Obituary scans

By Matt Helm


BELVIDERE ─ The Boone County Historical Museum received a $6,000 grant from the Schwemm Family Foundation to go towards the digitization of the museum’s collection of over 30,000 Boone County obituaries.

“This grant is a really exciting thing because obituaries are the main source people use for genealogy research,” Executive Director of the Boone County Historical Museum Anna Pivoras said. “We get phone calls and visitors every day asking to do family history research. We have obituaries dating back to 1851.”

After they are organized and packed, the obituaries will be sent to DPSDave Digital Photographic Service in Oregon to be scanned.

“Once scanned we will receive a hard drive with all of the files on it,” Pivoras said. “We will take those files and make them available online for the public to look at.”

The Boone County Historical Museum website ( currently hosts an incomplete database of obituaries.

“Right now you can only see the vital records on our website, like the person’s name, birth date, and death date,” Pivoras said. “Now researchers can see the full obituary. Everything will be fully searchable. If you type in a person’s name, the names of those associated with them will be available immediately.”

Obituary scans 2The obituaries come from local newspapers including the Belvidere Daily Republican and the Rockford Register Star.

“As we move forward we are going to scan new obituaries into the database so it will be updated through 2016,” Pivoras said. “This is an on-going project that we will continue to keep up with moving forward.”

Scanning the obituaries and creating an online database is a plan that the Boone County Historical Museum has had for a while.

“We’ve wanted to do this for years,” Research and Archive Manager at the Boone County Historical Museum Lonna Bentley said. “If we tried hand scanning them ourselves we’d all be in the obituaries before we finished the project!”

The Schwemm Family Foundation gives grants to organizations in the California, Oregon and Greater Chicago Area.

“Getting the grant prompted us to take action,” Pivoras said. “It was something we always hoped to do, but it was too time consuming without the grant.”

The Schwemm Family Foundation supports community based organizations that focus on education, literature, or the natural environment.

“The Schwemm Family Foundation seeks to promote programs and initiatives that strengthen community ties through preserving local history and culture, which is exactly what we plan to do by scanning the obituaries,” Pivoras said. “We are grateful for the generosity of the foundation.”

The obituaries will be available online by the end of the year.

Buy Viagra Overnight Delivery USA.