Unique University and College Directories – Talented Tuesday


Were your ancestors bringing home top marks or were they flunking out?

Gradating from higher education is a huge accomplishment.  The pursuit of higher education was a goal for our ancestors.  Not all of them had the financial resources to attend studies beyond high school.

At the beginning of the 20th century, fewer than 1,000 colleges with 160,000 students existed in the United States. As higher education became more available, colleges and universities were able to accommodate more students.

University and college yearbooks were quite common, but did you know many schools printed student and faculty directories?  These books detailed student addresses, graduating class lists, and outlined social events.  Remember, on-campus housing may have been scarce, so directories would print the boarding house or family name of where students were residing during the year.  After graduation, alumni books gathered graduating (and sometimes non-graduating) students information, such as home address, occupation, and other contact information.

Internet Archive has a growing selection of University and College directories available online for free.  Here are a few gems from their site:

Stanford University Alumni Directory and Ten Year Book
Volume 2
Volume 3

Pomona College Directory

Kansas State College of Agriculture and Applied Science Student directory

Univeristy of Maine Alumni and Non-Graduate Directory
Harvard University directory (1910)

Western Michigan University Student, Faculty, Staff Directory (1967)

North Dakota
North Dakota Agricultural College Alumni Directory 1915

Directory of the University of Wooster  (1873-1874) Now College of Wooster

50th anniversary directory, 1913-1963 H.H. Herbert School of Journalism of the University of Oklahoma

Directory of the University of Texas


Interior design classroom, School of Home Economics, University of Wisconsin – Madison, ca. 1910


Directory of the University of Wisconsin

University of Toronto Student’s Directory 1922-1923

There are so many types of school, business, church, rural, and farm directories available for free on Internet Archive.  It may take a bit to find them, so I recommend using the Genealogy portal of the site, which should help narrow down your search a bit.  Don’t forget to add this portal to your saved bookmarks on your browser.

See you at the Library!

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Your Ancestor Doesn’t Have to be a Serial Killer to have Records at the Courthouse – Thriller Thursday

Not everyone who passed through a courthouse has a criminal record.  The  phrase ‘going to the courthouse,’ has a strong connotation of either getting a quick civil wedding or a heinous criminal trial.  One could argue that the only time any law-abiding person has business at a courthouse is to pick up a copy of a document or fulfill jury duty.  Your ancestors don’t need to be Belle GunnessStephen Richards, or H.H. Holmes to have business at a courthouse.  In fact, some of the best everyday assessments of your ancestors can be found in divorces, civil suits, appointments to public offices, tax disputes, guardianships, and naturalizations.  The criminal cases are just amazingly interesting in their own right.
court room 1 final

Earlier this month, Raymond Johnson from HistoryCop.com presented a fantastic program on tracing infamous ancestors in court records.  H.H. Holmes (born Herman Webster Mudgett), the infamous serial killer featured in the Devil and the White City, may have lived and murdered in several states and locations in the US and Canada, but his Chicago records are surprisingly of a non-criminal variety.  You can watch the full program for free on YouTube!

Using the Cook County Courthouse records, Ray explains how he has been able to identify several aliases, business addresses, and fraud schemes for the infamous H.H. Holmes.  Several of these fraud schemes included mysterious disappearances of individuals, of which no criminal charges were ever filed in Illinois.  Holmes sued various businesses and individuals numerous times, under his own name and under various alias.  Similar to other court records and documents, these lawsuits are not available online.  Depending on court location and record availability, researchers may have to use microfilm or bound indexes to find cases, and wait for documents as they may be stored at an off site location.

Here is a selection of free online webinars for tracking down your ancestors in court records:

Order in the Court Records: Finding Briefs, Transcripts, and other Court Materials

Property Research for Genealogy

Convicts and Criminals In Your Family Tree Ancestry

Dear Myrtle GenLaw Study Group

Murderers, Rebels and Drunkards, your Irish Ancestors and the Law

PRONI – Your Family Tree – Using Court, Prison & Coroners Records

Court research may be a frustrating and confusing avenue of research, but these overlooked records shed light on the everyday
lives of our ancestors.  You don’t have to have a criminal ancestor to find fantastic courthouse records, but it certainly does help!  If your ancestor did commit a murder spree, you will want to find the court location of where the trial was held.  You can usually find this information in newspaper or magazine accounts.

hh holmesFor example, the criminal cases of murder against H.H. Holmes are housed in the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia.  For one of the best comprehensive reports of crimes and charges against H.H. Holmes, you can read this Radford University crime summery published in 2013.  You may also enjoy Murderpedia’s H.H. Holmes page which includes newspaper downloads, a photo gallery, and a sizable description of crimes committed.

If you’re a fan of Devil and the White City, you will want to read the book, catch up on a few documentaries, and watch for the new movie starring Leonardo DiCaprio.

See you at the library!

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FREE GENEALOGY WEBINARS! Check out our live stream of events for Genealogy Day 2016 – Thrifty Thursday

Who doesn’t love a free webinar? Join us for Fountaindale Public Library’s sixth annual Genealogy Day with a live stream of our program on Saturday, May 7, 2016 from 9:30 am to 4pm CST!

Mad Leap

This year’s theme is “Hunting Down Sensational Stories” and will feature three outstanding presentations:

Using HistoryLines to Tell Your Family Story  with Adam Allgaier (9:30 a.m.- 11 am CST)
Sensational Deaths and Where to Find Them with Tina Beaird (11:30 a.m. – 1 pm CST)
Tracking Infamous Ancestors in Court Records with Ray Johnson (2:15 p.m.- 4 p.m. CST)

Downloadable Handouts:
Sensational Deaths and How to Find Them
Investigating Infamous Ancestors

We will be fielding questions from the chat feature during each live stream.  You can also tweet your questions and comments on our twitter handle: @FPLDGenealogy

Can’t watch the program live?  Don’t worry!  All our sessions will be recorded and available to watch later on YouTube.  Feel free to share our webinar with friends, family, society groups, or the newbie genealogist you just met.  You can register for an email reminder online here.

See You At The Webinar!

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Genealogy Day 2016: Hunting Down Sensational Stories – Wisdom Wednesday

Join us for Fountaindale Public Library’s sixth annual Genealogy Day on Saturday, May 7, 2016 from 9:30 am to 4pm! Genealogy Day is free and open to the public!   In addition to the speakers, participants will enjoy Door Prizes, Society Booths, on the spot digital photo restorations, and three outstanding lecture topics!
Mad Leap
This year’s theme is “Hunting Down Sensational Stories” and will feature three outstanding presentations:

Using HistoryLines to Tell Your Family Story  with Adam Allgaier
Sensational Deaths and Where to Find Them with Tina Beaird
Tracking Infamous Ancestors in Court Records with Raymond Johnson

Due to the spectacular success of our Irish Genealogy: Resources for Success webinar earlier this month, our library will be streaming all Genealogy Day lectures online for free via YouTube!  Additional details and online registration will be announced next month!

Also: photography expert and historian Bruce Troyer will be available during lunch to examine and help you identify two photos from your collection. Bruce can help you identify what type of photos you have, the date in which they were taken, and information regarding their origin. This program requires a separate sign up and is limited to 12 consultations, so please register early.

Studio 300’s Anna Gillespie will also be be available with her digital software to perform on the spot photo restorations during break periods, so bring two photos, negatives, or slides and an 8 GB flash drive if you would like to save copies of your digitized items.

Participants are asked to bring a brown-bag lunch or Box Lunch Order Form. Due to limited parking, please carpool or make arrangements to be dropped off for this event.

For more information, please call Debra Dudek at (630) 685-4201.  Register for this event online here, or sign-up by phone at (630) 685-4176.

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On the Waitlist? Watch our Irish Genealogy Workshop Webinar! – Wisdom Wednesday

Due to popular demand, the Ulster Historical Foundation has graciously allowed us irelandmapto stream our Irish Genealogy: Resources for Success program online for free via YouTube on Wednesday, March 16 from 9:30 a.m. to 4 p.m.!

All the documents, handouts, and links will be included in the description fields below the video.  We will also have a chat feature for you to ask questions at the end of each session.  The video stream will be archived and available for 30 days after the program, so you can revisit any topics you need again!

Due to time constrains in our YouTube agreement, we are streaming the program in four parts.  Here are the links to each session:

(NOTE: Due to our streaming media agreement with the Ulster Historical Foundation, the webinar is no longer available for viewing. 4/15/2016)

Part 1: Introduction to Irish and Scots-Irish Family History   (9:30 a.m. to 11 a.m.)
Part 2: Using Land Records: Griffith’s Valuation, Tithe and Estate Records (11:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.)
Part 3: Census Substitutes and Church Records (1:30 p.m. to 2:30 p.m.)
Part 4: Sources for Finding Seventeenth Century Families in Ireland (3:45 p.m. to 4:30 p.m.)

Downloadable Handouts for the Webinar
Researching Irish Ancestors – An Introduction (2016)
National Library of Ireland Guide to Family History
National Archives of Ireland General Guide
National Archives of Ireland Help Notes
Ulster Historical Foundation – Historical_Timeline
Timeline for the Plantation of Ulster
PRONI Guides to Family History
PRONI Guides to Local History
PRONI Guides to Emigration
ALSO: The Ulster Historical Foundation lecturers will be making a stop at the Newberry Library on Thursday, March 10, 2016 during their North American Genealogical Lecture Tour.  For more details on the Newberry Library program, please call (312) 255-3700.


Cool resources to help you with your Irish research!

FutureLearn Irish Lives
Free Online Irish History Class –
FutureLearn.com is offering a free online class entitled “Irish Lives in War and Revolution: Exploring Ireland’s History 1912-1923 “.  This class is open to anyone and begins on Monday, March 14, just a few days before our program!

Dublin Rising City Hall
Check out the DublinRising Online Tour – This year marks the centennial of the Easter Rising.  The National Library of Ireland and Google Maps has put together an outstanding tour of the places, people, and artifacts of the Irish Independence movement. You can visit the site online at https://dublinrising.withgoogle.com/.
I am at your service to assist with questions before, during, and after the program!  You can contact me by phone at (630) 685-4201 or by e-mail at ddudek@fountaindale.org.
See you at the Library!
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What did your ancestors say about Valentine’s Day? – Treasure Chest Thursday

What words of love were shared between your loved ones on Valentines Day?   American culture has been quite attached to Valentines Day ever since the first Miss Esther A. Howland created our country’s first “fancy” valentine in 1849.  Valentine’s Day was a popular holiday in the United Kingdom, and it soon catapulted to popularity here in the states due to our appetite for tokens of romantic love, family, and beauty.  Valentines made Miss Howland rich beyond her wildest imaginings, and her shrewd business sense made her one of the wealthiest business women of her time.

A Valentine MessageSo now that a delivery device was available, what do you write in the card?  There were several etiquette books to provide structure of politeness and just the right amount of sentimentality.  If you’re looking for a few hints yourself, you can read Social Etiquette of New York by Abby Buchanan Longstreet.  Young people were invited to write their sentiments for prizes, with many of their entries becoming the fodder of local newspapers.  The Los Angeles Herald printed this article in their 1910 newspaper, with information of the writer and their school included.  Great stuff!

So now you’re looking for the words of your ancestors.  Have you tried looking through Valentines online on CardCow.com?  Here are a few lovely examples of the love notes shared between our ancestors:

Postcard Back, 1909 Feb-9 Postmark

9 Feb 1909 – To Irwin Letts (Orange, New York)

Postcard Back

Circ 1910 to Thelma Radwell from Edith Stahl (Stonington, IL)

Postcard Back, Feb-12 Postmark

Feb-12 to Mr. Lloyd Hill (Seattle, Washington)

You will also want to check out A Very British Romance, an excellent documentary of love and courtship through the ages.  You can watch it for free on YouTube.  I was really amazed to see how our ideas of love and courtship have developed with social influences, especially with the rise of the romance novel!

Do you have a library card? Because I’m checking you out!


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Registration Open for Free Irish Genealogy Workshop! – Thrifty Thursday

The Fountaindale Public Library District and the Plainfield Public Library District are hosting “Irish Genealogy: Resources for Success!” – a full day Irish genealogy workshop with the Ulster Historical Foundation on Wednesday,March 16, 2016 from 9:30 am to 4:30 pm at the Fountaindale Public Library, 300 W. Briarcliff Road in Bolingbrook, IL.

irelandmapThis multi-session program will feature the following sessions:

  • Introduction to Irish and Scots-Irish Family History Research (Part 1) (9:30-10:15)
  • Introduction to Irish and Scots-Irish Family History Research (Part 2) (10:15– 11:00)
  • Using Land Records: Griffith’s Valuation, Tithe and Estate Records  (11:30-12:30)
  • LUNCH (12:30–1:30)
  • Census Substitutes and other Important Sources for the Eighteenth and Nineteenth Centuries: Strategies for Success   (1:30-2:30)
  • Records Related to the Different Churches in Ireland (2:30-3:30)
  • Sources for Finding Seventeenth Century Families in Ireland – (3:45–4:15)
  • Q&A (4:15–4:30)

Can’t attend the presentation in person?  No problem!  The program will be available for free as a streaming webinar on YouTube! (Details to follow!)

Participants will enjoy light snacks, handouts, door prizes, and the opportunity to purchase Ulster Historical Society books during the program.  Participants are asked to bring a brown bag lunch or to pre-order a box lunch from Brooks Cafe.

The program is free, however space is limited to 75 participants and walk-in registration may not be available.  Reserve your space in the program online or call the Fountaindale Public Library 3rd Floor Reference Desk at (630) 685-4176.

The Ulster Historical Foundation will be making a stop at the Newberry Library on Thursday, March 10, 2016 during their North American Genealogical Lecture Tour.  For more details on the Newberry Library program, please call (312) 255-3700.

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