BY MARY ELLEN TAYLOR
HOLCOMB - Local genealogist Doris Vogel is passing the torch of historical research on to others after decades of collecting information, teaching genealogical research classes at Rock Valley College, presenting programs throughout northern Illinois, and forming the Ogle County Genealogy Society.
"I've worked with people doing my own research and for others for 66 years. I started in 1939 trying to prove my grandmother's hand-down stories were true," Vogel said.
And prove them she did - all the way back to John Smith's arrival in America in 1607. Through her research she discovered four sets of grandparents came on the Mayflower and that her family had connections with Washington, Lincoln, Lee, and Susan B. Anthony.
Those seeking information of their own heritage may now research her documents, which include vast amounts of information on Rochelle and Ogle County, via public avenues such as the Flagg-Rochelle Public Library and the Ogle County Historical Society Museum Library at Oregon to whom she donated her materials.
"It's a huge collection, many of which would be difficult to get a hold of so it's great to have access to these, not just for local people, but also for those who call or travel researching their history," said Connie Avery, Children's Librarian at the Flagg-Rochelle Public Library. "Doris has everything in order and organized, and it's so well taken care of that if was very easy for us to add it to our collection."
A portion of the collection Vogel donated to the Rochelle library includes 1,420 query letters that the genealogist researched and answered - all of which have been organized and cross-referenced for future use and pertain to Ogle and its surrounding counties.
Vogel donated duplicate books and information that the Flagg-Rochelle Library already had to the Ogle County Historical Society for its Ruby Nash Museum in Oregon.
"We at the Ruby Nash Museum in Oregon appreciate the historical and genealogical papers received from Doris Vogel, a former Ogle County Historical Society president, and especially her donation of artifacts related to her son's service in the Viet Nam War," said Beth Simeone, Curator of the Ruby Nash Museum.
Vogel's family lineage books went to the Adair County Historical Museum in Greenfield, Iowa, where she said both her parent's grandparents settled when Iowa was two years old.
"I wanted the books in a safe place where they could be seen and used," Vogel said. "It's exciting to know that it's going to be used and enjoyed."
Toni Mace, curator of the Adair County Museum, said the collection of 64 notebooks preserved in archival plastic was wonderful.
"They're very nice and must have taken a long time and a lot of money to get such organized books," Mace said. "She did a beautiful job."
Vogel will be selling her final archival copy of Rochelle/Ogle County history at an upcoming garage sale in July.
Despite all the assistance she offered others, Vogel never charged and only occasionally accepted donations.
"It cost $400 to get certified and they said I was to charge $25 an hour - why I would have been a millionaire!" Vogel said. "But I had too much fun doing it and meeting people to charge for it. It kept me out of mischief."
Though she researched the past, Vogel is firmly in the present and looking to the future.
"I'll be 85 the last day of December," Vogel said when asked her age. "Since I'm no longer a genealogist, I'm going to start writing my memoirs. The kids have been after me and I've had the books laid out for years "
From June 2007 issue of the Rochelle News-Leader Newspaper
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