Morton library storing items lost in tornado

Beyond destroying homes and killing two people, the Nov. 17 tornado that ripped through Washington scattered bits of family history across the state.

Papers and photos have been found 150 miles away in the Chicago suburbs.

Ground zero for the return of photos, documents and small mementos is a cramped room at the Morton Public Library. Volunteers there are numbering items, noting where they were found and preserving them in hopes they will be recovered.

More than 1,000 items have been cataloged, and there's an equal number awaiting review.
Military records, marriage licenses, birth certificates, photo albums, canceled checks, report cards, love letters, address books and baseball cards are among the items being cataloged at the library.

Photos of items that do not contain sensitive information are being posted on two Facebook pages.
Those pages, titled "Found Items from the Washington Illinois and Diamond Illinois Tornadoes" and "Photos found from Nov. 17, 2013 Illinois Storms/Tornadoes" have thousands of followers.

Volunteers and library staff members also are trying to connect items with owners by writing letters and doing Internet research. Items began coming into the library a few days after the tornado struck, and the flow has continued, especially after group searches have been done.