Monthly Archives: June 2014

Are You Looking For Obituaries/Death Notices That You Can’t Find Online?; Try Following These Helpful Tips To Find An Obituary Not Online

Hi Everyone,

Obituary ImageOne of the more frequent requests for help I receive relates to finding obituary notices.  As librarians we do tend to go to our online resources for this kind of material.  We often access America’s Obituaries and Death Notices, Chicago Tribune Historical Newspaper and  These are databases that are available to Schaumburg Township District Library cardholders from home.

But good as we think we are with these resources, it is not uncommon for us to come up “empty” in our search for a given individual in a resource we feel where it should exist.

Of course it is possible that maybe the researcher did not have full knowledge on the individual for which an obituary is sought.  Maybe the person did not die in the year the researcher thought.  Maybe not even in the geographic area they thought.  If these things are wrong to start the search results may simply not find that individual.

But that is another whole issue!

A colleague of mine at our library sent me a link to a nice little guideline that you can use to locate obituaries or death notices when in fact you can’t find them online by using creative methods with other “paper” trails or actions rather than just focusing on online access.

Here is a link to the website where you can find this nice little handy list of actions to take to possibly find an obituary the old-fashioned way.  None of the suggestions are guaranteed to produce that elusive obituary.  The suggestions just extend your chances to maybe be successful.

How To find An Obit …That’s Not Online

Thank you Tom for the link!

Take a look at it to see if some of the tips might help you uncover those elusive obits you cannot find online.  You will have to revert back to non-online sleuthing.

It will take some work.  Roll up your sleeves and have at it!  We all want those obituaries to just pop up from our online searching.  But when they don’t you need to creatively try other pre-online database methods.

Tony Kierna
Genealogy Coordinator
Schaumburg Township District Library



Newberry Library Offers Genealogy And Local History Tours And Orientations On First Saturdays Of The Month In 2014

Hi Everyone,

Newberry Library LogoGinger Frere, a frequent speaker at our own genealogy programs and a librarian at the Newberry Library, has made me aware that the Newberry offers an introductory genealogy orientation and tour of the Newberry on Saturdays.

The orientation program is offered on the first Saturday of the month for the balance of 2014, except for the July program that will be offered on Saturday, July 12, 2014.

Here are the dates for the balance of 2014:

  • July 12, 2014 @ 9:30 AM
  • August 2, 2014 @ 9:30 AM
  • September 6, 2014 @ 9:30 AM
  • October 4, 2014 @ 9:30 AM
  • November 1, 2014 @ 9:30 AM
  • December 6, 2014 @ 9:30 AM

The Newberry is located at 60 West Walton in Chicago, IL.  The phone number for the Newberry is 312-255-3700.

The program/orientation on using the Newberry’s collection starts at 9:30 AM.  The initial orientation takes about 1 hour.  A short tour of the library follows the orientation.

There is no pre-registration.  There is no cost.

The program is aimed at those new to using the Newberry and those new to the genealogical process.

Here is a link to the flyer that you can read from the Newberry that provides a description of the event:

2014 Genealogy and Local History Tours and Orientation Programs of  the Newberry Library

If you have never been to the Newberry but are an experienced genealogy researcher, you may want to take advantage of these programs for the balance of 2014 to learn about the collections and resources of the Newberry.

If you are a new genealogy researcher, this orientation is also geared for you to learn how to begin your research plus you too will also learn about the Newberry and how it can  help your research.

I have placed these event dates into the Google Calendar that is also part of this blog.

Read the full flyer that is linked above.

Sounds like a great opportunity to visit the Newberry if you have never previously been there and then be able to get a nice orientation and tour of the facility.

Something to consider!

Tony Kierna
Genealogy Coordinator
Schaumburg Township District Library

“What’s New At June 2014” YouTube Video; You Can View The Video In This Blog Post

Hi Everyone!

ancestry-logoI just did a quick look at YouTube and saw that there is now a June 2014 video posted from that is titled “What’s New At June 2014”.

The video is an approximate 24 minute production hosted by Crista Cowan of who provides the viewers with updates on what new things users of should be aware of.

Crista also mentions that in addition to the monthly YouTube video she creates describing “new” things at for a particular month the reader should always check the blog from that you can access at: Blog

Topics covered in this video by Crista are:

  • Upcoming Conferences – International Association of Jewish Genealogical Societies (IAJGS) in Salt Lake City, UT  (July 27 – August 1, 2014); Federation of Genealogical Societies (FGS) Annual Conference in San Antonio, Texas August 27 – August 30, 2014).
  • Website Update – FindAGrave databases have now been combined from 53 individual “state” databases to 1 database for the United States and one for other countries; there is also a new iOS app for FindAGrave that now allows bulk uploading of cemetery data via WiFi instead of only through your cellular plan.  You can now save on your cellular plan.
  • Website Update – you can now link your Ancestry DNA to shared trees among like researchers and not just solely to the “owner” family tree.
  • Website Update – you can now sort your results within the “Category” view by database name; the default today is the results viewed in “category” view are in greatest number of hits to lowest number of hits.
  • More State Research Guides are being added; these are free; it may be more productive to view the guides online because you can access all the links embedded to get to the sites outside of the guide.
  • New Content! – 40  Million new records added for 20 countries in the Ancestry databases.
  • Research Reminders #1 – Read the complete database descriptions for the newly added material to know what is contained and what is NOT contained.  Don’t just search!
  • Research Reminder #2 – Understand the records you are looking at when you are searching a newly added database.  Knowing what is there will help you create better search terms for better results.  Just create a “test” input search to see the results.
  • Crista spent a good time on this video noting that it is important to consider “browsing” records rather than always searching indexed databases.  Browsing databases are those that have not yet been indexed.  You cannot search these but the data as images is available for you to look through.  The data is generally subdivided into manageable viewing components.  Think of it as viewing a microfilm online.  Look at an individual database via the “Card Catalog” and look to see if it has a “Browse Box” that allows you to look at the data but not be able yet to search it.  The “browse box” implies the data is not yet indexed for direct searching.

You can view this video directly here:

Crista does an excellent job of sharing what is new at that can make your use of the product even more effective and beneficial with your family history research.  She shows you via her computer screen what to look for at the site.

I also did a search on YouTube looking for similarly titled videos and did discover that there are many “What’s New At” videos on YouTube going back at least until April of 2012.  These series of videos are a great tool to use to review going back in time so you keep current with all that is being offered and added to

Here is a simple link to my search in YouTube that will give you this nice list of these videos posted to YouTube that you can do some catching up on to know about all of the new things at

“What’s New At” YouTube Videos

The host does a very good job verbally describing the new additions as well as showing you the new things at Ancestry via screencasting.  That allows you to see her computer screen as she points out the various “new” things you may see at and where they are located.

Because so many of us use, either via a personal subscription or by using the Ancestry product at our local libraries, these YouTube videos are quite informative to keep users up to date with new features that take root on  The host provides even more depth to the importance of the change and even why it was done.

I think you will enjoy the most recent video above as well as looking at the link above for even more of these videos.

Tony Kierna
Genealogy Coordinator
Schaumburg Township District Library

Your Family Tree Explained YouTube Video; Everything You Want To Know About Those Cousins, 3rd Cousins And Those 3 Times Removed; Light-Hearted and Informative; Video Included In This Post

Hi Everyone!

YouTube LogoI was perusing through Dick Eastman material and came upon a fantastic little video Dick had mentioned in one of his recent blog posts.

It hit home with me and perhaps with you.

When you start digging into the nuts and bolts in your pedigree charts about relationships to cousins and the like, do your eyes start glazing over when you start looking at what are described as 1st cousins, 3rd cousins, 2nd cousin once removed and the like terms?

Are you even aware of these terms to describe family relationships?

I know that my eyes glaze over rapidly when I start thinking about these relationships.

In all candor, I also shake and quiver uncontrollably if asked to explain that to a genealogical researcher who asks me that as a simple question!

I am even feeling a little queasy as I compose this blog post on the subject!

Be honest, you probably feel the same when you start peeling back the layers of your own family tree.

Thank goodness for those software developers that have built into their lineage programs the relationship calculators you can use to make these intertwined cousin relationships we all have in our pedigree charts readily identifiable.

Thanks Dick for making us aware of this nice little video.  Here is a link to Dick Eastman’s original posting about this video:

June 10, 2014 Dick Eastman Post About YouTube Video “Your Family Tree Explained”

Here is the 4 minute video that will put a smile on your face while you try to get through the confusion of all these cousin relationships.

Look at the video right here:

Hope you liked it.

Hope it gives you somewhat of a better way to make sense of all of those cousins, past and present.

Tony Kierna
Genealogy Coordinator
Schaumburg Township District Library

New Season Of “Who Do You Think You Are?” Starts On Wednesday Evening, July 23, 2014, At 8 PM Central Time On The Learning Channel (TLC); Check TLC Website For Show Information

Hi Everyone!

Who Do You Think You Are?I just want to let you know that the new season for “Who Do You Think You Are?” will be starting on the cable channel The Learning Channel (TLC) on Wednesday evening, July 23, 2014, at 8 PM Central time.

Previously, when the show was on NBC, they dedicated a portion of their website to the show so that you could always get updates on the show and view online videos of the shows that had been broadcast.  TLC appears to be doing the same for this show as it unfolds during this season.  You can find the information for the show on TLC at:

“Who Do You Think You Are?” Website At The Learning Channel (TLC)

You will find a”teaser” video on one of the upcoming “stars” that will appear on the show for the 2014 season.  In fact most of what is there at the site for the program as of my recent visit still contains mainly material from the 2013 season.

There will only be 6 episodes of the show for this new season on TLC (that is 2 less than in 2013 when a total of 8 shows were broadcast).  NBC the original network where the show appeared had about 12 episodes.

Here are the “stars” that will appear on the show during the 6 episode run for the season on TLC.  The order is alphabetical and does not represent the order of the shows as they appear to the best of my knowledge:

  • Valerie Bertinelli
  • Jesse Tyler Ferguson
  • Lauren Graham
  • Kelsey Grammar
  • Rachel McAdams and her sister Kayleen
  • Cynthia Nixon

Make sure you mark down the date and time and plan to DVR it.  If you miss that, it looks like the website for the show will allow you to revisit it and view it online.  It appears you will also be able to see each episode on the website after it views initially on TLC.

Now is the time to reconnect with some TV help and entertainment to motivate you in your own genealogical research efforts.

Mark your calendar for Wednesday evening, July 23, 2014 at 8 PM central time on the The Learning Channel (TLC) on cable.

Tony Kierna
Genealogy Coordinator
Schaumburg Township District Library

New Poll On Right Sidebar Of The Blog; Simple Question Being Posed; “Have You Ever Hired A “Professional” Genealogist To Assist With Your Genealogy Research?”; “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.

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

“Have You Ever Hired A “Professional” Genealogist To Assist With Your Genealogy Research?”  Yes or No

Simple, direct and to the point!

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

Let’s see how active this poll can be.

The more the merrier!

Tony Kierna
Genealogy Coordinator
Schaumburg Township District Library

Poll On The Right Sidebar Has Been Closed For “Are You A Paid Member Of A Genealogy Society/Group?”; Results Indicated

Hi Everyone!

It is amazing that about  2 months has passed on the life of the poll I had on the right sidebar of the blog since April 22, 2014.  It is time to move on!  I think a new poll question is in order!

The poll had asked the question “Are You a Paid Member Of A Genealogy Society/Group?”

The results of the poll showed the following from the 47 total respondents that took the brief time to provide their “Yes” or “No” response to the question.  The numbers show that 30 responses (63.83%) noted they are paid members of a society/group while 17 responses (36.17%) indicated they are not paid members of a society/group.

I am actually surprised at the high number of “No” responses indicating individuals are not paid members of a society/group.  Participating in such organizations is highly recommended, whether they be local to the area you actually live in or be perhaps in the geographic area where your ancestors lived.  These organizations can only help further your family history research.  I was unscientifically projecting that maybe only 10% to 20% might have indicated they are not paid members rather than the 36.17% the actual numbers showed.  But then again this is not a scientific poll and it is a small sample of 47 total respondents!

I guess I need to keep shouting from the mountain top — join a genealogy society/group!  It is well worth the nominal fee that is generally imposed.

I am always looking for a larger response than even that which I just saw!  So come on down ——  affix your opinion as a “Yes” or “No” when so asked to the varied polls on different topics in the world of genealogy and family history research.  Your answers count.

I plan on putting up a new poll rapidly.  Come back for that one to see the new question being asked.

A big thank you to all of those that took the time to respond to this just recently closed poll.  Take a look at the results of that poll to satisfy your own curiosity.

Don’t forget to visit my Poll Archives as part of this blog.  Look for the link at the top of the homepage of the blog where it simply says “Poll Archives”.  In here you will find the statistical results of the 15 previously active polls in addition to the poll that is generally “active”.  If you were not aware of this Archive, you may want to visit to see what all the previous polls were about.

Here is a direct link to the Poll Archives at my blog:

Poll Archives At Tony’s Genealogy Blog At The Schaumburg Township District Library (STDL)

Get ready for another poll ……………………..SOON!

Tony Kierna
Genealogy Coordinator
Schaumburg Township District Library

Re-Post Reminder: McHenry County Illinois Genealogical Society Will Be Holding All-Day Conference On Saturday, July 19, 2014 At McHenry County College In Crystal Lake, IL

Hi Everyone!

I made a post back on May 7, 2014 about the upcoming McHenry County Genealogical Society and their all-day conference they will be hosting on July 19, 2014 in Crystal Lake, IL at the McHenry County College.

Thought I would just send out a reminder of the event since we are that much closer to the date.

What follows is what was initially posted on May 7, 2014:


Hi Everyone!

McHenry County Illinois Genealogical Society LogoI just received a notice from the McHenry County Illinois Genealogical Society (MCIGS) that they will be offering an all-day genealogy conference on Saturday, July 19, 2014, at the McHenry County College in Crystal Lake, IL.

The conference is titled “Genealogy Inside Out”.

There will be 4 separate sessions throughout the day two of which will provide a choice of 4 programs to pick from while two other sessions will provide a choice of 3 programs to choose from.

Cyndi Ingle (from Cyndi’s List) and Thomas MacEntee (from Geneabloggers and High-Definition Genealogy) are two nationally known genealogy experts who will be providing presentations.  There will be 5 other speakers also presenting programs.

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

Pre-program registration is encouraged.  Discounts are given if you are an existing McHenry County Illinois Genealogical Society member.  Discounts are also given if registration is done prior to June 15, 2014.

Here is the fee schedule:

  • MCIGS Members registering before June 15, 2014 – $40
  • Non-members registering before June 15, 2014 – $50
  • All registration after June 15, 2014 including walk-ins – $60

Lunch will be included for all registered prior to July 5, 2014.  Lunch cannot be guaranteed for those registering after July 5, 2014 or for walk-ins.

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

McHenry County Illinois Genealogical Society July 19, 2014 “Genealogy Inside Out” Conference

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

McHenry County Illinois Genealogical Society

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

July is not that far away!

Tony Kierna
Genealogy Coordinator
Schaumburg Township District Library

Wonderful Teaching Videos From Thomas MacEntee On Using Various Software Tools To Make Your Genealogy Research Better Managed And More Productive; Links Included

Hi Everyone!

CAGGNI logoI love the ability to learn new things by being able to watch and listen to directions given by an expert presenter.

Translation… look for those nice teaching videos that exist on a variety of genealogical topics as well as on genealogical software tools to help you in all aspects of your research.

I was just browsing through the recent Computer Assisted Genealogy Group of Northern Illinois (CAGGNI) Newsletter for June 2014.  In the issue is a section titled “President’s Message”.  In this issue, Nancy R. Thomas, President of CAGGNI,  focused on electronic capabilities to learn more about genealogy via live online attendance of streaming educational programs, archived webinars from a software developer for a charge and some free online educational videos/screencasts created by a well-known speaker.

I took a look at the website noted in the article for Thomas MacEntee who was the CAGGNI Keynote speaker at their recently held first ever all-day genealogy conference.  Nancy noted in her article that Thomas has some wonderful educational and informative videos for the genealogical community to view and learn.

The topics are varied and presented in short run times like about 8 minutes as well as lengthy ones presented in as long as about 1 hour.

Here is a listing of the topics presented by Thomas MacEntee that can help you learn about various genealogically oriented software tools to help you create, manage and organize so much of what we as genealogists accumulate:

  • Project Management – Using a Simple Excel Spreadsheet to Track Tasks, Projects and Progress (About 9 minutes)
  • The Password Trick – How I Learned I Could Have a Different Password for Every Website … And Still Remember Them All (About 11 minutes)
  • Facebook Groups Versus Facebook Pages – Which One Should You Use? (About 1 hour)
  • EverNote – Easy Note-Taking for Genealogists (About 1 hour)
  • Weebly – Easy Web Site Creation for Genealogists (About 1 hour)

You can find these free and informative videos offered by ThomasHack Genealogy Logo MacEntee, a local genealogist and speaker at his web site at:

Thomas MacEntee’s HackGenealogy Website Videos Section

Also, just visit the entire website of Thomas MacEntee to see all of the other material he has out there to make your genealogical research efforts more productive and more manageable.  You can visit his full site at:

Thomas MacEntee Hack Genealogy Website

I am so glad I read the complete article by Nancy R. Thomas in the recent CAGGNI June 2014 newsletter.  The tips she provided for online webinars, streaming videos and the like are wonderful teaching aids.  I was familiar with the many that she mentioned but the ones from Thomas MacEntee were not on my radar.

It is always nice to make a new discovery of some valuable resources for genealogists to learn even more.

Thanks to Nancy for sharing the link to Thomas’ videos and thanks to Thomas MacEntee for making these videos available to the genealogy community.

Enjoy these videos so that you can learn even more about tools and methods that exist to help the genealogist connect!

Tony Kierna
Genealogy Coordinator
Schaumburg Township District Library

Video “Capsule” Of The Recently Held GeneaQuest All-Day Genealogy Conference Held On May 17, 2014 That Was Put Together By The Computer Assisted Genealogy Group Of Northern Illinois (CAGGNI); Video Included In This Post

Hi Everyone!

CAGGNI logoFor the last 3 or 4 months you probably heard me mention about the then upcoming GeneaQuest All-Day Genealogy Conference that was being created by the Computer Assisted Genealogy Group of Northern Illinois (CAGGNI).

The conference was held on May 17, 2014 at the Elgin Community College.

Were you unable to attend this first time all-day conference hosted by CAGGNI?

Do you wish you had gone?

Do you regret that omission now?

Wish you were there now?

Would you like to be able to make up for that omission now?

Well, redemption is just a short click away.

Thanks to the efforts of Elaine Beaudoin, a member of CAGGNI, you can actually view a picture /video “capsule” of the day’s programs that includes a collage of pictures as well as some video snippets.  It is about an 8 minute 30 second video that is posted on YouTube from the group.

The technical compilation of this video is spectacular.  It truly looks like a professionally created video that will not only fixate you on the sights of the conference but you will also be tapping your feet to the accompanying soundtrack on the video!

Once again this local genealogy organization seems to have outdone itself again.  What an organization!  They truly put into play the focus of technology on how it melds with genealogy by evidence of this great video.

If you were unable to attend or if you did attend and just want to re-live the day through an 8 minute 30 second video take a look at it right here:

If you are not a member of CAGGNI I think that after seeing this video you may want to run, that’s right, run over to the next program they offer and become a member.  Surround yourself with knowledgeable, energetic and helpful people.  Their enthusiasm will certainly rub off on you!

You might not have been at their conference but the above video will certainly make you feel like you were there!

Tony Kierna
Genealogy Coordinator
Schaumburg Township District Library