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Much of the information on this web page has not been updated since 2010. However two new files have been created which you can download which you may find very interesting. A committee of BIGWILL members indexed all the personal names in the first seventeen volumes of the BIGWILL newsletters, just as they appeared in the newsletter. The index is divided into two parts, one for 1994-2003 and one for 2004-2010. The complete collection of BIGWILL newsletters can be viewed in BIGWILL’s library collection at the McHenry Public Library.

BIGWILL News has won another award!

BIGWILL News was awarded the runner-up award in the 2009 NGS (National Genealogical Society) “County/Local Genealogical and/or Historical Societies” newsletter competition; the award was presented on 28 April 2010 at the NGS Family History Conference in Salt Lake City.

BIGWILL extends congratulations and thanks to BIGWILL News editor Karen Glass and to the BIGWILL members who have contributed articles for the newsletter!

BIGWILL is now publishing its newsletter in electronic, as well as printed, form. BIGWILL News is a membership benefit, but here is a link to the inaugural issue (a 261 KB PDF file). BIGWILL News is distributed primarily as an email attachment, for those BIGWILL members who can receive and read PDF file attachments. An outline of the basic procedure follows:

  • Make sure you know where your email program stores attachments.
  • Make sure you record the name of the PDF file containing the current issue of the newsletter.
  • Make sure you have Adobe Acrobat Reader (version 5) or Adobe Reader (version 6, 7, or 8), or some comparable software, installed on the computer on which you receive your email. (Version 4 or earlier of Adobe Acrobat Reader will NOT work!) If you do not have one of these programs installed, go to the Download Adobe Reader web page. The BIGWILL webmaster recommends that you install the latest version which is compatible with your computer’s operating system. If your computer’s operating system is still supported by the company which created it (e.g., Microsoft or Apple), it is very likely that the latest version of Adobe Reader will run on your computer. After downloading the appropriate installer program for your computer system, you must execute that installer program before you can use the Adobe Reader program itself.
  • Access your Adobe Acrobat Reader or Adobe Reader and then open the file downloaded to your computer as an attachment. You should be able to read, and print if so desired, any or all of the newsletter.

If – for whatever reason – the email attachment approach does not work for you, you can access the same file from this BIGWILL website. However, you will have to know the correct filename (which will have been emailed to all BIGWILL members) to do so.

An article about how to prepare a computer to read PDF files, Reading and Printing PDF Files, was published in the September/October 2004 issue of BIGWILL News. You can review this article (modified for compatability with Internet Explorer 6.0) by clicking on the title of this article.

We’ve received quite a bit of feedback to our inaugural issue. Several members didn’t even want to try it. (That’s OK.) Several had various technical problems downloading and viewing the file; about half of these problems have since been overcome. Several dozen sent either praise to the editor and his cohorts or a comment that the download worked fine. (Much appreciated!) Here is the feedback which the editor and the article authors should particularly bask in (for up to no more than one week):

  • Congratulations to all concerned with publishing the newly formatted BIGWILL newsletter. The attachment came through just fine and it is handsome indeed. 
  • I had to fire-up my color printer, which I rarely use, so as to catch the "splash of color" promised. The color is fine, but what is most impressive is the thumbnail pictures of the contributors. It must have taken a lot of work by skilled and dedicated people to put together such a professional looking publication. Again, congratulations. 
  • (I want to also) express my gratitude that the Milner Book Reviews are still included. To me these reviews alone are worth the cost of membership. And this is not meant, in any way, to belittle the other fine contributions all of which are interesting and stimulating.

More recently this comment was received from Sandra H. Luebking, FUGA, editor of FGS FORUM, the magazine of the Federation of Genealogical Societies: 

You do a wonderful job on the newsletter – it is the best electronic version that comes to me – and I read dozens each quarter

Sandra H. Luebking, FUGA, editor of FGS FORUM

You can contact the BIGWILL News editor at this email address.