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British Interest Group of Wisconsin and Illinois

Where and when we meet:

BIGWILL’s meetings are held at:
The Community Church
5714 Broadway St.
(two blocks west of U.S. Route 12)
Richmond, Illinois

10am until noon on the third Saturday of the months of
January, March, May, July, September and November.
Visitors as well as members are always welcome. Refreshments are available for a donation at each meeting.

Getting to the Church On Time (village map)

“A” on the map above marks the location of the Community Church

Marching toward Richmond (area map)

Surrounding Area

Upcoming meeting dates and topics:

See the BIGWILL November-March bad weather meeting cancellation policy near the bottom of this web page

18 March 2017: “The Borderers” will be presented by Jackie Torrance. Jackie is president of the Scottish Genealogy Group of the Illinois Saint Andrew Society and a past officer of BIGWILL.
Photo of Jackie Torrance The people of the Borders of Scotland have a unique place in Scottish history. After a brief overview of the topography and settlement of the region, the focus will center around the 15th and 16th centuries, culminating in Scotland’s King James XI becoming King of England as well.

20 May 2017: Two talks will be presented by Tina Beaird.
Photo of Tina Beaird “Scotland’s Resources: There’s More to Scottish Research than Scotland’s People”
Scottish immigrants fled their ancestral lands for different reasons. Tina will talk about three distinct settlements; Tamarack, Argyle, and Lost Prairie, and discuss the reasons behind leaving Scotland and arriving in Illinois.
“Scottish Chain Migration to Illinois: Three Case Studies”
There are dozens of sites available to help you in your Scottish research. is just the tip of the iceberg of Scottish research that is available to you from “across the pond.”

15 July 2017: “Findmypast British Records” will be presented by well-known regional speaker Maureen Brady, a professional genealogist, owner of Bare Roots Genealogical Services, and the president of BIGWILL.
Photo of Maureen Brady is a comprehensive website with an ever-growing list of databases and images for British family history research. This presentation will include a review some of those resources, as well as search techniques and a case study of a British soldier of the Napoleonic era.

16 September 2017: “Mapping the Past: Navigating Your Family History with Maps” will be presented by Daniel Hubbard.
Photo of Daniel HubbardDan looks at different types of maps and how to use them to understand your ancestors’ towns and migrations, changing borders and extracting data and even names from maps.

18 November 2017: “Irish Resources” will be presented by well-known regional speaker Maureen Brady, a professional genealogist, owner of Bare Roots Genealogical Services, and the president of BIGWILL.
Photo of Maureen Brady For those whose family origins are in Ireland, family history research has “taken off” during the last several years, with many records and indices now available on the Internet. This presentation will review many of the websites and the resources which are now available to assist you in your Irish family history research.

Handouts from some earlier BIGWILL meetings:
Photo Retouching in Genealogical Research, by Larry L. Pepper (17 March 2012).
Handout (4 pages)
Quaker Family History Research, by Maureen Brady (18 May 2013). Handout (4 pages)
The First Frontiersmen: The Scots-Irish, by Maureen Brady (18 May 2013). Handout (4 pages)
Using National Archives Administrative Records For Genealogy, by Joan Kitchen Murray (16 November 2013). Handout (2 pages)
Being Legal: Citing Sources and Following Copyright Laws, by Ann Wells (15 November 2014). Bibliography (1 page)
Skeletons in our Closets: Researching a Family Scandal / Some Sources for Online Historical Newspapers, by Robin B. Seidenberg (16 July 2016). Bibliography (2 pages)
Preserving Family Heirlooms, by Tina Beaird (17 September 2016). Photo Preservation booklet (7 pages); Preserving Family Heirlooms (14 PowerPoint “slides”); Preserving Family Heirlooms booklet (5 pages)

The BIGWILL November-March bad weather meeting cancellation policy

BIGWILL recognizes that occasionally roads may be dangerously icy or snow-covered on our winter-time meeting days. Meetings will only be cancelled if law enforcement advises us of hazardous driving conditions in the Richmond area. We will attempt to have cancellations aired on WGN (AM 720) and other area radio stations, but there is no guarantee. You may check on the meeting status up until 8:45 a.m. on meeting days by calling Prudy Sullivan at (262)325-1539. You can also check this website for last-minute meeting cancellation notices.

What would you like to hear about? What would you like to talk about?

BIGWILL is always on the lookout for program ideas, and Roger Higgs is our chief scout. Have you taken a trip to England, Ireland, Scotland, Wales, the Channel Islands or the Isle of Man? If so, consider giving a presentation to BIGWILL about what you saw and did. Have you heard a good talk at some other society’s meeting which was related to British Isles research? Or do you just know a topic you’d like to learn more about, even if you don’t know who could give a presentation on the topic? If your answer is “Yes” to any of these questions, help put Roger hot on the trail of another BIGWILL meeting topic. You can contact him by e-mail or in person at almost any BIGWILL meeting. You can make a difference!

Want to be reminded of what programs BIGWILL has had in the past?

Click here to view a listing of all programs from its very beginning through mid-2012.

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This site is maintained by Rollie Littlewood
This page was last modified on 1 March 2017