Interview Questions To Ask Of Older Relatives To Capture Your Family History Stories

Hi Everyone!

While just doing some general searching in my effort to help someone in their research, I did come across what I think is a very nice short and simple list of questions to ask of your living relatives to capture genealogical information.

The questions were put together by FindMyPast.  Big thanks to them for putting together a very good list of questions to ask of your older relatives.  Found it on their website.  The link is a little further down in this post.

Why is this important?

If we start asking our living relatives just general questions off the top of our head, we may discover that there were better questions we could have asked.  Sometimes you only get one chance to ask these questions.  It helps if you have a pre-set list of questions to elicit helpful genealogy material.

Another thing we may tend to do (I am guilty of this!) is to start with a question and then we segue into an unplanned series of questions from the responses we are hearing the person provide.  And we just go deeper down the rabbit hole while we realize we did not ask the questions on our list and time has run out.  Maybe we will be lucky to ask our relative the missed questions at another time.  Maybe not!

The questions on the list are very thoughtful and planned to get the most from the responder to help us pursue various aspects of genealogy research e.g Did you have a family that lived close?.  Such a question can expand your research possibilities if you hear about siblings of the responder or parents of the responder that lived close by.  Now you know who they are and can tie them to a specific geographic area.  Another question such as “Is there a naming tradition in the family?”  may allow us to know of a pattern where the firstborn son is named after the paternal grandfather to discover as we do our research.

Having a list of questions will simply keep you focused and not rambling.  Provide questions for which you would like responses in advance of your get-together so the person has had time to think them through.  Having them write responses would even be better but if not that is where you will capture the information via your interview.

Don’t think of doing all of the questions in one setting.  It will exhaust them to the point the responses will not be very good or well thought out.  You will get exhausted thinking you have to go through all of these items quickly.

Take a look at the list.  Consider using these yourself.

Here is the link I found online:

Questions To Use To Interview An Older Relative

Don’t use questions off the top of your head.  You will not obtain the best results. Use a list of questions.  Get the most out of what might be a one time only chance to obtain information from an older relative.

Tony Kierna
Genealogy Coordinator
Schaumburg Township District Library

Re-Post Reminder! – McHenry County Illinois Genealogical Society Will Be Holding All-Day Conference On Saturday, July 8, 2017 At McHenry County College In Crystal Lake, IL; Discounts Available For Early Registration; Top Notch Speakers And Programs; Program Links Included

Hi Everyone!

Just want to send out a reminder that the July 8, 2017 Annual Conference for the McHenry County Illinois Genealogical Society is not that far away.  The largest discounts for early registration are over but you can still register at the next discounted rate until June 15, 2017.  After June 15, 2017 you will need to pay the undiscounted rate if you register or “walk-in” on the day of the event.

The annual conference is excellent!  The facility is outstanding (I have been at the college for some other programs.)!  The speakers are outstanding!

Consider attending this wonderful conference put on by a wonderful genealogical society.

Check out all of the previously published information I provided in my original blog post about this event after the separator line.

Tony Kierna
Genealogy Coordinator
Schaumburg Township District Library

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Hi Everyone!

McHenry County Illinois Genealogical Society LogoI just received a notice from the McHenry County Illinois Genealogical Society (MCIGS) that they will be offering an all-day genealogy conference on Saturday, July 8, 2017, at the McHenry County College in Crystal Lake, IL.

The conference is titled “MCIGS 2017 Summer Conference”.

There will be 4 separate sessions throughout the day all four of which will provide a choice of 4 programs to pick from.

There will be 4 speakers making presentations:

  • Mary M. Tedesco (hostess, Genealogy Roadshow on PBS)
  • Thomas MacEntee
  • Paul Milner
  • Michael Lacopo

Vendors will also be present for you to check out all kinds of genealogical material to purchase to help you in your own research.

The society will actually be trying something new for this conference.  A “Genealogy Help Desk” will be staffed by members of the McHenry County Genealogical Society during session breaks and lunch to help those in attendance who might have genealogical questions.  You will even be able to sign up for a 15 minute session with one of the volunteers to seek research help.

Pre-program registration is encouraged.  Discounts are given if you are an existing McHenry County Illinois Genealogical Society member.  Discounts are also given if registration to members of the society  if registration is done prior to April 1, 2017.

Here is the fee schedule:

  • MCIGS Members registering before April 1, 2017 – $50
  • Non-members registering before April 1, 2017 – $60
  • All registration between April 2, 2017 through June 15, 2017  – $70
  • Registration after June 15, 2017 and Walk-Ins – $80

Lunch will be included for all registered prior to June 16, 2017.  Lunch cannot be guaranteed for those registering after June 17, 2016 or for walk-ins.

Here is a link to the portion of the MCIGS website that contains all of the information you need for the conference, especially the individual programs being offered as well as the biographical information for the speakers and registration information.  You can reach the society information for this event at:

McHenry County Illinois Genealogical Society July 8, 2017 “MCIGS 2017 Summer Conference”

Please also pay a visit to the main website for the society to find out more about the society and the services they offer to members and non-members at:

McHenry County Illinois Genealogical Society

Mark your calendars for this upcoming program.  I have already added it to the Google Calendar that is part of this blog.  It sure looks like there are great speakers offering a wide variety of programs that will help novice researchers through expert researchers.  Be sure you go to the conference link noted above for a full detailed listing of the programs available to choose from.

Time flies on our calendars!  The details are all here with this society for this annual conference.  They put on a great program with fantastic speakers plus they are not that far away in Crystal Lake, IL.

Tony Kierna
Genealogy Coordinator
Schaumburg Township District Library

May 20, 2017 (Saturday) Computer Assisted Genealogy Group Of Northern Illinois (CAGGNI) Program At The NIU Center In Hoffman Estates; “WikiTree, The Free Global Family Tree” Presented By Marty Acks

Hi Everyone!

CAGGNI logoJust wanted to let you know that the Computer Assisted Genealogy Group of Northern Illinois (CAGGNI) will be having their next program at the NIU Center at 5555 Trillium Road in Hoffman Estates on Saturday, May 20, 2017 starting at 10:30 AM.

The program is open to any and all interested in learning more about genealogy as well as learning more about this wonderful genealogy group and meeting its members in attendance.

The title of the program is “WikiTree, the Free Global Family Tree”.  Speaker for the program is Marty Acks.

Program description is:

An Introduction to WikiTree, the Free Global Family Tree

WikiTree is a free community of genealogists dedicated to growing an accurate single familytree using DNA and traditional genealogical sources. In this program, you will learn the key features of WikiTree, be shown how you can easily get started on the site, and learn numerous tips and techniques to get the most out of your time on WikiTree.

About the Speaker:

Marty Acks has been researching his family history since 1999 after having caught the bug from his mom and dad.  He volunteers at WikiTree where he contributes to the global family tree.  Marty leads a Porterfield surname study (maternal grandmother),assists other members, and monitors activity as a WikiTreeRanger.     

Venue

This meeting is being held at the NIU Center, 5555 Trillium Road, Hoffman Estates, near the intersection of I-90 & Beverly Road.  Map

Find out more about the CAGGNI group and all that they do.  Visit them at their website at:

Computer Assisted Genealogy Group of Northern Illinois (CAGGNI)

Tony Kierna
Genealogy Coordinator
Schaumburg Township District Library

May 2017 Schaumburg Township District Library Genealogy Program Handouts Uploaded As A PDF for May 9, 2017 Genealogy Program

Hi Everyone!

I have added the May 2017 Schaumburg Township District Library Genealogy Program Handouts as a PDF file into the PROGRAM HANDOUTS Category on the right sidebar of the blog.

Here is a direct link to the May 2017 Handouts for your convenience:

May 2017 Schaumburg Township District Library Genealogy Program Handouts

Take a look at it if you choose to browse through it in advance of our Genealogy Program that will take place on Tuesday evening, May 9, 2017 at 7:30 PM at our main library location at 130 S. Roselle Road in Schaumburg, IL.

You can read the handouts online or you can save them as a PDF file to your own computer for reading offline and more detailed searching through all of the contents.

You will also note that I  “highlight” in this uploaded PDF key points within the handout  by using  the “yellow highlighting” function within Microsoft Word.  This will allow your eyes to visually see key points within the handouts that I want to emphasize.  I hope you will enjoy being able to more easily see these key points within the set of handouts through this highlighting technique.  I plan on highlighting within the Handout file on a going forward basis.

Please note that the Handouts PDF file has embedded Bookmarks to allow you to move to the handouts of interest to you quickly without having to scroll through the entire document.  Just open the Bookmark window in the PDF file and select the handout of interest for quick access.

You can also get to the handouts of interest to you quickly via the Table of Contents at the beginning of the document.  You will find hyperlinks that will get you directly to the handout of interest to you from the Table of Contents.

Please note that you can access directly any and all URL Links that you find within the Handouts PDF.  You can get directly to the website being mentioned from within the handout being mentioned.

Enjoy the handouts.

Tony Kierna
Genealogy Coordinator
Schaumburg Township District Library

May 2017 Schaumburg Township District Library Genealogy Newsletter Uploaded As A PDF for May 9, 2017 Genealogy Program

Hi Everyone!

I have added the May 2017 Schaumburg Township District Library Genealogy Newsletter as a PDF file into the NEWSLETTER Category on the right sidebar of the blog.

Here is a direct link to the May 2017 Newsletter for your convenience:

May 2017 Schaumburg Township District Library Genealogy Newsletter

Take a look at it if you choose to browse through it in advance of our Genealogy Program that will take place on Tuesday evening, May 9, 2017 at 7:30 PM at our main library location at 130 S. Roselle Road in Schaumburg, IL.

You can read the newsletter online or you can save it as a PDF file to your own computer for reading offline and more detailed searching through all of the contents.

Please note that the Newsletter has Bookmarks and Hyperlinks within the document to make for fast navigation from within the Table of Contents.  You can quickly get to the spots that interest you from the Table of Contents.

Enjoy the newsletter.

Tony Kierna
Genealogy Coordinator
Schaumburg Township District Library

Reminder: Our Next Genealogy Program at STDL Is Tomorrow May 9, 2017

Hi Everyone!

I thought I would post this reminder of our next upcoming Genealogy Program at the Schaumburg Township District Library.

There is no pre-registration required in order to attend the program.  There is no fee charged to attend.  Anyone can attend this program.  You do not have to be a library card holder with the Schaumburg Township District Library in order to attend.

Please note that this program will take place on the first floor of our library in the Program Room located in the KidsZone  rather than in The Classroom on the 2nd floor.  Just walk in to the KidsZone and head all the way to the back wall to the room.

Here are the details of our upcoming program for Tuesday evening, May 9, 2017:

Guest speaker Raymond Johnson will present a program titled “Navigating the Cook County Clerk of the Circuit Court Archives” and will discuss naturalizations, Declarations of Intention, probates and wills, divorce/law/chancery records, criminal case files and “burnt records.” 

The doors to the room will open at approximately 7 PM so participants can pick up any handouts, review books and journals and interact with other participants. Tony Kierna, the STDL genealogist, will start the program at 7:30. Introductions of new participants will occur as well as a brief review of handouts and genealogical matters. It is expected that the guest speaker’s presentation will start at around 7:45-8:00 PM. We will end the session by 9:30 PM.

For further information contact Tony Kierna at 847-923-3390.

Tony Kierna
Genealogy Coordinator
Schaumburg Township District Library

Our Next Genealogy Program Is Coming Up On Tuesday Evening May 9, 2017 At 7:30 PM

Hi Everyone!

I thought I would post this reminder of our next upcoming Genealogy Program at the Schaumburg Township District Library.

There is no pre-registration required in order to attend the program.  There is no fee charged to attend.  Anyone can attend this program.  You do not have to be a library card holder with the Schaumburg Township District Library in order to attend.

Please note that this program will take place on the first floor of our library in the Program Room located in the KidsZone  rather than in The Classroom on the 2nd floor.  Just walk in to the KidsZone and head all the way to the back wall to the room.

Here are the details of our upcoming program for Tuesday evening, May 9, 2017:

Guest speaker Raymond Johnson will present a program titled “Navigating the Cook County Clerk of the Circuit Court Archives” and will discuss naturalizations, Declarations of Intention, probates and wills, divorce/law/chancery records, criminal case files and “burnt records.” 

The doors to the room will open at approximately 7 PM so participants can pick up any handouts, review books and journals and interact with other participants. Tony Kierna, the STDL genealogist, will start the program at 7:30. Introductions of new participants will occur as well as a brief review of handouts and genealogical matters. It is expected that the guest speaker’s presentation will start at around 7:45-8:00 PM. We will end the session by 9:30 PM.

For further information contact Tony Kierna at 847-923-3390.

Tony Kierna
Genealogy Coordinator
Schaumburg Township District Library