Monthly Archives: December 2015

New Poll On Right Sidebar Of The Blog; Simple Question Being Posed; “Are You Currently Using Family Tree Maker Lineage Software For Which Ancestry.Com Indicated It Is Retiring The Software?”; “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.

“Are You Currently Using Family Tree Maker Lineage Software For Which Ancestry.Com Indicated It Is Retiring The Software?”  Yes or No

On December 8, 2015 Ancestry.com announced that it will be retiring Family Tree Maker lineage software?  What does that mean.  It means it will no longer be developing the software and will only continue to support it via customer support until December 31, 2016.  After that, you will no longer be able to call in for assistance to help you through problems you might encounter with your working software.

Your existing software will still continue to function but there will be no new or upgraded versions of the software coming for you to purchase.  So over time your product though continuing to work will no longer have the capability to be upgraded to newer features that other software developers may be installing in their lineage software product.

Such an exit from a business can and does put those that are using their service into a tizzy!  Your Family Tree Maker will continue to work but do you want to stay with it until it absolutely no longer functions within future operating system upgrades?  Maybe it is better to start looking into other lineage software to purchase and then transfer your Family Tree Maker data into it via a GEDCOM transfer.

With this new poll I just want to know if you are a Family Tree Maker user that is impacted by Ancestry.com’s decision to exit Family Tree Maker as a product it has developed, sold and supported.

So ……………………. “Are You Currently Using Family Tree Maker Lineage Software For Which Ancestry.Com Indicated It Is Retiring The Software?”

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 Ever Downloaded A Genealogy E-Book That You Used Rather Than An Available Genealogy Book In Print?”; 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 October 28, 2015.  It is time to move on!  I think a new poll question is in order to start 2016!

The poll had asked the question “Have You Ever Downloaded A Genealogy E-Book That You Used Rather Than An Available Genealogy Book In Print?”

The results of the poll showed the following from the 34 total respondents that took the brief time to provide their “Yes” or “No” response to the question.  The numbers show that 13 responses (38.24%) noted they have downloaded a genealogy E-Book  while 21 responses (61.76%) indicated they have not downloaded a genealogy E-Book .

I am actually surprised at the numbers showing that 38.24% have downloaded a genealogy E-Book.  I actually thought there would have been less indicating they have downloaded a genealogy E-Book.  Not my scientific opinion,  just a gut feeling.  This is good to see.  When I search for genealogy books to add to our collection, there are many times I actually find what looks like a book but then see that it is a book only available in the Kindle format.  I generally do not order just E-Book genealogy material.  As a selector I also like to see it available in print primarily so I can order a print copy for our shelves.

Many authors today certainly find it easier to write books that find their way to E-Book format rather than in print or in print as well.  When you avoid printing a book onto paper, you can avoid a substantial amount of costs.  So even printing can be done in a more effective manner today.  Books can be printed “on-demand” as needed from electronic original material.

In days past, authors often had to pay up front for a minimum print run of perhaps hundreds if not a thousand books when they did not find a publisher who would take the risk.  An author could be thousands and thousands of dollars in the hole right from the start.  If the book is not a good seller, the author is the one left with a garage or basement full of unsold books he authored.

Self-publishing is the way of today for small-scale authors today.  Yes there are still many well-known authors that have publishers who advance them hundreds of thousands of dollars but for the average “Joe” interested in authoring a book, self-publishing either in E-Book format or E-Book and Print-On-Demand may be the way to go.

But we all know that there still may be more and more material in the future coming online as an E-Book.  If there is no version in print, your choice is to download the book as an E-Book or forget reading it.

For me, even a large iPhone with a 5.5 inch screen is still too small for me to want to sit with and read a novel.  A 9.0 inch iPad screen is much more doable to read from, plus it is simply easier on the eyes.

So what are you going to do next time you are faced with some interesting genealogy material in E-Book format only?  Are you going to download it and read it on your favorite device?  Or are you still going to hope that it one day appears on your library’s shelf?

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 21 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

Northwest Suburban Genealogy Society (NWSGS) Next Program Scheduled For Saturday Morning, January 9, 2016 At 10:00 AM; “Solving Genealogical Mysteries With Facebook’s 5,000+ Genealogy Groups” Live Webinar By Katherine Willson

Hi Everyone,

Northwest Suburban Genealogy Society logo.newjpg (New 2014-25)-150I just received a program notice from the Northwest Suburban  Genealogy Society (formerly known as the Northwest Suburban Council of Genealogists) indicating that their next genealogy program is scheduled for Saturday morning, January 9, 2016 at 10:00 AM.

The society will be meeting on Saturday, January 9, 2016 at 10:00 AM at the Arlington Heights Senior Center, 1801 W. Central Road in Arlington Heights, IL.

There is no prior registration needed.  There is no fee to attend.

The society offers an early informal gathering at 9:00 AM that would allow you to exchange information and ask questions with others present at the time before the formal program starts.

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

Feature Presentation Clip ArtThe speaker for the morning program will be Katherine Willson.    The speaker will present a program titled “Solving Genealogical Mysteries with Facebook’s 5,000+ Genealogy Groupsvia a “Live Webinar”.

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

Northwest Suburban Genealogy Society (NWSGS) January 9, 2016 Program Notice

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

You can always visit the website of the Northwest Suburban Genealogy Society to see what they are all about at:

Northwest Suburban Genealogy Society

Tony Kierna
Genealogy Coordinator
Schaumburg Township District Library

Ancestry.com And Ancestry Library Edition Have Chicago And North Western Railroad Records Online For Retired And Deceased Employees Covering 1935-1970

Hi Everyone!

ancestry-logoI was reading through the recent Chicago Genealogical Society Newsletter (December 2015) and saw an article in there describing one of the databases at Ancestry.com (also the Ancestry Library Edition).  It is a database for anyone doing Chicago ancestral research or Midwestern research to consider to search .

The database is titled “U.S., Chicago and North Western Railroad Employment Records, 1935-1970”.

I tried leaving a link for you to go to it directly but the link would only link you to the general Ancestry.com page after a while.  So your best bet is to go to Ancestry.com or our library edition product and just access the Card Catalog under the Search Tab.  Then use the database name I noted above.  That way you can explore all about the database as well as the description of the material for the database.

The database is searchable and also browseable, but I did see records that came up in my search for which there was no image of the record.  Perhaps, these are the records considered as being unavailable for privacy concerns.

The Chicago and North Western Historical Society had these personnel records Chicago and North Western Railroad Logoin their possession but did need to move them to another location.  That location was the Newberry library in Chicago, IL.  Prior to the move the society was able to work with Ancestry.com and have the data scanned so it could become a database within Ancestry.com.

Here is the database description of this material as found in Ancestry.com:

This collection of railroad employee records from the Chicago and North Western Railroad and the Chicago, St. Paul, Minneapolis & Omaha Railway was digitized from the collections of the Chicago & North Western Historical Society. The Chicago, St. Paul, Minneapolis & Omaha Railway was a smaller railroad established in 1880 and 1881 with the mergers of several rail lines. In 1882, the Chicago & North Western (CNW) bought controlling stock interest in the railway, which passed through Wisconsin, Minnesota, South Dakota, Iowa, and Nebraska.

This collection includes Chicago & North Western Work Cards and Social Security applications for the years 1937–1970 and retiree records from the Chicago, St. Paul, Minneapolis & Omaha Railway, a smaller semi-independent railway the CNW owned a controlling interest in.

  • employee names
  • occupations within the company, with dates and locations of service
  • residences
  • Social Security numbers (redacted for those born after 1912)
  • birth dates
  • death dates
  • start dates with the company
  • employee signatures
  • absences from service of the company
  • parents’ names (on Social Security applications)

Research Tips Pay special attention to leaves of absence. Some farmers worked railroads during the winter and requested leaves of absence during the summers to work their family farms.

Note: For potentially living persons, images have been withheld for privacy reasons.

Craig Pfannkuche, a speaker we have had in the past for our genealogy programs, was at one time the archivist of these paper records.  I had seen him give a presentation on these Railroad Records.  He noted that he would be happy to do some look-ups on surnames given to him.  I gave him just a few of my surnames of interest and he was able to find employment records and information on the names provided.  WOW!  That was a great discovery.  My ancestors were in the Chicago area which made searching railroad records a meaningful search.  Craig had mentioned that railroads back to the 1850s going forward were often the largest employers of people in the country.

So if you have ancestors from all over the country, just do a search in Google looking for “railroad historical societies” to see if you can find a railroad society in the geographic area of your ancestors.  These societies just like the Chicago and North Western society may have similar records in their possession.

Also do a search within the card catalog of Ancestry.com using the search term “railroad” to see what Ancestry may have in their databases for railroad records or other data related to railroads.

Take a look at these records as well as read the database description above.  Perhaps you may find something within this database if you had Midwestern ancestral connections as well as Chicago connections.

Tony Kierna
Genealogy Coordinator
Schaumburg Township District Library

Free Genealogy Software Posting Made By Dick Eastman; Something To Consider In Light Of The Recent Ancestry.com Announcement On The Ending Of Family Tree Maker Software

Hi Everyone.

ancestry-logoOn December 8, 2015, Ancestry.com announced that it will be ending the creation of it’s Windows and Mac lineage program Family Tree Maker.  There will be one more year of support for Family Tree Maker users through December 31, 2016.  After that the program will no longer be developed or supported.

If you are a user of Family Tree Maker your existing software will still continue to work on your machine.  But many users of a discontinued lineage program often feel uncomfortable when they discover their program will no longer exist in the future as to future developments or new releases.

And so with this big announcement from Ancestry.com there has been a lot of

Dick Eastman

Dick Eastman

“buzz” going around about this.  Dick Eastman in his online genealogy blog created a post highlighting all of the “free” lineage genealogy software that still exists for users to consider using or trying regardless of what software they currently are using.  Most of these programs will work both for Windows machines and for Macs.

Here is a link to the Dick Eastman blog post on “Free Genealogy Software”:

December 10, 2015 Dick Eastman Blog Post On “Free Genealogy Software”

This is a well put together article that can help those currently undergoing the uncertainties of the news surrounding the discontinuance of Family Tree Maker.  Many of those users will be entertaining switching over to a completely new lineage program.  For everyone else this is still a great article because it will expose you to all the lineage software that is available for you to sample yourself whether you are a Windows user or a Mac user.

Whether you have uncertainty if you are currently using Family Tree Maker or would like to try out another lineage program, you can always get your lineage data into another program by creating a GEDCOM file from your program and then importing it into your trial program.

My one rule of thumb is to always import a GEDCOM into a newly name file and not into an existing family file that you use.

Just do a Google search using the following terms “importing exporting gedcom youtube” and you will see many YouTube videos on how to deal with GEDCOM files both for importing and exporting between a variety of the lineage programs that exist.

You can also go the Ancestry.com YouTube channel at:

Ancestry.com YouTube Channel

and just enter the term GEDCOM into the search box within the channel.  You will see many tutorial videos about importing, exporting and just about anything about what a GEDCOM process is.

Check out Dick’s expansive blog post on “free genealogy software” to see what is out there for you to consider using.  For all lineage software users this is a great chance to see what is out there for you to try that is different from what you are currently using.  There is plenty for both Windows and Mac users.

Tony Kierna
Genealogy Coordinator
Schaumburg Township District Library

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

The video is an approximate 33 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 – Salt Lake Institute, January 10 to 15, 2016 at Salt Lake City, UT., infouga.org; RootsTech 2016, February 3-5, 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 – All Ancestry.com members will be moving to the “new” Ancestry.com on December 15, 2015.
  • Ancestry Blog Post – Crista noted that in the New Ancestry that the Member Connect capability is back in Tools.  You would get a notification if you and someone else share the same person and the other party makes a change to the information for that person.
  • New Databases – Kentucky Divorce Records 1962-2005.  Contains 516,000 searchable records.  Searchable but with no images available.  Contains birth year, marriage, names, divorce year, divorce location, divorce certificate number that can be used to request copies of the actual records from the county where divorce occurred.
  • New Databases – English/Irish Freemason Membership Registers, 1751-1921.  Searchable and with images of original records.  Can often discover name of the member, when joined, with who joined, how long a member, lodge name, lodge number, lodge location, occupation, age, address.  Record images look very well-written and clear.  Look for any notations that might have been made to the 2-page entries.
  • New Databases – Pennsylvania WW I Veterans Service Files, 1917-1919, 1934-1948.  Searchable and with images.  About 700,000 records.  You can find birth info and birth location info of the person.  Residence of the person when filing the claim and the military branch served in.  Record images are typed and readable and also may contain other support documents provided by the veteran making the claim.
  • New Databases – Tulare County, California Sheriff’s and Jail Records.  Data is searchable and with images.  Can see the name of the person, court date, age, place of record and record type.  Data looks like a computer printout plus there are pages of “mugshots” associated with the page that have the inmate jail number.  The computer printout shows the name of the individual, the crime, physical description of the person, fingerprint classification and miscellaneous notes.  About 236,000 total records.
  • New Databases – Australasia Medical Directories, 1883-1915.  Searchable and browseable by year.  Years are not continuous.  Gaps exist. Images show an index of names within a community, their address and what the medical specialty was of the person.
  • 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

I Changed PREVIOUS PROGRAMS 2002 – 2014 Page Title To The Blog To Show Past Programs From 2002 To 2015

Hi Everyone!

I just changed the PAGE on the blog titled PREVIOUS PROGRAMS 2002 – 2014  to PREVIOUS PROGRAMS 2002 – 2015 to reflect our historical view of genealogy programs presented at our library to now include 2015.

You will find “Pages” to this blog on the top of the homepage of the blog.  You will see pages titled “About”,  “2016 Programs”, “Previous Programs 2002 – 2015”, “Favorite Links”, “Genealogy Program Flyer”.

Just look for it at the top of the blog.

Here is a direct link to the newly updated history of our genealogy programs presented at our library covering 2002 to 2015:

2002 – 2015 Genealogy Programs Presented at the Schaumburg Township District Library

Maybe you remember a program or speaker we had at one time.  Use this page to refresh your memory.  The programs are presented in order from 2015 back to 2002.  The programs within each year are in January through December month order.

Enjoy your travel through Memory Lane as it pertains to our past library genealogy programs!

Tony Kierna
Genealogy Coordinator
Schaumburg Township District Library