Sunday, March 29, 2015

I'm a Californian Now!

Last week I closed the door to our Wilmette home one last time,  climbed aboard the Southwest Chief out of Chicago's Union Station, and forty-three-or-so hours later I arrived in Los Angeles ready to experience life as a Californian! My husband's work has brought us to west coast and we have officially moved.

So, what does that mean for ChicagoGenealogy?

First, that it's time to pass along the document retrieval work that I've been doing for nearly twelve years to others. I've arranged for Khania, a new researcher who has easy access to the Wilmette Family History Center, to take over birth, marriage, and death record lookups. I've shared with her much of what I know about Chicago research and she's a quick learner! That part of my work is in good hands. You can find her as "chicago-lookups" on our Genlighten site.

There are many others who are skilled at the divorce, probate, and naturalization searches that I did at the Cook County Circuit Court Archives and a number of those researchers can be found on Genlighten. Kim Stankiewicz's services most closely mirror my own--I've enjoyed the times we've found ourselves at the Daley Center at the same time, putting our matching scanners through their paces side by side--and so I will be referring my previous clients to her.

At the moment, my plan is to continue to maintain the ChicagoGenealogy website and I'm hoping to find time in the near future to make some much-needed updates. Chicago research strategy changes with additions and subtractions to websites like FamilySearch and Ancestry and I want to make sure the information presented is current.

I will also be removing the first person voice from the site, remaking it into a cooperative rather than an individual endeavor, and that brings me to the blog. I will continue to add to it, but I would like to invite other local researchers to use it as a forum for sharing their own insights into Chicago and Cook County research. If you would be interested in guest posting, please let me know.

I've enjoyed the time I've spent as ChicagoGenealogy. I printed and scanned thousands of records and, sure, after a while some of it became routine, but being able to come up with a hard-to-find record was always satisfying and having a request come in while I was at the Family History Center so I could turn it around in jaw-droppingly short order was always fun.

So, what does the future hold for me--besides unpacking lots and lots of boxes? Well, we've got a new version of Genlighten that will launch later this year--simpler and more visually appealing with a few more powerful features--so some of my time will be taken up with that. And then, I'm not sure. I might decide to learn all that I can about genealogy research in Southern California or I might decide to learn to code in Ruby on Rails--something I've always wanted to do. Or I might just slather myself with sunscreen, by myself a porch swing, and work on clawhammer banjo for the rest of my life. We'll see!

Using the Family History Library Record Lookup Service

Have you heard about the Family History Library Record Lookup Service? It's a very convenient way to obtain digital copies of Chicago vi...