Logan County Historical Society
begins new year with a little fun: sharing oldest family photos
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[January 21, 2017]
- The Logan County Genealogical and Historical Society held their
first monthly meeting of the New Year on Monday. As with previous
years, the call went out to members to bring something unique of
their own to the meeting rather than follow the usual format of
inviting a speaker.
In the past, members were asked to bring the oldest cook book in
their family. One year, a favorite tool in each family was featured.
Some of the items were so old that no one knew what they were
designed to do. Guesses flew around the table until the owner
finally revealed what it was. This year members were asked to bring
the oldest photo of family members.
Those who brought photos presented the gathering with a history of
Logan County and of the immigrant experience of older generations to
the United States. In some cases, brave souls departed their home
countries while leaving family members behind. In other cases whole
families departed together for the new world.
Some of the oldest family members came to central Illinois before
there was a Logan County or the town of Lincoln. Remember that Logan
County only existed after a little known Illinois state legislator
kept a campaign promise to cleave a new county out of Sangamon
County. This occurred in 1839.
The legislator was Abraham Lincoln. Lincoln was present at the
founding of his namesake town in 1853.
Many of the photos feature one or two relatives while others show
generations. In all cases it was obvious that having a photo taken
was a serious event. The subjects of the photos dressed in their
best, and stared into the camera without a smile. Many photos showed
very young children all wearing what appear to be dresses, even the
boys, no doubt a tradition from way back. How things have changed.
Think about it. The LCGHS members who brought 19th and early 20th
century photos represent a continuation of their family lineage
still living in central Illinois. Many still have children and
grandchildren living in the area. But Logan County is not where
families migrated to and stopped.
The LCGHS receives requests for genealogical research from all over
the United States by family members who have moved on but want to
find their forebears in the area and learn about what they did.
Central Illinois and Lincoln are a hotbed of genealogical research.
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Inquiries come to the LCGHS, perhaps as example it is from a
technology employee in California who heard from older family
members of this far away place where their family once lived. “Can
you find anything about the corner grocery store that was located in
Lincoln that I heard about,” they will ask. Or someone from
Minnesota may ask, “Can you find anything about my farming heritage
in central Illinois and where the farm was located? I even heard
that Abraham Lincoln stayed at my great, great, great grandfather’s
farm while he rode the judicial circuit.”
The LCGHS is known for their extensive archives and ability to
incorporate sources at the Logan County Courthouse or the Lincoln
Public Library to find answers to these questions. They will even
check the cemetery records.
The LCGHS meets the third Monday of the month at their research
center in Lincoln at 6:30 p.m. The public is invited to attend and
the program is always fascinating.
Be sure to check out the ever changing imaginative displays in the
window at 114 North Chicago Street. Many of the displays are
constructed of items in the LCGHS collection.