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The Great Chicago Fire of 1871 destroyed the courthouse and city hall and most of the records. But many records survived or were later able to be legally proven. In 1938, the Work Projects Administration's Historical Records Survey inventoried Cook County and Chicago records. But the inventory went unpublished when the WPA ended, and the records languished in the Illinois State Archives. Wesley Johnston spent 2 years going through the records and 4 more to publish them in 1982. Now he has updated his 1982 book.
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|Product dimensions:||6.00(w) x 9.00(h) x 0.30(d)|
About the Author
W. Wesley Johnston holds Master's degrees in History and Mathematics. His family history research began in 1954. He soon learned that his first Chicago ancestors arrived in 1846. Thinking, as most people do, that the total destruction by the Great Chicago Fire of 1871 of the courthouse and City Hall had also destroyed all pre-fire records, he was surprised to discover that no one had ever completed the publication of the Historical Records Survey's inventories of records that included 169 groups of records that pre-dated the Fire or were reconstructed after the Fire. Those records were boxed up and put away in the Illinois State Archives, but no one had ever completed the work of organizing and publishing the information on the pre-Fire record groups. So he began a 6-year project that led to his 1983 publication of the first edition of his book. Disappointed to learn in 2014 how few of those record groups are still not yet known to most researchers, he resolved to update his book and publish a revised edition, to stimulate a new generation of researchers to search out and digitize or otherwise share this treasure trove of records that most people had thought were forever lost. His books include "Family Thickets", "Dad's War: Finding and Telling your Father's WWII Story" and "The Graphic Work of Berthe Morisot" among others. In addition, he is the Historian for the US 7th Armored Division Association and the Founding President of the American World War II Association Historians Consortium and has done research for over a dozen new monuments in Europe since 1994.