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(Originally Published in 1889)

This is an amazing and fascinating book. Printed in 1889, the first 185 pages are biographies of American presidents and governors of Illinois, then the next 927 pages provide detailed biographies of outstanding citizens of Vermilion and Edgar Counties. Many of the biographies include genealogies from the years before the Revolutionary War.

Many people researching their family's genealogy have probably put the book aside in disappointment, not knowing that their own family information is included. Sometimes, a single name is mentioned in as many as four apparently unrelated biographies, yet the name doesn't appear in the original index. The original index of only 750 names isn't remotely comprehensive. There are 677 biographies of pioneers, leaving space for only 73 additional names. The new index provided here lists 11,503 names. The 1889 Publication is readily accessible through-out the various pages for your review.

The biographies are written in the flowery style of the Victorian Era. Today, such a book would adhere to sound writing principles, particularly the proper use of antecedents. Incorrect attribution of parentage of some children may have occurred in this new index because of the confusing way in which the information was presented. This problem, plus the lack of accuracy, neglect of important facts, faulty memories of long ago, and the haphazard writing style of the time, make it impossible to assure the reader that all of the information is accurate. Given names were handed from generation to generation; when needed, Sr., Jr., and 3rd have been added for clarification.

There are printer errors, such as 10 missing pages which should have been numbered from 1083 through 1094. This was truly a printing error because the narrative continues without interruption from page 1082 to page 1095. The numbers "1" and "4" are usually indistinguishable in the print copy; fortunately, a clue was sometimes included which helped determine the proper dates. Erroneous dates are noted and corrected, such as one biography where the marriage date was two years after the birth date of the individual. Internet searches were occasionally performed, then noted in this new index when information was obviously incomplete or contradictory. "Bio" was added to the new index next to the subjects name on each biography, to help correlate the information in the book with the index listing. Strangely, there are eight duplicate biographies; the notation, "Duplicate Bio," was added by these names.

Sorting through and recording 11,503 names on 393 pages was an overwhelming challenge, and complete accuracy was impossible. Even so, the book is an inspiration, and the source of great respect for pioneer Americans.

© 2012 Norma Ewing: All rights reserved.

Legend: CODE: b.=born d. died/age d/o=daughter of f/o=father of (g/n/u) =given name unknown h/o=husband of (m/n/u) =maiden name unknown m/o=mother of s/o=son of w/o=wife of ( ) = maiden name enclosed Names are listed alphabetically and each new alphabet letter is given a separate page.

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by Ronald E. Yates May 2012
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