Polish Genealogical Society of America (PGSA) Will Be Having Their May 17, 2015 Meeting/Program at 2 PM At The Fountaindale Public Library District In Bolingbrook, IL; The Program Title Is “The Russian Partition And Poland’s Disappearance From The World Map” Presented By Ola Heska; Program Will Also Be Presented As A “Live” Webinar” For Those Unable To Attend In Person

Hi Everyone!

PGSA Logo Clip ArtI received the following publicity statement from the Polish Genealogical Society of America (PGSA) about their upcoming meeting that will take place at the Fountaindale Public Library District, 300 W. Briarcliff Road, Bolingbrook, IL on Sunday, May 17, 2015 starting at 2 PM.

The PGSA is inviting anyone interested in Polish genealogy to attend the program and meet other members of the society in attendance.

The formal presentation is titled “The Russian Partition and Poland’s Disappearance from the World Map”.  The presenter is Ola Heska.

The program is also being presented as a “live” webinar for those that cannot attend in person.  The PDF flyer noted below provides information on how to register for the webinar if you would like to participate in that manner.

In 1795 Poland disappeared from the world maps and endured over 123 years of foreign occupation. The country was divided and occupied by Russia, Prussia and the Austro-Hungarian Empire. This presentation is an overview of the causes and results of the occupation, focusing on the Russian partition. Online sources of digitized documents and indexes will also be discussed.

Presenter, Ola Heska received her M.A. in Russian Philology from Lodz University, Poland. She is fluent in Polish, Russian, and some Latin, with experience in deciphering Old Russian handwriting. Ola began researching her family roots 14 years ago and now enjoys working as a genealogist/translator helping others. She has participated in PGSA’s annual conference and is currently involved in a vital records indexing project with the Polish Genealogical Society (PTG) headquartered in Warsaw, Poland. Please join us.

There is ample parking and light refreshments will be served.

The society has recently been having its quarterly programs at a variety of locations in Chicago and suburbs over the recent years rather than just at its main location in the city of Chicago, IL.

Here is a PDF flyer I received from the society that describes the program for the gathering:

Polish Genealogical Society of America (PGSA) Flyer For May 17, 2015 Program

You can also visit the society’s website and discover who they are and what resources are offered to those interested in Polish genealogical research.  You can visit the website at:

Polish Genealogical Society of America (PGSA) Website

Consider attending this program and learn about the PGSA and its membership as well as the topic being presented for this event.

Tony Kierna
Genealogy Coordinator
Schaumburg Township District Library

Fox Valley Genealogical Society (FVGS) Annual Conference Program To Be Held In Naperville, IL On September 26, 2015 (Saturday); George G. Morgan Will Be Guest Speaker; PDF Link To Conference Brochure

Hi Everyone!

Please mark Saturday, September 26, 2015 on your calendars.  This is the date for the 2015 Fox Valley Genealogical Society Annual Conference.

The conference title is “Alternative Search Strategies in Genealogy”

The guest speaker for the day will be George G. Morgan, President of Aha! Seminars, Inc. and co-host of the Genealogy Guys Podcast.  He will present four 1 hour genealogical programs.  Topics in the program that will be presented are:

  • Locating and Accessing Published Genealogies Online
  • Five Reasons the Records Aren’t in the Courthouse (and Where to Look)
  • Alternate Records You May Never Have Considered
  • Sidestep Genealogy

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 from the Fox Valley Genealogical Society website that contains all of the details of the program.  You can access this PDF at:

2015 Fox Valley Genealogical Society Annual Conference Brochure

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

Mark your calendar for this upcoming Fall 2015 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

May 2, 2015 And June 6, 2015 Upcoming Genealogy Programs Offered By The Chicago Genealogical Society At The Newberry Library In Chicago, IL

Hi Everyone!

Chicago Genealogical Society LogoI just received a couple of notices from the Chicago Genealogical Society about 2 upcoming programs they will be offering at the Newberry Library in Chicago, IL..

The programs are “free” and open to the public.

One program will be on May 2, 2015 and the other will be on June 6, 2015.

Each program starts at 1:30 PM.

Here are links to the PDF flyers they provided to for these programs.

May 2, 2015 Genealogy Program From The Chicago Genealogical Society

June 6, 2015 Genealogy Program From The Chicago Genealogical Society

All programs meet at the Newberry Library on the Saturdays noted from 1:30 PM to 3:00 PM.  The library is located at 60 W. Walton St in Chicago, IL.

You can visit the web site of the Chicago Genealogical Society at:

Chicago Genealogical Society

You can visit the Newberry Library web site at:

Newberry Library

See if the programs are of interest to you.  It might be a great experience to connect with the society and the Newberry Library.

Tony Kierna
Genealogy Coordinator
Schaumburg Township District Library

Ancestry.com Has New Ancestry Academy Resource; Online Video Tutorials; Some For Free; Others Require Ancestry Academy Subscription

Hi Everyone!

Ancestry.com LogoIn case you are not aware, Ancestry.com has just introduced an online tutorial resource called Ancestry Academy.

You can see what this is all about by visiting the Ancestry Academy at:

Ancestry Academy at Ancestry.com

There are “free” tutorials that anyone can access.  There are premium tutorials that will require a subscription to the Ancestry Academy.

Subscription rates to Ancestry Academy are noted as:

  • $11.99 per month
  • $99.99 per year
  • $199 for a 6 month subscription to Ancestry World Explorer Plus that gives you access to all of the records of Ancestry.com, Newspapers.com, Fold 3 and all of the Ancestry Academy tutorials.

Even if you are not a subscriber to Ancestry.com, there are tutorials noted as “free” that anyone can access and learn from.

If you want the non-free tutorials, you will need to subscribe to the Academy under one of the above pricing options.

I personally have a full, all access subscription to Ancestry records.  I thought this might allow me to access all of the tutorials.  It did not.  I think that is because I do not have additional subscriptions to Newspapers.com and Fold 3.  This is how Ancestry.com seems to be packaging the $199 product offering.  It just looks like you will have to proactively subscribe to the Academy and not assume that a current subscription package you have will gain you access to it.

Perhaps if you subscribe to the highest level offerings from Ancestry.com, maybe you would actually be able to gain access to Ancestry Academy under your current subscription.  It is probably worth a call to Ancestry to check out if you have an interest in pursuing full access to Ancestry Academy.

Whether I was signed in to Ancestry.com with my subscription or just accessing Ancestry.com not signed in, I had no trouble accessing the free tutorials at Ancestry Academy.

I did look at some of the segments of one of the free tutorials.  They are well put together.  The video presentation looks professional and well-polished.  The video instructors are top of the line genealogists from around the country.  They seem to exhibit a very good on-screen presence as teachers.   Each tutorial is broken down into various sub-segments noting the topic contained in that one.  When the initial segment ends the next segment automatically starts up.

You can even gain access to outside material such as PDF files or websites through the tutorials through the links provided that correlates to material spoken about in the tutorial.

And finally, you can even take an optional test at the end of the tutorial to see how you absorbed the covered material.  If you get any wrong answers, you can even link back to the section of the video that covered the material.

“Free” is good but there may be some great presentations that are worth the price of admission, especially if it is on a more “niched” topic that connects to your own personal research.  I think there is enough now at the Academy for you to sample and gain an idea on how the material can help you.

And Ancestry.com has indicated there will be more and more tutorials added.  I’m sure there will also be more “free” ones added in the future.

Check out the link above to the new Ancestry Academy being offered by Ancestry.com.  Try one of the “free” ones.  I think you will like what you see.

Tony Kierna
Genealogy Coordinator
Schaumburg Township District Library

“Who Do You Think You Are?” New Episode Showcasing Melissa Etheridge Airs Sunday, April 26, 2015, On TLC At 9 PM Central Time; Final Premiere Episode For This Season’s Shows

Hi Everyone!

Who Do You Think You Are?I wanted to remind you that a  “new” episode of “Who Do You Think You Are?” for this year’s series airs on Sunday night, April 26, 2015, on TLC at 9 PM Central time.

Melissa Etheridge is featured on this episode.

Here is a small text description from the TLC website for the show of what this night’s episode is about:

“Melissa Etheridge digs into her French roots and finds a family shaken by a scandalous lawsuit; a turbulent relationship entangled with tragedy; and an adventuresome ancestor who prospered in colonial America.”

Try to watch the original airing on TLC if possible.

Here is the schedule of the balance of the original airings of the new episodes for this season:

  • April 26: Melissa Etheridge

The “new” airings are already winding down for the season.  This is the final “premiere” airing for this season’s episodes of “Who Do You Think You Are?” .

Visit the shows website at TLC at:

“Who Do You Think You Are?” On TLC

You can find so much at the website about the show, video snippets of previous shows, and full online viewing in its entirety of many of the previously broadcast The Learning Channelshows.

Enjoy this new episode of “Who Do You Think You Are?” Sunday night, April 26, 2015 at 9 PM Central time featuring Melissa Etheridge on TLC!

Tony Kierna
Genealogy Coordinator
Schaumburg Township District Library

“What’s New At Ancestry.com April 2015″ YouTube Video; You Can View The Video In This Blog Post

Hi Everyone!

ancestry-logoI just did a quick look at YouTube and saw that there is now a April 2015 video posted from Ancestry.com that is titled “What’s New At Ancestry.com April 2015″.

The video is an approximate 23 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.

Crista also mentions that in addition to the monthly YouTube video she creates describing “new” things at Ancestry.com for a particular month the reader should always check the blog from Ancestry.com that you can access at:

Ancestry.com Blog

Topics covered in this video by Crista are:

  • Upcoming Conferences – National Genealogical Society (NGS) Annual Conference, May 13-16, 2015 at St. Charles, Missouri; Southern California Genealogy Jamboree, June 4-7, 2015, Burbank, CA, www.genealogyjamboree.com.; IAJGS (International Association of Jewish Genealogy Societies) July 6-10, 2015 in Jerusalem, Israel.
  • Ancestry Blog Post – updates and recaps of “Who Do You Think You Are?” can be found at Ancestry.com if you missed an episode.  Search Ancestry blog using “Who Do You Think You Are?” search phrase.
  • Ancestry Blog Post – Ancestry DNA is noting that there are “new ancestor discoveries”.  If you submitted DNA to Ancestry.com you may want to go revisit your information because approximately 30% of those that submitted DNA may discover that there are “new” discoveries you may see associated with your DNA.
  • New Databases – Pennsylvania Birth Records – 1906-1908 – About 638,000; could be more records but access is  limited by Pennsylvania due to privacy restrictions to the small year range.
  • New Databases –  Australia – World War I Service Records – 1914-1920 – About 375,000 records; indexed with images.
  • New Databases – New York Guard Service Records for both World War I and II – About 286,000 records; indexed with images.
  • New Databases – Hungary – Civil Records – 1895-1980 in Hungarian – About 472,000; indexed with no images.
  • New Databases – North Carolina Marriages – 1741-2011 – About 10.8 Million records; indexed with images; very helpful for those doing African-American research because marriages may have been forbidden for African-Americans but the records show “cohabitation” status.
  • 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.
  • Crista spent a good time on this video noting that it is important to consider “browsing” records rather than always searching indexed databases.  Browsing databases are those that have not yet been indexed.  You cannot search these but the data as images is available for you to look through.  The data is generally subdivided into manageable viewing components.  Think of it as viewing a microfilm online.  Look at an individual database via the “Card Catalog” and look to see if it has a “Browse Box” that allows you to look at the data but not be able yet to search it.  The “browse box” implies the data is not yet indexed for direct searching.

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

“Who Do You Think You Are?” New Episode Showcasing Bill Paxton Airs Sunday, April 19, 2015, On TLC At 9 PM Central Time

Hi Everyone!

Who Do You Think You Are?I wanted to remind you that a  “new” episode of “Who Do You Think You Are?” for this year’s series airs on Sunday night, April 19, 2015, on TLC at 9 PM Central time.

Bill Paxton is featured on this episode.

Here is a small text description from the TLC website for the show of what this night’s episode is about:

“Actor/Director Bill Paxton researches his paternal lineage, uncovering the captivating life of an ancestor who was a war hero in an historic battle and who shaped politics and society during a turbulent era.”

Try to watch the original airing on TLC if possible.

Here is the schedule of the balance of the original airings of the new episodes for this season:

  • April 19: Bill Paxton
  • April 26: Melissa Etheridge

The “new” airings are already winding down for the season.  You can see that there are only 2 more “new” shows scheduled.

Visit the shows website at TLC at:

“Who Do You Think You Are?” On TLC

You can find so much at the website about the show, video snippets of previous shows, and full online viewing in its entirety of many of the previously broadcast The Learning Channelshows.

Enjoy this new episode of “Who Do You Think You Are?” Sunday night, April 19, 2015 at 9 PM Central time featuring Bill Paxton on TLC!

Tony Kierna
Genealogy Coordinator
Schaumburg Township District Library