Category Archives: Tips

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

Hi Everyone!

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

The video is an approximate 29 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 is National Family History Month
  • Follow the Ancestry.com blog and look for posts from “Ancestry Ann” who is the contributing blogger from Ancestry
  • Upcoming genealogy conferences – Genealogy Event in New York City on November 2, 2013 as well as upcoming Ancestry Day in San Francisco on November 9, 2013
  • Updated free iOS Ancestry.com app to correlate with new iOS 7 released by Apple
  • Global Photo Commenting
  • Ancestry.com acquires FindAGrave.com.  It will remain FREE.
  • New content
  • Massachusetts Vital Records 1901-1980 (about 11 million records)
  • Cuyahoga County Ohio Tax Lists 1819-1869 (about 576,000 records)
  • Birmingham, England Church Records 1538-1937 (about 7 individual databases with a different variety of records and years among them containing about 2.3 million records)
  • Native American records relating to Five Civilized Tribes.  (About 172,000 records.)

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 September 2013″ YouTube Video

Hi Everyone!

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

The video is an approximate 14 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:

  • The return to TV of “Who Do You Think You Are?”
  • Family Tree Maker 2014 – Pre-Sales
  • Category and Exact Search Settings
  • Related content in the image viewer
  • Upcoming genealogy conferences
  • New content – 10.9 million new records
  • London, England Clandestine Marriage Recs
  • Holocaust Records – many new databases with smaller amounts of records per database
  • Nevada Death Index 1980-2012
  • 1921 Census of Canada (Unindexed, images only)
  • England and Wales Non-Conformist Registers, 1567-1970

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

Your Ancestor’s Surname Was Not Changed Upon Arrival In The US At Ellis Island; Dick Eastman Has Updated His Writing On The Subject; Link To His Post Included

Hi Everyone!

Ellis Island PhotoIn being the genealogy coordinator at our library, I hear many stories from the people I am providing assistance to as they embark on their genealogy research journey.  I hear many stories from those in attendance at our monthly genealogy program about their ancestors.

One recurring story I often hear mentioned to me from these stories is that researchers like to share with me that the name of their ancestor was changed when they disembarked from the ship that brought them to the United States at Ellis Island!

First, I like to expand their knowledge and prepare them for future research efforts by letting them know that Ellis Island (New York) may be the point of arrival for them but they should be aware it is not the only port of arrival of our ancestors.  There can also be Boston, Philadelphia, Galveston, New Orleans, Baltimore and others.  The port of New York, both Ellis Island and Castle Garden that predated Ellis Island, often accounted for about 50% of the arrivals of our ancestors.

Secondly, I try to politely indicate to them that the likelihood of the name of their ancestor being changed upon arrival is literally zero, especially at Ellis Island.

Family stories are going to be just that.  Researchers need to look at the historical context of the times as to how passengers were documented and processed.

Much of the hype lately in the genealogy community about “name-changing” at Ellis Island stems from a recent episode of the “Genealogy Roadshow” during which one of the hosts/experts seemed to have misspoken and let open the possibility that names were changed when in fact they were not.

Dick Eastman had a very well-written article about the subject of names “not” being changed at Ellis Island and felt the need to review and update this article and re-post it on his blog to allay any confusion of the belief on how frequently ancestors’ names were changed at Ellis Island upon their arrival.

Here is a link to Dick Eastman’s wonderful update on the topic that may make you want to reconsider the stories you may heard about your own ancestors and how their names were changed.

“NO, Family Names Were Not Changed at Ellis Island” By Dick Eastman October 2, 2013

Read his article and the copious amounts of details on the process our immigrant ancestors underwent as they left their country and arrived at Ellis Island.

You may want to reconsider your stories passed down to you as an example that they may not necessarily be true or they may have been embellished over the time that the story has a life of its own independent of the facts surrounding it.

Oh well, the story was good while it lasted!

Now, “just the facts ma’m”!

Tony Kierna
Genealogy Coordinator
Schaumburg Township District LIbrary

Steve Szabados Has Authored Another Genealogy Help Book; The Title Is “Polish Genealogy: Four Steps to Success”; Available At Amazon.com

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.

This book is focused on tips and guides to make your Polish genealogy research more productive.  The title of the book is “Polish Genealogy: Four Steps to Success”.

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 successes with others doing Polish research.  His new book focuses on how to go about making your Polish research more successful.

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

Steve Szabados Newly Published Genealogy Help Book; “Polish Genealogy: Four Steps To Success” At Amazon.com

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.

Not only can you advance your Polish genealogy research through the words of Steve’s new book, but you can also work with him face-to-face when he volunteers at the Arlington Heights Memorial Library on each Friday from 9 AM to 12 Noon!!

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

Break through your Polish genealogy brick walls with a little bit of help from Steve!

Tony Kierna
Genealogy Coordinator
Schaumburg Township District Library

New Episode Of “Genealogy Roadshow” On Your Local PBS Station Tonight; Nice Review Of The First Episode Of “Genealogy Roadshow” Provided By Dick Eastman

Hi Everyone!

Genealogy Roadshow PBS LogoJust a reminder that the second installment of “Genealogy Roadshow” will air tonight, Monday, September 30, 2013, on your local PBS stations.  For those of you local to the Chicago area that means you will be able to see the show on WTTW tonight at 9 PM Chicago time.  The show runs for 1 hour.

The very first show aired last week and originated in Nashville, TN.  Only 4 episodes are currently on tap to air for the brand new series this season.

Tonight’s show was made in Detroit, MI.

Make a note of the time of the show tonight if you want to watch it in its live broadcast slot.  If you miss it or want to watch it later, you can view it from the national PBS website when it becomes available:

Genealogy Roadshow From PBS

According to the buzz from Dick Eastman’s blog, it appears the show has a “Thumbs Up!” and is worth watching.  Here is a link to Dick Eastman’s blog post in which he provides his views and opinions on the first show that was aired:

Dick Eastman Blog Post With His Review And Opinion About The Premier Episode Of “Genealogy Roadshow”

I would especially take a look at the very long list of thoughtful comments left on Dick Eastman’s blog post about the show in the above link.  You can really get a better feel of the show from these comments as well as from Dick’s original post.

See what you think about the show yourself.

It is different from “Who Do You Think You Are?”!

Give it a try either in watching when it broadcasts tonight or take a look at the past episode from the above PBS link in case you miss the original airing tonight.

Tony Kierna
Genealogy Coordinator
Schaumburg Township District Library

Our Electronic Reference Product (ERP) Computers Behind The “Ask Us” Desk On The 2nd Floor Now Allow You To Access FamilySearch

Hi Everyone!

STDL ImageWe have made another change to make your genealogy research a little easier, especially if you are not bringing in your own laptop or tablet computer that you would connect to our internal WiFi system.

Our library offers for in-house use only the Ancestry Library Edition product.  You can access this genealogy research database from Ancestry on our Electronic Reference Product (ERP) computers that are in the area behind the “Ask Us” desk on the 2nd floor.  “Ask Us” was formerly known as the Reference Desk in days past!

These computers allow you to access a variety of electronic databases that our library offers.  These computers are not set up for general internet access and will allow the user to access only within the confines of the electronic product.  So if you wanted to search Ancestry Library Edition you could do so at these computers.  If while using Ancestry Library Edition you wanted to switch over and access FamilySearch you would have discovered that you could not because FamilySearch is not a purchasable electronic database and was just considered as trying to access the internet in general.  Our library has an entire different area on the 2nd floor dedicated to those that want general access to the internet.

We have now made this a little easier for your genealogy research to now allow you to access FamilySearch from these ERP computers in addition to allow you to normally access Ancestry Library Edition.  Just enter in the URL for FamilySearch (www.familysearch.org)  within the Browser you are using (either Internet Explorer or Mozilla Firefox) on the ERP computer.  You will be taken to FamilySearch and can begin your searching of FamilySearch material from the ERP computers.

You will still not be able to use these computers for just general internet access.  We still have a separate area on the 2nd floor to use the internet.

But at least now you can combine your genealogy searching using two key resources all from the same ERP computer.

Tony Kierna
Genealogy Coordinator
Schaumburg Township District Library

Public Broadcasting System (PBS) Premiered “Genealogy Roadshow” On Monday, September 23, 2013; More Genealogy TV For You To Enjoy; Link To Video Of First Episode Included

Hi Everyone!

Genealogy Roadshow PBS LogoCan’t get enough of “Who Do You Think You Are?”.  Probably not since the 8 episode schedule for this season has run its course and is over except for viewing re-runs of the 8 episodes.

Well, just in the nick of time to feed your genealogy habit, Public Broadcasting System (PBS) just premiered its own genealogy TV series titled “Genealogy Roadshow”.  It is somewhat liken to the PBS series “Antiques Roadshow” in style.  PBS tours various US locations and interacts with various individuals in that area and gives them answers to their own genealogical questions they may have.  It is like genealogy for the general public and not for a “star” as happens with “Who Do You Think You Are?”.

Here is a description of the program as offered by Public Broadcasting from their website that follows below in Italics:

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

About the Program
Part detective story, part emotional journey, Genealogy Roadshow will combine history and science to uncover the fascinating stories of diverse Americans. Each individual’s past will link to a larger community history, revealing the rich cultural tapestry of America.

Genealogy Roadshow premiere season will feature participants from four American cities — Nashville, Detroit, San Francisco and Austin — who want to explore unverified genealogical claims, passed down through family history, that may (or may not) connect them to an event or a historical figure. These cities were chosen as American crossroads of culture, diversity, industry and history, with deep pools of potential participants and stories.  After participants are chosen, experts in genealogy, history and DNA will use family heirlooms, letters, pictures, historical documents and other clues to hunt down more information.

These experts will enlist the help of local historians to add color and context to the investigations, ensuring every artifact and every name becomes a clue in solving the mystery. Residents of Nashville, Detroit, San Francisco and Austin are invited and encouraged to submit their personal stories as Genealogy Roadshow will unearth family and community secrets, reveal notable relatives and discover unexpected stories that connect the past to the present. Many answers will be revealed on camera before a local audience, in a historic building relevant to the cities’ – and the participants’ – histories.

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

The first episode of the series just premiered last night, Monday, September 23, 2013.  It took place in Nashville, TN.

I have not yet watched the first episode and I plan do so by connecting to PBS and watching it online.  Unfortunately, I cannot give you any initial feedback about the show since it just broadcast last night.  I wanted to be able to make you aware of this new show.

In fact, you can get to the premier episode at the PBS website at the following link:

“Genealogy Roadshow” Premier Episode September 23, 2013 From Nashville, TN

The show runs for an hour.

Here is the link to the show information in general and access to this video and the future ones when they occur:

Genealogy Roadshow on PBS

There you go!  More genealogy TV.  As you can see from the above, there are only going to be a total of 4 shows originating this season from the above noted cities.

If anyone has seen this new show, feel free to leave your comments on this post.  Give me your insights into what you thought about this new show.  I will hopefully have some posts about the show once I see the Nashville episode.

Enjoy!

Tony Kierna
Genealogy Coordinator
Schaumburg Township District Library

Our Library Home Page Has Changed Slightly; Note Where You Can Get To My Blog And Genealogy Databases

Hi Everyone!

STDL ImageIf you have been using our library’s genealogy databases from home as well as accessing my blog, you need to be aware of a slight change in our website in order to get to the above resources.  This change has just occurred in the last few days.  Our library’s website can be found at www.schaumburglibrary.org or at www.stdl.org.

Our genealogy databases and my blog could previously be accessed through a link at the top of our home page that used to say “Local History and Genealogy”.  That link is now gone.

Instead of that link you will now see at the top of our home page that the “Research” category to access databases has been changed to now say “Research and Genealogy”.  You can now click on that link to get to the next page.

On the next page just look for the link category titled “History and Genealogy”.  Click on that link.

On the next page you can select the link that says “Genealogy” that will now get you to the genealogy databases that our library has for you to help with your research.  Nothing has changed on what databases we have for genealogy or which ones you can access from home or only from in the library.

From our redesigned home page you can get to my blog in either of 2 ways.  On our home page at www.schaumburglibrary.org or www.stdl.org, just look on the right side of the home page, scroll down a little bit and look for the identifier that says “Library News”.  In this category you will see a link to “Library Blogs”.  Click on that link and you will find a listing of links to 5 library blogs.  One of the links is mine and it is titled “Genealogy With Tony”.

Another way to get to my blog via our library’s website is to select the “Research and Genealogy” link at our home page.  Then select “History & Genealogy”.  On the next page just look on the right side and you will see the pictorial icon you could click on that says “Tony’s Genealogy Blog”.

Independent of our library’s website,  you can always get to my blog directly via the WordPress URL at www.genealogywithtony.wordpress.com.

I know change can be hard when the familiarity of accessing resources is altered.

Our changes to get you to the genealogy databases are not all that massive and are somewhat intuitive from the wording used to change the “Research” link for database access to “Research & Genealogy”.  But, nonetheless, the pathways you were familiar with are now slightly different.

This post will also give you that added insight into moving about our site to find your familiar genealogy databases as well as my blog.

New pathways, same great resources!

I know you will be able to adapt quickly to the new pathways to get to these resources.

Tony Kierna
Genealogy Coordinator
Schaumburg Township District Library

Our DVD Collection Of Our Recorded Speaker Genealogy Programs Is Growing; We Now Have 12 DVDs You Can Check Out If You Missed The Program

Hi Everyone!

DVD Clip ArtThis is just a reminder to make you aware of a growing resource we are adding to our DVD collection on the 1st floor of our library.

If you have attended any of our library’s monthly genealogy programs when we have a speaker,  you often see me in the back of the room videotaping the speaker’s program.  We just started doing this in February 2012.

A big thank you to all of the speakers we have had in 2012 and 2013 that have allowed me to videotape the program in order to create a DVD and add that into our DVD collection.  The speaker does not have to allow me to videotape the program.  So far, ALL of the speakers we have had since February 2012 have given me permission to videotape the program!!  This means that you can check out the DVD from our collection to view at home if you missed the program or if the topic is one that interests you.

If our library is not your local library, you can register yourself with us and then be able to check these DVDs out.  These DVDs are also available via inter-library loan.  Just work with your own local library and request the DVD through them if that is more convenient.

You can find these DVDs in our collection by searching our library catalog using the search words “genealogy program”.  You will find these videotaped programs in the list of hits returned from the search.  If you click on the title of the returned hit and then click on the link for “catalog record”, you will see more details for the program such as the date the program was recorded, the length in time of the recorded program,  and my name “Anthony H. Kierna” should be shown as the one that videotaped the program.

All of these DVDs can be found on the 1st floor of our library in Audio Visual (AV).  Our staff in this department can certainly point you to the location where they reside on the AV shelves.

So far we have 12 programs recorded that are available for you to check out from our library for viewing at home on DVD.

Here is a summary of the genealogy program DVDs in our library to check out in case you missed the program and would like to see it:

  • Using Railroad Records in Your Family History Research” by Craig Pfannkuche.  Recorded on February 14, 2012.  1 Hour 13 Mins.  Call number is DVD 929.1072 USI.
  • Making Sense of the English Census” by Paul Milner.  Recorded on April 10, 2012.  1 Hour 12 Mins.  Call number is DVD 929.3 MIL.
  • Military Records” by Kathryn Barrett.  Recorded on May 8, 2012.  1 Hour 22 Mins.  Call number is DVD 929.3 MIL.
  • Hiring A Professional Genealogist” by Jeanne Larzalere Bloom.  Recorded on July 10, 2012.  1 Hour 44 Mins.  Call number is DVD 929.1072 HIR.
  • Organize and Share Your Family History” by Steve Szabados.  Recorded on October 9, 2012.  1 Hour 20 Mins.  Call number is DVD 929.20973 ORG.
  • The “NEW” FamilySearch Website” by Maureen Brady.  Recorded on November 13, 2012.  1 Hour 34 Mins.  Call number is DVD 929.10285 NEW.
  • Where Did I Put Great-Grandpa? – Organizing for Genealogists” by Caron Primas Brennan.  Recorded on January 8, 2014.  54 Mins.  Call number is DVD 929.1 WHE.
  • “Hidden Treasures At Ancestry.com – And How To Find Them!” by Loretto Szucs and Julianna Smith.  Recorded on January 19, 2013.  1 Hour and 44 Mins.  Call number is 929.1 HID.
  • “Engaging the Next Generation: Parents and Grandparents Instilling Children About Genealogy” by Jennifer Holik.  Recorded on February 12, 2013.  1 Hour and 12 Mins.  Call number is
  • “Hunting for Henry: A Case Study in Sibling Research” by Teresa S. McMillin, CG.  Recorded on April 9, 2013.  1 Hour and 1 Mins.  Call number is DVD 929.1072 HUN.
  • “Free Digital Books: More Than Just Google” by Sarah A. V. Kirby.  Recorded on May 14, 2013.  1 Hour 12 Mins.  Call number is DVD 929.1072 MOR.
  • “Skeletons in Our Closets: Researching A Family Scandal” by Robin Seidenberg.  Recorded on July 9, 2013.  1 Hour 6 Mins.  Call number is 929.1072 SKE.

So if you routinely attend our monthly genealogy program but happened to miss one since February 2012, chances are good it is one in the list above.   You can now check it out for an initial viewing or even for an  “encore” presentation in your own home.

Or if the title just sounds like a good one even if you have never attended our program, then by all means it is now available for you to check it out and view at home on DVD.

I am so glad I have been able to make these recordings and then make them available via DVD to check out and view at home.

Take advantage of this additional resource to advance your own research by viewing, or re-viewing, a program presented by one of our genealogy speakers.

Even if you attended the program yourself in person, perhaps you might have missed an important point.  Here is your chance to view it again and hear the major points again.  I sometimes find hearing it a second time is when you clarify something you may not have understood the first time in person.  You can always rewind back to look again!

Enjoy the DVDs!

Tony Kierna
Genealogy Coordinator
Schaumburg Township District Library

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

Hi Everyone!

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

The video is a 27 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:

  • The return to TV of “Who Do You Think You Are?”
  • New introduction of “Story View” functionality for public trees on Ancestry.com.
  • Upcoming genealogy conferences
  • Updated content for 98 million records and the addition of 3 million new records to Ancestry.com
  • Oregon Adoptions and Name Changes Database
  • Tarrant County, Texas, Probate Index Database
  • New York Naturalization Petitions Database

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