Making Connections: Belgium, Random Acts of Genealogical Kidness and More

By Family Tree Editors Premium

Begin With Belgium

First, I must tell you how much I really enjoy each and every issue of Family Tree Magazine. I have been a subscriber since the very beginning, and can hardly wait for each issue to arrive. I make it a point to read every article, even the ones that don’t cover the general areas I’m researching. They all hold excellent clues that can be applied to many different areas of genealogy, not just the areas I happen to be working on.

The only problem I have with the magazine is that it has never done any articles on research in Belgium. It is not just Family Tree Magazine, but also every other publication on the market. As St. Patrick’s Day comes around, we can always count on all magazines to have an article on Irish research. Slave research is covered at least once or more each year by every one, and research in the New England states is worked to death. I would think enough people are interested in Belgium that it might be worth an article in at least one of the many genealogy magazines. It sure would be great if Family Tree Magazine, the best of them all, were to be the first to do so.

Glenn Cleereman, via e-mail

Editor’s note: You’ll find a guide to tracing your roots in Belgium, the Netherlands and Luxembourg in this issue. Readers, what other ethnic ancestries would you like to see covered in Family Tree Magazine? Write and tell us.

Further Investigation

I found the article “Courthouse Detective” (June 2003) interesting, but a little disappointing. I guess I was hoping that Ms. Oppenheimer had discovered more sites like the Alachua County (Fla.) Clerk of the Court’s Ancient Records site <>. My husband is the Ancient Records Coordinator for the site, and he is putting all of the court’s old records online. This includes images of the actual documents. Volunteers are busy transcribing the records, as well. Currently, more than 132,000 page images and almost 4,000 pages have been transcribed, and nearly 41,000 marriage licenses (1837 to 1970) have been indexed. All of this is free and can be accessed from anywhere in the world via the Internet.

Wouldn’t it be wonderful if more clerks had this kind of vision? Then we really could reach these valuable records without trekking across the country.

Debbie Powell, via e-mail

Editor’s note: Look for tips to find county-level records online in this issue’s Toolkit section.

Free Advice

I received my August 2003 issue today, and noticed a note on page 5, under “The Price Isn’t Right.” One suggestion to those who cannot afford to join all the memberships online is to check out the wonderful volunteer genealogy Web sites. Random Acts of Genealogy Kindness <> and many other sites offer quite a lot of help, most of it at no cost.

Once you get some help, the best way to pay it back is by doing the same for someone else. It doesn’t take long to go to your local library or town clerk’s office to look up records. Even your own church office keeps records that may be of help to someone.

Thanks for your great magazine. I look forward to it each month!

N. Hess, via e-mail

Illinois Census Status

Paula Stuart Warren’s article “Heartland Heritage” (June 2003) has some wonderful tips for those of us researching ancestors here in the Midwest. I would like to clarify some information pertaining to state census records in Illinois, however. She writes, “Illinois has some early state censuses, but many no longer exist. The most recent enumeration is for 1865. That year’s and the 1855 enumeration survive for most counties.”

In her book State Census Records (Genealogical Publishing Co.), Ann S. Lainhart writes, “The territorial census of 1810 and 1818 and state censuses for 1820, 1825, 1830, 1835, 1840, 1845, 1855 and 1865 are located at the Illinois State Archives.” Subsequent pages detail the information provided in each of these censuses, as well as the names of the counties enumerated.

According to the Fall 2002 issue of For the Record (the Illinois State Archives and the Illinois State Historical Records Advisory Board’s newsletter), the Illinois State Archives has recently “acquired microfilm copies of the 1732 and 1752 censuses taken by French authorities in the Illinois country … [which] was comprised roughly of the Illinois River valley and French-influenced portions of the Ohio and Missouri river valleys. At that time, Europeans rarely settled areas very far inland from these rivers. These returns have recently been translated and annotated by Robert Berardinis in issues of the Illinois State Genealogical Society Quarterly (1732 census: volume 32, number 3, fall 2000, pp. 155-164; 1752 census: volume 32, number 4, winter 2000, pp. 195-201). Researchers can view microfilm copies of the original 1732 and 1752 French censuses at the [archives’] Norton Building in Springfield.”

There is a wealth of information in these early Illinois census records!

Joan A. Griffis, Danville, III.

Wrong Turn

Your magazine is great! But you made an error on page 43 of the June 2003 issue, when you cited 1903 as the debut of the Model A. It was the Model T that debuted in 1903. The Model A didn’t come along until 1928. The photo shows a Model A.

Charles Kulp, via e-mail

Editor’s note: Several alert readers spotted this error. Here’s the correct chronology: The Ford Motor Co. produced its first car in its Detroit plant in 1903; the Model T debuted in 1908, and the Model A came along 20 years later.

Software Supporter

Your “Software Scorecard” article (February 2003) gave Family Origins seven Excellent ratings — far more than the nearest competitors, with only five. Isn’t it a shame that this program is no longer supported by the company that bought it out []? Frankly, even without support, I’ll stick with Family Origins. It is far and away the best.

Chuck Tucker, via e-mail

Editor’s note: The creators of Family Origins have come out with a new genealogy program, RootsMagic <>. You can read a review in our June 2003 issue.

Giving a Hand

Just a note to let you know how much I enjoy your magazine. I have learned so much from it the past few months. Each month, there is at least one article that is very valuable to me. Your information about Web sites is very helpful, too. This is one source where a person can go to get a lot of help with family history and genealogy. Keep up the good work.

Brent Gledhill, via e-mail

20 Questions

Last year, you did an article on the top 10 public genealogy libraries in the United States. I would be interested in what the second 10 best libraries are. I suspect that our genealogy department here in Omaha at the W. Dale Clark Library <> might come close to qualifying, as we have more censuses than New York, about as many as Denver and certainly more complete through 1930. And it is certainly one of Omaha’s best-kept secrets.

Karen Tippets, Omaha, Neb.

From the October 2003 issue of Family Tree Magazine.