Monthly Archives: July 2011

Lake County Genealogical Society of Illinois Has Relocated It’s Collection from Mundelein to Vernon Hills; See Society Announcement PDF File

Hi Everyone,

I just received notice from the Lake County Genealogical Society of Illinois that they have relocated.  They had formerly been located at the Fremont Library in Mundelein, IL.

The society is now relocated to Vernon Hills, IL at the Vernon Hills Village Hall.

If you have ever worked with the society or used its collection, you will need to make a mental note to work with them at their new location in Vernon Hills, IL and not in Mundelein, IL.

Please take a look at the following link to a PDF file of the announcement I received from them:

Lake County Genealogical Society of Illinois Announcement of Move to Vernon Hills, IL

Also, please take a look at the website of the society that I have linked to below.  You will see details about the society in general as well as information on the relocation.  It also does appear that the meetings of the society will occur in a different location than previously held.

Meetings appear to now take place at the Mundelein Park District at 1401 N. Midlothian in Mundelein, IL on the 2nd Tuesday evening of the months of January through October.  It appears that no meetings/programs are held in November or December.

Visit the society website at:

Lake County Genealogical Society of Illinois

Tony Kierna
Genealogy Coordinator
Schaumburg Township District Library


Northwest Suburban Council of Genealogists (NWSCG) Next Program Scheduled for Saturday Morning, August 27, 2011 At 10:00 AM

Hi Everyone,

I just received a program notice from the Northwest Suburban Council of Genealogists indicating that their next genealogy program is scheduled for Saturday morning, August 27, 2011 at 10:00 AM.

Please remember that the society will be meeting on a new day, at a new time and at a new location in comparison to all of their other previous programs.

The society will be meeting on Saturday, August 27, 2011 at 10:00 AM at the Arlington Heights Senior Center at 1801 W. Central Rd. in Arlington Heights, IL.

Please be sure to view the link below that will get you to the program description material supplied to me by the society. 

The speaker for the morning program will be Daniel Niemiec.  The speaker will present a program titled “Who Sank Grandpa’s Boat: Effective Passenger List Research“.

Researchers can arrive as early as 9:30 AM to have informal conversations and share knowledge and seek research advice.

Please take a look at the full PDF announcement of the program by going to:

Northwest Suburban Council of Genealogists (NWSCG) August 27, 2011 Program Notice

You will find more details about the program location, the program contents and some information about Dan Niemiec, the speaker for the morning from the above link to the program information.

Tony Kierna
Genealogy Coordinator
Schaumburg Township District Library

Northwest Suburban Council of Genealogists (NWSCG) Will Be Changing Their Meeting Day, Meeting Time and Meeting Location Starting on August 27, 2011

Hi Everyone!

I wanted to share some major news about the Northwest Suburban Council of Genealogists, a local genealogical society in our area.

I have received word from the group that they will be completely changing the meeting day, meeting time and meeting location of their monthly programs that have normally been held during the months of September through May (No December Program).

They normally met on the 3rd Tuesday evening of the month starting at 7:30 PM at the Forest View Educational Center in Arlington Heights.

This organization will no longer be meeting at the Forest View Educational Center.  They will no longer be meeting on the 3rd Tuesday of the evening at 7:30 PM.

Instead, starting with a new program scheduled for Saturday, August 27, 2011 at 10:00 AM, the society will be meeting at the Arlington Heights Senior Center at 1801 West Central Road in Arlington Heights, IL.  Programs are scheduled to occur on the first Saturday of the month during the months the society has a program.

Guests are invited to arrive for the August 27, 2011 program as early as 9:30 AM.  Coffee will be available for a charge.  The speaker for this program will be Daniel Niemiec.  Dan will present a program titled “Who Sank Grandpa’s Boat?”.  The topic of the program will be on passenger list records.

This is a dramatic change for a society to alter its program schedule so completely.  A new day of the week, a new time of the day and a new meeting location are all being changed.  The plan will now have their programs on the first Saturday morning of the month during the months they have a program.

Following is a list of the program dates planned for the upcoming “season” for the society.  The speakers and topics have not been finalized, plus it appears that the August program in 2011 is in lieu of a September program.

Here are the dates of the programs coming up for the Northwest Suburban Council of Genealogists for 2011-2012:

  • August 27, 2011, Saturday, 10:00 AM (Arrival by 9:30 AM to Mingle)
  • October 1, 2011, Saturday, 10:00 AM (Arrival by 9:30 AM to Mingle)
  • November 5, 2011, Saturday, 10:00 AM (Arrival by 9:30 AM to Mingle)
  • January 7, 2012, Saturday, 10:00 AM (Arrival by 9:30 AM to Mingle)
  • February 4, 2012, Saturday, 10:00 AM (Arrival by 9:30 AM to Mingle)
  • March 3, 2012, Saturday, 10:00 AM (Arrival by 9:30 AM to Mingle)
  • April 7, 2012, Saturday, 10:00 AM (Arrival by 9:30 AM to Mingle)
  • May 5, 2012, Saturday, 10:00 AM (Arrival by 9:30 AM to Mingle)

Please make a note for yourselves if you have attended any of these programs in the past.  Everything is new.  We are generally creatures of habit so making note of these big changes is very important if you plan on attending any of the programs.  This may actually open up an opportunity for the society for new members that perhaps were unable to attend the formerly scheduled programs on the 3rd Tuesday evening at the Forest View Educational Center.

I am glad I became aware of this now so I can get the word out on the big changes.

Here is wishing the society good luck as it embarks on the new changes for the programs they offer!

Please visit the society web page to keep informed of the changes that will be occurring.  You can visit them at:

Northwest Suburban Council of Genealogists (NWSCG)

Tony Kierna
Genealogy coordinator
Schaumburg Township District Library

I publicize their programs in my genealogy newsletter in the “Calendar of Events” part of the newsletter.  I will be noting the changes when I will include one of their programs.

Quick Response (QR) Codes Becoming the “In” Thing To Find Further Information Very Quickly Via a Smartphone; It Has A Great Cemetery Application on Headstones of the Deceased

Hi Everyone!

Bruce C. who attends our monthly genealogy programs made me aware of a new developing smart phone technology that could have some great applications in cemeteries on headstones.

In fact, you may have already seen these square-looking symbols that may already be appearing on objects or posters or just about anything.  These square looking images are likened somewhat to “bar codes” that appear on packages and boxes today.  A scanner reads the bar code and the code is translated to a description  as to what the product is.  We all see this put to effect when we check out our groceries at the market today.

In a similar vein, the QR codes allows one using a smart phone to “take a picture” of the QR code and then with “apps” on the smart phone will take the user to a web site on the smart phone where much more information can be obtained about the “event”, the “person” or whatever wants to be conveyed.  The user does not have to know of a website address.

You may just want to become more aware of these “symbols” that will appear more and more all around us.  That is what they are and what you can do with them.

Here is what one looks like:

Bruce forwarded to me an article from USA Today that describes this developing technology.  The article highlights how this technology can be applied to our dearly departed in cemeteries.  Put a QR code on the headstone of the deceased and when scanned the scanner can discover untold amount of data on the deceased!

This sounds like an incredible way for researchers to instantly discover information about the deceased and to obtain information from a researcher that may know even more to help in your own research.

The nicest thing about this technology is that you can have a QR code inscribed on a headstone today for a relatively small fee of about $65 as the article mentions.  This sure sounds like a great investment to honor our dearly departed and allow other researchers to access your own research that you make public via the QR connection to a website containing the information on the dearly departed!

Take a look at the full article at the link below:

USA Today Article on QR Codes and Cemetery Use

Thanks to Bruce C. for sharing this link with me on a great emerging technology that genealogy researchers should be aware of.

Keep your eyes open all around you and start becoming aware of these amorphous looking symbols!

Maybe a new smart phone is just around the corner to add to your “pile” of technology devices!

Tony Kierna
Genealogy Coordinator
Schaumburg Township District Library

Summary of Our Recent July 12, 2011 Genealogy Program with Dan Niemiec on the Topic of Passenger Lists (Speaker’s PDF Handout Included)

Sharing Genealogy Gems Before Our Program on Passenger Records

Hi Everyone!

Here is a summary of our most recent Genealogy Program at the Schaumburg Township District Library on Tuesday evening, July 12, 2011.  Our guest speaker for the evening was Dan Niemiec.  Dan presented a program titled “Who Sank Grandpa’s Boat: Effective Techniques to Find Passenger Manifests”.

Dan was kind enough to allow me to post his handout he provided at the program onto this blog post.  You can access this handout here:

July 12, 2011 “Who Sank Grandpa’s Boat” Presentation Handout from Dan Niemiec

Program Attendees Intermingling Prior to Our Genealogy Program

We had a good turnout for this mid-Summer program.  We had 57 participants in attendance!

I started the program at 7:30 PM with the introduction of new participants.  We had about 3 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 indicated to the group that I would like to forego reviewing some of the handout material so that we could get to our speaker by 7:45 PM rather than 8:00 PM and allow more un-rushed time after the speaker should anyone want to talk to me or the speaker.  Because the material is all available online everyone can take a deeper look at it on their own.  I just briefly reviewed some upcoming program dates and topics for a variety of groups in the area.

Our Program Topic for the Evening

 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!

Please feel free to ask me any questions you may have on the material contained in the Newsletter or the Handout material.

Dan then started his presentation at around 7:50 PM.

Dan Niemiec Before Giving His Presentation on "Who Sank Grandpas Boat?"

Dan indicated that Passenger List research can be both easier and harder than researching using microfilms as it was done years ago.  It can be easier simply because the transcribed data now exists in online databases that allows us to simply enter in our search term, a surname, and let it rip.  Sounds easy!!  We are all dependent on the accuracy and the knowledge of the transcriber that created the entry that gets included in the database.  If the surname is mis-entered or misspelled or simply entered in as a wild guess, then no matter how we search we may not find the ancestor unless we become creative with spelling possibilities.

In the “old” days of researching the material on microfilm, at least we had a possibility of seeing an entry that looked like it might be our ancestor.  You do not get the same luxury by entering in search terms into a database.

So once again we have the age-old problem of being creative with our surname entries when accessing databases.

Related to that difficulty, the researcher has also got to be aware of using a search term that reflects the name of the ancestor AT THE TIME THE PASSENGER MANIFEST WAS CREATED!

One Of the Slides from Our Program "Who Sank Grandpa's Boat?"

Just because you know the ancestor by the name that became common 100 years after the event, that will not help you searching for them under the name that was written on the passenger manifest or the spelling that was used.

My great-grandmother’s first name was Eva but in Polish it is spelled as EWA.  Using “Eva” will not find “Ewa”.

My great-uncle’s first name was Andrew but in Polish it is spelled as Andrzy.  You will never find him using “Andrew” as you know it.

Surnames could also have been changed over time.  You may know the surname as it is today and how it is spelled today, but to be successful with your passenger research you need to know and use the name in the format it would have been on the passenger manifest.

Our Speaker, Dan Niemiec, Making One of His Important Points on Successfully Working with Passenger Records

So you might have some homework in researching how the names may have been at the time of the event and not how you know them today.

Dan showed us many examples of the spelling variations he encountered in his own research.  You have to believe in miracles to find your ancestors under these circumstances!

Dan also made mention of using the Steve Morse website to help you in your research.  Steve has created all kinds of templates that allow you to work with passenger databases from Ellis Island or  His templates allow you to enter in just about any term you might find on a passenger record.

Again, be cautious when using many of these templates because you do not want to enter in too much data just because you can.  If any one of the fields does not match the data you will not get any results and consequently think your ancestor is not in the database.  When you search, you always want to start with the most minimal search term and only add on one by one if you need to pare down the results.

Please visit the Steve Morse website to access and use all of these templates at:

Our Audience Intently Listening to Dan's Points on Passenger Lists

Also remember, every one of our ancestors did not arrive through the Port of New York.  About 50% of the immigrant arrivals arrived to New York.  But there are other ports they may have come through like Boston, Philadelphia, New Orleans, Baltimore, Galveston etc.  You may still have to research the old-fashioned way using microfilms of these ports if your arrival does not show up in the online material from Ellis Island or those passenger databases from

Also be aware of the dates when you believe your ancestors may have arrived to the United States.  The Port of New York is actually comprised of two categories of data.  Prior to 1892, ancestors arriving into New York would have been processed at Castle Garden.  After 1891, Ellis Island was the processing destination in the Port of New York.  So if an ancestor arrived into New York prior to 1892, you will not find the ancestor in the Ellis Island data.  You will need to work with Castle Garden material.

Our Audience Listening to Dan's Point on Passenger Records While Looking At His Slide

You must be aware of the timelines and the history in order to be in the right series of databases when searching.  And because New York received about 50% of the arrivals, you must be aware that no matter how hard you search New York, they may have arrived in another port.

My ancestors seemed to have arrived either in New York or in Baltimore.

You can visit the Ellis Island search site at:

You can visit the Castle Garden at:

Please take a good look at the handout higher up in this post that Dan allowed to include in this post.  It is a good guide to help you in your own passenger research.  Give the suggestions provided by Dan a try.  It still may not be easy but then again where has genealogy research ever been that easy!!

Dan ended his presentation at around 9:15 PM and stayed until about 9:45 PM addressing questions from those that spoke to him directly.

Don’t give up on researching your ancestors’ Passenger Records.  It is hard and can be frustrating when you just can’t find them.  Use Dan’s handout and search the material in a more intelligent manner using the guidelines that Dan has provided in his handout.

Good luck with your searching!

Tony Kierna
Genealogy Coordinator
Schaumburg Township District Library

Polish Genealogical Society of America (PGSA) Will Be Having Their August 14, 2011 Meeting/Program at 2 PM at the Arlington Heights Memorial Library (Update)

Hi Everyone!

I received the following Program Flyer as a PDF from the Polish Genealogical Society of America (PGSA) about their meeting that will take place at the Arlington Heights Memorial Library on Sunday, August 14, 2011 at 2 PM.

August 14, 2011 PGSA Meeting Program Flyer at the Arlington Heights Memorial Library

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

Michael Mulholland, the genealogy librarian of the Arlington Heights Memorial Library, will present a program titled “How Libraries Can Help with Your Genealogy Research“.

Michael Mulholland, the genealogy librarian of the library, will also provide a tour of the library and showcase material they have in their collection that can assist not only the general genealogical researcher but also material in the collection that can help the Polish researcher.

I have previously created posts in this blog on the upcoming event.  You can take a look at what I previously published by visiting the following links:

Consider attending this program and learn about the PGSA and its membership.  Also take the opportunity to learn about the genealogy material in the collection of the Arlington Heights Memorial Library.

Tony Kierna
Genealogy Coordinator
Schaumburg Township District Library

Newberry Library Is Having A Special Program To Assist Researchers Having Chicago Ancestral Connections on Saturday, August 6, 2011, From 1 – 4 PM

Hi Everyone,

Ginger Frere, our upcoming speaker for our own August 9, 2011 Genealogy Program, just informed me that the Newberry Library is having a special 3 hour program titled “Getting Acquainted with Your Chicago Ancestors” on August 6, 2011 from 1 to 4 PM at the Newberry.

Both Ginger Frere and Grace DuMelle, both speakers at our own genealogy programs, will be presenting the program.

Cost for the program is $55.

As provided by Ginger the theme of the program is:

 “From birth to death they left a paper trail. In a half day, you will come away with the information you need to track your Chicago ancestors through birth, school, marriage, work, and death. Learn about the innovative website and other online sites to aid your research.”

You can also visit the Newberry website where information and registration information is available at:

Newberry August 6, 2011 Chicago Ancestral Research Program/Registration Information

This is somewhat short notice but it sure looks like a good program that can really help those that are researching Chicago ancestors!

Take a look at the above link for further details and to register.

Tony Kierna
Genealogy Coordinator
Schaumburg Township District Library

“Who Do You Think You Are?” 2011 Episodes Are Being Rerun on NBC on Friday/Saturday Nights Starting on July 16, 2011

Hi Everyone,

Did you miss the original presentation on NBC of the hit genealogy series “Who Do You think You Are?” when it took place in February to April of 2011 on TV?

You do know you can watch the episodes on your computer at the NBC website?

However, if you want to see the 2011 season episodes on TV rather than on your computer, you can mark down Friday nights and Saturday nights, starting July 16, 2011 (Sorry, I missed letting you know of this rerun episode!).

You will have to look at the TV schedules to see if you need to look for a Friday evening program or a Saturday evening program.  Sorry about that!  It would be nice if we as creatures of habit could look for the program on one evening rather than on two evenings.  But such is life!

You can also visit the “Who Do You think You Are?” website to get better clarification on when the reruns are appearing on either Friday or Saturday via the NBC website at:

“Who Do You Think You Are?” Website

Dick Eastman had a post in his online blog of the “resurrection” of this series in rerun fashion on TV.

Check out Dick Eastman’s blog post for all of the details, especially the flip-flopping between Friday evenings and Saturday evenings at:

2011 “Who Do You think You Are” Series in Rerun on NBC

The 8 original episodes were very well received during their original airing.

During the summer hiatus of many local genealogy societies, consider re-connecting to your genealogy research via this series, especially if you missed it when originally presented earlier this year.

I really enjoyed the 2011 original episodes.  They were entertaining, informative and emotional.

Check out the links above to Dick Eastman’s post on the subject and the NBC site for the show.

These reruns during the summer may be well worth looking at again!

Tony Kierna
Genealogy Coordinator
Schaumburg Township District Library

Chicago Genealogical Society Is Having A 140th Anniversary Bus Tour of the Chicago Fire Area on Saturday, October 8, 2011 Guided by Craig Pfannkuche

Hi Everyone!

In the recently received Newsletter from the Chicago Genealogical Society, I noticed they had an insert flyer that highlighted an upcoming bus tour the society will be having on Saturday, October 8, 2011 to celebrate the 140th anniversary of the infamous Chicago fire that took place on October 8, 1871.

The bus tour will be led by one of our favorite speakers, Craig Pfannkuche.

The tour will start at 9:30 AM from the Ogilvie Transportation Center at Madison and Clinton streets and will return to the same location by 4:30 PM.

Tour cost is as follows:

  • $35 for CGS members
  • $45 for non-members of CGS
  • $15 per person for a box lunch (if you choose)

Box lunches will be prepared by Panera.

You can bring your own bagged lunch if you prefer.  You do not have to take the lunch from Panera.

Bottled water will be available on the bus.

Please take a look at the following link which is a PDF copy of the flyer/registration sheet for the program should you choose to participate.  The flyer is available at the Chicago Genealogical Society website.  The flyer can be viewed and/or printed at:

Chicago Genealogical Society Program Flyer/Reservation Form for the October 8, 2011 140th Anniversary Chicago Fire Bus Tour

You do not have to be a member of the society in order to participate.

Craig is a fantastic speaker so I would anticipate he will be providing outstanding historical background of the event while acting as a guide for the program.

Please visit the general website for the Chicago Genealogical Society at:

Chicago Genealogical Society

This sounds like a great outing on such a historical anniversary date.

Tony Kierna
Genealogy Coordinator
Schaumburg Township District Library

Polish Genealogical Society of America (PGSA) Has Finalized Their Plans for Their Annual Conference in DesPlaines, IL on Saturday, October 1, 2011

Hi Everyone!

The PGSA has finalized their Annual Conference meeting plans for their upcoming October 1, 2011 conference in DesPlaines, IL.

Visit the conference part of their website to get all of the details on the program, the speakers, the optional bus tour of Polish Chicago on Friday, September 30, 2011, the cost and other things related to the program.

Speakers for the program will be Matthew Bielawa and Jonathan Shea, both well-known and published experts in Polish genealogy.

Topics they will discuss at this all-day event will be:

  • Starting at Home: The Basics of Polish-American Genealogical Research
  • Gazetteers, Maps, Geographical Dictionaries for Polish Genealogical Research
  • Three Ring Circus: Researching Roots Across Poland and It’s Three Partitions
  • Vital Genealogy: A Tour of Vital Records Across Poland
  • Websites for the Polish Researcher/Beyond Vital Records – What Else Awaits You in the Polish Archives

You can get to these details at the following link:

PGSA October 1, 2011 Annual Conference Details

I am also including a link to the actual “flyer” of this program that was supplied by the PGSA.  You can see the flyer at:

PGSA October 1, 2011 Annual Conference Flyer

It does appear that payment for the conference and the optional bus tour of Chicago Polonia can all be paid for directly through the PGSA web site.  Payment is acceptable through PayPal or directly from your own credit card.  There are “early bird” discounts for members of the PGSA.  Non-members can attend at a higher cost or can become members to take advantage of the lower costs for members.

Please visit the links above to get all of the details on the program.

The PGSA does have a fantastic Annual Conference.  They are doing something unique in this conference in that both of the  key speakers will be providing a “collaborative” program so that the attendee does not have to choose one speaker over another.  This can be referred to as “team teach”.  You will get both of the speakers who will speak on each topic at the conference.

If you have any Polish ancestral connection, this will be a great opportunity for you to jump in with both feet to attend this all-day conference conveniently located close by in DesPlaines.

You will not be sorry participating in this annual event!

Check out all of the links above for all of the details.

Tony Kierna
Genealogy Coordinator
Schaumburg Township District Library