Category Archives: Tips

Great News! Our Library Is Now A FamilySearch Affiliate Library; Gain Access To More Digital Microfilm Data When Using FamilySearch Within Our Main Library Location And Our 2 Branch Locations

Hi Everyone!

For those of you who have attended some of our very recent genealogy programs, you have heard me announce that our library had applied for and was in the process of becoming a FamilySearch Affiliate Library.

I am happy to announce that we are now in fact a functioning FamilySearch Affiliate Library!

What does this mean?

It means that for those doing Family History research, our library as an Affiliate Library will have access to more digital microfilm data for those viewing the FamilySearch website (www.familysearch.org) from within all of our library locations than a researcher can access from their home location.  Users of FamilySearch from within our library locations simply need to log-in to FamilySearch with their FamilySearch Username and Password and then start using the FamilySearch website.

You don’t have a Username/Password with FamilySearch?  No problem.  Just sign up for a FREE Username with FamilySearch directly at their website at www.familysearch.org.

Use our library computers or use your own laptop, tablet or smart phone while in any of our 3 locations when you are connected to our Wi-Fi network at that location.

It’s as simple as:

  • Visit one of our 3 library locations
  • Use one of our library’s public computers or connect your laptop, tablet or smart phone to the Wi-Fi network of that location.
  • Go to the FamilySearch website at www.familysearch.org and sign in with them with your FREE FamilySearch Username and Password
  • Search for FREE for your ancestors among the FamilySearch databases using a surname OR search the FamilySearch catalog for FREE for a geographic area associated with your ancestors.
  • Add to your family tree with the surname search results you receive for FREE.
  • Add to your family tree with the additional digital microfilm data images of records you can view for FREE when searching the FamilySearch online catalog for the places where your ancestors lived.

FamilySearch Affiliate Library status can connect you to more FREE digital data (previously in the form of microfilms) than you can get access to from home. The additional data is especially noticeable when using the FamilySearch online catalog and looking for geographic locations where your ancestors may have lived.  In most cases, more of those digital data films are available to you from within our library than if you did the same geographic search from your home in the FamilySearch online catalog.

That is the benefit to you of us becoming a FamilySearch Affiliate Library.

Personally, when I access the FamilySearch online catalog from home and do a “place name” search for various ancestral Polish villages, I see the various digital data files but they are indicated to me as restricted from home.   These can be viewed at a Family History Center or at a FamilySearch Affiliate Library such as we are now.  I can now view a significantly larger amount of the digital microfilm data material of my Polish ancestral villages from within our library.  YIPPEE!

Start your family tree or add to your family tree with more data that you can now access from our library’s locations through our library’s FamilySearch Affiliate Library status than you can access from home!

Tony Kierna
Genealogy Coordinator
Schaumburg Township District Library

July 14, 2018 (Saturday), Computer Assisted Genealogy Group Of Northern Illinois (CAGGNI) Will Be Offering A Special Interest Group (SIG) For Apple Mac Users That Use “Reunion” As Their Lineage Program; From 12:45 PM To 2:45 PM At The Schaumburg Township District Library

Hi Everyone!

I just received an email notice from the Computer Assisted Genealogy Group of Northern Illinois (CAGGNI) that the next meeting of the  Reunion (Mac Lineage Software) Special Interest Group (SIG) is coming up soon.

The meeting of this SIG group will take place on Saturday, July 14, 2018, between 12:45 PM to 2:45 PM at our library, the Schaumburg Township District Library located at 130 S. Roselle Road in Schaumburg, IL.  Our library is located in the Town Square complex at the intersection of Roselle Road and Schaumburg Road.

All are welcome to attend. You do not have to be a member of CAGGNI to attend.

Bruce Christopher of the CAGGNI group will be acting as facilitator for the group.

Here is a description of the program from the CAGGNI email:

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Reunion Special Interest Group

Calling all Apple users!  Reunion is a genealogy software designed specifically for Macintosh and also available as an app for iPhone, iPod Touch and iPad.  Learn the tips and tricks that will have you utilizing this highly regarded program to its fullest.

If you have a laptop, please bring it with you. Learning software is enhanced in a hands-on environment.

Facilitator:  Bruce Christopher

For more information: Reunion Special Interest Group

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Apple Mac users using Reunion, now is your chance to really learn a lot more about your own program from others that are also using the product.  Maybe you are already a good user of the product.  Consider sharing your skills with others using the Apple Mac system and Reunion.

More and more computer users have been switching over to Apple products over the last few years and this includes the desktop/laptop machines as well as mobile devices like the iPhone, iPad and iPod Touch.

Mark your calendars for this great opportunity to really become more skilled at using an incredibly well-rated lineage product on your Apple products.

Check out more about the CAGGNI organization itself and all that it offers.  Keep in touch with them at their website at:

Computer Assisted Genealogy Group of Northern Illinois (CAGGNI)

Enjoy the program.

Enjoy the organization.

Enjoy your Mac genealogy lineage software even more than you already do!

Tony Kierna
Genealogy Coordinator
Schaumburg Township District Library

July 14, 2018 (Saturday) Computer Assisted Genealogy Group Of Northern Illinois (CAGGNI) Offers Internet Genealogical Services Special Interest Group (SIG) At The Schaumburg Township District Library

Hi Everyone!

CAGGNI logo

Just want to make everyone aware that the Computer Assisted Genealogy Group of Northern Illinois (CAGGNI) has an Internet Genealogical Services special interest group (SIG).

I just received an email from the group indicating that their next meeting will take place on Saturday, July 14, 2018 from 10:30 AM to 12:30 PM at the Schaumburg Township District Library.

All are welcome to attend.  You do not have to be a member of the group in order to participate.  See what this SIG is all about as well as see what CAGGNI is all about.

Here is the text describing what will take place at this upcoming Internet SIG:

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Welcome to the CAGGNI INTERNET SIG!

Internet Genealogical Services include Ancestry, Family Search, My Heritage, Find My Past, WikiTree and many others.  The Internet Special Interest Group intends to review questions about these services and have a dialog on the advantages and features of the services used by members.  This complements the features available from computer programs such as Family Tree Maker or RootsMagic that exploit the on-line databases available from the internet services.

Facilitator:  Alan Wilson

For more information: Internet Special Interest Group

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Consider connecting with this special interest group within the CAGGNI organization that is local to our area.  You may have a vested interest with personal subscriptions to many of these services.  Why not get to know how to better use them in your online searches or uploads.

Learn from others, help others.

You can always visit the general website of the CAGGNI group to see what they are all about.  And I can guarantee you they are about many things genealogically speaking, including having this Internet SIG group.  You can visit CAGGNI at:

Computer Assisted Genealogy Group of Northern Illinois

See how this CAGGNI group can help you with all things related to online Internet Genealogical Resources.

Tony Kierna
Genealogy Coordinator
Schaumburg Township District Library

“Chicago And Cook County Cemeteries” Website; Placename Listings; Also Within Townships; Many Blog Posts

Hi Everyone!

Once again, Tom, my wonderful colleague at the library has made me aware of a great website that I was not aware of.  This website goes under the name of “Chicago and Cook County Cemeteries”.

A quick review by me shows this is a “keeper” site for you to bookmark on your browsers.

You can get to this site here:

Chicago and Cook County Cemeteries

Check out the alphabetical listings sections of the cemeteries.

Check out the geographic section by township identification and see what cemeteries are within each township to help you correlate ancestral family locations by township.

Also, browse through the various blog posts.  I looked at the one in the most recent list titled “Chicago Area Undertakers” and saw that it was loaded with all kinds of old-time advertisements related to Chicago undertakers (Skeeles Bros. $25 casket, $65, casket and funeral!).  “Undertaker” was the title used back in the day in comparison to today’s title of “Funeral Director”.

I think if you have any Chicago ancestral connection you really must browse through the variety of blog posts under the category of “cemeteries”.  They are historically fascinating to read as well as look at all of the sundry included documents and maps and images.

This is really a fun site to spend some time exploring.  The pictures, maps and advertisements will just keep pulling you in deeper and deeper.

This is the time of the year in our area for you to do your cemetery research on site and not just by tapping your fingers on a keyboard.  Of course, I don’t think I would head out to a cemetery on one of our recent 97 degree summer days.  But our “cemetery” season is relatively short to visit the final resting places of our ancestors.  You can really get some good info at this site to use to prepare for any on-site cemetery research you plan on doing over the next 3-4 months in our area.

Enjoy this site!

Tony Kierna
Genealogy Coordinator
Schaumburg Township District Library

Journal Article Comparing 5 Different DNA Tests For Genealogy; Pros And Cons Noted; Includes A Nice Comparison Table; Worth Reading To See The Differences

Hi Everyone!,

My colleague Tom at our library made me aware of a journal article he saw in ScienceNews that provided a comparison of a user’s experience in having genealogical DNA tests done across 5 different service providers.

It looked like a good article that I want to share with you.

The five companies mentioned in the article that were used for testing by the author were:

  • National Geographic Geno 2.0
  • Living DNA (I had not been aware of this company)
  • Family Tree DNA
  • 23AndMe
  • Ancestry DNA

The author provides insights into her experience with each of the above companies.  She identifies test names she had done and also provides some “Pros” and “Cons” on her experience as well as on the tests she had done.

You can see the article here:

“What I Actually Learned About My Family After Trying 5 DNA Ancestry Tests”

She also includes a nice table for the 5 services showing the costs for the tests done and noting what each company test includes or does not include for various genetic tests.

Well-worth taking a look at the article and especially at the table of comparisons for a nice birds-eye view of costs and services.

Thank you Tom for making me aware of this article!

Enjoy the article.

Tony Kierna
Genealogy Coordinator
Schaumburg Township District Library

Computer Assisted Genealogy Group Of Northern Illinois (CAGGNI) Offers DNA Special Interest Group (SIG) On Saturday June 16, 2018

Hi Everyone!

CAGGNI logoHave you submitted your DNA for genealogical analysis?

Are you trying to make sense of the results you received back?

Feel like talking about it but don’t know where to turn?

Just want to make everyone aware that the Computer Assisted Genealogy Group of Northern Illinois (CAGGNI) has a DNA special interest group (SIG).

I just received an email from the group indicating that their next meeting will take place on Saturday, June 16, 2018 from 10:30 AM to 12:30 PM at the Schaumburg Township District Library.

This program is open to all.  You do not have to be a member of the CAGGNI group in order to participate.

Here is the text describing what will take place at this upcoming DNA SIG:

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DNA Special Interest Group

CAGGNI’s genomic genealogy group continues into its third year. This group focuses on learning the methods for analyzing DNA test results. We study topics such as autosomal DNA, mitochondrial DNA, Y-DNA and surname projects, X-DNA and ancestral admixture results. We’ll also investigate third party tools for analyzing your raw data and comparing DNA and gedcom data with test kit results from companies besides the one you tested with.

DNA can break down genealogical brick walls once thought impenetrable – but only if you know how.

The SIG will combine short 15-20 minute lectures with interactive workshop-style activities.  

Get ready to put your DNA results to work for you!

Facilitators:  Dr. David Stumpf and Alan Wilson

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Consider connecting with this special interest group local to our area.  You spent good money on your DNA kits.  Why not really learn how to interpret and use your results in a real productive manner.  I am sure your testing company offers automated ways to interpret results through PowerPoint presentations or YouTube videos or maybe even person to person via customer service.  Here is your chance to discuss Genealogy DNA among fellow testers.  Learn about DNA tests that are over and above what you started with and how they can help you even more.

Learn from others, help others.

You can always visit the general website of the CAGGNI group to see what they are all about.  And I can guarantee you they are about many things genealogically speaking, including having this DNA SIG group.  You can visit CAGGNI at:

Computer Assisted Genealogy Group of Northern Illinois

See how this CAGGNI group can help you with your DNA results.

Tony Kierna
Genealogy Coordinator
Schaumburg Township District Library

“What’s New At Ancestry.com May 2018” 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 May 2018 video posted from Ancestry.com that is titled “What’s New At Ancestry.com May 2018”.

The video is an approximate 18 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 –  Large conference dates for 2018 have been set.  These are:  May 31-June 2, 2018, So Cal Genealogy Jamboree in Burbank, CA; Aug 6-10, 2018, International Association of Jewish Genealogical Associations, Warsaw, Poland; August 22-25, Federation of Genealogical Societies, Fort Wayne, Ind.

>  New Database – Ireland, Index to Prerogative Wills, 1536-1810; 38,000 records; searchable and browseable; it is an Index only so you will see a surname only in the index with no access to the actual will directly.  You will see the surname, first name of the deceased, year probated and probate location.  To find database, go Ancestry.com or Library Edition, select “Search”, scroll down to “catalog”, use “Ireland” as search term, sort databases by “date added”, newest releases are on top of list identified as “new”.

>  New Database – New Zealand, World War I Service Records, 1914-1920; 383,000 records;  searchable with image.  Image is combination of print form with hand writing on it;  One example of a form I looked had 18 questions responded to by the person that also included their signature; To find databases, go Ancestry.com or Library Edition, select “Search”, scroll down to “catalog”, use “New Zealand” as search term, sort databases by “date added”, newest releases are on top of list identified as “new”.

>New Databases – Jankoping, Sweden, Church Records, 1633-1860143,000 records;  Jankoping is one of 6 new Swedish locality databases added this month; searchable but no actual image but does contain a text record description ; records are in Swedish.   To find databases, go to Ancestry.com or Library Edition, select “Search”, scroll down to “catalog”, use “Sweden” as search term, sort databases by “date added”, newest releases are on top of list identified as “new”.

>New Database – U.S; Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, Swedish American Church Records, 1800-1946 (Includes Canadian Records);   3.5 million records; searchable by country, state, province, city and browseable ; transcribed records with images of original records; can discover name, event, residence date, address, residence place; records are in English.  To find databases, go Ancestry.com or Library Edition, select “Search”, scroll down to “catalog”, use “Evangelical Lutheran” as search term, sort databases by “date added”, newest releases are on top of list identified as “new”.

>New Database – Victoria, Australia, Death Index, 1836-1988;   5.0 million records; searchable by surname ; no image of original record but a text transcription of the record shown; can discover name, event, residence date, parents, certificate reference number; records are in English.  To find databases, go Ancestry.com or Library Edition, select “Search”, scroll down to “catalog”, use “Victoria” as search term, sort databases by “date added”, newest releases are on top of list identified as “new”.

>  Tip From Crista – A particular database may have no connection to your research but you may still benefit from knowing about it.  As an example, there may be an Australian Outbound Passenger List database.  You may not have an Australian connection, but discovering that Outbound passenger records exists may allow you to consider to see if such records exist for the country associated with your ancestor.

>  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 has noted on past videos 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