Monthly Archives: August 2012

I Have Added 5 More National Archives Research Aids To The National Archives Research Aids Page Of This Blog

Hi Everyone!

I have added 5 more National Archives Research Aids PDF documents to the National Archives Research Aids Page at the top of the home page.

These documents were presented to me by Kathryn Barrett our genealogy program speaker for May 2012.

The 5 titles that were added are:

  • Civil War Era Research Using Archival Records
  • Locating Missing Persons, Veterans, and Records of Adoptions/Birth Parents
  • Military and Naval Service and Veterans Pensions: Selected Microfilmed Records
  • Selective Service Records Request Form for Year of Birth Prior to 1960
  • Using Original Records of Military and Naval Agencies for Family History Research

I initially posted 22 documents when I created the original National Archives Research Aids page.  With these 5 additional documents, there are now 27 total PDF documents on the page for you to browse through and use in your research.

I again want to thank Kathryn Barrett for providing me with paper copies of all of these NARA documents to assist genealogists in their research quests.

Enjoy the additional aids.

Tony Kierna
Genealogy coordinator
Schaumburg Township District Library

Book Review Of “Branching Out: Genealogy For 4th – 8th Grade Students” By Jennifer Holik; Reviewed By The Illinois State Genealogical Society; One Book Covers All Lessons For Each School Group Instead Of Two Books

Hi Everyone!

I was just recently looking through a recent issue of the Illinois State Genealogical Society Quarterly (Volume 44, Number 2 Issue, Summer 2012) when I happened to come across a wonderfully written book review.  The book is titled Branching Out: Genealogy for 4th – 8th Grade Students.  The author of the book is Jennifer Holik.

Jennifer is going to be our genealogy program speaker on Tuesday evening, February 12, 2013.  She will be making a presentation that relates to the book and how we can encourage the next generation, our children and grandchildren,  to take an interest in genealogy as we have.

Jennifer’s book serves as a model lesson plan for 4th to 8th graders to learn about how to uncover their own family history that is appropriate for their age group.  Parents and grandparents, do you see how this can be such a wonderful experience to get involved and be the mentor you can be to your own children and grandchildren working together in family history research?

Jennifer Holik

Jennifer initially published the material as two volumes of 15 lesson plans each as you will see mentioned in the book review.  She has since changed that manner of publication so that the entire 30 lesson plan is now included in one complete work instead of two.  The total cost for the entire plan is $30.  The book review that follows indicates a different price for each 15 lesson plan as it was originally published.  So now it is even less expensive to purchase the full package today for $30 instead of what was initially about $30 for each of the lesson plans previously.

Jennifer also has lesson plan books targeted to the 1st to 3rd grader as well as to the high school student which have also been combined into one volume at a cost of $30 for each targeted group of students.

I want to thank the Illinois State Genealogical Society, Sonia Schoenfield, the book reviewer for the Illinois State Genealogical Society, and Jennifer Holik, the author, for allowing me to share this wonderful book review.

The Schaumburg Township District Library has Jennifer’s combined lesson plan book sets in our collection that targets 1st to 3rd grade, 4th to 8th grade and for those in high school.  You can find these on the 2nd floor of our library in our genealogy book section with the call number 929.1 HOLIK, J.  They are available for you to check out and see for yourself how you can make an impact with the “next generation” regarding the love for family history research.

You may want to consider purchasing a set of the books for personal use and interaction with your own children and grandchildren.

What follows after the separator line in Italics is the full-text review as appeared in the Illinois State Genealogical Society Quarterly:


Branching Out: Genealogy for 4th – 8th Grade Students by Jennifer Holik. 2 volumes. Generations: Woodridge, Illinois, 2012. ISBN: 978-1-938226-02-1. Volume 1, $26.95; volume 2, $32.95 available from
Many of us, having come to genealogy later in life, tend to think of our chosen hobby and passion as a “grown up” activity. We may enjoy telling stories to the youngsters about our great-grandparents who lived in a sod house on the prairie, but researching in court houses and completing family group charts is best left to the adults.

Not so, says Jennifer Holik, professional genealogist and educator. Children can and should be able to research and understand where their family comes from. To this end Holik has developed a series of genealogy curriculum called Branching Out. The program is divided into three grade levels, Grades 1-3, Grades 4-8, and high school; each set having 30 lessons divided into two books with 15 lessons each. This review will address the books written for 4th – 8th grade students.

The cleverly-titled books have colorful, attractive covers. The lessons and pages are well arranged. Images and illustrations are used sparingly, but to good effect. The images used as examples of completed forms are a little fuzzy and should probably have been scanned at a higher resolution.

Branching Out is written for adults, parents, or teachers to use with students. These books could be used in a variety of settings: genealogy societies wanting to offer programs for younger audiences, homeschoolers, after school clubs, enrichment classes, or summer school.

The lessons are succinct, well-written, easy to understand and therefore easy to present to the student(s). Holik has taken an organized approach to the subject. Early lessons focus on the basics such as what genealogy is, how to fill out pedigree and family group sheets, and how to interview relatives. Later lessons build on these basics and add progressively complex concepts and assignments.

Each lesson contains a goal, vocabulary, a reading assignment, explanation of the lesson, and an assignment. Most readings are taken from published books readily available from a public library, bookstore, or established websites. The vocabulary is reinforced through crossword puzzles and word searches. Worksheets are occasionally provided to enhance the lesson. There are reviews but no quizzes or exams; the aim is to build family history cumulatively, and whatever is learned in one lesson is used in subsequent ones. The final lesson puts everything together with short written biographies of the student and an ancestor of the student’s choice.

Some of the lessons are quite short, others are more in-depth; this variety would prevent students and teachers from becoming either bored or overwhelmed by the lessons. Holik has creative ideas scattered throughout the book. For example, one of the first lessons includes creating a family tree illustrated with photographs; displaying this finished product will no doubt inspire and encourage the student to continue the lessons.

A professional genealogist, Holik’s previous experiences lie in education and IT. She blogs about genealogy research, conducts research services, and gives speaking presentations. Her next two books, coming out soon, are Branching Out for adults and Engaging the Next Generation: A Guide for Genealogical Societies and Libraries to help engage students in the act of genealogy and family history research.

Holik has produced an admirable publication that does a great job of combining her education and genealogy knowledge. I would recommend these books to anyone wanting to present a long-term genealogy class to students of any age. As genealogists, we may have a tendency to focus on our ancestors of long ago at the expense of the youth in our lives. We must cultivate not only a love for genealogy and family history in the next generation, but also knowledge of the research procedures and standards that we value and that make our work worthwhile. Holik’s genealogy series is a valuable tool for passing the genealogy research torch to the next generation.

Reviewed by Sonia Schoenfield
Book Review Editor


I can’t wait until Jennifer makes an appearance at our library in February 2013 as our genealogy guest speaker.  She has certainly created something that the rest of us can latch onto to help our children and grandchildren fall in love with family history as we have.  We just have not known how to pass our interests on to the “next generation”.  Now we have some great tools to access and use and share with our children and grandchildren.

Check out the books from our collection and get started with your children and grandchildren working with them to share your love for family history and for them to learn the skills on how to go about discovering family history.

Tony Kierna
Genealogy Coordinator
Schaumburg Township District Library

Have You Created A Family History Book Of Your Research? Would You Like To Share How You Did It With Others? Attend Our September 11, 2012 Genealogy Program And Sit At Our “New” Breakout Table On This Subject

Hi Everyone!

I wanted to get this reminder out there early and often.

At our library’s next genealogy program on Tuesday evening September 11, 2012 at 7:30 PM we will be having our quarterly Breakout Group Tables.  These are based on ethnic areas of genealogical interest such as an Irish Researchers Table, a German Researcher’s Table, a Polish Researcher’s Table etc.  Researchers grouped at the table of interest help each other and share with each other information on making their ethnic research more successful.

I also host the Beginner’s Table during these quarterly sessions.

I made mention that at this session I would like to Replace the “Troubleshooting Table” with a table that is devoted to sharing how you created your family history book or report.  We are trying to have those that have created a family history book show others at the table exactly how you went about the process of creating your masterpiece!

So I really need those that have created their Family History Books to come on down for this program and show others how you did it at this “new”subject table.  You won’t have to speak in front of a large audience.  Usually at these tables you will find 5 to 8 people.  All of the other tables will be going on simultaneously to this one.

This is a great opportunity for you to share the process, methodology, software advice etc. on how you created your family history masterpiece from the research that you did.

So mark your calendar for Tuesday evening September 11, 2012 at 7:30 to help others get to where you have already reached in the documenting of family history via a book you have created.


Thanks for considering offering your help.

This is a new effort we are starting now.  The next time we will do this after this time will be on Tuesday evening December 11, 2012 when we will have another one of our quarterly Breakout sessions.

We would love to have you come on down on September 11, 2012.

Thanks for your help.

Tony Kierna
Genealogy Coordinator
Schaumburg Township District Library

Northwest Suburban Council Of Genealogists Has Published Their Programs For 2012-2013; Brochure Available As PDF For Your Use In this Post

Hi Everyone!

I just received from the Northwest Suburban Council of Genealogists (NWSCG) their recently published brochure about the society and the programs they will offer during their upcoming 2012-2013 “season”.

Two notes of interest on their upcoming programs.  The February 2, 2013 program is being shown as starting at 9 AM instead of the usual 10 AM start time.  Also, the May 2013 program is identified as “To Be Determined” at this time.

I will probably make a blog post indicating what the May 2013 program information is when it has been determined.  I will also receive from the society a program description flyer for the February 2013 program when it comes close to that time.  As in the past, I plan on publishing a blog post that includes the flyer for the program itself that notes the start time will be 9 AM rather than 10 AM.

These are both down the line updates as we get nearer to the dates.

Here is the newly obtained NWSCG brochure for the society that includes their 2012-2013 programs:

Northwest Suburban Council Of Genealogists (NWSCG) Society Brochure That Includes The 2012-2013 Programs

I am happy to share this information with readers of this blog.

Please take a look at the above link to the PDF for the information.  Print it off and mark the dates for the programs that interest you the most.  Give the society a try and try out one of their programs.  Better yet, consider becoming a member of the society.  A membership application is also included as part of the brochure that you can access through the above link to the PDF.

This is the time of the year when a lot of dated information about upcoming programs that start in September becomes available.  Check them out.

You can also visit the society webpage itself to find out more about the society, its resources and its programs.  You can visit them at the following link at:

Northwest Suburban Council of Genealogists (NWSCG)

Enjoy the brochure and plan on attending some of their programs.

Tony Kierna
Genealogy Coordinator
Schaumburg Township District Library

Is It Possible “Who Do You Think You Are?” Popular Genealogy Program Will Return On The Air On Another Network? Can This Be Possible Or Is It A Cruel Tease?

Hi Everyone!

I just read a post in Dick Eastman’s Online Blog that gives us genealogists hope that the recently cancelled genealogy TV show “Who Do You Think You Are?” may actually be “resurrected” on another network.

Can this be that this good show that was recently removed from the air by NBC in late May 2012 will reappear with new episodes somewhere else?

Take a look at the small post by Dick Eastman with the embedded link to other information from a somewhat “reliable” source.

Read Dick’s post and see his comment why there may be “legs” to this possibility.

The link to the post follows:

Dick Eastman Post About The Possibility That “Who Do You Think You Are” Will Return To TV

Genealogist have enjoyed this popular show over the past 3 years and were surprised it was pulled off the air by NBC and not renewed for new episodes for 2013.

I wish it would return.

Read Eastman’s post above and you be the judge.


Cruel tease?

Tony Kierna
Genealogy Coordinator
Schaumburg Township District Library

New Blog Page Added At Top Of The Homepage Of The Blog; National Archives Research Aids; Provided By Kathryn Barrett, Our May 8, 2012 Genealogy Program Speaker

Hi Everyone!

The new blog Page has been added.  Look at the top area of the Home Page of this blog for the new page item that is titled “National Archives Research Aids”.

This new page consists of the 22 handouts that were provided by Kathryn Barrett, our genealogy program speaker for May 8, 2012.  Kathryn volunteers at the Great Lakes Regional office of the National Archives that is located at 7358 S. Pulaski Road in Chicago, IL.

All of the research aids were provided to me in paper format.  I was able to convert the paper of each one to a PDF file that has been uploaded to the blog.

The research aids run the gamut of a variety of topics that can be used by yourself to better understand a topic or process that may actually apply to your own research efforts.

A big thank you to Kathryn for sharing these with me!

The best thing to do is to just click on the link to the new page and then browse through what I wrote as an overview.  Then take a look at the list of 22 items, some with rather lengthy titles, some much shorter.  Open up the PDF.  Take a gander at what is there.

It may not be of direct importance to you at this time but just make a mental note that these research aids from the Great Lakes Office of the National Archives exists on this blog for your future reference.

Enjoy the new material!

A big thank you again to Kathryn Barrett for sharing this material with us.

Tony Kierna
Genealogy Coordinator
Schaumburg Township District Library

Reminder Re-Post – August 25, 2012 Genealogy Program Being Offered By The Nordic Family Genealogy Center; “Google For Genealogists” By Thomas MacEntee; Program Will Take Place At The Swedish American Museum In Chicago, IL

Hi Everyone!

This is a reminder that the Swedish American Museum in Chicago, IL will be having their program titled “Google For Genealogists” with Thomas MacEntee this Saturday, August 25, 2012 at 10:30 AM.  What follows after the separator line is the text of my original blog post, published on June 25, 2012, making note of this upcoming event.  Guess what?  That “upcoming” event is now almost here!

Read my original post and the embedded links to obtain information about the program and the museum.

Here is a chance to learn about Google and its applications to genealogy as well as to visit the Swedish American Museum in Chicago, especially if you have Swedish ancestry.

Check it out!

Tony Kierna
Genealogy Coordinator
Schaumburg Township District Library


Hi Everyone!

I just received notice from the Swedish American Museum located in Chicago, IL that the Nordic Family Genealogy Center will be offering a Genealogy Program on Saturday, August 25, 2012 titled “Google for Genealogists”.  The speaker for the program will be Thomas, MacEntee.

Registration for the program will occur at 10:15 AM on the day of the program.  The program itself will start at 10:30 AM and will last until 12:00 Noon.

Interested participants are being asked to contact the Swedish American Museum at 773-728-8111 to make a reservation to attend the program.

The program cost is free to Museum and Nordic Family Genealogy members.  Non-members can also attend for a $10 fee.

Please look at the following PDF flyer for more details of the program.

August 25, 2012 “Google For Genealogists” Program Offered By The Nordic Family Genealogy Center

You can also visit the web site for Nordic Family Genealogy Center as part of the Swedish American Museum at:

Nordic Family Genealogy Center/Swedish American Museum

Mark your calendars for this upcoming event at the Swedish American Museum in Chicago.

Tony Kierna
Genealogy Coordinator
Schaumburg Township District Library

Our Genealogy Program Conference Call On August 14, 2012 Turned Out Excellent!; Big Thanks To Mike Karsen And Our Library Staff That Made It Possible!

Hi Everyone!

Last Tuesday night was our monthly Genealogy Program at the Schaumburg Township District Library.

Our guest speaker for the evening was Mike Karsen who was going to present his program titled “Liven Up Your Family History with Images”.

When I arrived in the late afternoon to get things going for the evening presentation, I discovered that Mike had been trying to reach me via e-mail and phone to let me know that he was under the weather and would not be able to be present to do his presentation.  He did offer to try to make his presentation remotely via conference call.

Never having done that before,  I fell into a “state of panic”.  How could we make that happen in as short of time as we had.  Could we make it happen so that our audience would have as good an experience as if the speaker were actually here?

A call to our Information Technology (IT) group and a call to our Audio Visual (AV) group initially made me very confident that we would actually be able to set the room up with a speaker phone in conjunction with a microphone by the speakerphone that would allow us to contact Mike on the phone for him to do his thing remotely!

My biggest concern was the possibility of “bad audio feedback” noise coming through with the microphone so close to the speakerphone.  A little experiment here, a little trial there and I thought that by about 6:45 PM we could actually make this work for the scheduled 7:30 PM program.

To make a long story short the event came off incredibly well!  Our 45 person audience was rooting and cheering that this would work.  And lo and behold it did work!

The speakerphone sound was set up perfectly next to the nice professional microphone our AV person used for this “experiment”.  Our internal audio system picked up the sound perfectly so that everyone in the room could easily hear Mike via the speakerphone.  Our IT person found all the right “port” connections needed to allow us to use the phone in the large meeting room.

I was Mike’s right-hand person being the one flipping through his PDF provided file of the 82 images he used during his presentation.  I asked Mike to note what slide number he was on as he moved through them so that I was in synch with his images he was using at home.  Only a couple of times did I get out of synch but was able to recover quickly without really missing a beat.

We asked our audience to hold the questions until the end.  I mentioned to the attendees that if they had a question and could easily make it up to the front to ask, then they could do that by the speakerphone.  If someone was too far away or had to crawl over others in the row of seating, then I asked them to state the question and I would repeat it to Mike over the speakerphone.

Questions were asked and answered and everyone was able to hear the conversations from both within the room and via the phone.

WOW!  Was I relieved that this worked out well for both the off-site speaker and for our audience.

Many attendees indicated they thought the program was executed incredibly well even if Mike was not actually present in the room.  Our audience was happy and felt they really received great genealogy information in a completely unplanned and unexpected manner!  Smiles were present throughout the room!

I now can see that we can accomplish this kind of program using our internal setups.  Because I have now successfully seen this work I now have to really keep an open mind to take a further step to possibly have an actual Webinar Genealogy Program that would utilize similar technology that would also include the ability to have a video feed to see our speaker.

See what a crisis handled successfully turns me into!

Webinars in the future!! Maybe.

Lions, and tigers and bears!  Oh My!

I want to again say a big “Thank You” to our speaker, Mike Karsen, and to our internal library staff in Information Technology and Audio Visual for making this short-notice challenge come off very successfully.

Had this not worked our poor audience would have had to endure the evening with me giving some kind of “song and dance” genealogy routine!  Oh well, at least for this most recent occasion I was able to put the top hat, cane and dancing shoes on the back-burner.

But they are on the shelf waiting for me to use again if needed!

Lions and tigers and bears!  Oh My!

Tony Kierna
Genealogy Coordinator
Schaumburg Township District Library

Mike Karsen Our Guest Speaker For Our Program Tonight Will NOT Be Able To Be Here Due To An Illness; We Are Thinking Of A Conference Call Workaround For Him To Deliver His Program Via A Speakerphone; I Am Not Sure That This Will Work Successfully!

Hi Everyone!

I just want to let you know that our guest speaker for tonight’s genealogy program, will NOT be able to make it to the program due to an illness.

He has indicated that perhaps we can still do the program via a Conference Call on his end to our library and for me to present the slides of his presentation while he speaks on the phone.

I do not know if this will work or if we will be able to successfully set the room up for it to work.  I am also concerned about the speakerphone volume being sufficient by itself to work because I do not think I can put the microphone by the speakerphone without getting loud feedback.

But I will give it a try on my end.  If it does not work because of whatever unknown problems arise, then I will have to the end the program and we will make the best of our time.

I do want you to know in advance that Mike will not be here and our alternative attempt to make this work may not work.

Tony Kierna
Genealogy Program
Schaumburg Township District Library

New Poll On Right Sidebar Of The Blog; Simple Question Being Posed; “Do You Have A Personal Paid Subscription To”; “Yes” Or “No”?

Hi Everyone!

Well, here goes another Poll that is now on the right sidebar of the blog right at the top of the blog homepage.

This time I am just asking for a simple response to a very basic question.

“Do You Have A Personal Paid Subscription To”  Yes or No

Simple, direct and to the point. is one of the leaders as being a paid, subscribable site.  There is a “free” alternative from within and that is the Library Edition of the product that libraries pay for but users can use “free of charge” by visiting local libraries that offer the product.  Although the product is “free” to the end-user to use in the library, it cannot be accessed from home by library cardholders of that library.  So researching requires you to actually go to your library having the product and use it on-site.  Sometimes that is a big inconvenience when the research bug hits you at 6 AM or 11 PM!

Take a look at the new Poll.  Consider providing a reply.

Do You Have A Personal Paid Subscription To Yes or No

Let’s see how active this poll can be.

The more the merrier!

Tony Kierna
Genealogy Coordinator
Schaumburg Township District Library