I've been doing this website for quite
a few years now and here are some of the most frequently asked questions I have received.....
Who Are You and why are you doing this?
Ok, nobody really sent me this question, but I figure plenty
of you have thought it. My name is Kim Torp. My last "real" job was working for a large bank in Florida
as a Technical Writer (of bank procedures) and after my department was "discontinued", I decided to "semi-retire"
and stay home to raise my child. I now design websites for a few businesses, do some landscaping for various relatives,
and play lots of golf.
After various moves, I now live in Kane County, IL where I have no genealogical ties. Genealogically speaking,
my ggg-gf Ellis Hicks was in Coles County from 1842-1850, moving on to Jasper county where he died in 1866. Members
of his family lived in both counties. I enjoyed researching, but was having a hard time keeping everything straight.
I decided to make a website to develop my family's story and one thing led to another....
What is Illinois Genealogy Trails?
A group of volunteers (read that as "UNPAID") who
transcribe data and put it online. It keeps us off the streets and out of the bars....
How Can I Help with the Coles County website?
Type up and send in the data you've found during your research.
These records can include birth, death, marriage and cemetery burial records. The older the record, the better.
Type it in an email or in Word and attach it to an email to me at KimmySueT@aol.com
What Shouldn't I Send?
Please - no gedcoms and no family trees where I have to pick
out the Coles county data. That takes too much time and frankly, I don't know how accurate that information is
- especially since most folks don't cite their sources. I don't want your tree, but the original records you used
to put that tree together.
Can I send you a picture of Uncle Joe and this unknown person so someone
will see them online and tell me who it is?
I used to do that, but after a while how many pictures of Uncle
Joe can one website have? And in all the years I've posted those pictures, there's not one person who has written
in and said "I know that person - it's Aunt Sally!" So... the answer is, sorry, no, I won't be posting
any more family pictures like that. I will post group pictures which will help more researchers. By group pictures,
I mean class pictures, reunion pictures, etc., but I will edit it to make it web-safe and conserve on server space.
Why can't you get this marriage/death/birth record for me?
I'm not a professional researcher and I don't live in Coles
county. My "job" as a volunteer (and I do stress the word "volunteer") is to transcribe data
and put it online. It takes a lot of time and if I spent my time finding records for folks, I wouldn't have time
Do you know a professional researcher I can hire?
I did, and she did a good job for me the one time I used her,
but she never answered my emails when I tried to hire her again, so no, I can't recommend anyone.
How do I contact the Coles County Genealogical Society?
They have a website - search google.com for it. There you can
find their contact address. Be aware that they have started charging for their services - $15 an hour, plus the
cost of copies and postage. It used to be a completely free service and I never hesitated in giving out their email
address. Now, I see no reason to help them make $ off of us researchers.
Are you affiliated with the Genealogical or Historical Society?
Will mentioning your name give me an "in" with these societies?
I'm afraid not. Hopefully it won't have the opposite effect
either, but best not to tempt fate. We give away for free what societies are trying to sell. That makes us NOT
at the top of any
society's Xmas list.
Are you affiliated with the USGenweb project?
Nope - we actually believe in putting data online. (that was
catty, wasn't it? heh heh )
Will you accept a donation?
I will gladly accept donations of microfilm or census cds or
old newspapers, or anything else you think I can transcribe and place online. If you want to send money to our
organization to help pay for our server space or to help us to purchase materials to transcribe, contact me at
KimmySueT@aol.com and we'll chat. I do have a PAYPAL account under that email address if you want to surprise me
Where can I find.....
|The County Clerk's office, the Illinois State Archives or the
IRAD headquartered at EIU in Charleston. IRAD has originals, but not for all years
|The County Clerk's office, the Illinois State Archives (via their
|The County Clerk's office
|The Illinois State Archives will do a look-up for a fee.
You know where to subscribe to view them online for a fee - they don't need my help.
Microfilm or cd's can be bought through Microfilm Expeditors (http://www.censusmicrofilm.com/)
|The Circuit Court Clerk's office
|The Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library (former Illinois State
Historical Library) will do a search for your relative. Their website explaining their policies is here
Cemetery Burial Listings
|The Charleston Library has a good selection. Otherwise, the IL
State Historical Library will do a search in the published books. Their website explaining their policies is here
|The Mattoon Library has many. Otherwise, the Abe Lincoln Pres.
Library will do obit look-ups. Their website explaining this is here (Different from the
info for the county histories).
Do you know my relative?
View my HICKS family website at http://hicksgenealogy.com.
If you see a familiar name, then yes I do. If it's a name the same as someone on there (i.e. the WILEY, WRIGHT,
COOPER families), then chances are I have something in my personal database on them. Otherwise, probably not. Do
you know MY relative? Email me.
I think I'm related! Will you send me all the information you have on my
I get this one a lot. Sorry, no. I'm a little tired of giving
my life history to strangers and not getting anything in return - not even an acknowledgment that they received
the info I sent, much less a simple thank you. I might give you basics depending on how the researcher before you
behaved and how disillusioned I am, but you must do your own research.
When will [fill in
the blank] be put online?
I absolutely hate receiving this question - it sounds too much
like "what's taking you so long?". I'm one person, with two semi-arthritic hands, volunteering my time
and efforts (not to mention the money to purchase the item in the first place). I do try and have an outside life
occasionally too. Consider helping me transcribe and it'll get online that much faster.
Why are there question marks in a transcription?
Cuz I couldn't read it, whether through my inadequacies as
a transcriber or because of the original record-taker's sloppiness, or even through some defect in the original
film (splotches covering names and such) You are always advised to obtain the original record for yourself and
How accurate is the data transcribed?
I do my best, but sure, there are errors. That's a fact of
life in transcriptions. Again, you are always advised to obtain the original record for yourself and check my transcription
against it. Not doing so is sloppy researching.