I had the chance to chat with Thomas about what inspired him to so diligently preserve Yorkville's history. My last blog highlighted the great work Thomas is doing to keep Yorkville's history alive.
How did you get into local history and genealogy?
I got into genealogy through my own family because it's something my grandparents always talked about. I loved hearing about all the people in my family and all the wonderful stories and photos. For Yorkville, I live in the home of the Marshall family who started the Kendall County Record, so it was just a given to be interested in my houses history! Another person who lived in town and well known by everyone, Dr. Frank Loomis, who was the town veterinarian! So many people came up to me saying "oh you live in Doc Loomis' old Home!" What a cool feeling. Maybe one day people will say that about myself living there!
What does the future hold for the Yorkville Then and Now project?
I am hoping to put together a small coffee table book in the next year of all the Then and Now photos I have taken. I am taking the rest of this year to collect photos and search through people's attics, basements and write down as many names and stories I can that I can include with the book. It's something very special to me to do it right and include as many people as I can so people in town, can relate to it personally and have fun showing it off to their families and friends.
What's life been like since your project became public?
The response has been AMAZING! I have received hundreds of old photos of Yorkville. So many people have been open and welcoming me into their homes and sharing their priceless family photos. What's very interesting about this project, is that I'm collecting photos of town and the people who grew up here that you may recognize, that people have never seen. It's families personal life's that I have had the privilege to put out there in such a way that so much thought and detail has to be put into it for it to be done right. So much positive feedback and thank you's for preserving the towns history has been given from those families and it means the world to me. Some of the people I have collected photos from are people I have know for 10-15 years and I treat it as special as I would my own family photos. I am looking forward to whatever else may come my way and some great photos.