Monthly Archives: August 2011

Summary of Our Recent August 9, 2011 Genealogy Program with Ginger Frere on the Topic of Searching Electronic Databases (Speaker’s PDF Handout Included)

Hi Everyone!

Here is a summary of our most recent Genealogy Program at the Schaumburg Township District Library on Tuesday evening, August 9, 2011.  Our guest speaker for the evening was Ginger Frere.  Ginger presented a program titled “Searching Electronic Databases”.

Ginger was kind enough to allow me to post her handout she provided at the program onto this blog post.  You can access this handout here:

August 9, 2011 “Searching Electronic Databases” Presentation Handout from Ginger Frere

We had a great turnout for this late-Summer program.  We had 72 participants in attendance!  Whenever Ginger makes a speaking appearance at our library, attendance really jumps up.  Ginger, I hope you realize how popular you are and how good your programs are!!

Our Speaker For The Evening Was Ginger Frere

I started the program at 7:30 PM with the introduction of new participants.  We had an incredible 13 new participants who shared with all of us their name, their description of the their newness to genealogy and some of the surnames they were researching.  Each new participant received a Welcome package from me with some good tips on how to move forward on their research journey using a variety of resources both within and outside our library.

I indicated to the group that I would like to forego reviewing some of the handout material so that we could get to our speaker by 7:45 PM rather than 8:00 PM and allow more un-rushed time after the speaker should anyone want to talk to me or the speaker.  Because the material is all available online everyone can take a deeper look at it on their own.  I just briefly reviewed some upcoming program dates and topics for a variety of groups in the area.

 You can easily find all of our monthly library genealogy “Newsletters” in this blog along the right sidebar.  You can also find all of our monthly library genealogy “Handouts” in this blog along the right sidebar.  Take some time to look at the current issues as well as the past ones.  These are PDF files so you can look at them from the within the blog or download them to your own computer.  All are filled with electronic bookmarks, hyperlinks, internet URL links for you to quickly find material and to link to topics of interest on the internet.  That is the beauty of these electronic files!

Ginger Offered Many Important Points Not Wanting To Be Missed By Those In Attendance

Please feel free to ask me any questions you may have on the material contained in the Newsletter or the Handout material.

Ginger then started her presentation at around 8:00 PM, a little later than I had hoped, but this was due to the high amount of new participants I had introduce themselves to all of us.  Starting a little later was fine as long as we could all hear from our new participants.

Please take a good look at the handout higher up in this post that Ginger allowed to include in this post.  It is a good guide to help you in your own use of online databases.  Give the suggestions provided by Ginger a try.  It still may not be easy but then again where has genealogy research ever been that easy!!

Ginger indicated that there are generally 4 types of databases to search.  These would be:

    • Bibliographic
    • Full Text
    • Abstract
    • Data

One Of The Slides In Ginger's Presentation On Using Online Databases

    Think of bibliographic like a library online catalog in which you are trying to find some book material.

Think of full text databases as the Chicago Tribune Historical Archive in which you may be researching newspapers that have been digitized and have an all word index because the full text of the paper is in the database.

Think of abstract databases as a short version of full text.  Perhaps only a small summary of a full text item is what has been “abstracted”.  Your searching of these abstracts will only give you results if your search term word is contained in the abstract.  If you get hits as abstracts you will have the hope that the full text of the material may contain further information for you to discover.

The Data Database is what we all like to search to find the details on our ancestors.  Think of the Census data from Ancestry.com.  Think of graves found in FindAGrave.  Each of these databases may have different methods to search them because the data contained in each differs from each.

Our Guest Speaker Ginger Frere During Her Presentation

Ginger provided some great background material on becoming aware of how to best access material in a database.  She also indicated how important it is to know something about the database in general.  Very often this information is contained in a text description from the provider of the database in text format as a general description of the material.  Discover such things as:

  • Who Created the Database?
  • What’s Included?
  • How Often Is It Updated?
  • What Features Does It Provide?

Just knowing some of the basics like the above can often answer why you may not have been having any successful discoveries from the database.  If the database contains birth information up until 1875 and your grandfather was born in 1882 then that would explain why you are not finding information on your grandfather.  If the database is only 7% completed, that may explain why you are not finding anything and will need to return at a future date to try again.  If the database is intended to have a certain kind of information covering all Illinois counties but Cook County is not yet included, that may explain why you are not finding your Cook County ancestors.

Note Taking Was Certainly The Thing To Do During Ginger's Presentation

Know the database you are searching and what is in it and what is not in it when you are searching.

Ginger also gave us some background on tools that are available to use within the database that we often do not take advantage of.  Tools such as Plurals, Truncations and Wildcards.  Again, know the database and the Tools that are available for using or are not available.  A good database provider will indicate all of this at the beginning of the database or under a “help” link that will give all of the details.  Look for this help.

If you can use Plurals, Truncation or Wildcards then learn how to use these.  Know the symbols to use and the manner to use them.  Plurals may allow you to find “apple” or “apples” by inserting a “+” sign in your search term.

Truncation will allow you to retrieve multiple hits without having to enter in multiple search terms.  If you enter in “genealog*” you will get hots for all words that being with the letters “genealog”.  So you will find genealogy, genealogist, and genealogies.  Learn how the database requires you to use this tool.  In one search you can get all of your hits that may apply to your research.

Ginger Frere Giving Our Audience One Of Her Great Points On Searching Online Databases

Wild Card searching can be great for surnames in which you have seen many ways to discover an ancestral name where one letter or multiple letters may have different occurrences.  Ginger used the example of the surname “SMITH”.  Maybe you have seen this as “SMYTH”.  With Wildcard searching you can find all of the occurrences of either spelling by setting up a Wildcard search like “SM?TH”.  The question mark symbol is often used but the database should spell out if some other symbol is used.  For searching Polish females in my own research, their surname often reflects the feminized naming conventions.  A Polish female name often ends in the letter “a”.  If I were looking for “SANTOWSKI” I may want to consider also looking for “SANTOWSKA”.  I could do each search on its own and discover the results but with wildcard searching I can get all of the results for both in one search by setting it up as “SANTOWSK?”.

Ginger also provided us with insight on using Boolean operators within database searches.  We all know this more as using “AND”, “OR” or “NOT” commands within our searches.  Some databases imply an AND command if you enter in multiple words without them being in quotes.  Again, know the database and what it does.

Bob K Stayed After the Presentation To Seek Further Help From Ginger

Ginger also emphasized that it is important that we do not enter in too many terms in our search, especially using AND because if any one is not contained for your ancestor then you will not get a “hit” on your ancestor and think that your ancestor is not in the database.  Always start with the “broadest” and simplest search first using maybe a SURNAME.  If you get thousands of hits then start adding in additional  search terms like YEAR OF BIRTH or IMMIGRATION YEAR or OCCUPATION or COUNTRY BORN.  These search capabilities often give you the ability to specify a range of years for birth or immigration.  Take advantage of using this range because even though you may be sure of when your ancestor was born, how it was recorded on the documents that comprise the database may be an entirely different story.

Ginger ended her presentation at around 9:05 PM and stayed until about 9:30 PM addressing questions from those that spoke to her directly after the program itself was completed.

Our thanks go to Ginger for coming out to give us a great overview of accessing databases in an effective and efficient manner.  The data you seek may be in the database but it does not often give up the material as easily as we would hope.  With Ginger’s insights your successful searching may greatly improve.

Ann M and Bill K Having Some Post-Program Exchanges Of Ideas

Thank you again to Ginger for also allowing me to post your handout of the program in my blog.  You are so gracious to allow us all to benefit from your handout.

Incorporate Ginger’s suggestions into your research.  Learn from the expert!

Good luck with all of your future searching!!

Tony Kierna
Genealogy Coordinator
Schaumburg Township District Library

Here Is A Challenge (Easy I Think!) To Readers of My Blog – What Is Different Between My July 2011 and August 2011 “Newsletter” and “Program Handouts”???

Hi Everyone!

Here is a really simple challenge to readers of this blog. 

Trust me, it is simple!

Why is this simple?  Because I know as genealogy researchers, looking at documents and looking for subtle things within documents is a genealogy researchers’ specialty.  Plus I know the high level of skills of the people I interact with.  You are all the best.

Open up the PDF files for the July 2011 and August 2011 “Newsletter” and “Program Handouts” and tell me what you see that is different in the August 2011 issues.

Hints.

——There is one difference for the Newsletter.  There are two differences for the Program Handouts.

——There is visually something new in the August 2011 issue of the “Newsletter” and the “Program Handouts” and the difference can be found in the first 5 pages.

——One of the differences is related to a recent post I made in the last month.

I brought this up as a quick challenge at our most recent program on August 9, 2011 and I want to give a hearty congratulations to Sue R. who immediately was able to tell me what she discovered.  Sue, you caught me off guard because I did not think anyone would know as quickly as you did.  I thought I could have made it more dramatic but you burst that bubble way too quickly.

Sue’s answer sure made me feel good that there are readers of the blog that are in fact reading through the posted Newsletter and Program Handouts!

So it would not be fair for anyone who attended the program to leave me a comment with the answer to my challenge because you already know the answer.  This challenge is obviously intended for someone not at our last program that reads my blog.

But I did want to congratulate Sue R. again and leave her with her “15 minutes of fame” moment.

For those of you up to this challenge, please leave your answer as to what you see different as a “comment” response on this blog post.

Perhaps your “15 minutes of fame” moment is right around the corner with correct answers.

Give it a shot. 

Use the tips. 

Compare the issues.

Leave your answer within the “Comments” part of the blog post.

I patiently await your responses.

Thanks for participating.

Tony Kierna
Genealogy Coordinator
Schaumburg Township District Library.

Controversial Manner To Enhance Readability of Cemetery Grave Markers Noted on Dick Eastman’s Blog (YouTube Video Link Included)

Hi Everyone!

We are quickly running out of summer!

Summertime is often our best time of the year to venture out into the world of on site cemetery research before the days of fall and winter return back to our area.

I just saw an entry in Dick Eastman’s Online Genealogy Blog about a controversial manner of enhancing grave marker readability.  Illegible gravestone markers are a common occurrence for all genealogical researchers.  And the general rule of thumb is that it will definitely be YOUR gravestone markers that are illegible while the gravesites right next to yours are all pristine and readable!!

The posting by Dick Eastman seemed to indicate that there is a controversial manner of enhancing reading illegible gravestone markers by using flour!

It is apparently controversial because flour will interact with water and expand.  Consequently, any flour that may remain in any tiny microscopic crevices on the gravestone marker could be cause further deterioration by inadvertently triggering expansion of the marker material and further deterioration.

Following is the text in Italics from the Dick Eastman blog post that describes the concerns of using flour on illegible gravestone markers in your cemetery research:

William Jerry (Champ) Champion has created a YouTube video that shows a quick and easy way to read and photograph grave markers that are worn or have become discolored. In years past, genealogists have used a variety of materials to improve legibility of tombstones, from shaving cream to chalk and a variety of other materials. However, most of those methods reportedly damage the stone to some extent. Many of the materials are abrasive and also may leave chemicals behind that cause long-term damage. However, Champ claims the use of flour creates no damage.

Not everyone agrees. Some so-called “experts” will tell you that flour is harmful because it can penetrate into small pores of the stone, and, when wet, the flour will swell and can cause flaking of the stone. Some also claim that flour contains yeast, which encourages the growth of lichens and micro-organisms that can then live and grow in the stone, causing expansion and cracking. Technically, flour does not contain yeast when first ground. However, yeast floats in the air most everywhere and may land on flour, where it may flourish.

I do question the qualifications of all these so-called “experts.” I therefore turned to the Association for Gravestone Studies’ web site as this is the nationally-recognized expert organization. I’d believe whatever the Association for Gravestone Studies says. The Association’s web site at http://www.gravestonestudies.org/faq.htm has a long list of things to never do, and it cautions, “Don’t use shaving cream, chalk, graphite, dirt, or other concoctions in an attempt to read worn inscriptions.” Flour is not mentioned although it might qualify as an “other concoction.”The Texas Historical Commission’s web site has an online brochure at http://www.thc.state.tx.us/publications/guidelines/Preservecem.pdf that cautions to never use flour, but the qualifications of the author(s) are not listed.Fact or fiction? The video shows that the use of flour is very effective; but does it cause long-term damage? I don’t have a degree in chemical engineering or any expertise in the growth of micro-organisms, so I won’t make any judgment. I’ll let others decide. However, until I see something in writing from a person whose credentials give some assurance of the person’s expertise, I won’t be using flour for any of my tombstone work.

You can watch the “flour video” at http://youtu.be/WVBMNVqGhck.

 
Posted by Dick Eastman on August 11, 2011 in Preservation | Permalink
 
It sounds like the jury is still out on using flour to enhance readability of gravestone markers.
 
Think about this method during the final couple of months when your cemetery research can be productive before winter sets in.  Strike while the iron is hot to get yourself to a cemetery for your research now.  Don’t put off until tomorrow.  Your cemetery research can really be very productive in your research.
 
I hope that all the gravestone markers you encounter are perfectly legible for you and that you never encounter one that might require you to haul out your bag of Pillsbury’s well-known product to dust onto the gravestone marker!
 
Tony Kierna
Genealogy Coordinator
Schaumburg Township District Library
 

August 2011 Schaumburg Township District Library Genealogy Program Handouts Uploaded As A PDF for August 9, 2011 Genealogy Program

Hi Everyone!

I have added the August 2011 Schaumburg Township District Library Genealogy Program Handouts as a PDF file into the PROGRAM HANDOUTS Category on the right sidebar of the blog.

Here is a direct link to the August 2011 Handouts for your convenience:

August 2011 Schaumburg Township District Library Genealogy Program Handouts

Take a look at it if you choose to browse through it in advance of our Genealogy Program that will take place on Tuesday evening, August 9, 2011 at 7:30 PM at our main library location at 130 S. Roselle Road in Schaumburg, IL.

You can read the handouts online or you can save them as a PDF file to your own computer for reading offline and more detailed searching through all of the contents.

You will also note that I have started “highlighting” in this uploaded PDF key points within the handout  by using  the “yellow highlighting” function within Microsoft Word.  This will allow your eyes to visually see key points within the handouts that I want to emphasize.  I hope you will enjoy being able to more easily see these key points within the set of handouts through this highlighting technique.  I plan on highlighting within the Handout file on a going forward basis.

Please note that the Handouts PDF file has embedded Bookmarks to allow you to move to the handouts of interest to you quickly without having to scroll through the entire document.  Just open the Bookmark window in the PDF file and select the handout of interest for quick access.

Please note that you can access directly any and all URL Links that you find within the Handouts PDF.  You can get directly to the website being mentioned from within the handout being mentioned.

Enjoy the handouts.

Tony Kierna
Genealogy Coordinator
Schaumburg Township District Library

August 2011 Schaumburg Township District Library Genealogy Newsletter Uploaded As A PDF for August 9, 2011 Genealogy Program

Hi Everyone!

I have added the August 2011 Schaumburg Township District Library Genealogy Newsletter as a PDF file into the NEWSLETTER Category on the right sidebar of the blog.

Here is a direct link to the August 2011 Newsletter for your convenience:

August 2011 Schaumburg Township District Library Genealogy Newsletter

Take a look at it if you choose to browse through it in advance of our Genealogy Program that will take place on Tuesday evening, August 9, 2011 at 7:30 PM at our main library location at 130 S. Roselle Road in Schaumburg, IL.

You can read the newsletter online or you can save it as a PDF file to your own computer for reading offline and more detailed searching through all of the contents.

Please note that the Newsletter has Bookmarks and Hyperlinks within the document to make for fast navigation from within the Table of Contents.  You can quickly get to the spots that interest you from the Table of Contents.

Enjoy the newsletter.

Tony Kierna
Genealogy Coordinator
Schaumburg Township District Library

Reminder: Our Next Genealogy Program at STDL Is Tomorrow August 9, 2011

Hi Everyone!

It is that time once again when we will be having another Genealogy Program at the central location of the Schaumburg Township District Library on Tuesday evening, August 9, 2011 at 7:30 PM.  We are located at 130 S. Roselle Road in Schaumburg, IL.

There is no pre-registration required in order to attend the program.  There is no fee charged to attend.  Anyone can attend this program.  You do not have to be a library card holder with the Schaumburg Township District Library in order to attend.

Here is a summary of the information about the program:

The Genealogy program will be held on Tuesday, August 9,2011 at 7:30 PM in the 2nd floor Classroom. The guest speaker for the evening will be Ginger Frere. Ginger will present a program titled “Searching Electronic Databases”.

Electronic databases are one of the most frequently used resources for the genealogy researcher. Knowing how to use them properly will advance your research efforts immensely. Ginger will provide useful insights into how to get the biggest bang for your electronic database research.

Ginger Frere is a librarian, researcher and life-long Chicagoan. She assists genealogists in the Local and Family History section of the Newberry Library and also works as an independent researcher.

Ginger has previously presented programs at our library, all of which have left us with new tips to pursue in our own research. We look forward to another return visit to our library from Ginger.

The doors to the room will open at approximately 7 PM so participants can pick up any handouts, review books and journals and interact with other participants. Tony Kierna, the STDL genealogist, will start the program at 7:30. Introductions of new participants will occur as well as a brief review of handouts and genealogical matters. It is expected that the guest speaker’s presentation will start at around 7:45-8:00 PM. We will end the session by 9:30 PM.

For further information contact Tony Kierna at 847-923-3390.

Tony Kierna
Genealogy Coordinator
Schaumburg Township District Library

Our Next Genealogy Program Is Coming Up On Tuesday Evening August 9, 2011 At 7:30 PM

Hi Everyone!

I thought I would post this reminder of our next upcoming Genealogy Program at the Schaumburg Township District Library.

There is no pre-registration required in order to attend the program.  There is no fee charged to attend.  Anyone can attend this program.  You do not have to be a library card holder with the Schaumburg Township District Library in order to attend.

Here are the details of our upcoming program for Tuesday evening, August 9, 2011:

The Genealogy program will be held on Tuesday, August 9,2011 at 7:30 PM in the 2nd floor Classroom. The guest speaker for the evening will be Ginger Frere. Ginger will present a program titled “Searching Electronic Databases”.

Electronic databases are one of the most frequently used resources for the genealogy researcher. Knowing how to use them properly will advance your research efforts immensely. Ginger will provide useful insights into how to get the biggest bang for your electronic database research.

Ginger Frere is a librarian, researcher and life-long Chicagoan. She assists genealogists in the Local and Family History section of the Newberry Library and also works as an independent researcher.

Ginger has previously presented programs at our library, all of which have left us with new tips to pursue in our own research. We look forward to another return visit to our library from Ginger.

The doors to the room will open at approximately 7 PM so participants can pick up any handouts, review books and journals and interact with other participants. Tony Kierna, the STDL genealogist, will start the program at 7:30. Introductions of new participants will occur as well as a brief review of handouts and genealogical matters. It is expected that the guest speaker’s presentation will start at around 7:45-8:00 PM. We will end the session by 9:30 PM.

For further information contact Tony Kierna at 847-923-3390.

Tony Kierna
Genealogy Coordinator
Schaumburg Township District Library