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Discover Resources for Family History at March 18 Fireside Talk

On Thursday, March 18, 2004 at 7:00 pm Susan Lye will speak on Kane County Resources for the Family Historian at Garfield Farm Museum's Fireside Talks series.

Every family has stories about an ancestor and their life. .These tales often are the foundation of every family's history, building an interest in learning more about the past. Sometimes finding evidence to back up those stories is a challenge when the participants may have been deceased for many years. Using Kane County's historic resources as an example will provide direction for anyone doing family research here or out of state. This discussion will specifically cover resources available for the novice or advanced family historian researching descendents with a connection to Kane County.

Kane County records most recently shed light on the disappearance of a Garfield family member from the family's history. Timothy's brother, Benjamin Franklin Garfield came with Timothy to Kane County in 1841 but he disappears from the family stories by the late 1850s. Making chance contact in 1986 with a great great grandson of Benjamin, the museum learned that family had lost track of Benjamin by the early 1870s. A further mystery revealed that Benjamin at the age of 53 enlisted in the Union Army and drove an ambulance. This seemed curious for a married man of his age with 3 children. Recent research of the Kane County Circuit Court Records has perhaps solved this mystery. In the court records, there was an 1860s filing for divorce which was scandalous in its day. More research needs to be done to know the outcome but this could explain the lack of family knowledge of what had happened.

Susan Lye, a life long family historian, is the president of the Kane County Genealogical Society. The mission of the Kane County Genealogical Society (KCGS) is to gather and preserve regional historical records and serve as a county-wide educational resource for those interested in genealogy. For more information about KCGS visit the society's website at

There is a $5 donation for the evening's talk and reservations will guarantee enough refreshments for all by calling (630) 584-8485 or email Garfield Farm Museum is located 5 miles west of Geneva, IL off ILL Rt. 38 on Garfield Road. This historically intact 370 acre former 1840s prairie farmstead and teamster inn is being restored as an 1840s working farm museum by donors and volunteers from around the country.

For more information about Garfield Farm send an e-mail message to: or call 630/584-8485.

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