Monthly Archives: October 2011

FamilySearch Has Added 65,000 More Images to the Illinois Probate 1819-1970 Database File

Hi Everyone!

I just noticed from a September 28, 2011 Dick Eastman post on his blog at that Family Search has announced adding an additional 65,000 records to the Illinois Probate 1819-1970 database file.

This database file now contains almost 600,000 images of information.

Here is a direct link to this specific Illinois Probate database among the many databases contained within all of the databases online at

Illinois Probate 1819 – 1970 Database at

Please note that you can only browse through and look for images of interest to you.  You can select a county of your choice.  There are images for 44 counties of Illinois.  All counties are not present at this time.  Cook County and most of the collar counties around Cook are not yet included.   Once you select a county, you can then select the Probate records for a given year range of data.  It is a very nice way that allows you to get to the geographic area of interest to you as well as the year range of interest to you.

You do not have to browse through almost 600,000 images to get to what might be of value to you.

Find the county and select the years of interest of material for that county.


Remember, just because it is un-indexed does not mean it is of no use to you.  Just put on your “microfilm reading hat” and browse through what might unlock information on an ancestor of choice.

Give the database a try!

Tony Kierna
Genealogy Coordinator
Schaumburg Township District Library

Great Article in “Internet Genealogy” (October/November 2011) on Free, Paid, and Web-Based Genealogy Software

Hi Everyone!

One of the more frequent questions I receive is about “genealogy software”.

What software exists?  How good is it?  Is it free?  If not free, how much does it cost? etc., etc.

I try to keep up in general on what exists for genealogical uses, but let’s be honest, it is not easy to know about all the variety of genealogy software that exists.

That is even getting more complex because of the development of tablet computers and smartphones, each of which has is its own target for software development over and above desktops and laptops.

So when I see an article or a web site that details information about genealogy software I try to incorporate that information into my newsletter or my handouts package.

I have just come across a very good article in the October/November 2011, Volume 6, Number 4 issue of Internet Genealogy.  The title of the article in this issue is “Genealogy Software: Free, Paid and on the Web”.  The author of the article is Tony Bandy.

There is really too much great information in this article for me to summarize or incorporate into my handouts or newsletter without leaving something out.  So rather than not do a good job of summarizing this article, I thought it would be best to let my readers know of its existence in this genealogy journal that our library has in our magazine collection on the 2nd floor of our library.

It was hard enough to know everything about desk-top or lap-top software for genealogy.  It is now becoming exponentially more complicated with the advance of tablet computers and smartphones!

Oftentimes an existing developer of genealogy software for a desk-top or lap-top modifies their existing program to run on either a tablet or a smartphone or both.  So we now have even more devices that software will run on and yet while being developed by the same developer may look different on a tablet or a smartphone simply because of the smaller screen “real estate” that is the reality of these devices.

But Tony Bandy does an outstanding job in this article of really making the reader aware of all the variety of software that exists.  Each piece of software he notes in the article is described according to the following categories:

  • Software Name – Name software is known by.
  • Cost – That product is free or costs something
  • Company Name – Who produces the software.
  • Website – URL for you to find more information, download.
  • Category – Software intended for desktop, mobile etc.
  • Thoughts – author’s personal thoughts/comments on the software.

This is a great article that will provide you with current information about the myriad of existing genealogy software.

You will be very surprised about how much software the author has identified over and above the basic software packages we are most familiar with e.g. Family Tree Maker, RootsMagic, Legacy, Master Genealogy.

I am currently still reading through this recent journal addition we received.  This journal will not be back on the magazine shelves in our collection until about October 10, 2011.

This is an article you will definitely want to read.  There is just too much good stuff for me to summarize parts but not the whole!

Plan on looking at this article when the journal is back on the shelves.  If you are already a personal subscriber to Internet Genealogy, then by all means make sure you read through this article.

You can also visit the Internet Genealogy web site at to learn more the publisher of this journal and all of the other services they have available.

Enjoy the voluminous amount of information contained in this feature article!

Tony Kierna
Genealogy Coordinator
Schaumburg Township District Library

Access State Digital Resources from the Library of Congress (Link Included)

Hi Everyone!

One of our librarians made me aware of a very nice web site from the Library of Congress.  At this site, you can get access to the Digital Archives that have been created by the various state libraries or archives.

What makes this very nice is that through this one site you can get access to the links that will take you to the digital resources that have been created by each state.

Our genealogical research may start out with research that keeps us searching in the state of origin of our ancestors.  But it does not take too long before our research expands as we discover information about our ancestors.  Soon, we are interested in a few more states and by the time you research has advanced, you may be interested in knowing a great deal about many states.

I would encourage my readers to really take advantage of the digital resources being made available by the states.  In this compiled list of resources from the Library of Congress, you may find such resources as:

  • Digital Resources from the State Library
  • Digital Resources from the State Archive
  • An Encyclopedia of a state e.g. Encyclopedia of Alabama
  • Interfaces That Gets You Access to Digital Resources for an Entire State
  • Memory Projects At A State Level

I personally have researched what is available from the Illinois Digital Archives.  I was amazed at the discoveries that I made.  Much of what was found was material that was in a local library that provided digital data of what it had through one collecting point that all libraries funneled their material to.

I was able to discover uploaded pictures of cousins that served in World War II, pictures of cousins when they were in grammar school in the 1930s and images of gravestones of some of these people and the cemetery location where they were.  I was lucky to actually be able to see these images that were properly identified as to who was in the picture.  The names of these people were on the pictures and each name was entered into the database as a search term under the surnames category.

How lucky is that!!

Surely, you have felt the same giddiness when you try searching a database expecting to find nothing and then discover “golden nuggets” of information that just mesmerized you.  This is how I felt after accessing the Illinois Digital Archives and discovering photos that contained my cousins.

Through this nice portal from the Library of Congress, you can now quickly find the links to any state that is of interest to you in your research and search to your heart’s content, making discoveries you never would have anticipated.

You can reach this very nice and handy portal at the Library of Congress at:

State Digital Resources from the Library of Congress

Check it out and give it a try for the state of interest to you.

Feel as good as I did when I made unexpected discoveries.

Enjoy the link.

Tony Kierna
Genealogy Coordinator
Schaumburg Township District Library

Our Next Genealogy Program Is Coming Up On Tuesday Evening October 11, 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, October 11, 2011:

The Genealogy program will be held on Tuesday, October 11,2011 at 7:30 PM in the 2nd floor Classroom. The guest speaker for the evening will be Maureen Brady. Maureen will present a program titled “Family History Research in Illinois and Wisconsin”.

Are your ancestors tied to Illinois or Wisconsin? If so, discover the resources that exist for these two states that you may not be aware of that can help you in your Family History research. This presentation will first examine the similarities between Illinois and Wisconsin family history resources, and then look at the records of each state, including ethnic, religious and governmental archives and repositories. The discussion will also include a brief review of the history of this part of the old Northwest Territory and how that history affected records that were created.

Maureen Brady, a former school librarian and computer educator, has over twenty-five years experience with family history research and is now a professional genealogist. She has traced her own Scottish roots back to the end of the 17th century and beyond, and has also pursued Chicago area, the trans-Allegheny U.S., Irish and Swedish research. She is the co-director and trainer for the Crystal Lake (IL) Family History Center. She is a life member of the Aberdeen and North East Scotland Family History Society, the Chicago Genealogical Society and the Ohio Genealogy Society. She is also active in the British Interest Group of Wisconsin & Illinois, the Illinois St. Andrew Society’s Scottish Genealogical Group, the National Genealogical Society, the Lake County (Illinois) Genealogical Society and the Clan Donnachaidh Society, for which she serves as one of the U.S. clan genealogists.

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

Elgin Genealogical Society Will Have Their Holiday Luncheon On Tuesday, December 6, 2011 At Noon At Villa Olivia Country Club

Hi Everyone!

I just received an e-mail from the Elgin Genealogical Society indicating that they have completed their plans for their Annual Luncheon for 2011.

The society will be holding their luncheon on Tuesday, December 6, 2011, at 12:00 Noon at the Villa Olivia Country Club in Bartlett, IL.

I have included a link to the PDF file they provided to me with the luncheon menu selection you have and what the cost will be as well as where to return the completed form with check.

If you are not a member of the society, perhaps it is time now to become one and guarantee yourself a spot at this annual luncheon.

Reservations for members of the society need to be returned to the society by Tuesday, November 22, 2011.

Take a look at the following link for details of this luncheon:

2011 Elgin Genealogical Society Annual Luncheon on December 6, 2011

It is never too early to start getting in the Holiday Spirit!

Join the society if you are currently not a member in order to participate in this luncheon.

If you are already a member, consider attending the luncheon.

Details are all included via the above link.

Tony Kierna
Genealogy Coordinator
Schaumburg Township District Library

Illinois Adoptees Will Have Easier Access To Birth Certificate Information Starting on November 15, 2011

Hi Everyone!

A frequent attendee of our monthly genealogy programs who has done extensive adoptee genealogical research,  has made me aware that on November 15, 2011, Illinois will begin allowing easier access to birth records for adoptees.

For those of us that are not adoptees, doing genealogical research can be hard enough as it is.  But if you are an adoptee, genealogical research can almost be impossible because basic birth record information they seek is often off limits for them to access because of sealing of official records related to the adoption.

Illinois passed a law that as of November 15, 2011 will now make the process much more open and accessible for adoptees of Illinois.

I am including the text from an e-mail provided to me that describes all of what will be going on starting on November 15, 2011 to benefit adoptees researching their history, starting of course with birth record access.

The e-mail text I received follows in Italics after the separator:


And…for those of you who are tracking the days and hours left between now and November 15, 2011, we’ve added a countdown clock to the White Oak web site at

 As you know, 11/15/11, is the day when the estimated 250,000 Illinois adoptees who were born on or after January 1, 1946, can begin requesting non-certified copies of their original birth certificates (pre-1946 adoptees have been able to obtain their OBCs since May of 2010).

 With this historic day only weeks away, the White Oak Foundation is hosting a free seminar in Lakeview on Thursday, October 6, 2011, to help eligible adoptees navigate the new law as well as  provide them with information on possible next steps once they’ve received their OBCs, including search options available through White Oak and public and private agencies.

In addition to White Oak’s Executive Director, Melisha Mitchell, the 2-hour symposium will feature State Rep. Sara Feigenholtz, who was not only the primary sponsor of the legislation that made Illinois the 9th state to release original birth certificates to adoptees upon request, but is also one of the quarter of a million Illinois adoptees who will be able to request their OBCs for the first time on November 15th of this year.

For additional information on the seminar or to register (seating will be limited), please email or call 312/666-5721.

For additional information on the new law, please click here if you were born before January 1, 1946 and here if you were born on or after January 1, 1946…or go to:


When:      Thursday, October 7, 2011, from 7 to 9 p.m.

Where:    Advocate Illinois Masonic Hospital
               836 West Wellington Ave., 7th Floor
               Clarke Auditorium

RSVP:        @ 312/666-5721


Thanks Barb P. for providing me with all of the details on this major upcoming event for Illinois adoptees.

The text above provides a good amount of detail as well as links to further information about this subject.

I am happy to be able to share this information with the hope that Illinois adoptees doing genealogy will now find a much easier pathway to discover their past!

Tony Kierna
Genealogy Coordinator
Schaumburg Township District Library

Look for the “Follow” Icon in the Lower Right Corner of the Screen When You Visit My Blog; You Can Now Use This Icon To Easily Subscribe To My Blog Via E-Mail Notices

Hi Everyone!

I just noticed that has added a very nice feature that visitors to my blog should take a look at.

When you visit my blog via a PC or a PC Laptop or a Mac,  you will now notice a “Follow” icon in the lower right part of your screen.  If you open the icon you will now notice that you will be able to “subscribe” to my blog and receive an e-mail response containing any new post.  This is very easy and a nice offering being provided by WordPress.

I did access my blog via an iPad and DID NOT see the same “Follow” icon in the lower-right part of the screen.  I do not know why this is so,  but I thought I would mention this since tablet use is growing and you may not see what I have indicated you should expect to see.  It could be a shortfall of WordPress at this time that they do not have this built in their software at this time for tablets and mobile devices.

Previously, you could subscribe via e-mail to my blog by looking at a post, scrolling down to the bottom of the post and seeing a link associated with the “Comments” part of the blog for e-mail subscription to the blog. 

That was far too many steps and was not very intuitive to say the least!

This new process by WordPress makes this capability more easily seen on your computer screen in general and not within the contents of a blog post.

You can still subscribe to my blog using the RSS process.  You do not receive e-mail notices via this method but you will see notices of my blog posts within your RSS Reader within your browser.

You don’t really want to miss anything that I post?  Do you?

I hope not.

So at least I can now make you aware of the existence of this new “Follow” icon you will see in the lower right corner of your screen.

Always be in the loop with what I post.  Visit me routinely or follow me via the new e-mail notices subscription process activated by WordPress in the lower right part of your screen identified as “Follow” or the RSS subscription process  that exists within my blog.

Tony Kierna
Genealogy Coordinator
Schaumburg Township District Library