Monthly Archives: March 2013

RootsTech 2013 Ends; Incredibly Successful; Key Videos Of Programs Now Online At RootsTech Website

Hi Everyone!

RootsTech LogoA few weeks ago I made you aware that RootsTech 2013 was about to start their annual conference in Salt Lake City, UT.  That time has now come and gone.  RootsTech 2013 is now history and should be proudly basking in how successful this year’s edition turned out!

Dick Eastman has reported in his online Newsletter about the events that transpired at the conference that was held from March 21 to March 23.  Here is a link to Dick’s blog post providing a very nice summary overview of the conference:

Dick Eastman’s Newsletter Post About RootsTech 2013 In Salt Lake City, Utah

Here is a quote (following in Italics) from Dick’s post about the magnitude in numbers that puts the success of this conference in perspective:

“The RootsTech Conference is now the largest genealogy conference in North America. Actually, it earned that title last year but then grew by more than 50% this year. I know it was big because I am exhausted. My feet hurt, my back hurts, I haven’t had much sleep, and I am tired. In other words, it was a great conference!

Sponsored by Family Search, the RootsTech Conference was held for three days at the Salt Palace Convention Center in Salt Lake City, Utah. More than 6,700 people from 49 U.S. States (why was no one there from Delaware?) and 17 countries were in the Salt Palace Convention Center for the opening day of the RootsTech Conference on March 21. I never heard the final attendance numbers, but I saw a long line of people on the opening day waiting to purchase tickets at the door. Obviously, the final number was higher than 6,700.

That number does not include the nearly 2,000 teen-agers who attended a special “genealogy for youth” session on Saturday. Boy Scout merit badges for genealogy were awarded to many at this session. If you add in the teen-agers, the total attendance at RootsTech 2013 had to be nearly 9,000 individuals.

As if that isn’t enough, another 10,000 people viewed classes and events via live streaming online video, and another 4,000 participated by remote satellite broadcast at Family History centers in 17 locations in seven countries, including the United States, according to FamilySearch.

That totals about 23,000 people, give or take a few, who attended or at least watched some part of RootsTech2003. Who says the popularity of genealogy is slipping?”

The numbers to me are staggering.  National conferences of the recent past are often considered very successful if attendance is somewhere in the 2,000 to 2,500 range.  Look at Dick’s reporting of the statistics on the event and one would have to assume that the attendance figures among all of the categories is like “knocking it out of the park”.

I highly recommend visiting the RootsTech website and spend some time looking at the magnificent set of 13 videos of a variety of the programs that occurred over the 3 days.  These are free to look at on the site.  They are brilliant in terms of video quality.  If I look at only a few, I like to spend some time looking at the Keynote speakers.  These speakers generally give us a “big picture” view of genealogy and things related to genealogy.  They are often “rah rah” kind of motivational speeches that often can get our genealogy jump-started again if we were temporarily unmotivated.

Visit the RootsTech 2013 site at:

RootsTech 2013

Somehow this conference has really taken off like a rocket ship and has been bucking the trend of smaller and smaller audiences attending national conferences.

I just feel the excitement looking through some of the online videos.

The people and the topics are really buzzing.

RootsTech 2014 is already on the drawing board.

February 6 through February 8, 2014 will be the days to do it again in Salt Lake City, Utah!

Read through all of Dick Eastman’s post of the event from the above link I have provided.

Check out the RootsTech 2013 videos from the above link.  You will not be disappointed.

Get your “genealogy engine” jump-started!

Tony Kierna
Genealogy Coordinator
Schaumburg Township District Library

Requesting Records From U.S. Citizenship And Immigration Services (USCIS); Good Resource For Ancestral Citizenship Naturalization Records After 1906; Other Records Also Available

Hi Everyone!

USCIS LogoYou often hear us talk in the world of genealogy about our immigrant ancestors becoming citizens.  Related to that, there is an important time-line break that researchers need to understand in their pursuit of ancestral records for citizenship.

For many of us, myself included, my ancestors came to the United States from Poland during the late 1880s and early 1890s.  They started on the pathway to citizenship soon after their arrival.  In this timeframe, citizenship was a process that was done through the local court system.  It could encompass any of the myriad court levels e.g. Circuit Court, Superior Court, etc.  A person living in Illinois could become a citizen through a court system in Indiana.

Citizenship documents at this time were not very valuable as genealogical documents.  Your ancestor stated they no longer owed allegiance to whatever governmental system they left.  The document was dated.  They signed it.  A witness signed it.  It was formerly signed by a court representative.  Not much more to help you discover where they came from.  What port?  What ship?

I found that the best piece of this kind of document was an emotional connection to seeing the signature of an ancestor and the signature of a witness.

In 1906 a major change took place.  It was at this time that the U.S. Federal Government became the central agency where our ancestors passed through on their way to citizenship.  No longer was it done through a myriad of different courts.  In addition to the centralization process, it was also at this time that much more detailed information was provided by the applicant to the Federal Government.  Now it was possible that the applicant for citizenship did start providing where they came from, when did they arrive, what port did they come to, what was the name of the ship, their height, their weight etc.

These post-1906 applications really started providing a great deal of genealogical and personal information about the applicant.  You could be lucky to even be able to discover a picture of the applicant!

The agency noted in the blog post heading is now your source to track down the documents of your ancestors citizenship process after 1906.  This is an important site that I wanted to share with you to facilitate interacting with the agency to gain the copies of your ancestral naturalization documents you seek after 1906.

There is a great deal of good information at the site to explore.

Check out the following links from the Unites States Citizenship and Immigration Services at:

United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) Family History Research  Overview

Unites States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) Searching the Index Information

Unites States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) Requesting Records Information

United States Citizenship and Immigrations Services (USCIS) Requesting Help Information

There is so much more information on the above sites that I encourage you to really “roam” around the site.  You will not be able to initiate the search yourself online.  The agency will do that for you.  There is a fee for the search.  It runs between $20 to $35 .  It is not inexpensive, but there might be a great deal of valuable information you will discover.

If your ancestor became a citizen after 1906, you will need to work with USCIS to see what documents exist that you can obtain.  Become familiar with all they describe at their site.  Your reward could be great!

I hope the information at this site can get you going to seek documents of your naturalized ancestor after 1906.  That information sure beats the little amount you can obtain for a pre-1906 naturalized ancestor.

Good luck and happy hunting with the USCIS!

Tony Kierna
Genealogy Coordinator
Schaumburg Township District Library

Fox Valley Genealogical Society Annual Conference Program To Be Held In Naperville, IL On September 28, 2013 (Saturday)

Hi Everyone!

Please mark Saturday, September 28, 2013 date on your calendars.  This is the date for the Fox Valley Genealogical Society Annual Conference.

The guest speaker for the day will be Maureen Taylor, commonly known in the genealogy world as “the Photo Detective”.  She will present four 1 hour genealogical programs.  Topics in the program that will be presented are:

  • Identifying and Dating Family Photographs
  • Preserving Family Photographs – 1839 to the Present
  • Reading Genealogical and Immigrant Clues in 19th Century Photographs
  • Kodak Moments and Technicolor Dreams: 20th Century Photos and Films in the Family Archive

Please visit the website of the Fox Valley Genealogical Society directly.  You can reach them at:

Fox Valley Genealogical Society of Naperville, Illinois

Here is a PDF document I created from the paper brochure I received in the mail from them.  All of the details of the program are included in this PDF.  You can access this PDF at:

2013 Fox Valley Genealogical Society Annual Conference Brochure

There is plenty of time to plan for this all day program.

Photographs are such an important part of our genealogical research.  To have the world-renowned “Photo Detective” provide her valuable knowledge for four 1 hour programs is nothing short of spectacular!

For those registered for the conference, there is also a special opportunity on the Friday afternoon before the conference day itself to have a 15 minute private consultation regarding your photographs with Maureen Taylor for a special $30 fee.  No consultations will be done on the day of the program.  Details are all included in the above PDF for the program.  Again, a consultation can be arranged on the Friday afternoon, September 27, 2013, with Maureen Taylor for those registered for the conference.

More details regarding the private consultation process will become known as the conference date approaches.  Keep visiting the Conference page of the society for consultation details.

Mark your calendar for this upcoming Fall 2013 program in Naperville, IL.  Take a look at all of the details in the above PDF brochure.

Support another local genealogical society that is in our area!

Tony Kierna
Genealogy Coordinator
Schaumburg Township District Library

Our Library Has Added Some Online Illinois Oriented Journals To Our Database Collection; Some Illinois Historical Ones Included; Consider For Possible Genealogy Research

Hi Everyone!

STDL ImageOur Local History Librarian just made us all aware that our library now has available a database of some Illinois focused magazines and journals that you can access through our websites list of databases.

Here is what our Local History Librarian noted about the journals and magazines now in this new database:

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This is just a heads up that we have added a new index to the Magazines category of our Research page.  It is called Illinois Periodicals Online and is coordinated by Northern Illinois University.  It indexes the following Illinois magazines:

  • Illinois Country Living  1996-2004
  • Illinois History  1992-2002
  • Illinois Issues  1975-2001 
  • Illinois Municipal Review  1956-1996 (includes scattered years)
  • Outdoor Illinois  1999-2002
  • Illinois Heritage  1997-2008
  • Illinois History Teacher  1994-2009
  • Illinois Libraries  1984, 1995-2000
  • Illinois Parks and Recreation  1970-2012

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You can access the material from our library’s own list of databases as noted above or you can also access it directly at:

Northern Illinois University List Of Illinois Oriented Online Journals And Magazines

I bring this to your attention because as you can see from the list of titles, two of them might be beneficial for your family history research.  Note the titles for “Illinois History” and “Illinois Heritage”.  The year ranges noted in the above constitutes what is in the online database.  You can access the full text and images of the articles in the issues.

For those of you doing Illinois family history research, it would look like “Illinois Heritage” might be a good source for you to consider to look through.  There are not that many issues in the collection as you can see by the year range, but the articles do appear to be very detailed and well written.  I just happened to be browsing through an issue from the year 2000 and I saw an article on “The Vandalia Statehouse Move to Springfield”.

That is a sample of what you can find by browsing through the material.

Do not expect to find surnames here in a searchable manner like at Ancestry.com.

You can bring the article up in full-text mode and then use your browser “find” command to do a search for whatever you have an interest in.  It will find that term, if it is in the article, and you will see it nicely highlighted in color for ease of discovery.

This material can provide you with a lot more historical background relevant to Illinois but not necessarily advance your pedigree searching.

The new database is accessible by anyone from home if you access it through our databases.  You do not have to be a Schaumburg Library card holder to access the data.

I would encourage you to check it out or make note of it for future access.

Tony Kierna
Genealogy Coordinator
Schaumburg Township District Library

Polish Genealogical Society Of America (PGSA) Will Have Their Annual Conference On September 13 And 14, 2013 In Lisle, Illinois

Hi Everyone,

PGSA Logo Clip ArtHere is a “long” heads up on another early Fall genealogical conference coming local to our area.  The Polish Genealogical Society of America (PGSA) will be having their annual conference on Friday and Saturday, September 13 and 14, 2013 at the Hilton Lisle/Naperville in Lisle, Illinois.

The title of the program is “Growing Your Research Resources”.

It is the 35th Anniversary Program of the society.

Until all of the details are worked out regarding the events for the two days, as well as the registration information and cost, your best bet is to just keep visiting the web site of the PGSA.  You can visit the society website for updates on this annual conference as they are finalized at:

Polish Genealogical Society of America (PGSA)

You can also see a PDF file of the “flyer” for the program at:

2013 PGSA Annual Conference Flyer

So far it looks like there will be 3 speakers that will present programs.  The speakers will be:

  • Thomas MacEntee (Online Research)
  • Tomasz Nitsch from Poland (Poland Archives and Organizations)
  • Ceil Jensen (Novice and Advance Research in the US and the Poland)

More details will be made available as they are completed.

If I receive further details as they are finalized, I will also provide that via another post to this blog when it becomes available.

The PGSA puts on nothing short of a spectacular annual conference.  I have attended them in the past and have always come away impressed and full of more Polish genealogical knowledge and inspiration!

The knowledge and the material you will obtain from this conference will be priceless to help you progress with your own Polish genealogical research.

You will not be sorry for making the effort to attend this 2 day program!!

Put these dates on your calendar, especially if you have never attended an annual conference put on by this society.

Tony Kierna
Genealogy Coordinator
Schaumburg Township District Library

Look Closely At FamilySearch Website Home Page; Look Higher To The Top Of The Page For Links For “Family Tree”, “Learn”, “FamilySearch Centers”, “Indexing”, “Blog”, “Sign-In” And “Help”

Hi Everyone!

FamilySearch.org LogoI am sure you are just like me.  We are often creatures of habit.

In this case the “habit” was the appearance of the FamilySearch home page.  I thought I always remembered being able to easily find some key “links” at what I thought was the top of the page.

Today when I was looking at the site I kept looking and looking for the link on the homepage for “Learn”.  I thought I was looking in the area where I thought it was.  This is a link to get you to all things about research aids and online tutorials.  So for me it was important.

My eyes finally went way high on top of the page and I did discover the list of links that I thought had previously been a little lower on the page.

My eyes initially looked at the area of the homepage just under the title “Discover Your Family History”.  That is where I thought my familiar links called home.  Today under the title “Discover Your Family History” I saw the links for “Records”, “Genealogies”, “Catalog” and “Books”.

Maybe you are like me and often used the link for “Learning”.  Maybe you also thought it disappeared or you just could not find it.

That is why I am writing this.

Again, look high on the homepage of FamilySearch for a series of key links, then look a little lower under the title of “Discover Your Family History” and you will see another series of links to key areas on the site.

Take a look at the site at FamilySearch.

Take another look at the FamilySearch homepage if you have not very recently been there.  Look way high on the page and then a little lower for the two sets of key links to help you get around the site for things other than just searching for ancestors.

I don’t know if they altered the main page or if my brain got zapped recently when looking for this material!

Hope this helps you if you felt a little lost on the site as I was when trying to find some key links I always click on.

Tony Kierna
Genealogy Coordinator
Schaumburg Township District Library

Czech and Slovak American Genealogy Society of Illinois (CSAGSI) Has An Upcoming Program on Saturday, May 18, 2013 in LaGrange, Illinois

Hi Everyone!

CSAGSI (Czech) LogoI just received a notice from the Czech and Slovak American Genealogy Society of Illinois (CSAGSI) of an upcoming program they will be having very soon.  The program will occur on Saturday, May 18, 2013 at 1:30 PM at the First Presbyterian Church of LaGrange, Illinois.  The church is located at 150 S. Ashland Rd. in LaGrange, IL.

The topic of the program is “Trees That Talk: Conversing with Our Ancestors thru Grave Markers”.  The speaker for the program will be Samantha Chmelik.

Please look at the attached link for all of the details regarding the program:

CSAGSI May 18, 2013 Program Notice

Mark the date and location down on your calendars.  For those doing Czech and Slovak research, you may want to connect with fellow researchers at this program.  The above program notice has other information about the  program and the program location.

Admission is free.  You do not have to be a member of the society to attend.

Check it out.

You can visit the web page of the society to obtain information and resources available from the society for interested Czech researchers at:

Czech and Slovak American  Genealogy Society of Illinois (CSAGSI) Web Site

Tony Kierna
Genealogy Coordinator
Schaumburg Township District Library