Sunday, March 14, 2010

52 Weeks to Better Genealogy: Family Search Pilot

Week 10's task (developed by my friend Amy of We Tree and hosted by was: Investigate Family Search Pilot, which is part of This is a wonderful collection of records which literally grows every day. In the middle left of the page is a link that says “Browse our record collections.” Click it and pick a region. Search collections outside your research interest. Investigate the types of records collected all over the world and see how they differ from those with which you are familiar. If you are a genealogy blogger, pick a type of record from another country and share your observations about it.

I took a look at the information from Germany, but was not successful in finding anything - I have had more luck with the regular Family Search International Genealogical Index.

Under the Canada, USA, and Mexico region, my eyes were immediately drawn to the red-starred (new or updated!) Illinois, Cook County Birth Certificates Collection, 1878-1922. Since I have LOTS of ancestors born in Cook County (and I was too), I checked this one out!

I found birth certificates for my great uncle Lee Pape and great aunt Rhea Pape, but not my paternal grandfather or his other four siblings, despite the time period being correct. However, it is a work in progress, so I'll keep checking. I also found birth certificates for five of the six children born to August S. and Emma Pape Childs, as well as the marriage certificate for the latter two in the Illinois, Cook County Marriages, 1871 - 1920 collection. I'm hoping the information on these will help me eventually figure out just how Emma (who gave Great Aunt Martha Pape Bleidt a photo of my great-great-grandparents) is related in the family.

I also found a birth certificate for a Joseph Dienes, the tenth (and previously unknown to us) child of great-great-grandparents Frederick and Regina Matthias Dienes. He was stillborn on May 13, 1880, and with this information I also found him on the 1880 US Census Mortality Schedule in

There are a lot of other records in here I'd like to explore, including Louisiana Deaths 1850-1875 & 1894-1954, Texas Deaths 1890-1976, and llinois, Diocese of Belleville, Catholic Parish Records, 1729-1956 (this is where the Matheis family, who were Catholics, lived in the 1850s, and I may be able to find Illinois Governor William Henry Bissell's baptism in these records as well).

I'm so thrilled with this collection that I signed up to be an indexer. I think everyone researching family history should give this a try. For one thing, it will give you an appreciation of the difficulties in reading poor handwriting and faded documents, and perhaps more patience when you have difficulty finding records because of how they were indexed.

© Amanda Pape - 2010


  1. I think it is so great that you are into this genealogy stuff! Now I can send people to you for help and not have to use Glenda as our expert!

  2. I'm just starting looking into my own family genealogy, and it's interesting to read how other people are going about it. Also (and I hope this doesn't seem creepy), but I am a Guokas, and my great-grandparents came from Lithuania. I didn't know there was another Guokas clan out there!

  3. Wow, Elizabeth, and not creepy at all! I know my great-grandfather had some brothers that also came to the USA, and one of them settled in the Chicago area so I am somehow related to a bunch up there. Also, supposedly we are somehow related to Matt Guokas the basketball coach but again not sure how.