FUN and FREE Genealogy on Page 2

Hey, Rand is related to George Washington !

Please check out our friends at the FORT in Lexington,

They also offer a library with loads of information and helpful volunteers

We wish to thank Donald and Marie Sobin for a memorial gift of $5,000

Lisa Louise Cooke’s presentation is

in Member’s area until February 16

Jack Keefe’s

Back in the Day

 February 8 Edition

 The Groundhog Day Blizzard 1883

Rev. Frederick Hawley, Verna Edwards, ISU Graduates


Check out the Newsletter

Rand learns from FamilySearch he is related to

George Washington !  You may be too.  Open

an account at, enter in your tree

going back to Great grandparents. 

Then goto: to see your famous relatives!

(P.S. George and I are only cousins, I am not a direct decendent)


Fellow historians –

It seems that wherever you live, you probably experienced some winter weather this season. (This newsletter goes far beyond the borders of McLean County.) So with Groundhog Day coming this Thursday, I wrote a story about the Groundhog Day storm of 1883. Hope you enjoy it in the warmth of your own space.

Full disclosure: the home in the picture was mine in 1978. The piles of snow were the work of my snow shovel and me. Funny thing about those manual shovels: they start every time.

Our next newsletter will come out February 15, with more local history stories but without the news of 25, 50, 75 and 100 years ago. But you will find a gem or two in the new material as well – perhaps even a chuckle. I saved these stories over the years, not imagining I would have a newsletter with which to share them.

It’s twelve degrees outside, so stay warm wherever you are.

Regards — Jack

The New Gleanings is available in the members area!

Special thanks to Susie Pope and Cheryl Budde for their contributions in making this issue happen !

–McLean County veterans  highlighted

–McLean County Major League Baseball players

— General Harbord and his street

—  The German Evangelical Lutheran church that merged into

— Milo Custer – stone readings from City Cemetery 1911

— Caution needed when using near original sources


Bill Iseminger presents great Civil War info

“From McLean to Mobile” The story of the 94th Illinois Infantry from McLean County

Bill tells interessting tales of his relatives from McLean County fighting in the Civil War.

The original recording had audio trouble, but Bill was gracious and recorded an entirely new presentation.

Pick up a copy of Bill’s book at the Museum or on AMAZON


Watch and enjoy it here:


Join Jack for his book signing at the McLean County Museum of History

February 11, 2023

2:00 – 3:00 pm


Echoes of Purple and Gold is available in the Musuem shop

<Check out Jack’s new book on Amazon>

Also available in the Stevenson-Ives Library in the McLean County Museum of History

The Elevator is currently working (1/10/23)

Online Store –  Huge sale on our publications  !! Members get 25% off!

Members can view prior presentations at their convenience – see below !

Members have immediate access to all past Gleanings from 1967 – present – Indexes are on the site

Members have access to The History of the Illinois Conference of the Evangelical Church 1837-1937. This searchable .pdf has information on hundreds of ministers !

Everyone has access our Gleanings indexes to research their relatives.

New book online – Harry Waite’s Veterans of the Spanish American War Interred in McLean County


 MCGS general meetings are FREE to the public.  With COVID, our meetings have been taking place via ZOOM.  Recent topics have been:

Mimi Davis – New Databases at Bloomington Public Library – Available to members.

Susan Kaufman – Unusual Sources – Available to members.

Tina Beaird – Illinois Digital Resources, Census  Sensei – Available to members.

Jane Haldeman – Final Resting Place – The Stones Tell the Story, My Ancestor was a Farmer.

Lisa Louise Cook – Finding our Inner Private Eye – Locating Living Relatives (’til Feb 14)


General Meetings  <click for Zoom and event info>
January 17, 2023 – Lisa Louise Cooke – VIA ZOOM – 6:30 P.M.
March 21, 2023 – To be announced
May 15, 2023 – To be announced
September 19, 2023 – To be announced
November 23, 2023 – To be announced

Board Meetings    <click for ZOOM links>
January 10, 2023
March 14, 2023
May 9, 2023
September 12, 2023
November 14, 2023

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How to Use this Site

For research, we have made our Gleanings indexes availble to the general public.  Search them for surname and other information, noting the Gleanings Issue.  Then Join or Log in, as members are given access online to all Gleanings issues.

Many FREE resources are available to all.  They include: Ancestral chart, family record, street name fun, popular links, our cemetery guide publication with directions and descriptions of McLean County cemeteries !

The McLean County Museum of History offers many attractions and events – some via ZOOM.  Click here or on the photo for more information.

The MCGS Genealogy Library is on the 2nd floor and offers books and journals from around the country, computers set up with Ancestry and Family Search, and often a volunteer to assist you.  Hours of operation are here (

On Demand Programs available to Members – Sign up and learn today !

Lisa Louise Cooke – Finding your Inner Private Eye – Locating Living Relatives

    Nationally known presenter Lisa presents how to find your living relatives 

     Originally presented as general meeting on January 17, 2023

    This program is available to members only until February 16, 2023 !   

Tina Beaird Presents “Illinois Digital Resources”

    Tina Beaird is owner of Tamarack Genealogy and is a history librarian in the Chicago area.  

    This program is a “fire hose” of information.  Fortunately you can pause the presentation anytime to make notes on the two handouts provided.  So much of what is available is digital and Tina shows us where to look to find information that does not automatically pop up as a hint. Two handouts are available.  Log in or join now to view this program in the member’s area.   

If you missed Tina Beaird’s presentation “Becoming a Census Sensei”, please login or join now to view it in the member’s area under Presentations!  

It is a wonderful program and has so much information.  I love being able to pause the video to make notes on the handout when I need to process  something.

  Tina is an author, lecturer, and owner of Tamarack Genealogy.  She holds an MLS with a specification in archives preservation and often lectures at conferences both local and national.

   National, State, Special, Education, and Indian censuses are discussed !

Susan Kaufman Presents “Unusual Sources”

    Susan Kaufman is Senior Manager  at the Houston Public Library.  

    This interesting program presents unusual sources of information that you will not find easily.  Have an interest in History?  Check out the listing of all Civil War soldiers to receive an artificial limb.  This is just one of the many sources Susan illuminates.  A downloadable handout is available.  Log in or join now to view this program in the member’s area. 

Mimi Davis Presents “New Databases at BPL”

    Mimi Davis is the Electronic Resources Librarian at the Bloomington Public Library (BPL).  Learn about the new Genealogy Databases available.

    BPL has two new databases “Heritage Hub” and “Black Life in America” that are rich with genealogical information.  BPL cardholders can access these information sources from home. The slide program is available as a downloadable file.   Log in or join now to view this program in the member’s area.  


Non-members can preview the Gleanings here

    Click image to left to open preview edition with Table of Contents & Surname Index.

    McLean County Poor Farm – new information with a spreadsheet available in the members area.

    An article by McLean County Museum of History librarian Bill Kemp on McLean County auctioneers.

    We remember Ruth Carpenter, a life member who contributed extensively to MCGS, by reprinting her nursing story.  This story highlights the excellent content in past issues of Gleanings.

    A look at research methods to add someone to Find a Grave.

    Researching a poem written for a local family.

    Special thanks to Susie Pope and others for their work on this issue.

    Please join and then access thru Members tab.