Family History Research

Illinois Regional Archives Depository – a wonderful resource

I am preparing to visit the Illinois Regional Archives Depository (IRAD) at Northern IL University on Monday to research for a client. When I visited the IRAD at Northeastern IL University a few weeks ago, my son and I were the only ones there. In the past I have always sent letters requesting record searches as I did not have time to run up for one record, but after experiencing the archives, it is a place I plan to utilize as much as possible.

In Illinois there are several IRAD branches that cover certain counties in the state.  You can view the IRAD Region Map and click on one of the branches (NEIU, NIU, WIU, ISU, UIS, EIU, SIU, to see which county records are held. The map is color coded by region.

To find out what records each repository holds you can click the blue bar on the left that says IRAD Local Government Records Database and click search. You can either search by county or repository or type of record.  The website says, This database provides a listing of the local governmental records held by the Illinois Regional Archives Depository (IRAD) system. Local governmental records include those from county, city, town, village, and township levels throughout Illinois. Numerous offices are represented from these levels. The record holdings of the IRAD system include over 5,400 different record series.

For each record series the following information is included: depository, accession number, title, county, beginning date and ending date.”

Many of the branches hold early birth, marriage and death records; naturalization records; probate and will records; in addition to local governmental records like court; license and permit registrations.

If you cannot visit an IRAD branch in person, you can write to them requesting up to two names to be researched at a time. They do charge a copy fee, minimum $1, even if they only copy one page. They will bill you when they send your copy(ies). They will also send sheets listing additional resources in the county(ies) you are researching.

IRAD is a wonderful system in the State of Illinois. Check it out if you have Illinois ancestors.

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The IDPF of James Privoznik

I took my oldest son to Springfield, IL to research at the State Archives and see the Lincoln sites. We had a great time and he learned a lot. We toured the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Museum and after seeing the show “The Ghost in the Library”, Drew had a greater appreciation and understanding of why I love history and researching our family. I think he’s hooked.

When we returned home I found a package from the National Archives. I received the Individual Deceased Personnel File (IDPF) for my cousin James Privoznik. If you have read my post about Frank Winkler and his IDPF or Michael Kokoska and his WWI Burial File, you know each person’s file contains different pieces of information. Some is the same and other information is different.

In James’s IDPF there are several letters between his mother Mary and the government asking about the return of his personal effects. Apparently they were never returned. It is possible there was nothing left to find to return. This IDPF does not tell me exactly how James was killed (as Michael’s Burial File described his death) but lists in the Report of Burial that the cause of death was HE Shell Lower Trunk and Thigh Mangled. The Report of Burial goes on to say he was temporarily buried in a US Military Cemetery in Hamm Luxembourg. Grave 265 Row 11. To his right was buried a man named SAKSVIG, Serial #36006616, Rank of CPL, 358th Infantry 90th Div Grave 264. To his left a man named CHANDLER, Serial #38282774, Rank of PVT, 358th Infantry 90th Div Grave 266.

As was the process and I believe still is the process, the government asks the family if they wish to have their loved ones remains returned to the US or buried in a permanent US Cemetery overseas. Mary indicated she wanted James buried in Luxembourg.  Family story says he wished to be buried where he fell. There is a Disinterment Directive to move his remains to the Luxembourg American Cemetery Plot E Row 15 Grave 75, reburied 15 December 1948. James died January 1945.  The Directive give information to confirm it is his body they are moving, gives a condition of the remains which seem to indicate his body was very badly damaged upon death. They buried him in his uniform and also indicate a flag was sent to his mother. A flag she would have received had the burial taken place in the US.

I did not know much about James until I received his IDPF. I now have a little more of an idea about who he was. Because the report contains his serial number I will now try to obtain records, if they still exist, at the NPRC in St. Louis. I will also start researching his unit for histories and information on him. And last, since I discovered the Chicago Tribune posted lists of men heading out for Army service for WWI, I will search the WWII time period to see if the same is true.

If you would like to see James’s grave, go to the American Battle Monuments Commission website and search the Cemeteries for Privoznik. There is a beautiful photo of his grave there. Take some time to look around and pay your respects to the other men and women who have given their lives for our country.

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Follow Friday – A little early

Tomorrow my son and I head to Springfield, Illinois to research so my Follow Friday is a little early. I’m not sure if I will have time to post it Friday while we are down there.

Blog Posts:

Long Lost Relatives.Net posted Thomas MacEntee’s Genealogy Blog Primer I quickly looked through the slide show and plan very soon to review the many links he provides. What a fantastic resource!

The We Tree Genealogy Blog posted An Overdue ProGen Update I am hoping to become part of the next ProGen Study Group and love reading Amy’s posts on her ProGen Study Group.

Sassy Jane Genealogy posted Cook County Illinois Naturalization Index Online I knew about this database and have used it frequently. The one thing I did not know is that many of the records were destroyed. Good thing to know if I absolutely cannot locate a record, it may have been destroyed.

There are no new blogs to discuss. I have been so busy working on my Narrative Lineage  and preparing to go to Springfield that I have only had time to keep up with the blogs I follow the last two weeks.

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Follow Friday – Great Blog Posts

There is a new blog I came across on the Illinois State Genealogical Society Blog called Chicago History Celebrating the Unique History and Culture of Chicago through Vintage Images. If you love Chicago History, take a look.

This week I read several great blog posts I would like to share with you.

Pawprints Guiding Me to the Past – Money Saving tips for requesting records. Melissa gives great tips on how to do genealogy without spending a lot of money.

Sassy Jane Genealogy – Tombstone Tuesday – Lt. George W. Owen Jr. This post has many great resources for obtaining WWII records. Read the comments for an additional source.

Dr. Bill Tell’s Ancestor Stories – Worldless (Nearly) Wednesday – Slate to Kindle. I love reading Dr. Bill’s posts and this one drew an interesting parallel between the old school slates to the new Kindle’s on the market today. This post reminded me to not only look at the “old” but “new” as well and try to make other connections like this.

AnceStories: The Stories of my Ancestors – FamilySearch Record Search News. Have you used FamilySearch yet? If not, they are adding many new records on a consistent basis. Check them out regularly because you might find something interesting that wasn’t there before!