Category Archives: Tips

Steve Szabados Has Authored Another Genealogy Help Book; The Title Is “Write Your Family History: Easy Steps to Organize, Save and Share”; Available At

Hi Everyone!

Steve Szabados

Steve Szabados

Steve Szabados, a recurring genealogy program presenter at our library, has informed me that he has another new genealogy help book that has been published.

The book tries to explain the process he uses to go from his research to pages that he shares with family members. These pages turn into a family history that can be enjoyed by everyone.

The title of the book is Write Your Family History: Easy Steps to Organize, Save and Share.

I plan on adding this book to our library’s circulating collection so it can be checked out.

Steve is an avid Polish genealogy researcher and wants to share his publication successes with all other researchers regardless of what they are researching.

Steve informs me the book is available through  Here is a link to providing information about Steve’s new book:

Steve Szabados Newly Published Genealogy Help Book; “Write Your Family History: Easy Steps to Organize, Save and Share” At

Steve also offers personal help to those doing Polish genealogical research through his volunteer efforts at the Arlington Heights Memorial Library.  Steve is there on each Friday morning from 9 AM to 12 Noon.

Steve knows his stuff about all things “genealogy”.  He also knows his stuff about “Polish genealogy”.

Consider picking up a copy of this new book through  Let Steve’s words and guidance allow you to take your genealogical research material from what you have to a more polished, publication-ready document that can easily wind up in the hands of all of your extended family members giving them the chance to get a better picture of where everyone came from!

Tony Kierna
Genealogy Coordinator
Schaumburg Township District Library

“What’s New At April 2014″ YouTube Video

Hi Everyone!

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

The video is an approximate 14 minute production hosted by Crista Cowan of who provides the viewers with updates on what new things users of should be aware of.  This is a short presentation because Crista has created this presentation while she was having some down time being on vacation.   Normally her presentations are in the 25 minute range.

Topics covered in this video by Crista are:

  • Upcoming Conferences – National Genealogical Society in Richmond, VA (May 7-10, 2014), Southern California Genealogy Jamboree in Burbank, CA (Jun 6-8, 2014), International Association of Jewish Genealogical Societies (IAJGS) in Salt Lake City, UT  (July 27 – August 1, 2014)
  • New Content! – 13 Million new records added for 13 countries in the Ancestry databases.
  • Research Reminders #1 – Read the complete database descriptions for the newly added material to know what is contained and what is NOT contained.  Don’t just search!
  • Research Reminder #2 – Understand the records you are looking at when you are searching a newly added database.  Knowing what is there will help you create better search terms for better results.  Just create a “test” input search to see the results.
  • Research Reminder #3 – Look at the “related” data collections noted on the right side of the view of the newly created database.  This will provide you with other suggested databases to consider searching that may have a connection to the database you are looking at.

You can view this video directly here:

Crista does an excellent job of sharing what is new at 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 site.

I also did a search on YouTube looking for similarly titled videos and did discover that there are many “What’s New At” 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

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

“What’s New At” 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 and where they are located.

Because so many of us use, 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  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

Our Library Has A 1 Month “Trial” Subscription To That Runs From April 1, 2014 To April 30, 2014; Has 130 Million British And Irish Records

Hi Everyone!

STDL Central Summer LgI am happy to announce  that the Schaumburg Township District Library (STDL) has obtained a one-month “trial” subscription to the set of genealogical research databases.  These databases focus on British and  Irish records used to help you on your ancestral quest.

The database offering from contains 130 million records that Logocan be accessed online through this “trial” subscription.

The database can ONLY be accessed from within our library.  The limited access is due to licensing restrictions from the provider.  Access to the database is only available on the 2nd floor of our library on the “Ask Us” computer stations Number 2 to Number 8.

During this trial period you will not see it in our list of databases offered by the library.  So you will only be able to access it from the desktop of the “Ask Us” computers.

All you have to do is look at the “desktop” screen of the computer and look for the Internet Explorer “icon” that says “”.  Click on it and you will be connected to the website of the provider and all of the data.

I have done some searches.  All seems good.  If you get results you can click on the link for image.  Just note that there will be a JAVA pop-up that will ask you to continue to run an app to get the image.  I accepted and the image popped up right away.  Our IT staff will be working on a future permanent fix to make this disappear if we permanently add this resource to our database collection after the trial.  But for now it does appear and it is not a dealbreaker!

You can also save any “images” of records you discover onto your own flashdrive that you can connect to the computer you are on.  Images are saved as TIFF images.  I saved an image to my flashdrive and I looked at it later.

You can see that the one, and important drawback of the product, is that it is only available for use in our physical library building.  It is not available to STDL library cardholders from home!  Even if we continue to subscribe after the trial, database access can only occur from within our building.

This is no different from access to Ancestry Library Edition which also only allows access to data from within our library building and not via home connection.

The clock is running.  If you have British or Irish ancestry and have not ever used this database, now is your time to give it a try.  If you are coming to our library building for other purposes, just stop on by the computers behind the “Ask Us” desk on the 2nd floor and take a look at the database.

Don’t forget to take a good look at all of the “teaching” aids that are part of access to this database.  There are lots of links that can give you tips on how to use the database as well as some nice descriptions of each of the individual database that comprise the whole of the product.  There is much to be learned about all that is there even if it turns out your searches are not successful.

Enjoy the database.  We have access to it until April 30, 2014.  Let me know what you think of it.

Tony Kierna
Genealogy Coordinator
Schaumburg Township District Library


Hit A Brick Wall In Your Research? Maybe You Are Researching The Wrong Material; Learn Your Lineage Through Your Feet!

Hi Everyone!

Smiley FaceOne of my colleagues here at the library shared an interesting tip on genealogy research that is certainly different from the usual resources genealogists “tap” into.

Perhaps you just need to look at your own feet and all of your genealogical mysteries will be solved!

That’s right.  You can learn a lot about your ancestral connections by looking at your own feet!

A June 17, 2013 blog post by Sarah Heiner provides insights about this interesting way to make determinations of ancestral connections by simply looking at the shape of your feet and how your toes align themselves in comparison to each other!

There are some other links in her blog post that will lead you to other insights about how to read your feet and toes!

Here is a link to the post:

June 17, 2013 Blog Post by Sarah Heiner Noting How Your Feet Can Give You Ancestral Insights

Do I know this is scientific?  Nope

Do I know this looks like a little bit of fun?  Yep

Take it for what it is worth.  Read through the 26 comments.

When things are not going so good in our research, a little bit of humor can sure change our attitude!

Tony Kierna
Genealogy Coordinator
Schaumburg Township District Library

I Created A Screencast Teaching Video On How To Use “America’s Obituaries and Death Notices” Database Available At The Schaumburg Township District Library; Video Is Available On Our Library’s YouTube Channel; View The Video Screencast Right In This Blog Post

Hi Everyone!

STDL ImageI just wanted to let you know that I have created my first screencast training video that is available at our library’s YouTube Channel.  Anyone can access this screencast at YouTube.

The screencast video provides an overview on how to use one of the more popular genealogy resource tools.  It is an electronic database titled “America’s Obituaries and Death Notices”.  The database is available within our library as well as available at home to Schaumburg Township District Library cardholders.

For those readers that are not our library’s cardholders, you can always use the database in our library.  You are always welcome at our library!

For non-STDL cardholders, check with your local public library that issued you your library card.  It is very likely they have this electronic database in their collection for you to access at home.  It is readily available through many public libraries.  Just check with them for details on what it takes for you to access it.  It should be as simple as having a current valid library card from them, accessing their website, finding the database online and then entering in your library card number and PIN number.

The screencast runs about 28 minutes.  In it,  I take the researcher through the YouTube Logosteps to help them input search terms among the various fields that can be used to get the best results.  The researcher should also be aware and see how I use wildcard searching and other capabilities of using the database.

I also make them aware of all that the database has to offer, including the very important “Help” section and “Tutorial” section that far too many researchers do not seem to explore.

You can view this tutorial right here:

Please feel free to add any comments to the YouTube video.  Comments are the vehicle by which I will know how “good”, “bad” or “indifferent” my first attempt at screencasting was.  Comments will also help me make better screencasts on genealogical topics that will help you in your research.

Thanks for viewing.

I hope to create more screencasts to help you  in your genealogy research in the future.

Take a try at using “America’s Obituaries and Death Notices” electronic database through our library.  I feel confident you will now know more about the database and how to better use it to produce better results for yourself with your  genealogy searches.

Tony Kierna
Genealogy Coordinator
Schaumburg Township District Library


Always Call Ahead To Facility You Are Going To Visit To Do Onsite Research; Make Sure All Equipment You Will Need Is Functioning

Hi Everyone!

STDL ImageIt is great when you get the opportunity to go out and do some genealogy research at an off-site facility.  Let’s say you wanted to make a visit to look at some microfilms that a facility has.

This facility could be a library, a Family History Center (FHC), an archive

All you have to do is get in your car, make that drive that takes you 45 minutes, do your research, make some discoveries and finally, make copies of your discoveries on the microfilm reader-printer.  Sounds simple.  What could go wrong, especially with microfilm reader-printers?


Why do I even bring this up.  Because internally at our library I just received notice that our only available microfilm reader-printer is out of toner to allow printing.  It was also indicated that we will not be able to get a replacement toner cartridge for about a week!  So our reader-printer can be used but it won’t be able to make print copies of what you are viewing on the film.  The old reader-printer does not have any flashdrive capability so you do not have the ability to make a digital image of the screen.


There is a simple lesson to be learned here, especially when you know you are going to be using a facility’s microfilm reader-printer.  Call before you embark on your journey and ask if the reader-printer you plan on using will be fully useable, especially if you will want to make print copies. 

If they have multiple reader-printers you may still be in luck to use those that are fully functional.  But even that could be frustrating because now the functioning devices will be in greater use even more.  So you will have other researcher competition for the lesser amounts of functioning devices.

You could even consider to bring in your digital camera to take pictures of the microfilm images.  You have to ask if using a camera at the microfilm reader-printer is acceptable within the policies of the facility.  At least that might be a possible workaround when equipment is not working fully.

Save yourself the frustration of arriving only to then be told the microfilm reader is broke either for actually viewing (think burned out bulb that is not readily replaceable) or as in our case, we are out of toner and you will not be able to make paper copies.

Always ask more than is the facility open, what are its hours, what is the location etc.  Be sure the equipment you want to use, ESPECIALLY MICROFILM READER-PRINTERS, are FULLY functional!

Make that call before you get in your car.

Save yourself the frustration that will result when you arrive and make your unhappy discovery about equipment failure that is going to curtail your much planned research outing.

Tony Kierna
Genealogy Coordinator
Schaumburg Township District Library

2 Great LDS Open Indexing Projects For Your Consideration; U.S., Illinois, Chicago, Catholic Church Records, 1833-1910; U.S., Illinois, Cook County, Deaths, 1959-1994

Hi Everyone! LogoBarb P., our recent February 2014 Genealogy Program speaker, made me aware of an ongoing LDS Indexing Project that hits right here at home.  She mentioned to me that indexers can select death records from Cook County, Illinois for indexing.  The death records cover the recent time period from 1959 to 1994.

When I looked at the information regarding the project, the statistics seem to indicate that 20% of the data has been indexed and of that amount, 12% has been arbitrated.

There is nothing quite like helping yourself out in your own research when you can roll up your sleeves and start indexing records that may very well be pertinent to your very own research.

Here is a link from the FamilySearch website that will get you to the list of these open indexing projects.

FamilySearch Open Indexing Projects As Of March 18, 2014

The above link will give you a long list of worldwide open projects.  Just Cook County Death Certificate for Indexingscroll down looking for “U.S”.  Within the U.S. projects you will find the one for Cook County, Illinois, Death Certificates 1959-1994.  Or select the letter “U” from the list of projects.  This will at least get you closer to discovering the projects for the “U.S” rather than scrolling through the entirety of the list of projects.

Here you will find all of the details about the project including resources to use to help you know how to index the visual data you will be looking at for the project.

Chicago Catholic Church Record ImageTo my surprise, right before the Cook County Death Certificates Project, you will see an open project for the U.S., Illinois, Chicago – Catholic Church Records, 1833-1910.  WOW!  Personally, that is a source of great information for me.  The images are available to browse through on FamilySearch for these records, but I did not know there was an open indexing project for these records.  In fact, the statistics show that the project is currently 40% Indexed and 40% Arbitrated.

Once again, if you want to help yourself in your own research for Chicago ancestors, these are certainly two great databases that are just calling for you to give a hand to help index!

I guess I am going to have to shake the dust off my indexing program on my laptop that has been dormant for far too long!  In fact, I just downloaded the most recent Indexing program from FamilySearch so that I have the latest.  It took all of about 2 minutes to download and get onto my desktop.

Thanks Barb P. for telling me about the Cook County, Illinois Death Certificates Indexing Project.  And I guess it was just meant to be that by my looking at the details about that project I discovered the Chicago Catholic Church Records project right next to it.

So I guess today is a good day for discovery and sharing with all of you, active indexers and dormant indexers and non-indexers.  If you have been looking to pick a new project then select either of these two.  If you have been dormant, consider coming alive again and start indexing again.  If you have never indexed, the Death Certificates might be a great initial project to get your indexing “feet” wet!

I did see that the Chicago Catholic Church Records Project was rated by the LDS as “Advanced” while the Cook County Death Certificates Project was rated as “Intermediate”.

For non-indexers, if you have never registered with FamilySearch you will need to do that before indexing because you will need to sign in with your username and password to gain access to the data for indexing.  If you have been registered with FamilySearch but never indexed then you are just ready to click on the icon for “indexing”, download the software and enter in your username and password to get you started down the indexing path.

Take the “initial” plunge if you have not indexed; do a “re-plunge” if you have been dormant.  These records are calling for you!

Tony Kierna
Genealogy Coordinator
Schaumburg Township District Library