Category Archives: Program Summaries

Pictures Added to Previous Post That Summarized Our Program Presented on March 9, 2010

Hi Everyone!

You may want to take a look at my previous post in which I summarized events of our March 9, 2010 Genealogy Program.

I just learned a new blogging capability.  I was able to upload JPEG pictures and included them in a post.  It just made more sense for me to edit the previous post and put the pictures in the blog post associated with the program summary.

You may have already visited my post that summarized the March 9, 2010 Genealogy Program.  That was before I added the pictures.  Take another look and see what you think.  I think the pictures look pretty good and the captions for the pictures speak for themselves.

Enjoy the images!

Tony Kierna
Genealogy Coordinator
Schaumburg Township District Library

We Had An Active “Breakout” Genealogy Program on March 9, 2010

Hi Everyone!

Guess what??


This has been another tough winter but it sure felt good not to have another major snow storm or ice storm on the night of our genealogy program.  It felt good to get back together after February’s program cancellation due to a snowstorm.

Our Program Room Before Participants Arrive

Many of you must have felt the same because we had 35 people attend our “breakout” program last night.  That is a very high number of attendees for a program when we don’t have a speaker.

For the 12 years that I have been doing this at our library, our Beginner’s Table was the largest I have ever seen.  Normally we put 3 tables together for those to sit around.  We actually combined about 7 or 8 tables and had about 20 people sit around the Beginner’s Table!  In addition to there being many people around the table, everyone seemed active and ready to learn much of what I discussed.

Our Irish Research Table Beginning to Fill Up

I actually think this time our Beginner’s table exceeded in numbers all those remaining that were at all of the other research tables combined!

I mentioned to those at the Beginner’s table that many other local public libraries exist in our area that have a larger focus on genealogy than our own library.  Our library is more known as a library having a specialty for “business”.  The public libraries in our area that have a large genealogical collection on site are:

  • Arlington Heights Memorial Library
  • Wheaton Public Library
  • Gale Borden Public Library in Elgin
  • Mt. Prospect Public Library

Please take a look in the “Favorite Links” section of this blog to link to the web address of each of the libraries.

Beginner's Table Starting to Fill Up

I spent time indicating the importance of “interviewing” your living relatives now in order to begin establishing your ancestral trail.  Those that are elderly may not be around in the future for you to delay your interview.  Be kind.  Be courteous.  Be respectful.  Do not overburden those that you interview.  They may not have as much stamina as you might in your quest to discover your ancestors.  Make sure you ask permission to audiotape/videotape your interview.  Don’t question what you may hear from your interviewee.  It is uncanny how so many of their stories will actually lead you to correct connections after your research progresses.  At first you may be in disbelief.  Trust me.  Your inital reactions of disbelief may soon turn to amazement as your ancestral connections come to light.

I spent some time making sure all were familiar with the major genealogical sites that we all visit frequently.

Sites mentioned were:

I tried to emphasize that researchers should spend as much time learning of the resources available at these sites and not just spend time searching for surnames.

Polish Researchers Gather Round Their Table

I showed those at the Beginner’s table a good amount of what you can do at the Church of Jesus Christ Latter Day Saints site, commonly referred to as the Mormon site.  I emphasized that resources abound here both for finding reference materials for countries and states as well as finding Family History Centers (FHC) and using the catalog to discover material that can help you with films for geographical areas of interest.

I ended my discussion of Mormon resources by making those at our table aware of the Mormon digitization project to convert their 2.5 million reels of resource data to digitized images on the web fully indexed and available for free.  The very early beginnings of this data can be found in their “Record Pilot Search” at their web site.

German Researchers Filling Up Their Table

I ended our discussion indicating that a beginning researcher should use the United States Census data that is available electronically through, Family’ and Heritage Quest as their first effort into researching actual data.  Even if you want to jump into your ethnic area of research and connect to the mother country, don’t do it.  Work your ancestral connection back from the 1930 census back as far as it will take you until their arrival into the United States.  Build a solid base from you going backwards through as many censuses as possible.  You will discover much and many of the stories you have heard from family members may have different shades once you see the data in the census.

We ended our program at around 9:30 PM with everyone leaving with much more information than when they arrived!

I thank those that stayed after we ended to help put the room back in order by putting the tables in chairs back in the form of a classroom setting.  Thank you so much for your help.

Thank you also to those that brought in some extra “cookie” and “cake” goodies.  I really appreciate your kindness in treating us to some of your great baking!

Participants Are Filling Up Many of the Research Tables

We will be doing another one of our “breakout” programs in June 2010.

Keep coming back to our blog to find out the details as we get closer to that date.

I hope everyone had as good a time last night as I did!

See you all next month on April 13, 2010 at 7:30 PM at our library for our next program.

Tony Kierna
Genealogy Coordinator
Schaumburg Township District Library

Our January 12, 2010 Genealogy Program Was Outstanding!

Hi Everyone!

I just wanted to let everyone know that our January 12, 2010 Genealogy Program was outstanding!

Craig Pfannkuche was our guest speaker for the evening.  Craig presented a program on Cemetery Research and Cemetery Inscriptions.

We finally caught a “weather break” for the evening of our Genealogy Program during the winter months and experienced no significant storm as we seemed to have had lately.  Instead, the weather cooperated greatly and presented us with a rather balmy and calm evening.  This great night of weather allowed 64 people to come out to our program and hear a great speaker give us a great program!

Did anyone else feel like I did that Craig Pfannkuche was “on fire” this evening??

What a great way to start a new year with a dynamic and exciting presentation on cemetery research.

Craig was intense and animated in conveying the message to all of us that we must consider doing cemetery research if we have not already done so in our genealogical research.

Craig provided us with background on cemeteries in general and what the researcher could expect to find when researching at a cemetery.  He then provided us with a long slide show of pictures showing us all what we might expect to see when researching at a cemetery.

We were able to see pristine cemeteries filled with great monuments honoring the deceased.  We saw cemeteries that one would not even recognize as cemeteries because they were completely overgrown.  We saw large urban cemeteries.  We saw tiny rural cemeteries.  We saw what appeared to be dangerous looking cemeteries in which the grounds provided us with a challenge to even walk safely among the graves.  We saw well-manicured settings that were inviting for us to research.  We saw large and artistic monuments.  We saw unmarked graves.  We even saw exposed bones on the ground by a particular grave associated with that of a known “radical”.  Other radicals were so enamored of this “radical” that they wanted to have their bones deposited on the grave site so they could be one with the “radical”!

In other words, Craig showed us all the things we might expect to find when we visit a cemetery to do our research.  Most of the things we see will be good but you have to expect that some of the things you will see will not be so good.

While Craig was showing us this massive set of slides he would often pose many a question about what we thought was being shown in the slide.   Answers were coming back to him fast and accurately in such a way that he kept telling those in attendance that we were one of the “smartest” and “most knowledgeable” of groups to reply back to him to the questions he posed.

Hats off to all of you giving such great responses!  I know you are a great group with deep amounts of research knowledge, all of which you showed the other night!  Great job on impressing Craig!

Craig’s program went as far into the night as we could allow since we needed to start ending the program by 9:30 PM.

I am so sorry for those that were unable to attend and thus missed a great presentation.  To those present that night, you saw an inspired and fiery presentation by one of our great local speakers!

Now is the time to really start planning your cemetery research that you can embark on in about 3 months.  Start working now with the cemeteries where your ancestors are buried while the staffs of the cemeteries can offer you more guidance during the winter months when researchers can’t easily be researching on site.

Use Craig’s presentation as the inspiration to get your own cemetery research moving into full gear now!

Tony Kierna
Genealogy Coordinator
Schaumburg Township District Library