How to trace Civil War-era genealogy

Provided photo
Victoria Bryant Stewart
Provided photo Victoria Bryant Stewart

SYCAMORE – On Wednesday, Nov. 12, the Sycamore History Museum will host a rare workshop on research. Victoria Bryant Stewart, who studies U.S. legal history at Northern Illinois University, will present “Finding Your Civil War Ancestor: Research with Federal and County Records.” She will explain how best to conduct genealogical and historical searches.  

Stewart’s time as an Illinois Regional Archives Depository intern at Western Illinois University and Northern Illinois University has provided invaluable experience in working with 19th-century documents, including Civil War records.

Stewart’s academic work focuses on resistance against conscription policies during the American Civil War. She has given talks regarding Civil War history to the West-Central Illinois Civil War Round Table, the McDonough County Historical Society, and at the Conference on Illinois History. 

The program, complementing Sycamore History Museum’s award-winning exhibit, “General Dutton’s America,” will be held at the DeKalb County Community Foundation, 475 DeKalb Avenue, from 7 to 8:30 p.m. on Wednesday, Nov. 12. Gen. Everell Dutton’s life exemplifies the pioneer spirit, dedication of a soldier and richness of the Gilded Age while telling the story of Sycamore from the 1840s-1900.  

The exhibit includes a hands-on tent for visitors to gain a better sense of a soldier’s daily life. Interactive displays, letters, period dress and authentic historical pieces illustrate an important period in the history of Sycamore and of the nation. The exhibit continues through the winter. There is also an online exhibit that complements the real exhibit at

This program is the first of a series of evening programs connected to the exhibit. The other two talks include “Illinois in the Civil War” by Terry Dyer and “Lincoln’s Early Life” by Dennis Maher. 

“General Dutton’s America” is funded through Douglas C. and Lynn M. Family Foundation and The Dutton Family Foundation, and the Mary E. Stevens Concert and Lecture Fund. There is a suggested donation of $5 per person. The museum is located at 1730 N. Main St. in Sycamore. For additional information, visit or call 815-895-5762

Loading more