top of page

Debra Dudek

Genealogist   Author   Librarian

July 4 1918 parade.jpg

About Debra Dudek

Genealogist  Author  Librarian

Debra M. Dudek is Head of Adult and Teen Services at the Fountaindale Public Library District in Bolingbrook, IL. She holds a post graduate certificate in Genealogical, Palaeographic & Heraldic Studies from the University of Strathclyde in Glasgow, Scotland.  Ms. Dudek is the Book Review Editor of the Illinois State Genealogical Society, an executive board member of the Illinois State Historical Society, website coordinator for the Chicago Chapter NSDAR, and is the author of the World War I Research Guide: Tracing American Military and Non-Combatant Ancestors.

Finding Your
World War I Ancestors

Need help tracking down your World War I military ancestor?  Watch this free webinar and get started with your research!

Books and Ebooks

Kindle Cover 2019 Small.jpg
wwi1guide cover WWICC.JPG

Upcoming Events

  •  Mixers and Shakers - Tracing Your Bootlegging, Shimmy-Shaking, & Repeal-Seeking Ancestors During Prohibition (Virtual)
     Mixers and Shakers - Tracing Your Bootlegging, Shimmy-Shaking, & Repeal-Seeking Ancestors During Prohibition (Virtual)
    Tue, May 21
    Virtual Genealogical Association
    May 21, 2024, 7:00 PM CDT
    Virtual Genealogical Association
    May 21, 2024, 7:00 PM CDT
    Virtual Genealogical Association
    Our ancestor's need for a good drink can provide new details and narratives for your genealogy research.
    Share
  • Sorting Through Sordid Southern Divorce Records (Virtual)
    Sorting Through Sordid Southern Divorce Records (Virtual)
    Fri, Jun 07
    Truckee Meadows Community College Genealogy
    Jun 07, 2024, 1:30 PM CDT
    Truckee Meadows Community College Genealogy
    Jun 07, 2024, 1:30 PM CDT
    Truckee Meadows Community College Genealogy
    The practice of divorce in the southern United States can vary by location and time period. Get an overview of divorce laws and practices from 1780s-1860s.
    Share
  • Discovering Witches: The Real Records and Manuscripts Seen in Movies, Books, and TV Shows (In-Person) (1)
    Discovering Witches: The Real Records and Manuscripts Seen in Movies, Books, and TV Shows (In-Person) (1)
    Tue, Jun 11
    New Lenox Public Library
    Jun 11, 2024, 6:00 PM
    New Lenox Public Library, 120 Veterans Pkwy, New Lenox, IL 60451, USA
    Jun 11, 2024, 6:00 PM
    New Lenox Public Library, 120 Veterans Pkwy, New Lenox, IL 60451, USA
    We'll uncover the real records and printed resources seen in your favorite shows, what the writers used as inspiration, and how to access historical resources for free from home.
    Share
  • A Beginners Guide to Fold3 Library Edition (Virtual)
    A Beginners Guide to Fold3 Library Edition (Virtual)
    Wed, Jul 10
    Pikes Peak Genealogical Society
    Jul 10, 2024, 8:00 PM CDT
    Pikes Peak Genealogical Society
    Jul 10, 2024, 8:00 PM CDT
    Pikes Peak Genealogical Society
    Learn how to navigate the site, browse resources effectively, and find the hidden gems on this fantastic database.
    Share
  • Internet Archive - The Amazing Genealogical Resource!  (In-Person)
    Internet Archive - The Amazing Genealogical Resource!  (In-Person)
    Sun, Jul 14
    Evergreen Park Public Library
    Jul 14, 2024, 12:00 PM CDT
    Evergreen Park Public Library, 9400 S Troy Ave, Evergreen Park, IL 60805, USA
    Jul 14, 2024, 12:00 PM CDT
    Evergreen Park Public Library, 9400 S Troy Ave, Evergreen Park, IL 60805, USA
    Learn all about Internet Archive and its amazing collection of city directories, county histories, gazetteers, yearbooks, and family genealogies.
    Share
  • Mixers and Shakers - Tracing your Saloon, Tavern, and Bar Keeping Ancestors Before Prohibition (Virtual) (1)
    Mixers and Shakers - Tracing your Saloon, Tavern, and Bar Keeping Ancestors Before Prohibition (Virtual) (1)
    Tue, Jul 23
    Central Massachusetts Genealogical Society
    Jul 23, 2024, 6:00 PM CDT
    Central Massachusetts Genealogical Society
    Jul 23, 2024, 6:00 PM CDT
    Central Massachusetts Genealogical Society
    Our ancestor's need for a good drink can provide new details and narratives for your genealogy research.
    Share
  • That One Time Martha Washington's Will Was Stolen (In-Person)
    That One Time Martha Washington's Will Was Stolen (In-Person)
    Thu, Jul 25
    Prospect Heights Public Library District
    Jul 25, 2024, 7:00 PM – 8:00 PM CDT
    Prospect Heights Public Library District, 12 N Elm St, Prospect Heights, IL 60070, USA
    Jul 25, 2024, 7:00 PM – 8:00 PM CDT
    Prospect Heights Public Library District, 12 N Elm St, Prospect Heights, IL 60070, USA
    Remember that one time Martha Washington's will got stolen? Who knew Civil War looters, patriotic women braying for justice, and the death of a millionaire would set a precedent for protecting legal documents.
    Share
  • Steeped in Secrecy: The Boston Tea Party, 250 Years Later (Virtual)
    Steeped in Secrecy: The Boston Tea Party, 250 Years Later (Virtual)
    Wed, Aug 28
    Winnetka-Northfield Public Library District
    Aug 28, 2024, 6:30 PM
    Winnetka-Northfield Public Library District
    Aug 28, 2024, 6:30 PM
    Winnetka-Northfield Public Library District
    Learn about the brewing political problems tea presented in its history with Anglophile and former UK resident Claire Evans. Next, author, genealogist, librarian, and former UK resident Debra Dudek examines the history of the Boston Tea Party’s most famous partiers (and phonies).
    Share
  • The War of 1812 - Researching 'Second Revolution' Ancestors (Virtual)
    The War of 1812 - Researching 'Second Revolution' Ancestors (Virtual)
    Mon, Sep 16
    Zion Genealogical Society (IL)
    Sep 16, 2024, 7:00 PM
    Zion Genealogical Society (IL)
    Sep 16, 2024, 7:00 PM
    Zion Genealogical Society (IL)
    Discover the stories and service of the military men of America's 'Second Revolution'. Reaching beyond federal pension records, this lecture examines a range of resources spanning military registers, navy accounts, and prisoner of war records.
    Share
  • Maleficarum and Misfortune- Records and Resources for Tracing Accused Witches (In-Person)
    Maleficarum and Misfortune- Records and Resources for Tracing Accused Witches (In-Person)
    Wed, Oct 16
    Naperville Public Library 95th Street
    Oct 16, 2024, 7:00 PM – 8:00 PM CDT
    Naperville Public Library 95th Street, 3015 Cedar Glade Dr, Naperville, IL 60564, USA
    Oct 16, 2024, 7:00 PM – 8:00 PM CDT
    Naperville Public Library 95th Street, 3015 Cedar Glade Dr, Naperville, IL 60564, USA
    For over two centuries, individuals accused of witchcraft did not live by the principle of “innocent until proven guilty” – if you made it to trial, the law heavily presumed guilt.
    Share
  •  World War I – Strange, Interesting, and Unusual Facts They Didn’t Teach You in History Class (Virtual)
     World War I – Strange, Interesting, and Unusual Facts They Didn’t Teach You in History Class (Virtual)
    Thu, Oct 17
    Peters Township Public Library
    Oct 17, 2024, 5:30 PM CDT
    Peters Township Public Library
    Oct 17, 2024, 5:30 PM CDT
    Peters Township Public Library
    From women snipers and doughnut lassies, to service dogs and high explosives, this program presents Great War topics in an approachable way.
    Share
  • Discovering Witches: The Real Records and Manuscripts Seen in Movies, Books, and TV Shows (In-Person)
    Discovering Witches: The Real Records and Manuscripts Seen in Movies, Books, and TV Shows (In-Person)
    Wed, Oct 30
    Prospect Heights Public Library District
    Oct 30, 2024, 1:00 PM – 2:00 PM CDT
    Prospect Heights Public Library District, 12 N Elm St, Prospect Heights, IL 60070, USA
    Oct 30, 2024, 1:00 PM – 2:00 PM CDT
    Prospect Heights Public Library District, 12 N Elm St, Prospect Heights, IL 60070, USA
    We'll uncover the real records and printed resources seen in your favorite shows, what the writers used as inspiration, and how to access historical resources for free from home.
    Share
  • Researching your Irish Ancestors Online (Virtual)
    Researching your Irish Ancestors Online (Virtual)
    Sat, Nov 02
    Castle Rock Colorado Genealogical Society
    Nov 02, 2024, 11:00 AM CDT
    Castle Rock Colorado Genealogical Society
    Nov 02, 2024, 11:00 AM CDT
    Castle Rock Colorado Genealogical Society
    Learn online tools and resources to unpuzzle your Irish heritage. This lecture will introduce you to a variety of online sites, new search strategies, and what steps to take to further your research objectives online and abroad.
    Share
  • World War I - Strange, Interesting, and Unusual Facts They Didn’t Teach You in History Class (Virtual)
    World War I - Strange, Interesting, and Unusual Facts They Didn’t Teach You in History Class (Virtual)
    Thu, Nov 07
    Prospect Heights Public Library District
    Nov 07, 2024, 7:00 PM – 8:00 PM CST
    Prospect Heights Public Library District
    Nov 07, 2024, 7:00 PM – 8:00 PM CST
    Prospect Heights Public Library District
    From women snipers and doughnut lassies, to service dogs and high explosives, this program presents Great War topics in an approachable way.
    Share
  • World War I Genealogy – Where Do I Start? (Virtual)
    World War I Genealogy – Where Do I Start? (Virtual)
    Thu, Nov 21
    Peters Township Public Library
    Nov 21, 2024, 5:30 PM CST
    Peters Township Public Library
    Nov 21, 2024, 5:30 PM CST
    Peters Township Public Library
    Using a fail-proof method of record gathering, you can begin to construct a large amount of information even if your ancestor’s official military records were destroyed in the NRPC fire.
    Share
  • A Beginners Guide to Fold3 Library Edition (Virtual)
    A Beginners Guide to Fold3 Library Edition (Virtual)
    Mon, Dec 02
    German Interest Group of Wisconsin
    Dec 02, 2024, 7:00 PM CST
    German Interest Group of Wisconsin
    Dec 02, 2024, 7:00 PM CST
    German Interest Group of Wisconsin
    Learn how to navigate the site, browse resources effectively, and find the hidden gems on this fantastic database.
    Share

Free Webinars


 The Hunter of Tallulah - The Truth and Legend of an Indian War Ancestor

Adam Poole Vandiver Article Clip.jpg

February 2024

Adam P. Vandiver was small of stature but his exploits measured to giant proportions.  Vandiver was an extreme mountain man, veteran of the War of 1812 Indian Wars, and boasted to have over 30 children with three wives, though albeit, not at the same time.  In a story pieced together by historical and genealogical records, you can learn how to sort fact from fiction when researching a larger-than-life ancestor.

Webinar for personal use only.  Please contact speaker for society or group viewing options.

 

Aliens in the Army
World War I Military Naturalizations

Come on boys_edited.jpg

March 2023

Non-citizens residing in the USA during World War I were drafted in the military, and with their induction into service, and the government responded by streamlining the naturalization process for these 'alien' servicemen.  Find out how you can research your WWI ancestor's military service and personal path to citizenship.
 

Webinar for personal use only.  Please contact speaker for society or group viewing options.

1845 Will County Census square.jpg

Recently Published Works

Articles and Book Reviews

Spring 2023

Illinois State Genealogical Society Quarterly

Book Review - Searching for Charles: The Untold Legacy of an Immigrant by Stephen Watts.  This book is an excellent example of how genealogists can tie together a compelling and rich narrative by using personal papers, archival manuscripts, and in-depth social history research.

June 2022

National Genealogical Society Quarterly 

Book Review: American Merchant Seamen of the Early Nineteenth Century by Anne Morddel

This is an essential book for anyone with ancestors who sailed the seas, regardless of  age, race, income, or religion. The author provides a concise yet robust list of  records and methodologies in accessing North American and European records from the time period.

Spring 2022

Illinois State Genealogical Society Quarterly

Amazing Discovery: The Only Known Copy of the 1845 Will County Census

What once was thought lost has been found: The only known copy of the 1845 Illinois Census of Will County. The census was found rolled up in an underwear drawer in the home of a local historian.  A note found with the census stated it had been discovered by a workman when Will County was demolishing its historic 1887 courthouse in the 1960s.  The census was compiled at the time Irish immigrants and other laborers in Will County were digging the Illinois & Michigan Canal, which connected Lake Michigan to the Mississippi River. 

Get in Touch

Debra M. Dudek

Lockport, Illinois

  • Twitter
  • LinkedIn
  • Instagram
  • Facebook
IMG_2362_edited.jpg
bottom of page