Category Archives: Tips

Where Are The World War II Military Records You Need To Research Your WW II Military Ancestors?; Jennifer Holik Has Blogged Extensively About How To Successfully Uncover These Important Records Of Your Ancestors

Hi Everyone!

WWII LogoMilitary records research is often a major effort when we are doing our ancestral genealogy research.  Our ancestors often served in the military during the time of their lives.  But we often think in terms of the Revolutionary War, War of 1812, Mexican American War, Civil War etc.

But what if you are doing genealogical research on your somewhat more contemporary ancestors that may have served in the military during World War II?  World War II does not seem that far back in time for many of us that are in our 60s but it actually started in 1941 from a United States involvement perspective which means it goes back 74 years ago.

These records are available but maybe the methodology to uncover them is something we have not yet done as we construct our family trees inclusive of World War II vets.

Jennifer Holik is a genealogy program speaker, researcher and author, that we have had at our library, as well as the owner of Generations.  She presented a program that showed us the ways by which we could get our younger children, grandchildren, nieces, nephews etc. interested in picking up the genealogy torch with us.

Jennifer also has a skill in uncovering the connections of our ancestors to their military history.  She has even written some books about the subject as it related to her own genealogical investigations.

Jennifer will be a future speaker at our library again in May 2015 and November 2015.  She will be sharing with us her knowledge about how to go about doing your military research, especially about your World War II vet/ancestor.

I did notice that she has made some recent blog posts providing some very detailed insights into how to go about researching your World War II ancestor’s military records.  Her blog posts were outstanding on providing background and details that genealogy researchers can learn to make their World  War II records research more productive and less frustrating.

GenerationsBiz LogoHere are the links to her recent blog posts that I know you will find full of detailed information to help you uncover those World War II military records you may not even be aware of that can help you paint a more full picture of an ancestor.

January 27, 2014 Jennifer Holik “Where ARE the WW II Military Records?” Blog Post

February 3, 2014 Jennifer Holik “WW II Military Research Is NOT the Same As Genealogy Research” Blog Post

You can connect to the entire blog that Jennifer is authoring at:

Generations Blog Authored By Jennifer Holik

Bloggers often focus on certain themes to create blog posts on certain days of the week.  One of the themes in the blogger world is “Military Monday”.  This is the day that Jennifer has been making her blog posts related to military records research related to genealogy.  She has really been following this theme and has been prolific in her blog posts on World War II military research on “Military Monday”.

If you are focusing part of your current genealogy research on uncovering military records for your ancestors, especially those in connection to World War II, then I highly recommend following Jennifer’s blog posts as she shares information about how to do that kind of research.

You will have to wait a little bit to see Jennifer make her World War II military presentations at our library.  But until she gets here in 2015 you can still add to your research knowledge on World War II records by following Jennifer’s blog posts as they occur on “Military Monday”.

Thanks Jennifer for making these very helpful posts!

Tony Kierna
Genealogy Coordinator
Schaumburg Township District Library

“How To Order Microfilms Through FamilySearch” Training Video; Films Are Ordered Online; You Will Need To Be Registered With FamilySearch To Order Microfilms

Hi Everyone,

FamilySearch.org LogoWe all love finding our ancestral information with just a quick set of keyboard entries at a variety of sites.  That is great and great progress can be made in your research.  But do not just consider the online databases as your only resources.

Check out the FamilySearch online catalog and do some searching on it.  Consider doing a “place” search for the area of your ancestral interest.  Perhaps you will discover film material that looks interesting to you to uncover more about your ancestors.  The film number of the material will become your key to order and use the film to advance your research.

You can reach their online catalog at:

FamilySearch Online Catalog

Microfilms from the Church of Jesus Christ Latter Day Saints (LDS) are still a main source of research information.  These films can be rented easily via an online request through the FamilySearch website.  You will need to be registered with FamilySearch in order to have the capability to order your films online.

Sometimes in discussing accessing microfilm material with an individual through FamilySearch, I may make far too many assumptions of the level of their knowledge of the process.  Microfilms are still a very valuable resource tool and the researcher needs to understand how ordering of these films is done through FamilySearch.

With that goal in mind, I went to the site and found that FamilySearch offers some nice online informative videos about the film ordering process.  Here is a link to the part of the Film Ordering site that allows you to view some training videos:

FamilySearch Microfilm Ordering Help

In addition to the 6 training aids at this part of the site, I want to make sure you are aware specifically of the one that describes the film ordering process.  You can see this video at:

How To Online Film Order Through FamilySearch

If you know a film exists that could help you but you have never ordered a microfilm from FamilySearch because you were uncertain, then now is the time to remove that uncertainty.  You are just hindering your research if you do not order films simply because you do not know how.

The Help section in the above links will also provide you with understanding more about what are the kinds of loans they have and for how long can you use the film.  You will also see the different prices to rent the films as well as selecting a Family History Center (FHC) of your choice where the film will be delivered for your use.

I hope this post will help take some of the mystery out of the FamilySearch film ordering process, especially for those researchers that may have never rented a film through FamilySearch.

I can’t emphasize enough how important these films are.  Most of my own Polish ancestral material is on these films not yet having seen the light of day as an indexed database online!  Do not shortchange your research.

Learn the FamilySearch film ordering process.  Get those films that can really advance your research.

Tony Kierna
Genealogy Coordinator
Schaumburg Township District Library

“What’s New At Ancestry.com January 2014″ YouTube Video

Hi Everyone!

ancestry-logoI just did a quick look at YouTube and saw that there is now a January 2014 video posted from Ancestry.com that is titled “What’s New At Ancestry.com January 2014″.

The video is an approximate 30 minute production hosted by Crista Cowan of Ancestry.com who provides the viewers with updates on what new things users of Ancestry.com should be aware of.

Topics covered in this video by Crista are:

  • Upcoming genealogy conferences for RootsTech and NGS and Ancestry Day in Philadelphia, PA on March 15, 2014
  • Watch for upcoming Indiana and Virginia Resource Guides in PDF format from Ancestry.com.
  • Share Your DNA Ethnicity from Ancestry via e-mail.
  • Family Tree Maker Mac 3 now available as a download or as a CD
  • “Record Hover” new feature.  Hover cursor over the database record to see what data is included in the database.  This allows you to make an educated guess as to whether the information will be helpful to you to open the record.  Today you would have to open the database itself and if the information is not helpful to you would have to close it and go back to the next record.  This is a time-saving feature incorporated by Ancestry.com to minimize your clicks.
  • Site Alert Banner is in upper right of the screen near the Help button.  Check it out to see if there is any database maintenance occurring on interested databases that may be unavailable.  Ancestry is a 24 hour operation that occasionally needs to shut down databases for maintenance.
  • New Content! – Lists of Men Ordered to Report to Local Draft Board for Military Duty, 1917-1918 for Select States.  The data is incomplete and mainly from Southern states.  605,000 records included.
  • New Content! – England Electoral Registers, 1840-1962 for West Yorkshire (22.5 million records)  and Surrey (10.5 million records)
  • New Content! – Georgia Marriage Records, 1828-1978.  does not cover all counties.  Check list of available counties to see if county of interest is included. (2.3 million records)
  • Web Content – 4.9 million web records added in databases that exist outside of Ancestry.com.  The word “Web” prefaces the database title.

You can view this video directly here:

Crista does an excellent job of sharing what is new at Ancestry.com that can make your use of the product even more effective and beneficial with your family history research.  She shows you via her computer screen what to look for at the Ancestry.com site.

I also did a search on YouTube looking for similarly titled videos and did discover that there are many “What’s New At Ancestry.com” videos on YouTube going back at least until April of 2012.  These series of videos are a great tool to use to review going back in time so you keep current with all that is being offered and added to Ancestry.com.

Here is a simple link to my search in YouTube that will give you this nice list of these videos posted to YouTube that you can do some catching up on to know about all of the new things at Ancestry.com:

“What’s New At Ancestry.com” YouTube Videos

The host does a very good job verbally describing the new additions as well as showing you the new things at Ancestry via screencasting.  That allows you to see her computer screen as she points out the various “new” things you may see at Ancestry.com and where they are located.

Because so many of us use Ancestry.com, either via a personal subscription or by using the Ancestry product at our local libraries, these YouTube videos are quite informative to keep users up to date with new features that take root on Ancestry.com.  The host provides even more depth to the importance of the change and even why it was done.

I think you will enjoy the most recent video above as well as looking at the link above for even more of these videos.

Tony Kierna
Genealogy Coordinator
Schaumburg Township District Library

“What’s New At Ancestry.com December 2013″ YouTube Video

Hi Everyone!

ancestry-logoI just did a quick look at YouTube and saw that there is now a December 2013 video posted from Ancestry.com that is titled “What’s New At Ancestry.com December 2013″.

The video is an approximate 30 minute production hosted by Crista Cowan of Ancestry.com who provides the viewers with updates on what new things users of Ancestry.com should be aware of.

Topics covered in this video by Crista are:

  • Upcoming genealogy conferences for RootsTech and NGS
  • Branch Out contest every other month – you could win 20 hours of professional research and a 1 year subscription to the World Explorer from Ancestry.com.  You could also win a DNA submission kit.  Provide a Family History story of 500 words or less to Ancestry.com.  Ancestry.com will pick winner from submissions.  You need to re-enter a story for each upcoming contest.  One submitted story is not carried over into each contest.
  • Watch for upcoming Texas Resource Guide in PDF format from Ancestry.com.
  • New Content! – North Carolina Native American Census 1894-1913
  • New Content! – Associated Press Records (Searching them is a little tricky!).  These are abstracts of articles.
  • New Content! – England and Wales Quaker Birth, Marriage, Death Records for 1578 to 1837 (Quaker Records used “old” calendar method.
  • New Content! – Texas Birth Certificates 1903-1932 – 2.2 million records.
  • New Content! – Texas Death Certificates 1903-1982 – 6 million records.  Actual death certificate image included.

You can view this video directly here:

Crista does an excellent job of sharing what is new at Ancestry.com that can make your use of the product even more effective and beneficial with your family history research.  She shows you via her computer screen what to look for at the Ancestry.com site.

I also did a search on YouTube looking for similarly titled videos and did discover that there are many “What’s New At Ancestry.com” videos on YouTube going back at least until April of 2012.  These series of videos are a great tool to use to review going back in time so you keep current with all that is being offered and added to Ancestry.com.

Here is a simple link to my search in YouTube that will give you this nice list of these videos posted to YouTube that you can do some catching up on to know about all of the new things at Ancestry.com:

“What’s New At Ancestry.com” YouTube Videos

The host does a very good job verbally describing the new additions as well as showing you the new things at Ancestry via screencasting.  That allows you to see her computer screen as she points out the various “new” things you may see at Ancestry.com and where they are located.

Because so many of us use Ancestry.com, either via a personal subscription or by using the Ancestry product at our local libraries, these YouTube videos are quite informative to keep users up to date with new features that take root on Ancestry.com.  The host provides even more depth to the importance of the change and even why it was done.

I think you will enjoy the most recent video above as well as looking at the link above for even more of these videos.

Tony Kierna
Genealogy Coordinator
Schaumburg Township District Library

Very Nice 4 Page PDF Guide From Ancestry.com To Help You Uncover Your Connections To Revolutionary War Ancestors

Hi Everyone,

ancestry-logoOne of my colleagues came across a very nice concise handy guide from Ancestry.com that provides you with the research guidance to help you uncover any connection you may have to Revolutionary War ancestors.

It is a simple but effective 4 page PDF that will take you through the sequential steps to take to make your Revolutionary War connections if you happen to have any.

Here is a link to the helpful document.

Your Family Tree in the American Revolution – Guide from Ancestry.com

You can access the helpful database mentioned in the guide through Ancestry.com or Ancestry Library Edition.  The particular helpful database  mentioned is noted as the Sons of the American Revolution Membership Applications.

Enjoy the document and see if you have any Revolutionary War ancestral connection!

Tony Kierna
Genealogy Coordinator
Schaumburg Township District Library

“One-On-One” Genealogy Consultations Being Offered By Casa Italia In Stone Park, IL; Italian Genealogy Research Help Being Offered As Well As Non-Italian Genealogy Research Help Being Offered

Hi Everyone,

Casa Italia LogoI just discovered that Casa Italia Genealogy Department in Stone Park, IL  is offering “One-on-One” genealogy research assistance on Mondays.

Please note in the information that follows that registration in advance  is required.

Sessions are limited to 45 minutes.

Quoting from the blog post:

++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

1 On 1 Genealogy Consultation

The Casa Italia Genealogy Department is again offering one on one genealogy assistance in our library on Mondays starting September 9. We are not only assisting with Italian research, but any ethnic background. Karen Baleno-Bogdan and Terri O’Connell are providing consultation on Mondays and specializes in Italian research.

To register for a 45 minute session please email to set an appointment ( Karen Bogdan at karenbaleno@comcast.net) or (Terri O’Connell at terri@findingourancestors.net) with your top two preferred dates and times, name, email, phone number and short description of what you are looking for (beginning help, genealogy problem, etc.)

© 2013, Casa Italia, Stone Park, IL

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The offer appears to be primarily geared to Italian researchers that can also take advantage of the resources available at the library at Casa Italia.  It is also nice that you can get this “One-On-One” help for non-Italian genealogy help that you are seeking.

Take advantage of the help being offered through the Casa Italia Genealogy Department.

Visit the main web site for Casa Italia at the following link to see what other information can be obtained from the site:

Casa Italia Website At WordPress

Take advantage of this wonderful opportunity, especially if you are stuck on your Italian genealogy research.

Tony Kierna
Genealogy Coordinator
Schaumburg Township District Library

Take Advantage Of Holiday Family Gatherings As The Family Historian (Originally Posted In November 2009 And Still Applicable!)

Hi Everyone!

Roast Turkey and StuffingNow that the holidays are upon us again, I wanted to re-post a blog entry I made in November 2009 (actually one of my first posts to the new blog at that time) because the holiday times and family gatherings provide the perfect opportunity to the family historian to share previously researched information and also to gather new information to compile into the family history.

What follows in Bold and Italics is the post I published back in 2009.  The message to family historians is as important today as it was then.  Take a look at the message and take advantage of your time with family during the holidays of 2013-2014.

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The Holiday Season is one of the best times of the year to moveChistmas Holiday Clip Art your genealogy research forward!  You are circled by family members who may be very interested to know of your research.  Not only can you share what you have discovered but you may have willing family members that can’t help but share more with you during this season of sharing!

Now is the time that family members will really see how serious you take your family research.  They may not open up to you as a willing participant at this time.  But you may have planted the seed in their mind that will come to grow at a future date when their assistance will become invaluable.

Bring some copies of research documents you may have uncovered to date as well as copies of pictures to share with the family members present at the gathering.  Keep the originals at home for safety and security!  If you have digitized your discoveries as .JPG images then bring your laptop with the data or your smartphone or your tablet computer if you have one that contains the images.  Even having the images on a flash drive will help because you can plug that into a computer that may exist in the house.  Even new HDTV sets often have a USB connection to the HDTV that you can plug into.  You can then look at the images on the TV screen!

What a great time to share family information as well as to gather more if you can.  Bring a digital recorder or a camcorder with to document the new information family members will be willing to share.  If you have a smartphone you probably have an App that can function as a digital recorder.  Don’t leave all of the stories to your memories.  Get the stories in the voice of the original provider for further analysis down the road.  Ask their permission to audio or videotape what they have to say.  Respect their wishes if they choose not to be recorded.  Then take notes.

Always remember to be a good guest if you are visiting.  It is the Holiday Season after all and not necessarily a genealogical convention!  Don’t make yourself a genealogical nuisance at this time but see if you can arrange a time in the future to revisit with key family members to obtain further information in a non-holiday pressured setting.

Share your family history stories and research.

Keep an ear open for other family history stories.

Plant those seeds among family members for future help.

But most importantly, enjoy your family during this Holiday Season!

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Tony Kierna
Genealogy Coordinator
Schaumburg Township District Library

Reminder Re-Post: Check This Blog During the Winter Months In Case Bad Weather Forces Us To Cancel A Genealogy Program; I Would Post That Cancellation Notice Here

Hi Everyone!

Winter Weather Clip ArtI just wanted to remind readers of this blog, especially those of you that often attend our monthly Genealogy Program at the Schaumburg Township District Library (STDL), that I would post a notice here if a Genealogy Program on the 2nd Tuesday evening of the month would have to be cancelled due to bad, wintry weather.

A few cancellations have happened in the recent past and I believe posting the cancellation of that program in this blog proved helpful and beneficial to those who thought of coming out on a bad wintry night.  I believe that our most recent cancellation of our genealogy program was in February 2010 just a few months after I started this blog.

It does not happen often but this blog can easily get the word out that a genealogy program is being cancelled due to inclement weather.

As I write this just before Thanksgiving 2013, it already seems like the depths of winter are upon us.  It is brutally cold today and it seems like much of November has already felt like January!  So far, just a little bit of snow.

I believe November and December 2012 were easy and mild.  January and February 2013 were also uneventful from a weather perspective.  But I do believe in Karma, and it may be paying us back for winter 2013-2014 based on what we have already experienced just during November 2013!!  Hopefully not!

Let’s cross our fingers that our December 10, 2013 program routinely takes place without being impacted by the weather.

So keep checking back here especially on the 2nd Tuesday evening of the month if you may be planning on attending our genealogy program.  If the weather is dicey and we cancel the program, you will hear it here!

Tony Kierna
Genealogy Coordinator
Schaumburg Township District Library

Irish-American DNA Connection Insights Provided By Katherine Borges; View Her Presentations At The Genetic Genealogy Ireland 2013 Conference; Other Videos From The Conference At YouTube

Hi Everyone!

DNA Clip ArtBarb P. is a frequent attendee at our monthly genealogy program.

She is also very big on how genealogy researchers can use DNA to further their research and make other connections to living relatives.

Barb made me aware that there was a Genetic Genealogy Ireland 2013 conference during which Katherine Borges made some presentations specific to DNA and the Irish-American genealogy connection.

So if you have been doing any Irish research you may want to visit the link that follows and see the online videos of the presentations made by Katherine Borges on the Irish-American DNA connection.

Here is the link to Katherine Borges’ presentations:

Katherine Borges – The Irish-American DNA Connection Presentations from the Genetic Genealogy Ireland 2013 Conference

Scroll down a little on the site and you will see a 54 minute video as well as a 41 minute video of her presentations at the conference.

The lectures were sponsored by FamilyTreeDNA and the International Society of Genetic Genealogy (ISOGG).

Barb also provided me with a link to the Genetic Genealogy Ireland 2013 Conference YouTube channel that you can also visit for even a larger number of videos you can view connected to the conference.  You can visit this channel at:

Genetic Genealogy Ireland 2013 Conference Videos At YouTube

For all of you Irish genealogy researchers, this may be an opportunity to see how you can utilize DNA to further advance your own Irish genealogy research.

Thanks to Barb P. for sharing this genetic genealogy information.

Tony Kierna
Genealogy Coordinator
Schaumburg Township District Library

“What’s New At Ancestry.com November 2013″ YouTube Video

Hi Everyone!

ancestry-logoI just did a quick look at YouTube and saw that there is now a November 2013 video posted from Ancestry.com that is titled “What’s New At Ancestry.com November 2013″.

The video is an approximate 30 minute production hosted by Crista Cowan of Ancestry.com who provides the viewers with updates on what new things users of Ancestry.com should be aware of.

Topics covered in this video by Crista are:

  • October was National Family History Month.  You can catch up on all of the posts by visiting the Ancestry.com Blog.  Go to Ancestry.com.  Scroll down to bottom of the page.  Find the link for Ancestry.com Blog.  Look on the right sidebar of the blog for a category called “Family History Month” (They are not in alphabetical order, so you will have to scroll down!).  Catch up on the multitude of blog posts and the information and links within each.
  • DNA Ethnicity Estimate Updated
  • Look at the listing of “new” and “updated” databases.  Don’t just focus on the “new” ones because some of the “updated” ones may now contain more information since you previously may have used one.  So if these updated databases previously gave you data, check to see if they have more info for your research.
  • 1921 Canadian Census now available.  Contains about 8.8 million records.
  • California Death Index 1905-1939 now available.  It is an index only.  If there is something from the index of value to you, write down all of the columnar information for the ancestor.  You will not see the image of the actual record.  You can obtain the full record of information from California, but be prepared to capture the pertinent information from the information to provide to California in order to obtain the actual record.
  • Connecticut Church Record Abstracts, 1630-1920, now available.
  • Ireland Census 1901 and 1911 now available.  You can search within Ancestry.com, but to see the full image you will be taken to the site of the Irish Archives.  The database is noted with the term “Web” before the title to make you aware the data is contained outside of Ancestry.com
  • Georgia World War I Service Records now available.  Can give insights into not only those that registered for the draft, but those that actually served.  If you find an ancestor in the database, make sure you look at a few records before and after the individual because there may be multiple records for individuals.

You can view this video directly here:

Crista does an excellent job of sharing what is new at Ancestry.com that can make your use of the product even more effective and beneficial with your family history research.  She shows you via her computer screen what to look for at the Ancestry.com site.

I also did a search on YouTube looking for similarly titled videos and did discover that there are many “What’s New At Ancestry.com” videos on YouTube going back at least until April of 2012.  These series of videos are a great tool to use to review going back in time so you keep current with all that is being offered and added to Ancestry.com.

Here is a simple link to my search in YouTube that will give you this nice list of these videos posted to YouTube that you can do some catching up on to know about all of the new things at Ancestry.com:

“What’s New At Ancestry.com” YouTube Videos

The host does a very good job verbally describing the new additions as well as showing you the new things at Ancestry via screencasting.  That allows you to see her computer screen as she points out the various “new” things you may see at Ancestry.com and where they are located.

Because so many of us use Ancestry.com, either via a personal subscription or by using the Ancestry product at our local libraries, these YouTube videos are quite informative to keep users up to date with new features that take root on Ancestry.com.  The host provides even more depth to the importance of the change and even why it was done.

I think you will enjoy the most recent video above as well as looking at the link above for even more of these videos.

Tony Kierna
Genealogy Coordinator
Schaumburg Township District Library