Monthly Archives: February 2011

Sandra Hargreaves Luebking Passed Away on February 17, 2011

Hi Everyone!

It is with great sadness that I am informing our readers of the recent death of Sandra Hargreaves Luebking.  Sandra passed away on February 17, 2011 after a long battle with cancer.

Sandra had been a past speaker at two of our genealogy programs.  She had presented programs in May 2005 and in August 2006 at our library.

I felt so honored that Sandra presented us with two of her great programs.  I had wanted her to routinely return to our library to present more of her genealogy programs but that is when I was made aware of her illness.  She chose to withdraw from presenting her genealogy programs while she battled with the cancer diagnosis she had received.

Sandra was a “genealogy giant”.  She was very well-known at the national level in the field of genealogy.

We were so lucky to have Sandra be local to our area and to benefit by her being able to do her presentations in person within our geographic area.

She will truly be missed by all of us.

Dick Eastman had a very well detailed description of Sandra’s contributions in the world of genealogy that was put together by the Federation of Genealogical Societies (FGS).  The following text in italics was created by the FGS describing all of the accomplishments of Sandra:

Sandra_Hargreaves_Luebking Noted Genealogist and Former FGS FORUM Editor Passes

17 February 2011 – Austin, TX. The Federation of Genealogical Societies (FGS) is deeply saddened to announce the passing of Sandra Hargreaves Luebking, noted genealogist and one of the genealogy community’s best leaders who died on Thursday, 17 February 2011 at Lemont, Illinois, surrounded by her family. Funeral arrangements are still pending at this time.

A nationally known author, editor, instructor, lecturer, and researcher, Sandra was the editor of the FGS FORUM for over 22 years. Known for her radiant smile and helpful ways, almost everyone who was a member of or worked with a genealogical society, or attended a conference knew Sandra. In nearly three decades as a professional genealogist, she presented over one thousand lectures.

Beginning in 1979, Sandra taught annually at Samford University’s Institute of Genealogy and Historical  Research (IGHR) and twice accompanied their British Research tour. From 1990 to 2007 she was Course I Coordinator for IGHR. From 1994 until its close in  2005, Sandra was Intermediate Studies Coordinator for the Genealogical Institute of Mid-America (at the University of Illinois, sponsored by the Illinois State Genealogical Society). With Loretto Dennis Szucs, Sandra co-edited three award-winning books, including two editions of The Source: A Guidebook to American Genealogy; and The Archives: A Guide to the National Archives Field Branches. Sandra also wrote two chapters for Professional Genealogy (Elizabeth Shown Mills, editor) titled “Genealogical Education” and “Fee Setting.”

Helping thousands of people to find their Chicago/Cook County roots, Sandra conducted research projects for the Smithsonian Institute, numerous publishers and attorneys, and an international clientele from Australia, England, Finland, Germany and Sweden. She was a past trustee for the Association of Professional Genealogists (APG) and a volunteer research assistant at the National Archives—Great Lakes Region.

Sandra’s honors included the Professional Achievement Award from the APG (2008); the Rabbi Malcolm H. Stern Humanitarian Award from FGS (2008); lecturer for the Richard Slatten Lecture Series by the Friends of the Virginia State Archives (2003) and, lecturer for the Willard Heiss Memorial Lecture at the 79th Annual Indiana History Conference (Indiana Historical Society) (1999). She was a Fellow of the Utah Genealogical Association (1996) and was named Outstanding IGHR Alumni by Samford University in 1995.

Sandra was truly a treasure.

Sandra your programs here will always be remembered for the passion, energy, knowledge and happiness that you brought to our library when you shared your knowledge with all of us to help make us better researchers.

May you rest in peace.

Tony Kierna
Genealogy Coordinator
Schaumburg Township District Library

1940 U.S. Federal Census Information Website

Hi Everyone!

Are you waiting for the next U.S. Federal Census for 1940 data to be released?

Come on, be honest now!!

You want it tomorrow!?!?

Well, that release date is not going to happen simply because of a 72 year delay obstacle for privacy protection that is mandated by the Federal Government.  We probably should not complain at the 72 year interval because it is very common for European country census data release intervals to be at the 100 year interval.

That is right,  a Scottish Census created in 1911 will be released in 2011!


So I guess those researching United States ancestral connections should be quite happy with a 72 year release interval of census data.

Can you wait until April 1, 2012 for the 1940 U.S. Census Data?  I hope so, because that is the official release date of this data.  You still have to be patient because that date does not mean the data itself will be available.  It will only be released for access.  Indexing and the like will then occur soon thereafter with an unknown availability of the actual data itself.

With the 1940 census data on everyone’s mind it is only right that there be a wonderful new website that focuses on all things related to the 1940 United States Census.

Please  take a look at the following wonderful 1940 U.S. Census site that contains all things about the 1940 Census.  You can reach this great site at:

1940 U.S. Federal Census Information

You can expect to find information about the 1940 U.S. Census categorized in the following groups:

  • 1940 Census Overview
  • 1940 Census Questions
  • 1940 Census Map
  • 1940 Census Form
  • 1940 Census Online
  • 1940s

Each of the above groupings has many further inclusion of other links and websites to provide you an even greater depth of knowledge of the 1940 Census.

The 1940s piece of information even has a year by year breakout of historical value and significance for each year within the 1940s decade e.g. 1941, 1942, 1943 etc.   If you were born in any one of the years of the 1940s decade you will be able to find a nice historical summary of that year.  At this time content for each of the years is being developed so there is no data there yet.

This is a site you will want to visit over the next year and beyond as we approach the release date of April 1, 2012 for the 1940 census data.

It really looks like a great site full of all kinds of pertinent 1940 census information that we as genealogists will want to become familiar with.

Give it a good look.

Tony Kierna
Genealogy Coordinator
Schaumburg Township District Library

Summary of Our Recent February 8, 2011 Genealogy Pogram with Steve Szabados on the Topic of Mining Census Records (Handout PDF Link Included)

Hi Everyone!

Here is a summary of our most recent Genealogy Program at the Schaumburg Township District Library on Tuesday evening, February 8, 2011.  Our guest speaker for the evening was Steve Szabados.  Steve presented a program titled “Mining Census Records”.

We did not get buried by any vicious storm for the evening program!  Oh No!  That snowstorm came the week before on Tuesday evening when we received about 20 inches of windy, blizzard, drifting snow!

We had a great turnout for this wintry program.  We had 70 participants who were willing to give winter a kick in the pants and come out for a great presentation!

This was the first time that Steve had presented a program at our library to our group.  I can already say that this will not be the last time he makes a genealogy presentation at our library!!

Steve Szabados Arrived Early for His Presentation and Was Reviewing His Material Prior to the Program

I started the program at 7:30 PM with the introduction of new participants.  Boy did we have a house full of new participants at this program!  We had about 10 new participants who shared with all of us their name, their description of the their newness to genealogy and some of the surnames they were researching.  Each new participant received a Welcome package from me with some good tips on how to move forward on their research journey using a variety of resources both within and outside our library.

I then reviewed our “Handout” package of electronic handouts from the library genealogy blog I author.  I brought those in audience up to speed with some other genealogy programs in our area offered by other genealogy groups and societies.  I also reviewed some other points of interest I came across on some genealogy news and topics and expressed why I thought some of the topics were of importance to help researchers.

You can easily find all of our monthly library genealogy “Newsletters” in this blog along the right sidebar.  You can also find all of our monthly library genealogy “Handouts” in this blog along the right sidebar.  Take some time to look at the current issues as well as the past ones.  These are PDF files so you can look at them from the within the blog or download them to your own computer.  All are filled with electronic bookmarks, hyperlinks, internet URL links for you to quickly find material and to link to topics of interest on the internet.  That is the beauty of these electronic files!

Steve then started his presentation at around 8:05 PM.

I am a strong believer in using Census records in your genealogy research.  They

Part of Our Large Turnout of 70 Researchers Absorbing Some Key U.S. Census Research Points from Our Speaker Steve Szabados

are the “meat and potatoes” of resources for genealogy research.  They should be a researcher’s first choice of basic research on their family.  Using census records is something you need to always keep “revisiting”.  You may have learned a little more about a particular family you are researching.  Reviewing that family in the census with your newly discovered information may shed even more about that family within the census records.

Steve had a wonderful PowerPoint presentation of the material on Census Records.  He also provided us with a great handout on this material.  Steve was also kind enough to allow me to share the handout as a PDF file link within this blog posting.  You can take a look at Steve’s handout for this presentation here at:

Steve Szabados February 8, 2011 Mining Census Records Handout

Steve gave us a great review of what the census is, how it came about and how it has evolved over the years.  From 1790 to 1840, our U.S. Census only identified the Head of Household by name.  Anyone else in the house was just statistically captured.  It wasn’t until 1850 that each member of the house was identified by name.  It took until the 1880 census when the individuals that were named were also identified as their relation to the head of household.  Now the researcher could see these relationships from 1880 onward in the census.

One of Steve Szabados' PowerPoint Slides from His Presentation On Mining Census Records to Our 70 Person Audience

More names and relationships, something all genealogists like to see as opposed to just head of household and statistics on the number of males and females within age groupings.

Steve showed us many examples of census data as they were included over time by showing us the actual images of the census data where you could find these occurrences.  It is amazing how humorous some of the examples can be of what census takers noted and wrote on the ledgers they were compiling!

All genealogy researchers should know that the U.S Federal Census for 1890 was destroyed by fire in 1921.  Therefore, in essence there is no data available from this census save for maybe thousands of records that were saved from a few isolated geographic areas.  So in essence there is no data for this census enumeration that genealogists can tap into.  This is unfortunate because it covered such a time of heavy immigration when our first ancestors to arrive in the United States may have very well been captured in this census.  Alas!  Such is genealogy luck!

Steve offered the researcher some alternatives to consider as “workaround” substitutes such as:

  • City Directories
  • Voting Lists
  • State Censuses that occurred midway between the decennial amount for the Federal Census e.g. 1885 or 1895.  State censuses were irregularly taken.  All states did not do one in 1885 or 1895.  So you have to realize you may not find this as a workable alternative to the 1890 census for the areas of your research.
  • 1890 Veterans Schedule for Union military personnel.

Steve also made us aware of the universal issue of the spelling of names that occurs in online census material.  You have to be aware that the name you know your ancestor went under may not be the name in the index associated with the online census.  Errors could have easily been made in transcribing the data from the image to the index.  Misspellings can easily occur here as well as omissions.  You need to be flexible and creative when inputting your search name in the search box.

One resource Steve mentioned was to understand the use of the Soundex to help

Steve Szabados Making a Key Point During His Presentation

as a tool when you can’t find the name as you search.  Soundex was a coding process to convert Surnames to a phonetic sounding approach.  Most online census databases can be searched by using Soundex.  Your search results may still be large but you stand a good chance of finding who you seek using this tool.  When you find someone using Soundex you will be amazed as to how their surname may have been butchered in transcription.  You may also see from the image how horribly written the name may also have been.

Steve also pointed out that when all else fails and you can’t find your ancestor in the census data online you may have to resort to a “page by page” viewing of the enumeration district that you think your ancestor may have lived within.  This is generally easier to do for large uninhabited farm areas of counties in which the number of people is smaller than for a large city.  But you still have to have some idea of geographic location in order to browse census data on a page by page search looking for the elusive ancestor.

Our Overflow Participants Sitting in the Back of the Room Taking in Steve's Presentation

Take a close look at Steve’s handout from the link earlier on in this post.  He also provides a very nice list of Internet web sites to assist you with census research in one form or another.

Steve’s presentation was a WOW!!

He is a natural speaker with a great voice and a great pace to his presentation.  He is very knowledgeable about the census and just about anything in genealogy as evidenced from some of the questions he received.  He knows how to put his material together with PowerPoint to make his point in an effective and often humorous manner!

I certainly believe most everyone left the program more knowledgeable about U.S. Census Data than when they arrived.  Steve had everyone interested and involved until not only the end of the presentation but until we had to start reminding people that the library will be closing soon and they unfortunately had to leave!!

I am going to review what other programs topics Steve can present and invite him back again for another presentation.

Thank you Steve for your fantastic presentation!

Thank you to all of you that came out to our program!

See you again next month.

Tony Kierna
Genealogy Coordinator
Schaumburg Township District Library

All Things Photos and Genealogy/Learn About Photos, Scanning etc. Online and with Videos from Eric Basir of PhotoGrafix

Hi Everyone!

What is the one thing all genealogists have in common??


Current ones, old ones, very old ones, digitized, on Kodak paper, tintype, identified ones and more often than not unidentified ones.  We all have hundreds and maybe even thousands of photos in our possession.  Some we took as pictures, some we obtained from our parents, some we have received from other family researchers as a result of our networking with other family researchers.

We often have questions about how to handle these precious pieces of history.

How should we care for them?

How should we scan them?

How can we improve them and touch them up?

How can we fix damaged ones that may have a rip?

Lots of questions on how to best handle and maintain those little pieces of treasures we have gotten to care for and pass on to the next generations in even better condition than when we received them.

I was just reading an article in the recently published Rodziny, a quarterly genealogy journal published by the Polish Genealogical Society of America, when I came across a recurring part of the publication that is often part of this journal.

Eric Basir of PhotoGrafix, a photo-retouching studio in Evanston, IL, often contributes articles to Rodziny.  I wanted to share with you some great Internet links to Eric’s presence on the web.  He has some “live” weekly programs online in which he teaches participants much about re-touching photos and all things photo-related.

Interact LIVE with Eric during the weekly “Ask the Retoucher Photoshop Q&A Show”, every Saturday at 10:00 AM EDT, 9:00 AM CDT, 8:00 AM MDT and 7:00 AM PDT.  He wants more genealogists to participate “because they have such interesting images and they can inspire new recruits to genealogy.  They can even call in with announcements for events and short promotions for your organizations.”

Connect with Eric “live” on a weekly basis to expand your knowledge on how best to care for your photos and enhance them by retouching.  You can connect with Eric weekly at:

You can also connect to Eric’s blog for a great deal of online training videos he offers to help you understand about photos and photo retouching.  You can visit the blog at:

And finally, you can visit Eric’s main web site for his business at:

Eric has a large presence in our Chicagoland area for his work with photo retouching and genealogy.  He is very open to make all of us better as retouchers of our own photos via all of his online teaching aids and videos to teach us about photos and retouching of photos.

Check out all of the above links for material from Eric that can help you better handle the many photos you have in your possession.

Enjoy the training and lessons!

Tony Kierna
Genealogy Coordinator
Schaumburg Township District Library




Sanborn Fire Insurance Maps and the Library of Congress

Hi Everyone!

One of the librarians at the Schaumburg Township District Library made me aware of a web location within the Library of Congress that provides a great deal of background information about the Sanborn Fire Insurance Maps as well as the ability to easily see what Sanborn Fire Insurance Maps are within the Library of Congress on a State-by-State basis and a city/town level basis within a state.

If you happen to know that an ancestor lived in a particular town at a particular time, there may actually be a Sanborn Fire Insurance Map detailing all of the details of the dwelling site of an ancestor.  The maps were in use from 1867 to 1970.  You can see what the building shape of an ancestor looked like and what it was constructed from as well as knowing the dimensions.  It is sort of like the equivalent of a Plat of Survey you do today on your own property to see the outline of a building and any other buildings on the property.

There is even some, although extremely limited, availability of some online Sanborn Fire Insurance Maps from the Library of Congress website on this subject.  The site mentions that there are over 3,000 Sanborn Fire Insurance Maps available online through the Library of Congress.

While the site may offer very limited access to online Sanborn Fire Insurance maps, the site does provide a great deal of online information about the fire insurance maps in  general.  You can really learn a great deal about what this great genealogy resource really is.

Check out the link for this very informative site on Sanborn Maps at:

Sanborn Fire Insurance Maps at the Library of Congress

Here are some of the Topics available from the Library of Congress site on interpreting  Sanborn Maps:

  • Keys and Colors
  • Symbols
  • Title Pages
  • Reports
  • Scales
  • Sheet Numbering
  • Indexes
  • Line Styles
  • Abbreviations
  • Congested Districts
  • Publication Dates
  • Water Systems

Under the category “Essays” about the Sanborn Maps you will find the following at the Library of Congress site:

  • Introduction to the Collection by Dr. Walter Ristow
  • Sanborn Samplers by Gary Fitzpatrick
  • Sanborn Time Series by Gary Fitzpatrick

Under the category “Other” for the Sanborn Fire Insurance Maps at the Library of Congress you will find the following”

  • Related Resources
  • About the Collection
  • FAQs
  • Copyright and Restrictions

When you select a state to see what maps exist for a state you will find long, long lists of towns for that state.  You can click on the town name and another window opens up providing you with information on what exists within the Library of Congress for Sanborn Fire Insurance Maps.  Again, the vast majority of material exists within the LOC and not online.

When you are looking at the list of towns within a state, the LOC indicates that a particular town has online maps available by noting the town with an asterisk “*”.  When I browsed through the towns for Illinois, I saw one town with an asterisk.  That was for Tampico.  So do not expect to gain access to these maps online.  You will at least be able to determine that the LOC has a Sanborn Map for a particular town and for a particular year in their collection.

I just found that the site is probably more valuable for all of the knowledge it conveys about the Sanborn Maps.  This alone cans educate you about this great resource.  Use the site for that.  Anything that may be available online is just a bonus.

If you were not aware of Sanborn Fire Insurance Maps as a resource tool for your genealogy research then take a look at the material from the Library of Congress from the link earlier on in this post.

If you were aware of this as a resource I still think the material from the site can certainly make you more aware at a detailed level about all there is to really know and understand about these Sanborn Fire Insurance Maps.

Check it out.

Tony Kierna
Genealogy Coordinator
Schaumburg Township District Library

Polish Genealogy Help and Swedish Genealogy Help Offered on Sign-Up Basis at the Arlington Heights Memorial Library

Hi Everyone,

Our recent speaker, Steve Szabados, mentioned at his presentation in our library on February 8, 2011 that he volunteers at the Arlington Heights Memorial Library offering assistance on Polish research.  This requires a formal “sign-up” process through the Arlington Heights Memorial Library for a one hour session with Steve.  The Polish sessions are offered on the 2nd Wednesday of each month from 3 to 5 PM and from 6 to 9 PM as one-hour sessions.

Here is small text description of the Polish program:

Polish genealogy can be very challenging. Sign up for a one-hour appointment with Steve Szabados and he will show you websites that may help solve your research problems. Bring a flashdrive if you have one so new information can be saved.

Michael Mullholland, the genealogy librarian at the Arlington Heights Memorial Library, also confirmed that there is a similar “one-on-one” thirty minute learning session also available for anyone doing Swedish genealogy research.  The Swedish sessions are offered on the 3rd Wednesday from 10 AM to 3 PM for 30 minute sessions.

Here is the text description of what is being offered for the Swedish learning periods:

Do you have Swedish ancestors? Kathy Meade from Genline North America will be available to help you with your Swedish research using the Genlines Swedish Church records database. This database contains 300 years of scanned images of birth, marriage, death, and census records. Please come with your research questions to learn more about your Swedish heritage.

Michael Mulholland did indicate the Swedish learning program is now scheduled to only be provided at their library through May 2011.  He is uncertain if they will be able to do this after May 2011.

I can tell you that the “learning sessions” are filling up fast.  You will have to spend some time at the Arlington Heights Memorial Library Genealogy Events and Research Help Appointments to register yourself for a time period with either Steve Szabados for Polish or Kathy Meade for Swedish.

I did some quick checking using their sign-up session and was having a hard time finding any near term availability for a session with Steve Szabados.  When you want to select a time to sign up and register the system will tell if the individual time spot has already been filled.  If so, you just have to keep clicking on each link for a session until you find one that is open.

These seem to be incredibly popular and you will have to be patient and work your way through the scheduling process.

Be patient and work the sign-up calendar until you find an opening.

What a way to get a one-on-one personal experience in learning a lot more for Polish or Swedish research.

Check out the link above within this post to register your intent at the Arlington Heights Memorial Library to meet with either Steve or Kathy.  Ratchet up your Polish or Swedish genealogy experience by learning a lot more from two great experts in a one-on-one setting.

Tony Kierna
Genealogy Coordinator
Schaumburg Township District Library

Musings Over the Last 4 Years of Bad Weather for Our Genealogy Program!

Hi Everyone!

Now for sure I know I am NOT crazy!!

I have been the Genealogy Coordinator at the library for 12 years.  For the first 8 years of having our monthly genealogy programs, I actually felt our weather was uneventful for our program night, be it winter, spring, summer or fall.  The programs went on one after another after another for those first 8 years without any sense of pending weather doom.

Then it seemed starting about 4 years ago that winter weather really started having a nasty effect for the evening of our genealogy program.  Programs had to be cancelled, and others just seemed to be on the edge of being cancelled listening to weather reports that were targeting our program night for the night of another storm be it snow, rain or ice! 

Things just seemed out of whack based on my first 8 years working this program.

Ah ha!  As I said,  I knew I felt this bad karma during the last 4 years and I knew something was out of whack!  Was it out of whack or was I crazy.

Now I know I am not crazy because our local weather stations just confirmed with facts what I knew I have been experiencing with our monthly program for the winter months over the last 4 years. 

Our weather forecasters just said that our Chicagoland has just set a record. 

We have had at least 50 inches of snow in EACH OF THE LAST 4 YEARS!!!

Our normal annual snowfall is supposed to be in the 36 inch range.

So I wasn’t crazy about how I felt over the last 4 years.  Our weather has been that bad during the winter months these last 4 years.

I feel vindicated.

Tonight’s program is not jeopardized by any snow.  No, we got that last Tuesday evening.  Tonight’s program only faces another subzero night that those who attend will have to cope with as they arrive and leave.

Well I guess I will just wait until our local weather forecasters announce that the last 4 consecutive years have also been our coldest winters!  Come on guys just announce this bad succession of winters as it pertains to temperature.

Oh well, we can’t do anything about it!  Just hunker down, tough it out and try to attend another one of our lively genealogy programs under what are not the most optimal winter conditions.

Dress warmly.  See you later tonight.

Tony Kierna
Genealogy Coordinator
Schaumburg Township District Library