British Interest Group of Wisconsin and Illinois

Where and when we meet:

BIGWILL’s meetings are held at:
The Community Church
5714 Broadway St.
(two blocks west of U.S. Route 12)
Richmond, Illinois

10am until noon on the third Saturday of the months of
January, March, May, July, September and November.
Visitors as well as members are always welcome. Refreshments are available for a donation at each meeting.

Getting to the Church On Time (village map)


“A” on the map above marks the location of the Community Church

Marching toward Richmond (area map)

Surrounding Area

Upcoming meeting dates and topics:

See the BIGWILL November-March bad weather meeting cancellation policy near the bottom of this web page

15 March 2014:Find Your American Ancestor Using Canadian Records” a live webinar presented by Kathryn Lake Hogan.
Photo of Kathryn Lake Hogan Have you hit a brick wall in your research? Maybe your ancestor was in Canada. Discover reasons why your American ancestors may have been in Canada, and where to find the records. A variety of Canadian record sources and websites will be presented.
This will be a new adventure for BIGWILL. If all goes according to plan, the talk will be given live but the speaker will be located about 360 miles from the audience (in Windsor, Ontario) during the entire presentation, including the question and answer session. The presentation is expected to last about forty-five minutes, with another half hour allocated for questions from BIGWILL members for the speaker. Questions will be submitted to the speaker in written format – be sure to bring a pen or pencil to write questions which come to your mind during the presentation. Come see how well this works! If it works as well as Rollie Littlewood claims it will, it could provide BIGWILL with a means to occasionally bring in other speakers whose “home base” is just too remote from Richmond to make it practical to have them give talks to us in person.

17 May 2014:Developing a Sixth Census: Finding More in ‘The Census’ Than Meets the Eye” will be presented by Daniel Hubbard.
Photo of Daniel HubbardDiscover what you can find in the census: critical years, where and when to find specific information, census surprises, and less frequently used census records.

19 July 2014: TBA

20 September 2014:Looking for Love in All the Wrong Places: The Search for Marriage Records” and “New Tools for Finding Old Stuff” will be presented by Ginger Frere.
Photo of Ginger Frere You’ve looked through civil records and you’ve looked through church records. What else should you do if you simply can't find your ancestor’s marriage records? In the United States, the requirements for a valid marriage have changed over time and varied from state to state. Today couples in a hurry might rush off to Las Vegas. During the late 1800s and early 1900s, numerous towns across the nation were known as “marriage mills” or “Gretna Greens.” Learn about some of these locations and find out why you might be looking for marriage records in the wrong place.

Technology is changing the face of genealogy. Come take a look at some new online tools and techniques for finding our elusive ancestors. Bing, iPhone apps, software “to-go,” current maps overlain by historic maps, online classes, digital libraries, wikis and more! Learn how these tools can enhance your genealogical bag of tricks.

15 November 2014: Ann Wells will be the speaker.

Handouts from some earlier BIGWILL meetings:
Photo Retouching in Genealogical Research, by Larry L. Pepper (17 March 2012).
Handout (4 pages)
Quaker Family History Research, by Maureen Brady (18 May 2013). Handout (4 pages)
The First Frontiersmen: The Scots-Irish, by Maureen Brady (18 May 2013). Handout (4 pages)
Using National Archives Administrative Records For Genealogy, by Joan Kitchen Murray (16 November 2013). Handout (2 pages)

The BIGWILL November-March bad weather meeting cancellation policy

BIGWILL recognizes that occasionally roads may be dangerously icy or snow-covered on our winter-time meeting days. Meetings will only be cancelled if law enforcement advises us of hazardous driving conditions in the Richmond area. We will attempt to have cancellations aired on WGN (AM 720) and other area radio stations, but there is no guarantee. You may check on the meeting status up until 8:45 a.m. on meeting days by calling Prudy Sullivan at (262)279-3494. You can also check this website for last-minute meeting cancellation notices.

What would you like to hear about? What would you like to talk about?

BIGWILL is always on the lookout for program ideas, and Margaret Zook is our chief scout. Have you taken a trip to England, Ireland, Scotland, Wales, the Channel Islands or the Isle of Man? If so, consider giving a presentation to BIGWILL about what you saw and did. Have you heard a good talk at some other society’s meeting which was related to British Isles research? Or do you just know a topic you’d like to learn more about, even if you don’t know who could give a presentation on the topic? If your answer is “Yes” to any of these questions, help put Margaret hot on the trail of another BIGWILL meeting topic. You can contact her by e-mail, by phone (at 708-703-6996), or in person at almost any BIGWILL meeting. You can make a difference!

Want to be reminded of what programs BIGWILL has had in the past?

Click here to view a listing of all programs from its very beginning through mid-2012.

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This site is maintained by Rollie Littlewood
This page was last modified on 20 February 2014