Genealogy Links and Helps Tab Updated, AND “Stateline Travelers -Chicago Mafia Connections in Northern Illinois and Southern Wisconsin” Program


Vicki Ruthe Hahn

Hi all.

(First news about my BLOG update, then about my Mafia program.)

BLOG update:

My followers get an email every time that I do a new Post on this BLOG. Not sure if they noticed a lot of updates to my Genealogy Links and Helps Page lately! Many people find that the links in that prolific, long Page are very helpful for research. The topics are arranged in alphabetical order with direct connection links to the mostly free websites and sources.

You can look at my BLOG Postings and Tabs any time that you want to. If you want to join 89 other followers, you can follow Stateline Genealogy Club Blog via Email . Enter your email address to follow this BLOG and receive notifications of new posts by email at this link – (Find and click the “FOLLOW” button on any Page of my BLOG on the right hand side.

I realized that my Genealogy Links and Helps Page at the “Genealogy Links and Helps” Tab at the top of this StatelineGenealogyClub, BLOG had gotten into a mess. Or click here to get to that Tab.

I took the long-dreaded days to clean up that Page, and now it is back to a very usable condition. ( BLOG editing and Post creations are not easy – very balky to do.) Somehow I had gotten another duplicated copy onto the end of the already long listing of those genealogy links. I double-checked to make sure I have the complete list without duplicates now.

There is a new entry topic on that Genealogy Links and Helps Tab alphabetically on “Mafia Ancestors”, and additions to “Italian Ancestors”. Note that more ethnic groups than Italians had Mafia families, but the word “mafia” (meaning “manly“) was created by the Italian (LCN) La Cosa Nostra (meaning “this thing of ours“) to name the overall Mafia organization. (The LCN was one of 4 Italian Mafia sub-organizations.) I am not equating Italians as Mafia, as only about 1 in 6,000 Italian Americans were estimated as being part of a Mafia family.

MAFIA Program:

I recorded a Zoom program on “Chicago Mafia Connections in Northern Illinois and Southern Wisconsin” that will be available to view at the NSLD North Suburban Library District (Roscoe, Loves Park, Illinois) YouTube online site during the month of August 2022. See here for an update once I know the link.

This program explains the immigration history of Italian Americans, and how to do genealogy research on your Italian (or if there are any Mafia) ancestors. Many factors (including a vow of silence!) affect how hard it can be to do genealogical research of Mafia Ancestors.

I cover a history of the Mafia (several ethnic groups) in the United States (mostly for Chicago, Illinois and Rockford, Illinois). I also tell how multiple Mafia families from those cities affected the lives of people (and had connections to) the small communities in the Illinois/Wisconsin stateline region, and beyond.

Click to go to my “Genealogy Presentations AND Consultation by Vicki Ruthe Hahn” for more presentations that your Library or Genealogy Group can book for Zoom or In-Person meetings.

How to Clean Cemetery Headstones


(Vicki’s notes:

  • Here are the best methods for cleaning cemetery headstones as approved by the Department of Veterans of America National Cemetery Administration, and shared by the in this article “Gravestone Cleaning Tips From BillionGraves”. They even have a cleaning kit that you can purchase at a reduced price. The main component is a D/2 biologic cleaning solution that was created by conservators for conservators, and used on historic buildings as well.
  • The most important suggestion is to ask permission of the Cemetery before doing any type cleaning, as there may be a fine for any cleaning, or they may have approved methods. The other most important thing is to “first do no harm” – the stone may be too soft or crumbling to withstand any touch.
  • There are several types of headstone materials, things that may need to be cleaned off, and ways to clean. We have to be able to see the headstone inscriptions in order to read the important information on them.
  • I will let you read the rest in the article.

“Volunteer to help index the US 1950 Census Records”

Vicki’s notes – I am not going to officially coordinate individuals in a group effort to index the US Census records as Stateline Genealogy Club. I am including links and information that I have received below, if you want to individually volunteer to help. This could be your RAOGK Random Act of Genealogical Kindness:

(An email that I received.):

“Dear Stateline Genealogy Club,

I thought you might be interested in what we are doing at FamilySearch to publish the free 1950 index on You might have seen an email from us earlier this week talking about it. If you didn’t get it, I’ve attached it here for your convenience.

Individuals, societies, and organizations are invited to participate in an effort to review and improve a computer-generated index of the census, to help us get the final index published faster than ever. Would you like to invite your society members to work together on Wisconsin? Group functionality will be available as the project is launched so that you can see the progress you are making together as a group.

The nice thing about a volunteer effort like this, where your members are working together and with your group, is that it will strengthen their ties to your organization and to each other.

If you would like to participate with your society, visit to learn more and register as a participating organization.

Then stay tuned—we’ll let you know when it’s time to get started! You’ll be well on your way to making a meaningful impact on our national service project.


Jeff Svare, AG®

About the 1950 Census Community Project

On April 1, 2022, images of the 1950 US Federal Census will be released for the first time. Unlike previous census years, these records will be available as free digital images.

Upon its release, the 1950 US Census Community Project, a joint initiative between FamilySearch, Ancestry, and other leading genealogy societies and organizations, will coordinate efforts to provide quick access to these digital images and to create a comprehensive index that will be searchable online.

Enthusiasm and interest in the 1950 US census have been building steadily since the release of the 1940 census in 2012. These new records will introduce us to the 40,000,000 people born during this era of baby boomers. But this postwar decade wasn’t just prosperous for newborns. It also ushered in the civil rights movement, rock ’n’ roll, suburban living, and a wave of colorful innovations. Many of the powerful voices and inspired minds behind these changes will be found in the 1950 census.

Many people alive today will find themselves in the 1950 US census. Others will be able to readily connect with relatives they knew personally or through family stories. Imagine the great resource this will be to current and future researchers and family history enthusiasts!

Jeff Svare, AG®

Deputy, Chief Genealogical Officer

Content Manager, Historical Records

FamilySearch Research Wiki

Office 801-240-1004

The 1950 Census Is Now Online – US National Archives video announcement –

CBS News – Census records from 1950 being released: “This is genealogy heaven”

Jump-start Your 1950 U.S. Census Research with the Census Helper™


Vicki’s notes -Happy US Federal 1950 Census release day! No kidding – April 1. has a new tool to help you find your relatives locations with new release of the 1950 Us Federal Census – today! From My Heritage BLOG:

Jump-start Your 1950 U.S. Census Research with the Census Helper™

  • By Esther

March 31, 2022

Jump-start Your 1950 U.S. Census Research with the Census Helper™

We’re happy to introduce the Census Helper™, a useful and free tool that scans your family tree and compiles a list of your relatives who are very likely to be found in the 1950 U.S. census. This tool is available immediately for all MyHeritage users. If you are not using MyHeritage yet, now’s a perfect time to sign up and bring your tree over (via GEDCOM import) and benefit from this useful tool, which will save you time and give direction to your research.

Use the Census Helper™ now – it’s free

WBCGS Winnebago Boone County Genealogical Society, Illinois – Free Zoom Meeting Program – Saturday, March 5, 2022 at 1:30pm – “It’s All Online! Or Is It?”


Vicki’s note – Note the new website for WBCGS –

WBCGS Zoom Meeting Program – Saturday, March 5, 2022 at 1:30pm

“It’s All Online! Or Is It?

By Lori Bessler

WBCGS – Regular Meeting Program

Saturday, March 5, 2022 at 1:30pm


It is important to have a plan when going into the Internet to do genealogical research. This presentation will help you go into the searches in a controlled and well-organized manner to prevent surfing and losing your way. It highlights genealogical collections that you will not find online as well.

Lori Bessler is the genealogy and local history specialist in the Wisconsin Historical Society’s Library, Archives, and Museum Collections division. She presents a wide variety of talks and workshops for the general public, including: Genealogy: Beginning, Intermediate and Advanced; Using; Using; Online Research; Where to Find Collections Anywhere and Everywhere; Immigration Research.

See our Facebook page or email to get your ZOOM link BEFORE NOON on the day of the event.  Your sign in information will be emailed to you a few days before the event.

For more information, call Diane at (815) 543-2287

Visit us at our NEW website or on Facebook at!



Vicki’s notes – Maybe you are like me and found out from a DNA test that part of your heritage is Norwegian. I haven’t gotten back far enough to find where those Norwegian ancestors are in my family tree yet. When I do, the information in this free program should help my research tremendously!

We don’t know what/where/who we come from until we find out! I was surprised to find out there is Jewish in my DNA – haven’t found those people either; and Quaker ancestors in my family history – found those people. It’s always good to keep an open mind, have fun surprises, and learn as much as we can about how to do genealogy so that we are prepared when we do need it.

Date & Time: Tuesday, March 8, 2022, 6:30 p.m. CST. A Live Scheduled Online ZOOM Presentation
Cost: Free and open to the public.
Location: From the Comfort of your Home PC or Smartphone with the Zoom app.​

Dana Kelly

The Rock County Genealogical Society offers its March program free Zoom program viewable via PC, Mac, tablet or smartphone. The Zoom link and program handout links are below..

This Zoom link, and handout below allow participation from your home PC, Mac or smartphone.

                THE FREE LIVE ZOOM LINK – Click on the link below on March 8th, 2022 at 6:30 PM

Program Presenter(s):  Dana Kelly serves as the Executive Director of the Norwegian American Genealogical Center & Naeseth Library. She oversees the daily operation of the center and is active in outreach activities and educational programming. Dana’s passion for family history led her to a Scandinavian Studies degree from UW-Madison, where she learned to speak, read and write Norwegian. She serves on the board of directors for the Koshkonong Prairie Historical Society and Dane County Area Genealogical Society. Dana is a member of several Norwegian cultural and genealogical organizations including Sons of Norway, Vesterheim, Norwegian American Historical Association, Society for the Advancement of Scandinavian Study, Association of Professional Genealogists, and International Society of Online Genetic Genealogists. She and her husband, Gary Swain, have three children and a dairy farm.
Program Summary: Because Norway didn’t require permanent last names for its citizens until the early 1900s, knowing where your Norwegian ancestors lived is a very important factor in determining how to find genealogical records. In her presentation, Dana Kelly from the Norwegian American Genealogical Center in Madison, will discuss the political and cultural borders in Norway and what that means for locating genealogy records.
How to Attend: This is a LIVE presentation and must be watched at the scheduled time.  The Zoom link, program code and handout link below allow any participation from your home PC, Mac, or smartphone.
                                       THE FREE LIVE ZOOM LINK  – Click on the March 8th, 2022 at 6:30 PM CST

A video recording of this presentation may be seen later in the Members-Only area of the RCGS website.
Audience Handout: Click here (SOON) to download the Audience Handout in Adobe Acrobat (PDF) format.

Big Foot Fine Arts Program March 4, 2022 – Bobby Horton, Civil War Stories and Songs


by Vicki Ruthe Hahn

Here is your chance to enjoy a unique experience if you have not ever heard Civil War songs and stories presented. And it is a chance to hear a Civil War presentation again if you are near the Wisconsin/Illinois border.

Bobby Horton: Songs and Stories of the Civil War

Friday, March 4 @ 7:00 PM

Big Foot High School Auditorium

401 Devil’s Lane

Walworth, WI 53184

Advance Tickets: Adults $25 (at door $30) and under 18 $5

Tickets online at or call (262) 275-2117

I have not had the pleasure of hearing Bobby Horton yet, but have heard a similar artist on a Mississippi River cruise in Iowa years ago. I thoroughly enjoyed hearing Chris Vallillo sing Civil War songs on the authentic stringed instruments of the time. (I bought his CD – “Abraham Lincoln in Song“). I look forward to seeing what CDs Bobby Horton has on his extensive collection of Civil War music.

The Riverboat replica was a perfect setting for hearing Civil War era music, but I’m sure that Bobby Horton will weave that that same sweet, yet somber, mood of the Civil War years with his songs and stories at the up-coming program.

Designed as a replica of a Victorian steamboat, the Riverboat Twilight has three decks, dining areas and sundecks. Take cruises on the Mississippi River in Iowa . Take a short 1.5 hour sightseeing cruise on select dates, with Le Claire as your port of call. Want a true getaway? Two-day cruises depart from Le Claire to Dubuque and include all meals, lodging, on-board entertainment and admission to the National Mississippi River Museum & Aquarium.

I have also have heard a presentation of that era’s music interspersed with readings of journals and letters from the Civil War era. It is an unforgettable, powerful experience to get a feeling of how people lived then and what challenges our ancestors (on either side) faced.

What a dark time in our Nation’s history. The songs reflect the melancholy of the years of bad news – daily updates on the destruction of places and people and livelihoods. So much injury to people’s bodies, and so many, many deaths on both sides.

I have walked the Wilson’s Creek National Battlefield Park in Springfield, Missouri. It is “the site of a major Civil War battle. Fought on August 10, 1861, the Battle of Wilson’s Creek was a pivotal battle in Missouri and the second major battle of the Civil War. When the smoke cleared, more than 2,500 Union and Confederate soldiers were killed, wounded or missing in five hours of intense fighting.”

And I have walked the historic site of the Battle of Gettysburg, in Adams County, Pennsylvania . “The  July 1 – 3, 1863 Battle of Gettysburg marked the turning point of the Civil War. With more than 50,000 estimated casualties, the three-day engagement was the bloodiest single battle of the conflict.”

Even if someone did not know the significance of those places, they would feel the heavy, sad, somber atmosphere in those sacred locations of so many deaths. Even young children sense it and remain quiet. I tell you this just so that you understand the realities behind the Civil War attitudes.

Yet there was still love, marriage, children, and the general sweetness of life that kept people going.

It could be a very sad time. Even quilts made at that time, and now authentic recreations, were/are made in very somber, muted colors; as well as patriotic red , white and blue. And still the lightness of hope shows through.

Civil War songs also reflect the rousing patriotism of marching bands , and soldiers as comrade brothers. Home-sick soldiers created ballads and shared stories. They sang, and told, of the horror of fighting the battles, but also of the sentiments of home, and the joys of life and love; where-ever they came from.

That shared terrible experience distilled the importance of basic truths – people matter, love matters, our Country matters.

The eventual common kinship and peaceful civility that developed is shown in videos and photographs of the Veteran soldiers from both sides reuniting for Anniversaries after the Civil War. They had gone through the same unimaginable experiences of a ruthless war, from either side. And they had given up resentment, and had forgiven each other.
At the 50th anniversary (1913) of the Battle of Gettysburg, Union and Confederate veterans of the war shook hands across the stone wall of Pickett’s Charge in what appeared to be a time of sincere unity and forgiveness all around.

Take this chance to experience this era for yourself. Hear about the “struggles, hopes, and fears during this long and bloody conflict” from “one of the Country’s leading authorities of music from the Civil War period” – Bobby Horton.

Bobby Horton – Civil War Songs and Stories

My Heritage 70% discounted Subscription Sale


Notes from Vicki Ruthe Hahn: Here’s a great opportunity (that was sent to my email) if you ever wanted to subscribe to My Heritage:

We’re only several weeks into 2022 and we’ve already released new features to help you take your family history to the next level. We’ve launched a new List view for photos and a new Table view for search results. We also added millions of historical records, and we’re just getting started!
We invite you to enjoy all of this and so much more, and we’re pleased to offer you an amazing 70% discount on the Complete plan — our best plan for discovering family history.
Upgrade now and save 70%
We have plenty of new features and content in the pipeline to help you make the most of your family history research. Our photo tools are about to get even better, billions more records are on the way, and this limited-time offer is a great opportunity to get in on the action.
With the Complete plan, you’ll enjoy all of the following: Full access to all 16.3 billion historical records on MyHeritage, and all Record Matches — historical records that match your ancestors and relatives Unlimited use of all MyHeritage photo features including Deep Nostalgia™, MyHeritage In Color™ and Photo Repair Unlimited family tree size and unlimited photo storage Smart Matches™ — finds connections between your family tree and other users’ trees to bring you new information Instant Discoveries™ — adds entire branches and photos to your tree Consistency Checker — scans your family tree and identifies mistakes and inconsistencies in your data Priority customer support
Upgrade now and save 70%
This offer expires on February 20, 2022.
Best regards,
The MyHeritage team

Join NGS and FamilySearch International in Supporting the 1950 US Census Project:


Vicki Ruthe Hahn

1950 United States Federal Census Enumerator asking the questions. Was that baby you?

I received an email to my Stateline Genealogy Club about a Zoom meeting for genealogy organizations to learn how they can help transcribe and index the 1950 Census.

On April 1, 2022, the (NARA) National Archives and Records Administration of the United States will make digital images of the 1950 US Census available to the world after being protected by law for 72 years. and (NGS) National Genealogical Society are leading the effort to recruit other genealogy societies to make these census records searchable online by doing the volunteer work of transcribing and indexing all the names and locations.

It is important that you know what it takes to be able make use of the 1950 Census records, even if you are not part of a genealogy organization that will be doing the work. Remember 10 years ago when the 1940 US Federal Census was released? It really was an amazingly short time before volunteers had done the indexing so that we could actually search it.

This 1950 Census is the one that we have been waiting for – some of us (our older siblings) are in it!

Here are links to the Zoom informational meeting for genealogy organizations, and more about the process used to transcribe and index this Census.

Join NGS and FamilySearch International in Supporting the 1950 US Census Project:
The Next Big Thing in Family History
8 February 2022
8:30 p.m. to 9:30 p.m. ET via Zoom
Register Now

FamilySearch and NGS are inviting genealogy societies and organizations to assist in making the 1950 US census easier for everyone to search and discover their family connections. This unique crowdsourcing project, the largest census undertaking to date, will make the 150 million records of the individuals found on the census’s tens of thousands of digital images freely searchable online. 
Cheri Hudson Passey, NGS Vice-President of Society & Organization Management, and Ed Donakey, NGS Board Member (and FamilySearch leader) will be joined by key FamilySearch personnel to present and answer questions about how you and your genealogy society or organization can join the 1950 US Census Project. Those joining us on the panel from FamilySearch include: Jim Ericson (Europe and North American Marketing Director) Todd Knowles (Deputy Chief Genealogical Officer) Thom Reed (Director, African Heritage Initiatives & Deputy Chief Genealogical Officer Janell Vasquez (Program Manager and Community Leader) Jimmy Zimmerman (Europe and North America Director of Product Management)

On April 1, 2022, the National Archives and Records Administration of the United States will make digital images of the 1950 US census available to the world. Protected by law for 72 years, this long-awaited census will be the most comprehensive record set available of those who were living in that historic era in the United States. The 1950 US Census Community Project is a national collaborative effort that uses the Internet, artificial intelligence, and a massive volunteer workforce to make these census records searchable online.  
The outcome of this amazing initiative benefits everyone. Not only will every page of the 1950 US census be digitally preserved forever, but the general public will have convenient access to volumes of rich historical information that could provide the missing links to their family histories.  

Learn more about the role of volunteers in this effort and how your organization can assist. FamilySearch and NGS are collaborating to support the involvement of all genealogy societies and organizations and other key communities that will benefit from the 1950 Census.

Please join us February 8th at 8:30 PM ET and learn more about the project and how you and your society or organization can get involved. Register here.

If your genealogy society or organization is not already a member of the National Genealogical Society, we encourage you to consider joining. Please review our online brochure (and forward to your organization leaders) or visit our website for more information. Closed captioning and/or transcription is being provided solely for the convenience of our viewers via Zoom’s live closed captioning service. Neither NGS nor FamilySearch reviews for accuracy any information that appears in a closed caption or transcript. NGS and FamilySearch make no representations or warranties, and expressly disclaim any responsibility or liability with respect to, any errors or omissions in, or the accuracy, reliability, timeliness or completeness of, any information that appears in a closed caption or transcript.
Founded in 1903, the National Genealogical Society inspires, connects, and leads the family history community by fostering collaboration and best practices in advocacy, education, preservation, and research. We enable people, cultures, and organizations to discover the past and create a lasting legacy. The Falls Church, Virginia, based nonprofit is the premier national society for everyone, from the beginner to the most advanced family historian.

Rock County Genealogical Society – “Finding the Genealogy of a House and Those Who Lived There” Presented by Vicki Ruthe Hahn, IL-WI Stateline Genealogical Club. A FREE Live Webinar Tuesday February 8, 2022 6:30 p.m. CST

“Finding the Genealogy of a House and Those Who Lived There” presented by Vicki Ruthe Hahn


Rock County Genealogical Society – “Finding the Genealogy of a House and those who lived there” presented by Vicki Ruthe Hahn, IL-WI State Line Genealogical Club.

A FREE Live Webinar Tuesday February 8, 2022 6:30 p.m. CST.

Please forward to interested friends and family. Watch this program live only at the time and date shown.

“Finding the Genealogy of a House and those who lived there” program: Using genealogy techniques of searching for house architectural clues, local history, legal documents, maps, and stories, to learn more about a building and all of its historical occupants.

Presenter: Vicki Ruthe Hahn is the founder of the IL-WI State Line Genealogical Club, LLC, and regularly presents programs to regional genealogical societies.

How to Participate: Simply click the Zoom link below using your Wi-Fi enabled home PC, tablet or smartphone. No password is required; you will pause in the waiting room briefly before being admitted to the meeting.

THE FREE LIVE ZOOM LINK – House Genealogy. Click on the link below on February 8th, 2022 at 6:30 p.m. CST

Zoom Link – No password required (you’ll be admitted from the waiting room)

Download the audience handout here.

BONUS Zoom Webinar from our friends at the German Interest Group (GIG)Program: Getting Ready for the 1950 US Census.

Presenter: Genealogist Michael John Neill

When: Monday February 7th at 7:00 p.m. CST

Link: Click 1950 Census Zoom Link Passcode: 475595

Explore hundreds of Indexes, Tips & Tutorials at
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Join RCGS here for exclusive Members-Only Benefits and to feel good about supporting local non-profit family research. Thank you & we’re looking forward to seeing you!

Copyright © 2022 Rock County Genealogical Society, All rights reserved.

Our mailing address is:Rock County Genealogical Society, PO Box 0936Janesville, WI 53547-0936.

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