Monthly Archives: November 2012

At Our Next “Breakout” Genealogy Program On December 11, 2012 We Will Once Again Have The “Sharing Your Printed/Online Family History” Table; It Was Very Successful When First Tried In September 2012; Let’s Keeping The Success Going!

Hi Everyone!

At our next genealogy program at our library on December 11, 2012, we will be having our Quarterly Break-Out Tables.

At our previous Quarterly Break-Out Tables program on September 11, 2012, we initiated a “new” table that I called “Sharing Your Printed/Published Family History Book Table”.  The purpose of this table was to have those that have actually created a printed version of their Family History, either in book form, print form or even website form, to share the methodology on exactly how they went going about creating their book, report or website.

Our first effort turned out to be a good, successful start!

We had about 10 people total at the table, almost equally divided between those that had created a book and those that wanted to know how they did it.

We are going to do this again at our upcoming December 11, 2012 program.  I am certainly seeking the help of those that have created such a Family History Book/Report to once again come out to share with others how they did it!

I hope to keep the successes of the September 2012 program continuing into this upcoming program for this “new” table topic.

Soooooooooooooooooo ……. Come on down and share your Family History Book creating experience with those that are interested in doing the same.  You will be in a small setting sharing your ideas around a table.

I greatly appreciate your consideration to help share your successes.

Thanks as always.

I have also included the text from my original blog post about this idea back in August 2012 as a refresher after the separator line.

Tony Kierna
Genealogy Coordinator
Schaumburg Township District Library

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Hi Everyone!

I recently received a request from Jacquie S., a frequent participant at our monthly genealogy program.

Jacquie was asking if there was a way that I could make it easier for participants at our program to actually see the variety of family history books, reports etc. that have actually been created by participants at our programs.  Seeing these actual family histories can be a big help for those that have not yet done that so they may be able to see a finished product.  This would provide tangible ideas to others on how to go about putting something together.

I thought Jacquie had a wonderful idea!

As you may be aware our monthly genealogy programs are very structured, especially when we have speakers.  It would appear to be very difficult to be able to take time away from a speaker’s program in order to add on a sort of “show and tell” on family histories that other participants have actually created.

I did some thinking and I may have come up with a workable arrangement on how we could accomplish a very good idea.

At our Quarterly “Breakout” programs we do not have guest speakers.  Instead the room is set up with tables based on ethnic areas of genealogy research e.g. Irish Table, German Table, Polish Table, Italian Table etc. in which like-minded researchers sit together and share with and help each other out on the nuances of researching a particular ethnic line of research.  These exchanges can be very helpful allowing more skilled and seasoned researchers to share great pieces of research strategy to those that are not as seasoned yet as researchers in that particular area of ethnic interest.

During these quarterly “breakout” sessions, I also have a Beginner’s Table and I was having a “Troubleshooting” table that was intended as a “catchall” table if someone wanted to sit together there rather than at a specific area of interest or a Beginner’s Table.  Over time that table has just not had a good record of being very meaningful.

However, now may be the time to reorganize the quarterly breakout programs by eliminating the “Troubleshooting” table and replace it with a new table that could be used by those that have created a family history book, report etc. to share with others at the table that have not created such a family history book.  Details could be shared on how the family history book, report was created, compiled.  This would allow for a “hands-on” experience of actually being able  to see the document and discuss with the creator how the creation was done.

Obviously, the most important part of this new idea hinges on those that have published, created such a family history document, report  AND would be willing to attend these quarterly programs and share what they have created with those interested in knowing how to go about this creation process.

I am certainly willing to try out this new “table” and see how it goes over time, making sure I keep making our participants aware that there will be a new table dedicated to sharing and viewing created family histories.

I know that many individuals that have participated at our monthly programs have personally shown me some wonderful family history books and reports that they created.  I was always impressed with the documents and their efforts that went into the creation.

Here is a request to those of you in our area that have actually created a family history book, report, web site or some other media format to share your family history.  How about planning on bringing your life’s work to show others that are interested in doing for themselves what you have already done for yourself.  Sit with others and show them your work in a more relaxed interactive setting.

I would encourage you to come to our September 11, 2012 Genealogy Program during which time we will have our Breakout Groups.  More importantly, this would be the first session that this new Family History Book/Report Sharing Table would be operational.

Inspire others with your work!

Mentor someone who wants to put to paper what you have already successfully accomplished.  Show them and tell them how you did it!

Let’s give it a try.

A big thank you to Jacquie S. for sharing her thoughts on what is a great idea.

Let’s give this a try on Tuesday evening, September 11, 2012 at 7:30 PM and see what happens.  I do need the help from those of you that have created family histories on paper to come on in and be willing to share your ideas and methods on how you went about the process.

Let’s make this new “table” a great success!

Thanks in advance.

Tony Kierna
Genealogy Coordinator
Schaumburg Township District Library

Schaumburg Township District Library (STDL) To Co-Host Upcoming Monthly Meeting Of The Computer Assisted Genealogy Group Of Northern Illinois (CAGGNI) On Saturday Morning, January 19, 2013, From 10:30 AM Until 2:30 PM (Dual Programs); Program Registration Is Required

Hi Everyone!

The Schaumburg Township District Library will be co-hosting an upcoming monthly meeting of the Computer Assisted Genealogy Group of Northern Illinois (CAGGNI) that will take place on Saturday morning, January 19, 2013, from 10:30 AM to 2:30 PM in the combined Rasmussen North and South Rooms on the 2nd floor of our library.

Our library opens its doors on Saturdays at 10:00 AM.

Registration through the Schaumburg Township District Library (STDL) is required.  Registration instructions follow below.

The program consists of two parts.  The main program starts at 10:30 AM, commencing with about 20 minutes of CAGGNI announcements.   Guest speakers Lou Szucs and Juliana Smith will then present “Hidden Treasures At Ancestry.com And How To Find Them”.

Following the conclusion of the main program at approximately 12:30 PM, the CAGGNI Family Tree Maker Special Interest Group (SIG) will conduct their program from approximately 12:30 PM until conclusion at 2:30 PM.

Those who register for the program are not obligated to attend the Family Tree Maker Special Interest Program after the main program concludes.  It is optional and will be of value to those that have an interest in using Family Tree Maker in their genealogy research.  This program affords the opportunity to interact with other Family Tree Maker users in becoming more familiar with the powers of computing that are within Family Tree Maker.

The program is open to all who have registered.  You do not have to be a library card holder of STDL to attend.  You do not have to be a member of CAGGNI to attend.  (If you are interested in becoming a member of CAGGNI, this is a great opportunity to see what a CAGGNI event is like and to meet and interact with those members that are in attendance.)

Our library is located at 130 S. Roselle Road in Schaumburg, IL.  The library building is located in the Town Square which is at the intersections of Roselle Road and Schaumburg Road.

Registration for the program is required. This can be done by visiting the library web site at:

Schaumburg Township District Library Web Site

Click on the “Events” tab at the top.

Then click on “All Programs” under the Central Library column.

Scroll through the calendar to select January.

Look for the January 19, 2013 date and click on the program title “Hidden Treasures At Ancestry.com And How To Find Them”.

Enter in your First Name, Last Name and Phone Number (Required).

Your e-mail address is optional.  If you add it in you will receive an e-mail reminder from us a few days in advance of the program.

Click on the “Complete Registration” Button and you will be registered.

It’s that simple!

You can also register by calling our main library number at 847-985-4000 and ask that you want to be registered for a program.  Our staff will be able to register you for this program if you are unable or unwilling to do the online registration process yourself.

Juliana Szucs Smith and Loretto “Lou” Szucs

The guest speakers at the CAGGNI meeting/feature program will be Lou Szucs and Juliana Smith. Their presentation is titled “Hidden Treasures At Ancestry.com And How To Find Them”.

With billions of records at Ancestry.com, some of the richest treasures are sometimes overlooked.  This presentation by Loretto (Lou) Szucs and Juliana Smith of Ancestry.com is designed to spark new ideas by highlighting some great collections that don’t surface immediately in a general search.  Come and discover new databases and learn how to use Ancestry.com most effectively so that you can get the most out of your research time.

Juliana Smith has been with Ancestry.com for 15 years. During that time she has edited Ancestry.com newsletters and as Senior Communications and Education Associate, she has presented webinars, created blogs and participated in other social media for the company. She is a certificate-holder from the Boston University Genealogy Research program.

Loretto (Lou) Szucs has been with Ancestry.com for 20 years, is author and/or editor of more than a dozen books, including The Source, They Became Americans, Chicago and Cook County Research, and she has served on several genealogical society boards, including Illinois State Genealogical Society and the Federation of Genealogical Societies where she is currently serving as a director.

Refreshments will be provided.

Visit the CAGGNI web site itself to see what the society is all about and what genealogical resources they have online both for the public and for registered members to use to help in your genealogical research.  You can visit the society web site at:

Computer Assisted Genealogy Group Of Northern Illinois Website

Mark your calendars for this wonderful main program as well as the secondary program from the CAGGNI Family Tree Maker Special Interest Group should you choose to participate in it.

Learn more about genealogical research on the topic of the program that can help you in your own research efforts.

Visit our library and see what is in our collection for genealogy in the 929.1 through 929.3 areas of our library, as well as all other resource materials both on our shelves and in our electronic databases.

Meet the CAGGNI group and its members.

Mark your calendars.

Register!

Tony Kierna
Genealogy Coordinator
Schaumburg Township District Library

New Poll On Right Sidebar Of The Blog; Simple Question Being Posed; “Have You Ever Been To The Great Lakes Branch Of The National Archives (NARA) In Chicago, IL To Do Family History Research? “; “Yes” Or “No”?

Hi Everyone!

Well, here goes another Poll that is now on the right sidebar of the blog right at the top of the blog homepage.

This time I am just asking for a simple response to a very basic question.

“Have You Ever Been To The Great Lakes Branch Of The National Archives (NARA) In Chicago To Do Family History Research?”  Yes or No

Simple, direct and to the point.

The Great Lakes Branch of the National Archives (NARA) is literally in our own backyard in the City of Chicago, IL.  For those of us living in the suburban ring around the city, we may find that getting to the facility can be a long, arduous and congested drive to get there at 7358 South Pulaski Road in Chicago, IL.  Like anything, all good things are worth the effort!

Parking is not a problem.  Many drivers have a certain uneasiness of driving into the heart of Chicago because of the congestion or the parking issues.  There is plenty of parking.

I have visited the facility at least twice.  The first time was in the pre-census online days when you still had to actually access microfilm.  It was a long drive to get there but I know I left with amazing amounts of Census related data that filled my research coffers with enough material to analyze for months and months!

You may think there is no longer a need to visit the facility anymore because all of that census data is now online.  The Great Lakes Branch of the National Archives is far more than just census records that could apply to your genealogy.

Don’t overlook the occasional unique programs the facility puts on for the public.  The topics can be broader than just genealogy but yet have a flavor of genealogy embedded in them.

There are Naturalization Records, Bankruptcy Records, Selective Service Records and many, many more categories of records.  The records do not just apply to Illinois.  There are many more midwestern states’ records included in the collection of this facility.

Take a look at all of the information about this facility from the following link.  Get answers to many of the questions you may have about the facility.  See the kinds of records stored there for access by you the researcher.  Check out the information about the Great Lakes Branch of the National Archives at:

Great Lakes Branch Of The National Archives (NARA) In Chicago, IL

I would like very much to know if you have ever visited this national archive facility located right in our local area in Chicago, IL.

Take a look at the new Poll.  Consider providing a reply.

Let’s see how active this poll can be.

The more the merrier!

Tony Kierna
Genealogy Coordinator
Schaumburg Township District Library

Poll On The Right Sidebar Has Been Closed For “Have You Ever Been To The Family History Library In Salt Lake City, Utah; Results Indicated

Hi Everyone!

It is amazing that almost 2 months has passed on the life of the poll I had on the right sidebar of the blog since October 1, 2012.  It is time to move on!  I think a new poll question is in order!

The poll had asked the question whether you have ever been to the Family History Library in Salt Lake City, Utah.

The results of the poll showed the following from the 53 total respondents that took the brief time to provide their “Yes” or “No” response to the question.  The numbers show that 14 responses noted they had been to the facility in Salt Lake City to do their Family History Research (26.42%) while 39 responses indicated they had not been to the facility to do on-site research in Salt Lake City, Utah (73.58%).

I personally have never been to Salt Lake City, Utah to research family history (I have been there to get in a full week of wonderful skiing in my “non-genealogy” years when I was a lot younger at Park City, Alta and Snowbird!).  My own thought on the question is that I would have expected more who indicated they have never been there than have been there.  But I think that the 25% who responded they have been to Salt Lake City to research was more than I would have guessed.

So there you go.  A little bit more information to file away in your dusty archive vaults to compare your own experience to on researching in Salt Lake City, Utah.

I will say, there were the same number of respondents in this just closed poll as there were in the previous poll before this!  Could it be the same 53 responded to that poll as the to this just recently closed poll!

I am still looking for a larger response than even that!  So come on down ——  affix your opinion as a “Yes” or “No” when so asked to the varied polls on different topics in the world of genealogy and family history research.  Your answers count.

I plan on putting up a new poll rapidly.  Come back for that one to see the new question being asked.

A big thank you to all of those that took the time to respond to this just recently closed poll.  Take a look at the results of that poll to satisfy your own curiosity.

Don’t forget to visit my Poll Archives as part of this blog.  Look for the link at the top of the homepage of the blog where it simply says “Poll Archives”.  In here you will find the statistical results of the 7 previously active polls in addition to the poll that is generally “active”.  If you were not aware of this Archive, you may want to visit to see what all the previous polls were about.

Get ready for another poll ……………………..SOON!

Tony Kierna
Genealogy Coordinator
Schaumburg Township District Library

Have You Ever Asked Yourself “Why Do I Do Genealogy?”; Thomas MacEntee Provides An Insight On Why That Is A Difficult Question To Answer To Non-Believers In Genealogy

Hi Everyone!

I have to think that the vast majority of readers of this blog are those that love all aspects of genealogy.

I am not sure who else might enjoy reading about so many aspects of the hunt for dead ancestors!

You know you have an inner feeling that triggered you to discover genealogy and all of the things associated with it.

But have you ever really asked yourself in concrete terms why you do genealogy?  Try telling your love of genealogy to someone who thinks you just arrived from the planet Mars when they hear about your chosen hobby!  The more you think you try to explain this passion, the more the listener’s eyes glaze over!

You think you know why you do, so why does it seem like others can’t fathom why you love family history?

So why do I even want to put to word the “Why” question out for you to read?

Because I came across a very good article by Thomas MacEntee, a local professional genealogist, genealogy technology expert and genealogy social media expert that apparently had the same “Why” in his mind and wanted an answer.

He put his answer to words via an article he created.  Why not read something that may actually provide an insight to the question we ourselves probably have gnawing at us just below our surface.

So if you are asking yourself “Why do I do genealogy?” then read on and see if the words of Thomas MacEntee provide you with a better insight on what is an unusually difficult question to answer.

I want to say a big “Thank You” to Thomas for allowing me to share his article with all of you.

Read on after the separator line the text in Italics and see if you can better understand exactly “Why Do You do Genealogy?”

Tony Kierna
Genealogy Coordinator
Schaumburg Township District Library

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The “Why” of Genealogy

Thomas MacEntee, Flip-Pal mobile scanner ambassador, is a genealogy professional specializing in the use of technology and social media to improve genealogy research and as a way to connect with others in the family history community. He shares his thoughts on why we search for our ancestors.

 As I’ve become more involved in the genealogy community and I’ve built up my own genealogy-related business, I find I am often asked to give interviews. I like being interviewed and I will reply to almost any request for an interview as long as the questions are genealogy-related and it helps bring more people into the family history community.

In addition, after moderating many panels for genealogy conferences and events, plus hosting my own radio show, it is fun to be on the other end of the microphone, as it were, providing my thoughts on genealogy.

The Question: Why Do You Do Genealogy?

Invariably, one question is almost always on the list provided by the interviewer: “Why do you do genealogy?”

My usual response “Well, why not do genealogy?” gets a few laughs, but really doesn’t stress the importance of why I and millions of others are obsessed with tracing their ancestry and heritage. Do you ever get so wrapped up in the “hunt” that you sometimes lose focus as to why you want to know more about your ancestors? Is “doing genealogy” such a large part of your life that the motivational factors sometimes defy description? Do you have trouble putting into words what researching your roots means to you?

I’m Not Crazy, Really. I’m Just Genealogy-Obsessed

Many of my friends not only call me “genealogy obsessed,” but whenever I mention my latest find or how I recently visited a cemetery, they think it is just one more mile post on the road to “Crazy Town.”

They fear that I’ve become the equivalent of an ancestor “hoarder” and that they’ll have to tunnel through 20 years’ worth of genealogical records to find my body one day. When I use terms like “citing sources” or “ahnentafels” to them I may as well be speaking in tongues. The fact that I can draw a four generation tree of my family from memory does not mesmerize them. It only gives them hard evidence in the form of a written document to be used when and if I should be committed.

I don’t think it is really that bad. However, when I attempt to explain the things I do (which seem normal as a genealogist), I get frustrated. It is like trying to explain to someone why you follow a certain spiritual path or a specific faith.

Genealogy Is a Journey of Faith

Could the passion for genealogy actually be similar to one’s own faith, one’s own spiritual compass? In my eyes, faith is something that evolves over time, just as one’s passion/obsession for genealogy also evolves. Both represent a journey often to a destination unknown. Let’s look at the similarities…

  • If we’re lucky, we discover genealogy when we are young, either through an older family relative or at school.
  • Our family members may have stressed the importance of knowing our heritage, of telling family stories and sharing old photos.
  • We may have dabbled with different hobbies in college, but we always came back to genealogy.
  • We attend weekly or monthly gatherings where we meet with other genealogists and discuss what genealogy means to us.
  • Our community has leaders and those who preach about various aspects of genealogy. Some are so popular that we pack classrooms and worship them as idols.
  • We keep the family traditions and place them in context by explaining to others in the family the origins of certain customs and practices.
  • Old documents and records not only feed our obsession, but we often hunger for more and are willing to volunteer our time indexing them and advocating for their unfettered access.
  • You know another genealogist either when you see them or the minute you start talking to them. There is a certain kinship, a certain bonding as you swap surnames and discuss your brick walls.

See, it really isn’t such a far-fetched an idea after all. Genealogy brings meaning to our lives in so many ways that, again, we can’t often explain it, even to our close loved ones. It is a path, a journey and has its own strange practices and routines.

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So how do you put all this in words when attempting to answer that “why” question? It might just be easier to “show” rather than tell. I’ve learned that once I can show a person photos, stories and how my ancestors fit into history, I get to see that arched eyebrow, or that glimmer in the eye. Then I know I’ve started to make sense.

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RootsTech – Major Genealogy Conference To Take Place on March 21-23, 2013 in Salt Lake City

Hi Everyone!

I wanted to share with you information about the upcoming RootsTech Family History and Genealogy Conference that will take place in Salt Lake City, Utah on March 21-23, 2013.

Even though you may not have any interest in attending, it is always a good idea to simply be aware of major genealogical conferences that are occurring.   This is one of those conferences!

It does appear that the theme of this conference overall is to focus on the technology aspects as they relate to genealogy and genealogical research.

The following is a quote taken directly from their web sites that identifies the purpose of this conference:

RootsTech is an opportunity unlike any other to discover the latest family history tools and techniques, connect with experts to help you in your research, and be inspired in the pursuit of your ancestors. It is a conference with a unique emphasis on helping individuals learn and use the latest technology to get started or accelerate their efforts to find, organize, preserve and share their family’s connections and history. Attendees will learn key skills from hands-on workshops and interactive presentations at the beginner, intermediate, and advanced level.

If you are a genealogy technology user, here is a quote from the website that is geared to you for why you should have an interest in the conference:

The 3rd annual RootsTech conference has something for everyone, whether you are an avid genealogist, just beginning, or simply want to discover the latest technologies and solutions to better connect with your family. You will learn things like how and where to start with your family history and how to use the latest technology to solve real research problems. With world-class content from speakers all over the country, an exciting exhibitor hall, and great keynote speakers, RootsTech is being re-tooled for young and old alike, regardless of expertise. Come join the fun!

Sounds like a great coming together of the minds of researchers and technologists both interested in making the genealogy research experience even better through technology.

There is a great FAQ section on the website that really provides good information on the Who, What, Where, When and Why of the conference.

It looks like the registration for the three-day event at this time is $149 (Early Bird).

There are also other fee schedules based on whether you are attending one day only or if you are a beginner.  If a beginner, you can sign up under that banner and gain access to a maximum of 30 programs for $39.

Check out everything about the conference, especially the list of program topics and speakers who will be making presentations,  by visiting the conference website at:

RootsTech March 21 – March 23, 2013 Salt Lake City, Utah

As researchers, we all want to stay ahead of the “genealogy technology curve”.  This conference is intended to help you do that.  I believe that even if you don’t attend, it helps to be aware of what is happening in this ever-increasing combination of genealogy research and the technology that goes hand-in-hand with that effort.

Check out the above link to the site for what appears to be a great  conference on genealogy research and technology.  There is much to be discovered at the web site for this conference.

It has been growing in scope since its inception two years ago.  Programs have increased.  Attendance has increased.  It does seem like there is and has been a lot of “buzz” about this annual conference.

I found a link to a variety of videos made available by RootsTech that provide a sampling of some of the programs that were presented in 2012.  The quality of the videos is outstanding.  Take a look at the videos to get an idea of what this conference is all about.

Check out the RootsTech video site that has some videos of certain programs from the last conference in 2012 at:

RootsTech 2012 Videos

I think you will like what you see both at the RootsTech website and the RootsTech video site.

Tony Kierna
Genealogy Coordinator
Schaumburg Township District Library

Computer Assisted Genealogy Group Of Northern Illinois (CAGGNI) Is Having A Special Society Program On Saturday, November 17, 2012, At The Arlington Heights Memorial Library At 9:30 AM; Annual Business Meeting; Pot Luck Meal; Revolutionary War Program

Hi Everyone!

I just received a notice of an upcoming program that is being held by the Computer Assisted Genealogy Group of Northern Illinois (CAGGNI).  They will be having their Annual Business Meeting and Ethnic food/Family Favorites Potluck and a program with a speaker in addition to all of the other festivities going on.

The program date is Saturday November 17, 2012 at the Arlington Heights Memorial Library at an earlier start time than normal of 9:30 AM.  It sounds like a fascinating program offered by the society!

Please note that the society will be meeting at the Arlington Heights Memorial Library for this program day instead of at the Schaumburg Township District Library.

What follows after the separator line in Italics is the text of what I received from the society describing the events of the day:

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Attn: Tony Kierna ,

Upcoming event information:
Annual Business Meeting, Potluck & Revolutionary War Program Arlington Heights Memorial Library, Hendrickson Room
Date: 17 Nov 2012 9:30 AM

Annual Business Meeting and Ethnic Food/Family Favorites Potluck

NOTE:  Held at Arlington Heights Memorial Library – Early 9:30 am start time

The Revolutionary War Era, A Different Perspective

David Jahntz, will portray a Continental Army surgeon and an 18th century civilian during the War for American Independence.  David will present the War for Independence from the surgeon’s viewpoint, and will also discuss the principles involved and the reasons of the war which are the twenty-seven charges listed by Thomas Jefferson in the Declaration of Independence.  Don’t miss this informative and entertaining presentation.  David’s most prominent appearances have been on national cable productions in “Frontier Doctors” on The History Channel, on the five-hour mini-series “The American Revolution”originally broadcast by the A&E Network and on “Hunting The Lost Symbol” on the Discovery Channel.  In addition, David can be seen in visitor center films of the National Park Service at their historic military sites.

 CAGGNI’s business meeting and annual “family traditions” potluck will immediately precede David Jahntz’s presentation.

More information: Annual Business Meeting, Potluck & Revolutionary War Program

Best regards,
CAGGNI

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The description above of the program sounds fantastic.  The society is having a TV star present information about the Revolutionary War period from a unique perspective.

Check out the society and the program on this date at the Arlington Heights Memorial Library.

Tony Kierna
Genealogy Coordinator
Schaumburg Township District Library