Notes from the White County Historical Society

By Charlene Shields

Notes from the White County Historical Society as they appear in "The Carmi Times."

Copyright ©2000 by "The Carmi Times" Permission to reprint granted to Cindy Birk Conley and the ILGenWeb by Barry Cleveland, editor, "The Carmi Times."

Unsung heroes, unusual 'luck'

Down through the years many people have helped us at the Genealogy
Library in so many ways. One unsung helper has been Linda Kay
Kuykendall, who has always been ready to work when I called on her. This
morning, when I returned from my walk, the wind chill factor was 18
degrees. I meant it as a joke, but I called Linda Kay and asked her if
she would help me read tombstones today, and she replied in the
affirmative. I don't know of any place much colder than a cemetery,
because the wind always seems to whip across the place, but she was
ready to go if I needed her. However, I assume most of the tombstone
transcription has been put on hold until spring, when our trusty
volunteers will be out again--I hope.


When one spends much time in genealogical research, many interesting
coincidences take place. Some researchers have had this happen so often
they no longer attribute their finds to dumb luck, hunches or

A few people feel their ancestors "want" to be found and call to them to
search in unexpected places for answers. Do the dead reach out "beyond
the veil," to nudge us in certain directions? Many researchers say we
need to "feel" about our ancestors as well as "think" about them.
Certainly most genealogists work on family lines until they feel
acquainted with some of these people, although perhaps 200 years
separates the family from the searcher.

Why do some genealogists have seemingly non-rational experiences? Is it
due to intuition--a seeming sixth sense about where a record might
appear other than the logical place in which to look? Is it due to
genetic memory--the possibility that we inherit from our forebears some
of the facts about our heritage? How do we explain some of these
off-the-wall experiences when it was surely more than chance which
caused us to search in irrational places and come up with answers which
had eluded us for years?

Although most of us haven't had anything as obvious as a book falling
off the shelf, striking us in the head, and then falling open to the
precise page we need, this HAS happened to a few researchers. And
practically all searchers have had unexplainable events take place--call
it intuition, serendipity or intervention by the "Great God of
Genealogy," some of our greatest finds have been as a result of
something unexplainable. I confess to having had a few such experiences.

However, most of my "luck" in research seems to have come from plain,
hard work. If my great-grandmother, Mary Jane Sloop, has any help to
offer me, I wish she'd be a bit more obvious. I've been hunting for that
lady for years and keep hitting brick walls in all directions!


Mr. and Mrs. David Brown of California and Mary Beth Brown Milford and
husband of Ohio visited our library recently. David and Mary Beth Brown
grew up in Maunie. They had not been back here for years, so the two
couples decided to meet here and explore their roots. In the course of
conversation with them at our library, I discovered we have kinship
through not only the Brown line but also the Cleveland line. It is
always great to find unknown cousins!


The Genealogy Library is open Wednesdays 11 to 5.

Address letters to Genealogy, White County Historical Society, PO Box
121, Carmi, IL 62821.

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The Coordinator for the White County, Illinois ILGenWeb page is Cindy Birk Conley

Copyright © 2000 by Cindy Birk Conley, all rights reserved. For personal use only. Commercial use of the information contained in these pages is strictly prohibited without prior permission. If copied, this copyright notice must appear with the information.