e.g. Anderson, O'Connor, Fitzgerald, MacDonald.
  • Occupational names -- indicates a person's career. e.g. Baker, Brewer, Miller, Smith.
  • Geographic or location names -- derived from where a person lived. This could be a place name, e.g. London, or describe the landscape, e.g. Hill, Pond.  
  • Nicknames or descriptive names -- suggest a person's distinguishing characteristic, e.g. Short, Brown, Long, Fairchild.
Name dictionaries use historical documents to trace a name throughout history. Several of the dictionaries in the Genealogy & Local History Room can tell you a name's meaning and etymology and may help you place the name in historical and geographical context.

Some of the best dictionaries for American name research include:

Also look for dictionaries for your specific ethnic group. For example: 

Look for more name dictionaries in the Genealogy & Local History Room.

Wednesday, October 21, 2015

The National Archives Virtual Genealogy Fair

The National Archives Virtual Genealogy Fair is happening today and tomorrow.

Check out the session schedule and download class handouts and you can watch the live stream on YouTube.

If you can't follow the live stream, the sessions will be archived and available for you to watch whenever you like. Follow NARA's YouTube page for more genealogy videos!

Monday, October 19, 2015

Getting Started with Ancestry

Learn the basics of on Tuesday, October 27 at 10 AM.  Discover how to easily navigate our most popular genealogy database.

Register online or call the Reference Desk at 847-729-7500.

Monday, October 12, 2015

How to Research Hispanic Ancestors When You Don't Speak Spanish

Do you want to research your Hispanic ancestors but do not speak Spanish? There's an article on the
GenealogyBank Blog about how to get started doing research in Spanish.

You will also want to consult the Spanish Genealogical Word List on the FamilySearch Wiki. And don't forget to take advantage of Google Translate.

Buena suerte!