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Month: November 2008

The First Settlers

The First Settlers

Your ancestors were the first settlers of the country? They came over on the Mayflower? This will come as a surprise to many but the Pilgrims were not the first European settlers in America. They weren’t even the first English settlers. This fact is often overlooked in the scramble to form history around Thanksgiving.

Just over 100 Pilgrims arrived in 1620 in Massachusetts followed six years later by the Dutch colony at New Amsterdam, now New York.

But in 1607 a group of English colonists – 104 people sailed from England – arrived in Virginia and established the first permanent English settlement in America. How could you forget Captain John Smith and Pocahontas?

In 1565 the Spanish established a colony at St. Augustine in Florida. St. Augustine is the oldest continually occupied European settlement in America thanks to about 100 settlers and even more soldiers who came ashore that September.

The oldest [and largest] European settlement in what is the continental U.S. was made on August 15, 1559, when Don Trist├ín de Luna y Arellano and over 1,400 people settled on Santa Rosa Island, a barrier island on the north shore of the Gulf of Mexico. They called it Pensacola. Just a month later a hurricane struck the colony. Many were killed. Half the ships sank and supplies were ruined. The survivors stayed on but the natives weren’t friendly and famine set it so they left in in 1561. Presumably no settlers stayed behind in Pensacola and left descendants. The Spanish did not return and reestablish the colony until 1696.

Slides Update

Slides Update

The slide/negative scanner came with Photo Impressions 6. I was not pleased with what I was seeing. On the advice of several people I purchased Photoshop Elements 6. I read several reviews which said the new version wasn’t a prize and also the old version was cheaper. I only wanted basic so that worked for me. The difference is incredible. Just using the basic “quick fix” option the results are so much better.

Real life has gotten in the way of my genealogy. I spent the time I had reminiscing over the slides I had scanned. It was worth it. As a result I’ve probably gone through 100 slides, haven’t even tried the negatives with Photoshop Elements.

Logan County Cemetery Information

Logan County Cemetery Information

Cemeteries in Logan County that are not privately endowed or owned are maintained by the Logan County Cemetery District. The good citizens of Logan County pay taxes to take care of cemeteries that might otherwise be in dispair or lost. For the active cemeteries the cemetery district also keeps track of burials and they have any records that exist for the old cemeteries which are no longer in use. This does not mean the old cemeteries are maintained in pristine shape but it does mean they are at least mowed several times a year.


A list of the cemeteries in Logan County can be found here. Someone has walked the cemeteries in red in the last 10 years and those listings are here. In addition, in the 1960s and early 70s the Decatur Genealogical Society in neighboring Macon County walked many of the cemeteries and has listings available for sale in their publications found on their website which is here.


The Logan County Genealogical & Historical Society sells a CD which contains all the burials in Logan County through a few years ago. You can find more information on their website. That web site is in some transition but the main page should remain the same.

South Logan Cemetery Database

South Logan Cemetery Database

The most exciting thing going on in the cemeteries of South Logan County is the cemetery database which Jane DeWitt has been working on for years. She compiled it from a variety of sources, using the names from the tombstone transcriptions posted on the Logan County ILGenWeb site. There are nearly 10,000 names. If a person is buried in the area they are likely listed.

Jane used the county history books, an old coffin maker’s records, the “Green Book,” the records of the cemetery district and other sources in compiling the information. It contains burial information, including location of the stone when available, as well social information using information on the stone and the books and everything else available.

It was years in the making and is now in editing, a slow and painful process as we check information and attempt to make everything consistent. Yours truly is handling that in her “spare” time. It helps that I am related to a very large chunk of those listed. Members of the Logan County mailing list were given a sneak peek and several corrections and additions have come forth from that. Visitors to the Mt. Pulaski Historical Society may also get a peek. Jane may be using it to answer a question.

The project is currently in spreadsheet format. We would like to eventually convert that to something where one could search for, say, all the War of 1812 vets buried at Steenbergen. Suggestions are welcome!

Graveyard Rabbits

Graveyard Rabbits

Graveyard Rabbits are a group of bloggers who promoting the historical importance of cemeteries and grave markers and the family history to be learned from a study of burial customs, burying grounds and tombstones. Each has a location. Mine are the cemeteries of south Logan County, Illinois, in the very heart of Illinois, where almost every one of my ancestors who has died in the last 175 years is buried.

This blog will be devoted exclusively to cemetery information. For other posts see Ancestor Hunting.