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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:

19 July 2014: “New Developments at” will be presented by well-known regional speaker Maureen Brady, a professional genealogist, BIGWILL president, Director of the Crystal Lake, Illinois, and Buffalo Grove, Illlinois, Family History Centers, and owner of Bare Roots Genealogical Services.
Photo of Maureen Brady Maureen Brady’s presentation will be an overview of the newest developments and also some successful research strategies for users of FamilySearch®, a free website sponsored by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, provides family history researchers with access to original historical records from around the world, indexes linked directly to many of those records, an ever-growing genealogical “encyclopedia,” instructional videos and much more. A constantly changing website, it is sometimes a challenge to be “up to speed” about the many resources found at FamilySearch®.

20 September 2014:Looking for Love in All the Wrong Places: The Search for Marriage Records” and “New Tools for Finding Old Stuff” will be presented by Ginger Frere.
Photo of Ginger Frere You’ve looked through civil records and you’ve looked through church records. What else should you do if you simply can't find your ancestor’s marriage records? In the United States, the requirements for a valid marriage have changed over time and varied from state to state. Today couples in a hurry might rush off to Las Vegas. During the late 1800s and early 1900s, numerous towns across the nation were known as “marriage mills” or “Gretna Greens.” Learn about some of these locations and find out why you might be looking for marriage records in the wrong place.

Technology is changing the face of genealogy. Come take a look at some new online tools and techniques for finding our elusive ancestors. Bing, iPhone apps, software “to-go,” current maps overlain by historic maps, online classes, digital libraries, wikis and more! Learn how these tools can enhance your genealogical bag of tricks.

17 January 2015: “7 Habits of Highly Frugal Genealogists” will be presented by Thomas MacEntee.
Photo of Thomas MacEntee Learn how savvy genealogists are finding success with seven basic habits of frugality. You’ll not only find a list of key resources but more importantly you’ll learn how to embrace the “mind set” of finding the best ways to save money while researching your ancestors.
This presentation was given live on the web on 2 April 2014; it is being given to BIGWILL as a recorded webinar.

21 March 2015: “Using DNA Testing for Genealogical Purposes” will be presented by David Higgs.
Photo of David Higgs

19 September 2015: Debra Dudek will give two presentations: “Victorian Mourning Customs – Lifting the Veil off Morbid Genealogical Treasures” and “Crime, Prison, and Punishment: Researching UK Criminal and Prisoner Records Online and at the National Archives.”
Photo of Debra Dudek The Victorian mourning customs talk gives attendees a glimpse into the customs and rituals of death in Victorian Britain and North America. Genealogists can thank the Victorians for the ‘cult of mourning’ which generated a fantastic assortment of keepsakes, mementos, and paperwork. Discover how these materials and the cultural attitudes toward grief can be researched with the help of modern tools and new resources.
Whether by choice or circumstance, some of your ancestors may have found themselves on the wrong side of the law. The vast array of criminal and prison records available online and at the National Archives in Kew can offer researchers a great deal of information for their ancestors in a pre-census world; these will be examined in the crime talk.
There will be lunch provided ($10 fee) between the two presentations.

14 November 2015: Note the unusual date – one week earlier than usual Jeanne Larzalere Bloom will be the speaker. Topic TBA

16 January 2016: Speaker and topic TBA

19 March 2016: Speaker and topic TBA

21 May 2016: Speaker and topic TBA

16 July 2016: Speaker and topic TBA

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)

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

BIGWILL is always on the lookout for program ideas, and Margaret Zook 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 Margaret hot on the trail of another BIGWILL meeting topic. You can contact her by e-mail, by phone (at 708-703-6996), 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 4 September 2015