Category Archives: Tips

Our Recent Genealogy Program Speaker, Jennifer Holik, Has Just Had A World War II Military Research Article Published In Internet Genealogy, June/July 2015, Volume 10, Number 2; Article Title Is “Online Resources For Finding World War II Ancestors”; We Have That Journal In Our Collection

Hi Everyone!

Jennifer Holik

Jennifer Holik

I just want to let you know that Jennifer Holik, our recent May 12, 2015 Genealogy Program presenter,  has just had an article published in the recent issue of Internet Genealogy (June/July 2015, Volume 10, Number 2).  The title of the article is “Online Resources for Finding World War II Ancestors”.

For those in attendance for Jennifer’s program at our library in May, you may have seen that Jennifer has become an incredible World War I and II military researching  resource in our area.  Her program at our library was also on World War I and II military records.

For those doing World War I and II military ancestral research, I strongly recommend taking a look at this journal issue for Jennifer’s article.  It is packed with plenty of information in which she uses an example of her own ancestor for tracking down military records online.  It is a 5 page article that is just full of tips and website addresses to assist you in your own World War II military research.

We have this journal in our collection.  You can access this journal on the 2nd floor of our library on our magazine shelves.  I would strongly recommend making a personal copy of the article for your own current or future use if you do not currently subscribe to this journal yourself.

You can also find some tips on military research and other military research resources from Jennifer’s web site at:

Jennifer Holik Website

Jennifer is someone you will want to keep in mind as a military research resource for all things World War I and II.  Keep connected to her website for so much more you can discover that can help you in your own research.

Tony Kierna
Genealogy Coordinator
Schaumburg Township District Library

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

The video is an approximate 26 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 – IAJGS (International Association of Jewish Genealogy Societies) July 6-10, 2015 in Jerusalem, Israel, www.iajgs2015.org; Ancestry Days, November 7, 2015, Raleigh, NC; Ancestry Days, November 14, 2015, Indianapolis, IN.
  • Ancestry Blog Post – Ancestry.com beta site has visually changed.  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 the new “Life Story” view and the new “Facts View”.  Also, the sources and citations of your research are now more prominent and visible in the new site.
  • Ancestry Blog Post – Ancestry Academy is a new tutorial resource part of Ancestry.  Many free online hour-long tutorials on various aspects of genealogy research.  Many new tutorials requiring a subscription to the resource have been added.  If you have a World Deluxe Subscription to Ancestry, you should have access to Ancestry Academy at no further cost.  If you do not have such an encompassing subscription, you can subscribe to the Academy itself for an added cost.  Get all the information about this new service at Ancestry from the blog post here Introducing Ancestry Academy.
  • New Databases – Virginia Vital Records has been added.  It contains 24 million records.  Births from 1864-2014.  Marriages from 1936 to 2014.  Divorces from 1918 to 2014.  Deaths from 1912 to 2014.  Database is searchable and contains actual images of records from 1864 to 1913.  Record images not present after 1913.  You would need to contact Virginia Vital Records to obtain these directly from them.  This is due to privacy restrictions.  Much birth data back to 1864 due to high amount of delayed births that were filed over time.  Virginia did not require Civil birth filings until the 1900s.
  • New Databases –  Lancashire Quarter Session Records and Petitions.  Records from England.  1.2 million records.  Court records  Covers 1648 to 1908.
  • New Databases – Oregon Motor Vehicle Registration data.  Covers 1911 to 1946.  Contains about 3.5 million records.  You can find tickets that were issued as well as determine the type of car owned by an ancestor.
  • New Databases – South Africa Deaths covering 1895 to 1972.  Contains 2.2 million records.  Not searchable.  Browseable images by year and by location of towns in Cape Province South Africa.  Civil death records.
  • 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

Smallest Cemetery In Chicago!; Do You Know Where It Is? It Even Connects Back To Napoleon!

Hi Everyone,

Cemetery Headstones Clip ArtOnce again one of my wonderful colleagues shared with me some insights into cemeteries that exist in the city of Chicago.  We often think of historical cemeteries that still exist within the current boundaries of Chicago as containing hundreds and thousands of burials across many acres of land.  Yet his sharing with me was related to the “smallest” cemetery in Chicago.  That caught my attention because it sounded like a great game question that would be asked on some kind of TV show.

My colleague also has a connection to all things “Napoleon”.  His knowledge of Napoleon is deep and wide.  He shared this “smallest” cemetery information with me because for him it has a “Napoleon” connection but for genealogists it has a connection because it is related to being a “cemetery”.

And we all know how genealogists like cemeteries!!

I am not going to give you the details in this blog post directly that would spoil your own discovery of the information.  I will give you the link that came from “Chicago History Today” on the internet that was shared with me by my colleague.  I found this fascinating to read!

Check out the story about Chicago’s “smallest” cemetery here:

Chicago’s Smallest Cemetery

It was just a fun thing to hear about and read about.  I think you will also enjoy adding on another bit of trivial genealogical knowledge to your repertoire of all of your other genealogy knowledge!

So now you are prepared to provide an answer if that question ever comes up in genealogical conversation in the Chicago area.

Let me see …. I wonder what the “largest” cemetery is in the city of Chicago??

And on and on and on!

Tony Kierna
Genealogy Coordinator
Schaumburg Township District Library

United States National Archives YouTube Channel; Many Genealogy Videos Within The National Archives Channel

Hi Everyone!

National Archives LogoOne of my colleagues shared a link with me to the National Archives on one subject that led me to look around for some other resources that can be helpful to genealogists.  But then again, just about anything at the National Archives that relates to the history of the country can be beneficial to genealogy researchers.

I also did notice that there is a United States National Archives channel on YouTube.

You can view all that is within the United States National Archives YouTube Channel at:

United States National Archives YouTube Channel

When you first peruse all that is there you will find lots and lots of materials.  I did a little more of a refined search and started searching for items of genealogical interest within the entire National Archives channel on YouTube using the search term “genealogy” within the search box to search the channel.

The results of this search also provided me with many wonderful items that areYouTube Logo genealogically related that are contained in the channel.

Here is a link to the “Genealogy” items within the United States National Archives YouTube Channel:

Genealogy Items Within The United States National Archives YouTube Channel

Items come up with and without having the word “genealogy” in the title.  The National Archives must be “tagging” or giving the items a note of being also under the umbrella of “genealogy” that you cannot determine from just looking at the item in the results list.  That is how my search using the term “genealogy” discovered them.

You will find many items of interest within the total National Archives channel.  I just find it interesting to see the varied topics that exist, many of which have rather lengthy videos to view.

I just wanted to make you aware of what is another great genealogical resource on YouTube specifically contained within the National Archives channel.

It is just fun to look through all the varied topics.  Something will jump out at you for you to click on and view.  I started clicking away at many of the small videos on preservation activities related to the Declaration of Independence and the U.S. Constitution.

Tony Kierna
Genealogy Coordinator
Schaumburg Township District Library

National Archives Researcher News Newsletter; Subscribe To It Or Just Access It At Included Website; It Provides Information On How To Research At The National Archives

Hi Everyone!

National Archives LogoJust wanted to let you know that if you are considering using the National Archives of the United States as a research resource, you may want to connect with them via their website at:

National Archives of the United States

Or even better, you may want to take a look at a series of newsletters they have been creating at irregular intervals that is geared for the National Archives researcher.  The most recent newsletter publication date is May 2015.  A couple of the prior ones were published in July 2014.  Hence the term “irregularly” published.  You can submit your email to them and subscribe to receive the issues when they are published.

The inaugural newsletter started in 2006.

They seem to be published less frequently in the most recent years than they were when first started.  There is one for 2015, one for 2014,  and before 2014 there often were 3 to 4 per year.

The size of the newsletter also varies in size.  Some are in the 12 page range.  Some have been as much as 24 pages.

So publication intervals varies as does size of the newsletter itself.

I think it is worth making you aware of this resource so that you simply become more knowledgeable about using the National Archives materials in a more effective manner to advance your own research.  Their newsletter is a very good vehicle for you to become aware of key National Archives developments.

You can reach the newsletter page of the National Archives at:

National Archives Researcher News Newsletter

Check out the newsletters that are currently online.  Learn a lot more about the National Archives.

Tony Kierna
Genealogy Coordinator
Schaumburg Township District Library

Revisit FamilySearch.org For Updated Illinois Databases; 5 Illinois Databases Have Been Updated In The Last 4 Months

Hi Everyone!

FamilySearch.org LogoI was browsing around FamilySearch.org today.  I happened to notice that 5 of the total of 25 Illinois databases in the collection are noted as having been updated in the last 4 months.  Updated dates are being shown as for February and April 2015.

One thing I emphasize is that you must make return visits to your database resources because these are added to over time with new information, some of that information may be for your ancestors!

Illinois databases I noted that have been recently updated are:

  • Illinois, County Marriages, 1810-1934 updated on April 24, 2015.  It contains 1,026,354 searchable records at this time.  Here is a direct link to the database Illinois, County Marriages, 1810-1934.

If you are doing Illinois, Cook County, Chicago research and have not visited these databases of late, then now would be a good time to say hello again to these wonderful databases that are geared directly to your own research.  4 of the 5 updated databases are searchable.  One of them is only browseable by looking through the images.  This is still very useful to your search.  Don’t just use databases that are only indexed and searchable.  You can still make great headway in your research in the browseable only databases.  These are not that impossible to look through as you might think.

Generally, your research may be across many more states and counties.  So if I am able to report 5 of the Illinois databases have recently been updated, it is a good idea to check the other geographic areas of searching interest for any updating activities.

And also don’t forget to check on the international databases for the various countries you are researching.  They too are often updated.

Keep tuned in to your resources.  They may not change for a while and then all of a sudden new data appears!

Tony Kierna
Genealogy Coordinator
Schaumburg Township District Library

Oral Interviews Are Critical To Your Genealogy Research; Watch/Listen To A 1 Hour Previously Recorded Webinar Presented By Barry Ewell Titled “Conducting Oral Interviews: The Most Important Research You’ll Ever Do”

Hi Everyone!

STDL Central Summer LgI receive an e-mail update on the blog activities of Barry Ewell who has a blog called “Genealogy with Barry”.  He forwards to me a blog newsletter titled “Genealogy By Barry Newsletter”.

I would highly recommend connecting to his online blog just to explore.  He has an incredible amount of content on the blog as well as an incredible amount of content in his newsletter.

You can visit his blog at:

Genealogy By Barry

In the December 1, 2014 newsletter, I noticed he had a “Webinar” subject category in the newsletter that contained a link to a webinar he created on a very important topic in genealogy research that I feel we often tend to overlook too much.  His webinar topic is called “Conducting Oral Interviews: The Most Important Research You’ll Ever Do”.

Interviews are so important early on in your genealogy research because the person you want to interview may not be available years after your  interest has started.  These relatives are generally elderly when you start your interest in genealogy.  You may think that you have time down the road to conduct an interview.  However, we all have our own personal stories of our relatives passing away due to an illness that may have taken their lives quickly.  These relatives may hold incredible family history stories for your research that can be gone in the blink of an eye as they age.

The availability of online data has made us turn away far too easily from conducting these important interviews.  We seem way too inclined to start tapping away at the keyboard rather than spending some serious time with a relative capturing their stories.  Sometimes we search online because we think what we know is enough to pursue genealogy.  Yet golden opportunities are wasted to get even more information from our elderly relatives because so much is at our fingertips.

Don’t pass up these wonderful opportunities to capture these stories before they are lost forever.

Barry Ewell has created a 1 hour and 8 minute online webinar of how to go about conducting these very important oral histories.  You want to make the most out of your time with an elderly relative to capture these moments.  Barry provides a nice webinar that will give you the roadmap you want to successfully conduct your own oral history interviews.

You can view Barry’s webinar at his web site at:

“Conducting Oral Interviews” Webinar by Barry Ewell

It may be one of the best hours you can spend to establish a good foundation for your family history research efforts.

Tony Kierna
Genealogy Coordinator
Schaumburg Township District Library