Research and More Research:
Salter Johnson spent about four years researching all the records she could find. “(I searched) the Freeport City Directory; school, cemetery and military records; personal journals; publications, including documents housed in the Stephenson County Historical Museum; and the Jane Addams Museum in Cedarville, Illinois” she said. Volunteers from the History Room of the Freeport Public Library also lent their help.
Census records were essential as well, but some of her most crucial information came from those in the community whose ancestors moved to Freeport, who provided important dates for a number of events, like when people moved, and when people were born, married and died.
“Descendants recalled family stories and history about their antecedents’ contributions to the community, information about why families migrated, how spouses met, or how communities and neighborhoods developed,” said the author. “None of this information would be included in a survey tool such as the census.”