Links, 5.17.10

This week’s links pay tribute to a couple of interesting volunteer initiatives — plus we have genealogy classes in Ireland and advice for finding celebrities.

Southern Illinois obituaries: Wow — more than 10,000 obituaries and death notices are indexed in a recently launched database by the Genealogy Society of Southern Illinois. Obituaries and Death Notices in the Jonesboro Gazette lists names and dates of death, year by year, and is keyword searchable. To read the full obituaries you’d have to either consult the microfilmed holdings of the Gazette at Southern Illinois University in Carbondale, or order a copy (for a fee) from the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library in Springfield. The details are on the main database page. (h/t to Linda Rush at The

Cemetery struggles: It’s either feast or famine with old cemeteries in built-out areas — either they’re centerpieces of a historic district or struggling under siege from vandals and the ravages of time. This one a few miles from where I grew up is one of the latter, but historical preservationists are trying hard to turn things around. As Mark Spivey of the Courier-News reports, Evergreen Cemetery in Plainfield, NJ has great historic interest, containing graves of many of the area’s Revolutionary War-era families, along with Civil War veterans. It also contains a 300-year-old white ash tree, said to be planted by the town’s founders. It’s good to hear about a coalition of groups raising awareness about its importance.

Summer school in Ulster: If your genealogy quest takes you to Northern Ireland, you might be interested in the Ulster History & Genealogy Summer School, a joint offering of the Ulster Historical Foundation and the University of Ulster. It runs from June 20-26 at the university’s Belfast campus, and offers opportunities to explore major repositories with assistance from the Historical Foundation’s researchers.

Finding famous ancestors: This is one of those genealogy topics that makes me cringe, since it feeds into the annoying stereotype that all genealogy hobbyists are chasing after royalty or celebrities. Happily, this article is just straightforward advice on how to follow up on family traditions that claim links to famous people. Because sometimes those family traditions might be (gasp!) on the level.

Today in 1875, the first Kentucky Derby was run in Louisville, KY. Hope your week gets off to a running start today.


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