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Interview with Peg Kapustiak, ISGS 2018 Conference Speaker

We’re so excited to have Peg Kapustiak as one of our ISGS Fall Conference speakers! Peg is a seventh generation Illinoisan, genealogist and family historian for over 35 years. She has presented nationally and internationally and known for her enthusiastic and detailed practical “how-to” presentations. As our Fall Conference draws nearer, we asked Peg a few questions...

Illinois State Genealogical Society: How did you become interested in genealogy? How long have you been researching?
Peg Kapustiak: My Dad and I started researching family history in the early 1980s. He really wanted to prove my Mom's Revolutionary War heritage. Plus both my parents had interesting family stories about early Chicago that we wanted to prove were really true.

ISGS: Why do you research your ancestors?
Peg: As a child I remember my aunts and uncles and grandparents telling family stories. It was a long time before I realized that the people they were talking about had died, some even 200 years ago, but my relatives continued to retell family lore. Genealogy searching gave them more to talk about and proved most of the family stories.

I have "hobbied" in family research since the early 1980s; lived in England where we were lucky to have traveled and investigated family roots all over Europe, and also lived in Hong Kong and Singapore where I did family research in Asia.

For someone who thought I would "live and die" in northern Illinois I consider myself extremely lucky to have had those experiences. So about 15 years ago it seemed only fair to share my ideas and helps with others.

ISGS: One of your lectures is on getting organized and saving time. What does being organized with your genealogy look like to you? Have you always been organized with your research or is it a skill that you acquired?
Peg: Why a talk on Organizing and Saving Time? Why not? How many of us have too much information? What do you do with it? How do you find it again? Websites, books, articles, birth and death certificates, land surveys, etc. Plus how can you rethink what all your info means?  Using timelines and lists gives you new perspectives.

ISGS: You're a 7th generation Illinoisan! Tell us about your Illinois roots.
Peg: Our family was never famous, but one branch came in 1832, when northern Illinois was still Indian Territory, except for a 20 mile swatch from Lake Michigan to the Illinois River. They were first settlers in two areas of Chicago and Southern Cook County, had two schools named after them, donated land for a still active community cemetery and were impacted by a number of historical events. Other branches came directly to Chicago area from Germany, Scotland, Ireland, England, France and Hungary in the 1850s, 1880s and early 1900s. Again, not famous or even well-known but lots of intersection with historical events.

ISGS: Pandemics, Epidemics, and Diseases is the intriguing title of one of your lectures. How did you get interested in this topic?
Peg: Why a talk on Pandemics, etc.? Well, it is really interesting to discover in your family that sudden deaths were very common: without immunizations, epidemics occurred; human failings resulted in accidents; and weather events created havoc; plus it ties your family into historical events, which is always interesting.


Join ISGS and Peg Kapustiak at the ISGS Fall Conference on October 26 and 27 in Springfield, Illinois. Discover more information in the conference brochure and register online.

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