GSSI Newsletters

GSSI Newsletters

Volume 45 #5

July, 2017

There is still time!!!                          Register by August 1, if you would like to participate in the Conference Luncheon.

2017 Family History Conference and Book Fair

 co-sponsored by

The Genealogy Society of Southern Illinois and John A. Logan College

Saturday, August 12, 2017  8:00 A.M. - 4:00 P.M.

Ray Hancock Conference Center John A. Logan College Route 13 & Greenbriar Road, Carterville, IL

Featured Speaker:

Mark Lowe, CG, FUGA

Professional Genealogist, Columnist and Teacher

Mark Lowe has been researching families for more than 40 years. He grew up in Tennessee with extensive family roots in Kentucky. He has traveled extensively in both states and enjoys sharing his love of genealogy and the joy of research with others including some historic reenacting. Mark's family history in two states and knowledge of the interaction of citizens along borders helps him resolve difficult issues using often overlooked records. As a national and regional speaker, he has brought these areas of expertise along with his unique humor and southern style to many diverse audiences.

Lowe was President of the of the Association of Professional Genealogists and is former Vice President and Secretary of the Federation of Genealogical Societies.  In the process of teaching others, Mark builds his own skills and insight for research. His experience as a Classroom Teacher, Principal and Professional Researcher provides a different perspective for each research problem.  He has published articles in numerous genealogical journals, including The National Genealogical Society Quarterly, The North Carolina Genealogical Society Quarterly, The Longhunter, and The Middle Tennessee Genealogical Society Quarterly. His book publications include Robertson County Tennessee Marriage Book 2, 1859-1873 and Pioneer Cemetery (Bowling Green, KY.)

Lowe's instructions about "Tracking that Pre-1850 Ancestor" were very well received at the 2011 GSSI Fall Conference.  Don't miss his return to Southern Illinois in 2017 with entirely new topics.

Tennessee, the Road to the West (9:00 am)

Learn about the wonderful records that exist for genealogists researching Tennessee. Record types and examples will be discussed and presented. Case studies will be included for further discussion.

Land Barons or Dirt Farmers: Finding Land Transactions (10:30 am)

Following the land will often identify the Ancestor and family. Learn how to trace an individual through property records and how to trace a specific property.

Finding Your Landless Ancestors (1:15 pm)

Since land is the key in many ancestral discoveries, tracking those individuals who did not own land often becomes a daunting task. Learn to use Trust Deed Chattels and Tax Release Books to help locate those individuals without deeds and estates.

Over the Mountain, Across the Plains… Using Electronic Records to Trace Our Ancestors (2:45 pm)

Your ancestors moved westward, now follow them as they move back east. Knowing where to look for valuable records will reward you with insights and research plans.

Annual Member Meeting

The GSSI Annual Meeting and Board Member selection will begin at 8:30 a.m. right before the Conference day begins.  The following list is the slate of proposed

GSSI Board Members for 2018.  Nominations will also be taken from the floor.

             2018 Proposed Board Members


President…………………………Jackie LaRue Lyell

1st Vice President………………. Phil Stucker

2nd Vice President………………OPEN

Recording Secretary……………Julia Mowery

Corresponding Secretary………Rosemary Mathis

Treasurer…………………………Gloria Cravens Spinks

Member at Large…………………Joy Whitson Upton

Director 2017-2019.………………Linda Gale Mathis

Director 2017-2019………………Mike Spinks

Director 2016-2018………………Dusty Renee Boner

Director 2016-2018……………… Don Riggin

Director 2018-2020……….………Melodie Penrod

Director 2018-2020………………Dorothy Clutts Rudoni

Past President……………………Phil Stucker

June Meeting Wrap-up 

Randolph County History 

Emily Lyons presented a lively overview of Randolph County history from the 17th Century French incursion and   cooperation with Indians, through the reach of the Catholic Church and the economic and social development of Kaskaskia, first capital of Illinois.  Important themes were Jesuit leadership, the prosperous rise of French settlers, and the impact of the Mississippi River's change in course. 

Illinois State History began in Kaskaskia.  In addition to being the first State Capital, Kaskaskia served as the first County Seat of St. Claire (1770) and first County Seat of Randolph (1775). Lyons shared a series of historic maps detailing paths of immigration, changes in the Mississippi, and the location of settlements.  Handouts included sources for researchers in the area of history and genealogy.  Chester, present Randolph County Seat, was an interesting destination for GSSI members and guests on sunny June 10.   

The beautiful Chester Public Library was an interesting site for the GSSI meeting and nearby Reid's Restaurant provided post-program refreshments.  

See the GSSI website for information about the next meeting in August at John A. Logan College in Carterville.

Submitted by Dorothy Rudoni

Upcoming Webinars

Illinois State Genealogical Society

Ten Years is a Long Time: Census Substitutes for the In-Between Years   

August 8, 2017, presented by Amy Johnson Crow, CG


Luxembourgers on the Prairie: Researching your Luxembourg Ancestors

September 12, 2017, presented by Lisa Oberg

Visit their website at for more detailed information on the webinars.

Williamson County Court House Research

Are you interested in records which are housed at the Williamson County

Court House?  The following link will greatly help you on your search.


   Looking forward to seeing you are the August Conference!!                Happy Hunting!!

























Volume 45 #4

May 2017

Chester Public Library


Saturday June 10, 2017

1:00 to 3:00 p.m.

Chester Public Library

Chester, IL

Randolph County Research 

Emily Lyons, retired educator and community leader, will discuss Randolph County history and the many resources there, for genealogical research on June 10 at the Chester Public Library. The 1:00 p.m. program will be sponsored by the Genealogy Society of Southern Illinois. Lyons is a descendant of early French settlers in Kaskaskia, and has long been involved in planning the annual historic Fourth of July celebration on the island. Active in many heritage groups, she has an Award for Outstanding Work in Historical Preservation from the National Society Daughters of the American Revolution. Her great knowledge of historical records makes her “the go to source” for genealogists and those who which to learn about early Illinois history. In addition to the charm of the beautiful Chester Library, Reid’s Restaurant and other attractions offer entertainment for those who take the scenic route to Chester to hear Ms. Lyons.

Chester Public Library, 733 State St., Chester, IL 62233. Phone: 618-826-3711


Submitted by: Dorothy Rudoni

2017 Family History Conference and Book Fair

 co-sponsored by

The Genealogy Society of Southern Illinois and John A. Logan College

Saturday, August 12, 2017  8:00 A.M. - 4:00 P.M.

Ray Hancock Conference Center John A. Logan College Route 13 & Greenbriar Road, Carterville, IL

Featured Speaker:

Mark Lowe, CG, FUGA

According to his website, "J Mark Lowe describes himself ad a lifelong genealogist.  He is a full-time professional genealogist, author, and lecturer who specializes in original records and manuscripts throughout the South.  Mark lives in Robertson County, Tennessee just north of Nashville near the Kentucky border.

Mark enjoys opportunities to share what he has learned over the years.  He serves as the Course Coordinator for 'Research in the South' at IGHR (Samford University), and also directs a Southern Course of the Salt Lake Institute of Genealogy (SLIG).  Mark has worked on several genealogical television series including African American Lives 2, Who Do You Think You Are? and UnXplained Events.

Mark has published in the Association of Professional Genealogists Quarterly (APGQ), National Genealogical Society Quarterly (NGSQ), the Genealogical Speakers' Guild SPEAK!, The Longhunter (So. KY Genealogical Society), The Middle Tennessee Genealogical Society Quarterly and local society publications.  His own publications include Robertson County Tennessee Marriage Book 2 1859-1873.  He formerly was the President of the Association of Professional Genealogists (APG), President for the Federation of Genealogical Societies (FGS), and Vice President of the Genealogical Speakers Gild (GSG).  He is the former President of the Southern Kentucky Genealogical Society.  Mark is a Certified Genealogist and a Fellow of the Utah Genealogical Society, and was awarded the Graham T. Smallwood award by the Association of Professional Genealogists."

You can now register on the GSSI website!

Hurry, space will be limited with this popular speaker!

Notes from the May DNA Seminar 

I hope you were able to attend! A large group had pen-in-hand, writing helpful notes from the great information presented by Joy Whitson Upton.

If you have had a DNA test done, or are considering doing a test, this seminar helped to explain the process. From choosing a testing company to explaining DNA terms. Keeping a DNA pedigree chart, Y-DNA haplogroup Migration, mtDNA, and X-DNA Inheritance Chart – Female Focus Person were just some of the topics discussed.

Our sincere thanks to Joy for a great and informative afternoon, on such an interesting subject!

GSSI Website Publications 

In the late 1990’s GSSI published a ten-volume set of 2000 Ancestor Charts submitted by members of the Society at that time. We are proud and excited to announce that surname indexes to each of the ten volumes are now published on line. The 61 pages of surnames added to this website list more than 12,500 individuals associated with Southern Illinois families. Anyone researching an ancestor who lived in one of the twenty-eight southernmost counties of Illinois should be sure to consult this invaluable resource.

To access and browse the indexes go to the Publications page and scroll down to Genealogy Society of Southern Illinois Ancestor Charts. Members may purchase any of the volumes at only $5.00 each. Non-members are asked to add $4.00 postage and handling for each volume ordered.

Submitted by Ed O’Day, Webpage Manager

GSSI Collection, JALC Library, Carterville

Genealogy Society of Southern Illinois Library 

Have you taken advantage of the GSSI Genealogy Library, within the library at John A. Logan College?

The genealogy library contains information on New England, West Virginia, Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee, Kentucky, Ohio, Indiana, Jackson Purchase, and Missouri. In Illinois, we have books covering the counties of Alexander, Bond, Edwards, Effingham, Fayette, Franklin, Gallatin, Hamilton, Hardin, Jackson, Jefferson, Johnson, Lawrence, Macom, Macoupin, Madison, Massac, Perry, Pope, Pulaski, Randolph, Richland, St. Claire, Taswell, Union Washington, White, and Williamson.   There Is also books on Illinois Census’, Illinois County History, Ancestor Charts, and Family Histories.

The GSSI Genealogy Library is open during John A. Logan College hours.

The Summer hours are:

Monday – Thursday: 7:30 a.m. – 4:30 p.m.

Friday – Sunday: Closed

Summer is a great time to get out and explore the cemeteries and research facilities, for those elusive family members!  If you are a GSSI member and you get stuck or have a research question, feel free to contact our GSSI Genealogist, Rhonda Hagston. Email her at


Genealogy:  Where you confuse the dead and irritate the living - Unknown

Earlier Newsletters may be found on the Newsletter Archive page