Monthly Archives: February 2012

Czech Obituaries Article Appeared In The “Chicago Genealogist” Winter 2011-2012 Issue, Volume 44, No. 2; List Of 200 Obituaries Included In The Article

Hi Everyone!

For those of you doing Czech research in the Chicagoland area, you may want to take a look at a recent article that was published in the Chicago Genealogist, Winter 2011-2012, Volume 44, Number 2 issue.  The article is titled “Czech Obituaries Part I: Balek to Krupicka”  The author of the article is Gail Santroch.

Our library has this journal in our collection.

You may want to take a quick look at this article because the author has included a list of about 200 entries of individuals for which obituaries have been extracted from the researcher’s own research on their Bohemian ancestry.  The surnames start with the letter B and go through the letter K.  It appears this is Part I of what will be some ongoing articles written in this journal that will include more obituaries being included in the future articles.

The author includes a little template of what are the components that appear in these obituaries. 

The obituaries originated from the Denni Hlasatel, a Czech-language paper from Chicago.

The author notes that data that was extracted includes the following pieces of information:

  • Death Date
  • Age
  • Birthplace
  • Years in America
  • Cemetery
  • Family

The author also notes that the following pieces of information were not extracted and included in this article’s listing of the obituaries:

  • Undertaker
  • Church
  • Lodges
  • Member Organizations
  • Names of Grandchildren

If you are in our library and if your research area of interest is inclusive of Czech ancestors living in the Chicagoland area, then you may want to take a very quick look at this issue of the journal to see if any name you are researching may be included in this list of 200 names in the article.  I know the chances may be slim, but if you are here you will be able to look at the list in less than one minute.

Here is a link to the local Czech and Slovak Genealogical Society that may also be helpful to you in your Czech genealogical research:

Czech and Slovak American Genealogical Society of Illinois (CSAGSI)

I hope you find someone of interest to your research from the above article by Gail Santroch.

Tony Kierna
Genealogy Coordinator
Schaumburg Township District Library

Getting Our Children, Grandchildren, Interested in Genealogy; How Can We Make That Happen?

Hi Everyone!

Wouldn’t it be nice if our genealogy hobby could really involve more of our family?  As we age, some magical switch turns on in our brain and tells us to find out where we came from in the distant past before we leave this planet earth for good.  Maybe our parents told us these stories if they knew them.  More than likely, no one told us and that switch is turned on full level with the responsibility falling on us.

Wouldn’t it be nice if we could not only do this ourselves, but possibly get our children and grandchildren involved.  But how do we actually do this?  How can we teach our children or grandchildren and get them involved with the “genealogy bug”?

That question may actually now become closer to getting answered.  How is this magical answer going to come about?

One way will be through the efforts of Jennifer Holik-Urban, a professional genealogist local to the area,  who has attended one of our own library genealogy programs.  Jennifer is in the process of launching the publication of 6 new genealogy books that are geared for children from 1st Grade through High School.  The books are not quite available yet but Jennifer provided me with some of her own words that describes what this is all about.  So we may all now have a better resource that we can use to inspire our children and grandchildren to hop on our own genealogy bandwagon and to instill them with the desire early on in life to become family historians!

What follows in Italics after the line break is what Jennifer provided to me that describes this series of books and when they will be available. 

Think about a wonderful bonding experience with your own children or grandchildren discovering the roots of your past!  That may soon be easier than it has ever been with a series of published lessons that can help us to teach our succeeding generations about such a wonderful hobby that brings family members together no matter what the age.

Take a look at Jennifer’s publication information:


Professional Genealogist, Jennifer Holik-Urban, of Generations will soon be launching six new genealogy books for kids.

Branching Out: Kids Genealogy for 1st – 3rd Grade Students Lessons 1-15

Branching Out: Kids Genealogy for 1st – 3rd Grade Students Lessons 16-30 

 Branching Out: Kids Genealogy for 4th – 8th Grade Students Lessons 1-15

Branching Out: Kids Genealogy for 4th – 8th Grade Students Lessons 16-30 

 Branching Out: Kids Genealogy for High School Students Lessons 1-15

Branching Out: Kids Genealogy for High School Students Lessons 16-30.

These books will consist of genealogy lessons written for teachers, homeschool parents, librarians, parents, grandparents, and anyone else who wants to teach children about genealogy. The books begin with the basics of how to get started and move up through basic sources and evidence into the major record types. The books are not meant to be the end all be all of teaching genealogy. They are meant to give your child or student the foundation in which they can proceed to research for the rest of their life.

The lessons contain a goal, vocabulary (if needed), reading assignment, somewhat brief lesson, a make it personal section incorporating history, and an assignment.  These same elements exist in the high school version with additional reading, assignments and discussion.

These items will be available in April on CreateSpace in paperback book form. They will be released as PDF files and Ebooks at a later date. Live in the Chicagoland area? You can meet Jennifer and purchase books at the Fountaindale Public Library’s Author Fair on Saturday, April 14, 2012. And also at the Fountaindale Public Library’s Genealogy Day on Saturday, April 21, 2012.

Following the launch of these books will be additional books and multi-media applications for kids. If you would like to stay informed of the progress and official launch date, or learn where Jennifer will next be speaking, please visit the Generations page and sign up for the free newsletter.


I hope to be able to get copies added to our collection once they become available.  In the mean time, know that if you were struggling with getting your children or grandchildren involved in genealogy but just did not know how to best do it, you may now have that resource available soon to help you with that effort.  We are all simply looking for a “roadmap” to use to help us instill the desire to become family historians in our children and grandchildren. 

Soon you will have that “roadmap” to help you mentor your children and grandchildren discover the joy of their family history!

Jennifer is also the author of a genealogy blog that focuses on getting children involved in genealogy.  So in advance of her books being published on involving children in genealogy, you can tap into this great online resource to read the exchanges that are posted giving insights into opening up the world of genealogy to our succeeding generations.

You can visit Jennifer’s genealogy blog for children at:

“Genealogy For Kids” Blog Authored By Jennifer Holik-Urban

Keep watching for this new material.

Tony Kierna
Genealogy Coordinator
Schaumburg Township District Library


Our Next Genealogy Program Is Coming Up On Tuesday Evening February 14, 2012 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.

Here are the details of our upcoming program for Tuesday evening, February 14, 2012:

The Genealogy program will be held on Tuesday, February 14, 2012 at 7:30 PM in the 2nd floor Classroom. The guest speaker for the evening will be Craig Pfannkuche. Craig will present a program titled “Using Railroad Records in Your Family History Research”.

Craig Pfannkuche is President of Memory Trail Research, Inc. since 1993, and is the Genealogical Archivist for the Chicago & Northwestern Railroad Historical Society since 1984. He is on the Board of Directors of the McHenry County, Illinois Genealogical Society & the Chicago Genealogical Society. He has presented numerous workshops in history, historical & genealogical research & archaeological techniques at both the local and national level.

Craig has previously presented genealogy programs at our library on a myriad of genealogical topics. Craig always leaves us with a little laughter and a lot more information to help us in our genealogical research.

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

Schaumburg Township District Library Celebrates 50th Year in Existence During 2012

Hi Everyone!

While this is not purely a genealogical topic, I did want to make blog readers aware that this year the Schaumburg Township District Library is celebrating its 50th Anniversary of serving the people of Schaumburg, Schaumburg Township and the Northwest Suburbs.

For those of you that routinely visit our library building, it becomes hard to fathom that 50 years ago our library started in an existing home on Roselle Road near our current location.  That was our humble start.  Can you imagine that, based on seeing our current library building?

With the support of those we have served throughout the years, the storefront back in 1963 has been replaced with the large 167,000 square foot building we now call home.

I just want to make readers of the blog aware of this very important year and the special meaning it has for the Schaumburg Township District Library.

I also want to provide links to material that exists in the library’s online “Local History” section of our website that provides some descriptive background information on the early formation of the  library back in the early 1960s.

One text description was created in 2008 by our library’s first director, Michael Madden, that provides historical insights into the formative years of the library from 1958 to 1967.  Another text description of the historical aspects of the early library was created by a former employee.  A final link  is a simple chronological timeline describing key events in the history of our library from early on through today.

As genealogists, we all like historical narratives that provide insights into the early histories of people and organizations.  We are always curious about how something started that got us to where we are today.

Enjoy the following “historical” descriptions of our early history as well as our timeline of key events in the history of our library:

Early History Description of the Schaumburg Township District Library (1958-1967) Provided By The Library’s First Director, Michael Madden

Early History Description of the Schaumburg Township District Library Provided By A Library’s Employee, Ad Olson

Schaumburg Township District Library Historical Timeline

Happy Birthday Schaumburg Township District Library!

50 years young and still going strong!

Tony Kierna
Genealogy Coordinator
Schaumburg Township District Library

Polish Genealogical Society of America (PGSA) Will Have Their Annual Conference on April 20 – 23, 2012 in Salt Lake City, Utah; There Will Be No “Regular” Annual Conference in October 2012

Hi Everyone!

I want to make you aware of a rather unique opportunity for an Annual Conference being offered by the Polish Genealogical Society of America (PGSA).  Although the society just had its 2011 Annual Conference in October 2011 in Des Plaines, IL, it has already scheduled its Annual Conference for 2012.

This unique event is an Annual Conference that will take place in Salt Lake City, Utah in conjunction with the United Polish Genealogical Societies. 

The conference will occur over 4 days from April 20, 2012 to April 23, 2012.

What this also means is that the normal 2 day Annual Conference that occurs in October of any year in the Chicagoland area will NOT occur this year at the routine time.

The Salt Lake City 2012 Annual Conference will be it for 2012 and there will be no Annual Conference that will occur in October 2012.

The PGSA has provided me with a 4 page PDF of the details of this large-scale conference.  A detailed listing of each of the day’s events is included in the PDF along with a conference registration form.  The PDF also includes material for online reservations for this event as well as information about airline reservations and hotel reservations.

My suggestion is to visit the website of the PGSA as well as looking at the full PDF file that follows of the entire conference.  When you get to the main PGSA website that follows, then just look for the link to the 2012 Annual Conference.

  You can visit the society website for 2012 Annual Conference information at:

Polish Genealogical Society of America (PGSA)

You can also see a multi-page PDF file of the “flyer” for the program at:

2012 PGSA Annual Conference Flyer

The knowledge and the material you will obtain from this conference will be priceless to help you progress with your own Polish genealogical research.  Plus you will also get the benefit of being able to tap into material at the Family History Library that is very near to where the conference is being held.  So you can learn as well as discover material in the library that can help advance your research!

Think of it, you will be able to intermingle with Polish researchers from throughout the country and the world all in one locale, the Family History mecca in Salt Lake City, Utah!  The United Polish Genealogical Societies encompasses all of the Polish Genealogical Societies around the country, not just the local PGSA that calls Chicagoland its home.

This is a very big event!!

You will not be sorry for making the effort to attend this multi-day conference in Salt Lake City, UT.

Put these dates on your calendar, especially if you have never attended such a unique multi-day annual conference being put on by this society.

Tony Kierna
Genealogy Coordinator
Schaumburg Township District Library

Upcoming Genealogy Programs At The Arlington Heights Memorial Library During March/April 2012

Hi Everyone!

I received a notice from Michael Mulholland, the Genealogy Librarian at the Arlington Heights Memorial Library, that the library will be having some more genealogy programs in the near future.  The programs will require pre-registration with the library.

You can visit the Arlington Heights Memorial Library website’s Genealogy Page at:

Arlington Heights Memorial Library Genealogy Website Page

I wanted to share with all of you what those programs are and when they will occur.

Take a look at the text that follows in Italics after the line separator for all of the upcoming genealogy programs that will take place at the Arlington Heights Memorial Library in the near future.

Tony Kierna
Genealogy Coordinator
Schaumburg Township District Library


Dear Genealogy Colleagues,

 Please consider posting the following in your library or in your next possible newsletter or on you webpage.

Thanks very much.


 Adoption Searches Past and Present

Monday, March 26, 7 p.m. / Hendrickson Room

You’ve just discovered that an ancestor was adopted. What do you do now? Researching adoption records is very challenging. Matt Rutherford, curator of genealogy and local history at the Newberry Library, will discuss the history of adoption records, policies and research in the United States. Register

 Setting Up Your Genealogy Website

Saturday, April 21 10 a.m. / Hendrickson Room

The Computer Assisted Genealogy Group of Northern Illinois (CAGGN-I) will hold a panel discussion on how to create your own genealogy website. Register

 Family Tree Maker – Special Interest Group

Saturday, April 21, noon / Hendrickson Room

Family Tree Maker (FTM) is one of the most popular genealogy softwares. If you already use it or are considering buying it, come to the FMT special interest group. They will answer all your questions. Register

 Railroad Ties to Arlington Heights History (part of AH 125)

Saturday, April 21, 2 p.m. / Hendrickson Room

The railroad has been vital in the historical development of Arlington Heights. Joe Piersen, manager of the Chicago & Northwestern railroad archives, will discuss the history of that railroad, its impact on Arlington Heights, and how to access information on railroad employees. Register

Social Security Application (SSA) Request: What You May Not Get When You Submit Request For Information!

Hi Everyone!

Bruce C.,  another frequent participant at our monthly genealogy programs,  made me aware of a rather startling and unnerving development in the world of making a request to obtain a copy of a Social Security Application from within the Social Security Administration.

For genealogists, submitting a request to the Social Security Administration to obtain a copy of a person’s Social Security Application has often been the only way to discover new genealogical information about an ancestor.   Such information had been impossible to obtain from other research, such as the maiden name of the mother of the person making the original application or perhaps discovering the actual town name of origin of the person making the application when that had been impossible to discover in any other research.

The SSA does not come cheap.  You must spend $27 if you know the ancestor’s SSN or $29 if you do not.

You often obtained some great information in the past when you received the copy of the Social Security Application.

However, Bruce C. has made me aware that this appears to be changing in a very negative way for which spending your good, hard-earned money may get you absolutely nothing of value in return, especially the information about the parents of the person that made the original Social Security Application!!

I am including the text of what Bruce C. sent to me describing this developing dilemma.  His text follows in Italics after the line separator.  Bruce’s comments also include a link to some information from Megan Smolenyak Smolenyak, a well-known professional genealogist.  Don’t forget to look at her comments.

This turn of events is somewhat predictable related to how governmental agencies are taking very hard-line stances to protect the privacy of individuals going back over far too long of a time interval (120 years!) as in this case.

You may want to think about submitting this expensive request in the future knowing you may not receive back the most important part of information that would propel your research forward.  You may just have to make your discoveries in other manners.  It sounds like it is “roll up your sleeves” time and look for alternate sources than the SSA application.

Tony Kierna
Genealogy Coordinator
Schaumburg Township District Library


Some of the group’s members may be aware that it is possible to order a copy of a deceased person’s original Social Security Application.  The form for such a request is known as “SSA-711” and is available as PDF file from the SSA web site.  This service costs $27 if you already know the person’s Social Security Number, or $29 if you don’t.  But there is now a risk of wasting your money on this due to new Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) restrictions.  The document you receive may have the names of the parents of the individual deleted unless said parents were born more than 120 years ago.  So if the names of the parents were why you ordered the document, you lose.  Here is the complete statement of restrictions from their site:

 “Please Note: We will not disclose information about any person in our records who is under 120 years old, except in those cases where we have acceptable proof of death (e.g., death certificate, obituary, newspaper article, or police report).

Also, under our current policy, we do not release the parents’ names on an SS-5 application unless the parents’ are proven deceased, have a birth date more than 120 years ago, or the number holder on the SS-5 is at least 100 years of age.”

 So, for example, if you wanted to obtain a copy of the original SS-5 submitted by a person born in 1920, because you don’t know anything about the person’s parents, you won’t be able to learn that information because the SSA assumes the parents of that person are alive and most likely over 113 years old!

 Megan Smolenyak Smolenyak posted an article about this issue (which is how I found out about it) at: