Monthly Archives: October 2015

New Poll On Right Sidebar Of The Blog; Simple Question Being Posed; “Have You Ever Downloaded A Genealogy E-Book That You Used Rather Than An Available Genealogy Book In Print?”; “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 Downloaded A Genealogy E-Book That You Used Rather Than An Available Genealogy Book In Print?”  Yes or No

E-Books abound everywhere that you can download to your smartphones, tablets, laptops and desktops.  Many people use E-Books for reading fictional material such as mysteries, love stories and the like.  Yet, more and more non-fiction material may find its way to E-Book format such as reference book material, historical material and yes, genealogy books.

In fact, when I research adding new genealogy books to our collection, I am often finding that the only available format for a new genealogy book may be in E-book format only!  As a library, I still want to add hardbound paper books to our collection but it makes it difficult to add an E-Book format only in digital format to our collection.

So what has been your experience?  Have you come across any genealogy books in E-Book format that you were able to download and view on your device electronically??  E-Books can be great when it comes to having so much more readily available at your fingertips as you read such as links to websites or embedded videos.  You won’t find those electronic features available when you flip that real page to the next page in your paper copy of the book!!

I really look forward to hearing your experience on this topic!

So ……………………. “have you ever downloaded a genealogy E-Book that you used rather than an available genealogy book in print”??

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

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Poll On The Right Sidebar Has Been Closed For “Have You Done A Video Recording Or An Audio Recording Of An Interview Of A Relative Regarding Family History?”; 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 August 26, 2015.  It is time to move on!  I think a new poll question is in order!

The poll had asked the question “Have You Done A Video Recording Or An Audio Recording Interview Of A Relative Regarding Family History?”?

The results of the poll showed the following from the 38 total respondents that took the brief time to provide their “Yes” or “No” response to the question.  The numbers show that 12 responses (31.58%) noted they have video recorded or audio recorded an interview for family history  while 26 responses (68.42%) indicated they have not video recorded or audio recorded an interview for family history .

I am actually surprised at the numbers showing that 31% have captured a video recording or audio recording interview for family history.  I actually thought there would have been more indicating they have done some kind of recording.  Not my scientific opinion,  just a gut feeling.  Researchers, please get that recording media going and get those relatives on tape or digital file for future reference!!  They will not be around forever.  Plus, I can’t tell you how many times I have heard a new researcher seek help from me and note that everyone they could ask for family history information has passed away!

Often times family members have great stories to tell, stories for which your early research may not yet even have a clue about what it is all about.  But by recording it in some fashion you will always have a fall-back to review the story told by the individual himself at a future time when they are no longer alive and your research have moved further along.

Most smartphones today have camera and video recording functionally.  Sometimes these devices are not the best in my opinion.  Regular camcorders with digital files can allow you to record lengthy conversations and then be able to convert the digital file to DVD to share with other family members.  The phone related videos can take up a significant amount of space plus it makes it hard to share with other family members because of the size of the file.  So I say still consider a regular camcorder to do your recording.

Always get in the habit early on in your research to capture your relatives stories in some recorded fashion.  You will not regret it later if you need to review what was spoken and compare that to what you have discovered in your research over time.  Plus, death is inevitable for all of us.  At least focus on those in your family tree that are the oldest in age to capture their stories.

Let’s try to get the number up to 100% for recording an interview of a relative for family history rather than the 32% respondents noted in this poll!!

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 20 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

“What’s New At Ancestry.com October 2015” 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 October 2015 video posted from Ancestry.com that is titled “What’s New At Ancestry.com October 2015”.

The video is an approximate 31 minute production hosted by Crista Cowan of Ancestry.com who provides the viewers with updates on what new things users of Ancestry.com should be aware of.

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

Ancestry.com Blog

Topics covered in this video by Crista are:

  • Upcoming Conferences – Ancestry Days, November 7, 2015, Raleigh, NC; Salt Lake Institute, January 10 to 15, 2016 at Salt Lake City, UT., infouga.org; RootsTech 2016, February 2016 at Salt Lake City, UT; National Genealogical Society Annual Conference, May 2016, at Ft. Lauderdale, FL; Southern California Jamboree, June, 2016, Burbank, CA; IAJGS Conference, August 2016, Seattle, WA; Federation of Genealogy Societies, August 2016, Springfield, IL.
  • Ancestry Blog Post – Ancestry.com new website available to all subscribers in the United States and is being phased in to other country subscribers such as Canada and Australia.  Visit the blog post at Announcing the New Ancestry WebsiteScroll down and look for the “Try the new site Click Here” phrase.  Once there you will need to be a subscriber to Ancestry.com  If you  enter in your information you will get connected to the new site for you to experiment with.   Crista mentioned that Ancestry is very appreciative of all of the feedback being provided to Ancestry from Beta users.  Look for a list of “updates” in progress appearing in the “Community Forum” that is located under the HELP menu.
  • Ancestry Blog Post – Crista noted that in the New Ancestry that you can now show all of your events in the Life Story rather than just key default ones previously allowed.  She also noted that some of the areas where you could “Hover” your cursor over to to see a popup of further information may no longer be available like that.  You will have to “click” on the record to open up a further list of choices to select from.
  • Ancestry Blog Post – Share your EthnicityReport in Ancestry DNA.  This could spark interest in those you share it with that may lead them to want to do their own DNA submission to Ancestry DNA.
  • New Databases – check out all of the new Wills and Probate databases that have been added.  There is not just one massive database containing all of this.  Generally, you will see these on a state-by-state basis.  Search the “card catalog” with something like a state name and “wills”.  This should discover a “wills” database or “probate” database for that state.
  • Databases in General – Crista also mentioned that you may see databases within the Card Catalog that are prefaced with “Web”.  These are databases that are outside of Ancestry.com.  If you click on the link, you will be leaving the Ancestry site to access the material.
  • Databases in General – Crista also mentioned to use the right sidebar area of the screen when you have selected a particular database to search.  Here you will see “Related Data Collections” that notes names of other databases that could be helpful to you and may be related in a way to the database you are using.
  • Databases in General – Crista also mentioned that you may see databases that just note the database is an “Index”.  This means the original data has been transcribed from an original source but you will not have access to the original image of the document itself.  She suggested that if you find material in these Indexed databases, you may want to contact the source for the original records used to create the index and try to obtain an image of the original record associated with your indexed result.  There could be more in the original data that was not moved into the indexed file, plus you could also uncover transcription errors between the original record and the created indexed record.
  • 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 Ancestry.com 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 Ancestry.com site.

I also did a search on YouTube looking for similarly titled videos and did discover that there are many “What’s New At Ancestry.com” 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 Ancestry.com.

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 Ancestry.com:

“What’s New At Ancestry.com” 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 Ancestry.com and where they are located.

Because so many of us use Ancestry.com, 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 Ancestry.com.  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

Polish Genealogical Society of America (PGSA) Will Be Having Their November 15, 2015 Meeting/Program at 2 PM At The Arlington Heights Memorial Library; The Program Title Is “Poland In World War II” Presented By James Pula; Program Will Also Be Presented As A “Live” Webinar” For Those Unable To Attend In Person

Hi Everyone!

PGSA Logo Clip ArtI received the following publicity statement from the Polish Genealogical Society of America (PGSA) about their upcoming meeting that will take place at the Arlington Heights Memorial Library, 500 N. Dunton Avenue, Arlington Heights, IL on Sunday, November 15, 2015 starting at 2 PM.

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

The formal presentation is titled “Poland in World War II”.  The presenter is James Pula.

The program is also being presented as a “live” webinar for those that cannot attend in person.  The PDF flyer noted below provides information on how to register for the webinar if you would like to participate in that manner.

Poland was the first nation to fight against German aggression in World War II and contributed the fourth largest contingent of Allied armed forces behind only the United States, United Kingdom, and the Soviet Union. It also contributed the largest, and arguably most effective, underground resistance movement during the European conflict.

This presentation will discuss Polish contributions to the Battle of France, the Allied campaigns in Narvik (Norway) and North Africa, in Italy, France, the Netherlands, and on the Eastern Front. Learn about the role of the Polish air force and the often overlooked participation of the small but effective Polish navy.

Learn about the Polish contributions to solving the German enigma coding machine that was essential to the Allied victory, the Home Army’s significant contribution to solving the problem of attacking the German flying bombs, and other intelligence and sabotage operations.

Guest speaker, James Pula, is a Professor of History at Purdue University. He has authored more than a dozen books and is the editor of the Polish American Encyclopedia and the academic journal Polish American Studies.

There is ample parking and light refreshments will be served.

The society has recently been having its quarterly programs at a variety of locations in Chicago and suburbs over the recent years rather than just at its main location in the city of Chicago, IL.

Here is a PDF flyer I received from the society that describes the program for the gathering:

Polish Genealogical Society of America (PGSA) Flyer For November 15, 2015 Program

You can also visit the society’s website and discover who they are and what resources are offered to those interested in Polish genealogical research.  You can visit the website at:

Polish Genealogical Society of America (PGSA) Website

Consider attending this program and learn about the PGSA and its membership as well as the topic being presented for this event.

Tony Kierna
Genealogy Coordinator
Schaumburg Township District Library

Chicago Genealogical Society Is Offering A Writing Contest For 2015-2016; $500 First Prize, $250 Second Prize And $100 Third Prize; Rules And Regulations In This Post As A PDF

Hi Everyone!

Chicago Genealogical Society LogoIn the October 2015 Chicago Genealogical Society Newsletter, I happened to notice that the society is offering a writing contest with prizes that will take place between September 1, 2015 through May 30, 2016.

The contest is open to both members of the society as well as non-members of the society.

The society will be offering the following prizes:

  • $500 for 1st Place
  • $250 for 2nd Place
  • $100 for 3rd Place

Take a look at the following 3 page PDF that provides all of the rules and requirements associated with this writing contest.

2015-2016 Chicago Genealogical Society Writing Contest Rules and Requirements

Lots of rules and requirements but they are not impossible.  If you are interested, read many times over the Rules and Requirements for the contest so your submission will be valid for evaluation.

I can’t say that I have seen such contests offered very frequently.  This one stands out from a society local to our area.  Also, this contest is open for another 7 + months.  You can’t say there is not enough time or that you would be hurried for time!

Read the PDF package above.  Lay out your plan.  Start writing.  Make your submission.

Sounds pretty straightforward!

Give it a try and put some extra money in your pockets as well as gaining acclaim in  a big way!

You can always visit the website of the Chicago Genealogical Society to see what they are all about at:

Chicago Genealogical Society

Tony Kierna
Genealogy Coordinator
Schaumburg Township District Library

The Swedish American Museum Will Be Offering A Genealogy Program On Saturday, October 24, 2015 From 10:00 AM To 12 Noon; “Writing A Family History” Presented By Dr. Daniel Hubbard

Hi Everyone!

I have been receiving some activities updates from the Swedish American Museum in Chicago, IL recently.  Some of the activities may be specifically related to genealogical events or programs.  Other events may have a historical context as it applies to Swedish history and ancestry.  Some events may be cultural.

I thought I would share with you a recent genealogy program update that I received from the Swedish American Museum.

The museum itself is located at 5211 North Clark Street in Chicago, IL.  The phone number for the museum is 773-728-8111.

You can reach the general website for the Swedish American Museum at:

Swedish American Museum in Chicago, IL

The Swedish American Museum will be offering a Genealogy Program  on Saturday, October 24, 2015 from 10 AM to 12 Noon.  The program title is “Writing A Family History”.  It will be presented by Dr. Daniel Hubbard.

Here is the text from the museum’s website that describes the program:

+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

Genealogy Program: 

Writing A Family History

Saturday, October 24, 2015; 10 AM to 12 Noon

Join us for this session with Dr. Dan Hubbard, a professional genealogist, who will instruct guests on how to go about writing your family history. Dan will discuss not just the “how-to” but also the “why-do.” What’s the best way to improve your research? Want your relatives and descendants to understand your research?

Be encouraged to write your ancestors’ stories and see how far it takes you!

Cost is free for Genealogy Center/Genealogical Society members; non-member cost is $10. Reservations appreciated. You may genealogy@samac.org to RSVP or ask any questions you may have about this session or call the Museum at 773.728.8111 and leave a message for the genealogy volunteer.

Note: The Nordic Family Genealogy Center is changing its name to the Swedish American Genealogical Society.

+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

Sounds like a topic of research that is important for all of us to consider.  Take your research data and convert it into that family history story you can share with the world.

Tony Kierna
Genealogy Coordinator
Schaumburg Township District Library

Czech and Slovak American Genealogy Society of Illinois (CSAGSI) Has An Upcoming Program on Saturday, November 7, 2015 in LaGrange, Illinois; “Early Cemetery Sleuthing Leads To Lessons Learned” Presented By Pat Biallas

Hi Everyone!

CSAGSI (Czech) LogoI just received a notice from the Czech and Slovak American Genealogy Society of Illinois (CSAGSI) of an upcoming program they will be having very soon.  The program will occur on Saturday, November 7, 2015 at 1:30 PM at the First Presbyterian Church of LaGrange, Illinois.  The church is located at 150 S. Ashland Rd. in LaGrange, IL.

Here is a Google Map showing the location of the church in LaGrange, IL:

First Presbyterian Church of LaGrange, IL Google Map

The topic of the program is “Early Cemetery Sleuthing Leads To Lessons Learned”.  The speaker for the program will be Pat Biallas.

Early mishaps in cemetery sleuthing led this writer to develop a 6 Step Plan to cemetery research. Topics covered include Doing your Homework, Planning your Visit, Cemetery Etiquette and Safety, Your Cemetery Sleuthing Toolkit, and Documenting & Photographing Your Finds.

Patricia Desmond Biallas is an award-winning writer, editor, researcher, genealogist and personal historian with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Journalism.
She’s worked as a writer, editor, columnist, and public relations professional for both for-profit and non-profit organizations. Pat has served as editor of The Quarterly, a publication of the Illinois State Genealogical Society, and as a columnist for Going In-Depth, an online genealogy magazine.

She’s also the publisher of “GeneaJourneys”, her personal genealogy blog where she recounts the stories of ancestors who struggled, succeeded and simply survived the challenges of the times they lived in. Her blog can be found at www.GeneaJourneys.wordpress.com.

Pat is a member of the Association of Professional Genealogists (APG), the Association of Personal Historians (APH), and the International Association of Family History Writers and Editors (ISFHWE). She won both Second Place and Honorable Mention awards in ISFHWE’s 2013 international writing contest for her column writing.

Pat also belongs to several local and national genealogical societies and Civil War heritage organizations, and is a recent graduate of ProGen, an 18-month educational program for genealogy professionals.

I did notice at the website for the society that they do have a large Calendar of Events of upcoming programs of interest to those researching Czech genealogy and Czech culture.  Genealogy items on the calendar are just one of many different kinds of Czech events you can find on the calendar.  It looks like the calendar is updated monthly with additions, deletions and changes.  You can view this calendar from their website here:

2015 Czech and Slovak American Genealogy Society of Illinois (CSAGSI) Calendar of Events

Mark the date and location down on your calendars.  For those doing Czech and Slovak research, you may want to connect with fellow researchers at this program.

Admission is free.  You do not have to be a member of the society to attend.

Check it out.

You can visit the web page of the society to obtain information and resources available from the society for interested Czech researchers at:

Czech and Slovak American  Genealogy Society of Illinois (CSAGSI) Website

Tony Kierna
Genealogy Coordinator
Schaumburg Township District Library