Archiving Your Digital Family History Files (#1): Find Your Digital “Stuff”

This is part two of a five-part blog series about organizing and preserving your digital genealogy files. Read the introduction here.

I started doing family history research when I was about 10 years old, when most of our research was still very much paper-based. If I had any digital files, they were saved on my parents’ computer. In the years since then, both my dad and I have done genealogy research, and our digital files accumulated on both of our computers, in our emails, on various flash drives, and many other digital locations. I’ve had to develop ways to keep track of both the paper and digital files that we’ve accumulated. Most of my research is now stored digitally. During my library science degree, I took a class in Digital Preservation, and for a class project, decided that it was time to consolidate all of our genealogy “stuff” into one shared Digital Genealogy Archive, and I developed an organizational system to manage it. I now have over 600 GB and 23,000 files (and growing!) in my digital archive. This blog series combines what I’ve learned in my Digital Preservation class about Personal Digital Archiving, and my own lessons learned from creating my own Digital Genealogy Archive. Continue reading “Archiving Your Digital Family History Files (#1): Find Your Digital “Stuff””

Ann Lawrence “Summoned” on Easter Sunday, 1927

My 3rd great-grandmother, Ann (Kitely) Lawrence was 92 years old when she passed away on Easter Sunday, April 17, 1927. My grandmother was 3 and a half years old when Ann passed away, and was one of 35 great-grandchildren. Ann sounds like quite a remarkable woman. Much of what I know about her is from her two-page obituary, which is transcribed below. Continue reading “Ann Lawrence “Summoned” on Easter Sunday, 1927″

Andrew Kaiser, tinner and tinker

East Lincoln Highway (1912)
This photo shows East Lincoln Hwy, DeKalb, IL in 1912 from Seventh Street looking West. Andrew Kaiser operated his tinning shop at 622 E. Lincoln Hwy at this time. In this photo, his shop was located in the building near the car parked on the left side of the road, in the two-story building with the large sign that says “Drugs.” (Image source: NIU Digital Archives, Ritzman photo collection.)

For over 30 years, the Kaiser family ran a successful sheet metal shop in DeKalb, IL. (I wrote about the later years of this shop in this earlier post!) Andrew Kaiser and his two youngest sons operated the shop, but the family’s history in tinsmithing didn’t start in DeKalb. The patriarch of the family, Andrew Kaiser, had been a tinner and metal worker for nearly his whole life, and his career lasted for over 50 years. His long career even includes some exciting surprises! Continue reading “Andrew Kaiser, tinner and tinker”

Family History at the Library

Weil_Eva_reading
My love of reading started young, and was probably influenced by the many teachers in my family, and my aunt who was a librarian.

I have always been a ferocious reader, and always interested in the past. My interest in literature, history, public service, and genealogy has led to a career as a librarian. Last year I completed my MSLIS, but my family’s connection to libraries does not start there! Continue reading “Family History at the Library”

My Early Illinois Ancestors

Today is Illinois’ 200th birthday! My family tree has some very deep roots in Illinois. Some interesting Illinois stats from my family tree include:

  • Illinois-home_image-01_byEva_wC-01Three out of four main branches of my family tree have very deep roots in Illinois, spanning at least 5 generations.
  • Six out of my eight great-grandparents were born in Illinois, and 12 out of my sixteen great-great-grandparents lived in Illinois during their lifetimes.
  • My earliest ancestor to arrive in Illinois was William Tompkins and his family, who settled in Champaign County in 1822. (More about him in a minute!)
  • My 4th great-grandfather Alexander Holbrook was another early Illinois ancestor, arriving in probably about 1828.
  • The 3rd great-grandfather Johann Wilhelm Mueller and his family arrived in Chicago in 1856, 15 years before the Great Chicago Fire.
  • The Drake family has lived in DeKalb County, Illinois for over 150 years (and still lives there today!), spanning at least seven generations. They had lived in Illinois since about 1845. My Fish ancestors, who married into the Drake family, also arrived in Illinois about 1846.
  • My Swedish ancestors arrived in Illinois a little bit later, starting with the Johnsons in 1870, and Medine family in 1881.

While many branches of my family tree are rooted in Illinois, I wanted to learn more about my earliest Illinois ancestor, William Tompkins, and his family. Continue reading “My Early Illinois Ancestors”