Category Archives: Tips

“What’s New At Ancestry.com November 2017” 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 November 2017 video posted from Ancestry.com that is titled “What’s New At Ancestry.com November 2017”.

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:  Feb 28 – Mar -3, 2018, RootsTech in Salt Lake city, May 2-5, NGS, Grand Rapids, MI; 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 Ancestry Functionality – Notes Notification and Comments Capability.  Look for the new icon that looks like a piece of paper signifying there is a “Note” associated with the profile header.  A tree can be public but a “note” can be considered private.  Notes that are public are viewable.  Also look for the icon that looks like a “text bubble” you would see in an online chat.  There could be a number associated with it that signifies how many comments are noted for the individual in the tree.

>  New Database
 – New York, New York, Births, 1910-1965; 7.8 million records; Birth Records; Indexed; Searchable; Images of documents can be browsed; select the year then the borough; browse images as if it were a microfilm.  Records are in English.

>  New Database – Salzburg, Austria, Catholic Baptisms, Marriages and Burials, 1600-1930; 1.9 million records;  Indexed; Searchable;  Select the Parish name within a long list of towns to browse images; Select the year range of records to browse images.  Select the type of church record to search.  Records are in German.  Can discover the name of the individual, baptism date, burial date, event location.

>  New Database – Halle (Saale), Germany, Military Recruitment Lists, 1828-1888;  no searchable records, only browseable;  Select by year of interest from list to browse through images; Records are in German.  Images are handwritten.

>  New Database – Bernalillo County, New Mexico, Marriage Index, 1888- 2017; 600,000 records; Indexed;   Searchable; Records are in English.  Records have been extracted and transcribed; there are no images in the database.

>  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

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Archdiocese of Chicago Catholic Church Records; Joseph Cardinal Bernardin Archives And Records Center; PDF Brochure Describing How To Access The Records

Hi Everyone!

One of my genealogy librarian colleagues sent me an email that contained a PDF of a brochure from the Archdiocese of Chicago for the Joseph Cardinal Bernardin Archives and Records Center.  Thank you Celeste!

It is important to be aware of this facility as a resource for any Chicagoland Catholic ancestors that you are researching.

Here is a link to a copy of the PDF Brochure:

Joseph Cardinal Bernardin Archives and Records Center PDF Brochure

For many of us our original research of Chicago Catholic ancestors took place with inquiries directly to the parishes where we know they were associated.  Perhaps we received a transcribed document showing what was copied off of a baptism record or a marriage record.  We generally did not see the original document.

Perhaps we then moved our research to using microfilms from the Mormons for the parishes of interest to us.  We were able to look through much data hand cranking the film, using the handwritten indexes to get us to the correct page of the ledger book.  We may very well have found the exact handwritten document or entry of that Catholic event of perhaps a Baptism.

And now we can actually look at the digital microfilm rolls of church after church from the Archdiocese of Chicago because these records are available online through FamilySearch.  You can find them here https://www.familysearch.org/search/collection/1452409.  Even the brochure from the archdiocese  notes that many of the Catholic records you may seek of Chicago ancestral Catholics are available from FamilySearch.

The brochure does mention that “School and Orphanage” records are available.  I have personally pursued researching for Baptism, Holy Communion, Confirmation, Marriage and Death records from the Archdiocese for my Chicago Catholic ancestors.  However, I have not really pursued School and Orphanage records.  So the Bernardin Archives center may be worth investigating just for this additional piece of historic data that may be in the hands of the Archdiocese.

Here is also a direct link to get you to the Joseph Cardinal Bernardin Archives and Records Center website for you to also peruse more than is just contained in the brochure.  You can find them at:

Joseph Cardinal Bernardin Archives and Records Center for the Archdiocese of Chicago

So check out the brochure, the website and the online digital microfilm rolls for the Archdiocese of Chicago Catholic Church Records to see how these resources can advance your research efforts for your Chicagoland Catholic ancestors.

Tony Kierna
Genealogy Coordinator
Schaumburg Township District Library

Nice PDF Guide From FamilySearch To Help You Understand How To Find Digital Images Of Records; Title Of Guide Is “Finding Digital Images Of Records On FamilySearch.org”

Hi Everyone!,

While browsing through a recent copy of the magazine “Internet Genealogy” I came across a very nice handy link from FamilySearch that can help us all better understand the hunt for digital images of records within FamilySearch.

FamilySearch has put together a very nice 2-page PDF titled “Finding Digital Images of Records on FamilySearch.org”.

It basically tells the reader to go to the main website for FamilySearch at www.familysearch.org and to look for the “Search” tab at the site’s home page.  (The current website structure does not show “Records”, “Books” and “Catalog” under the main “Search” Tab on the homepage.  Find these under the “More” Tab. Under “More”, look for “Search”.  Under the “Search” tab you will find “Records”, “Books” and “Catalog”.  )

Since the discontinuance of the microfilm lending process from FamilySearch effective on September 1, 2017, many researchers may not be aware of how they can easily access digital image material online that was once on microfilm.

I have previously shared my thoughts on using the online catalog of FamilySearch to look for your geographic areas of interest related to your ancestors.  It is in the catalog you will discover films of interest that may be available to you online in two methods.  The first, and the best, is that you will see a “camera” icon with no “lock” associated with the film.  When you click on it, you will have no access restriction associated with the film allowing you to view it directly online wherever you want to.  However, you may be slightly unlucky to discover a film of interest that has a “camera” icon with a small lock above it.  When you click on the link you will see a message that notes that while the film is digitally available for viewing, it can be viewed only at a Family History Center (FHC) that is generally a facility within a Church of Jesus Christ Latter Day Saints church building OR at a FamilySearch Affiliate Library like a participating public library.  (The “lock” part of the camera icon is a new and welcome visual that let’s you know there are viewing restrictions associated with the digital microfilm.  A few months ago you only saw a camera icon and only upon opening it did you see that there was a viewing restriction associated with it.)

Here is the link to this nice handy 2-page PDF that give you a better sense of how to connect to the myriad of digital images of records from FamilySearch.  Keep in mind to click on the “More” tab of the main site and keep in mind you will see an icon of a camera with or without a small lock above it to signify it is a digital microfilm available for viewing.

“Finding Digital Images of Records on FamilySearch.org”

See what you think.  This is your alternative to microfilms.  Know what you can find digitally online.

Tony Kierna
Genealogy Coordinator
Schaumburg Township District Library

“What’s New At Ancestry.com October 2017” 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 2017 video posted from Ancestry.com that is titled “What’s New At Ancestry.com October 2017”.

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:  Feb 28 – Mar -3, 2018, RootsTech in Salt Lake city, May 2-5, NGS, Grand Rapids, MI; 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 Ancestry Functionality – Quick Edit access to key fields.  Hover over any individual and you will see an “EDIT” box where you can make key changes to record but not have access to the fully editable fields.

>  New Database
 – California, County, Birth, Marriage and Death Records, 1849-1980; 3.0 million records; Birth, Marriage and Death Records; Indexed; Searchable; Images of documents can be browsed; select the county, record type and year range of records; browse images as if it were a microfilm.

>  New Database – Derbyshire, England, Baptism, Marriages and Burials, 1538-1991; 6.5 million records; Baptism, Marriage and Burials among 4 separate new Derbyshire databases; Starting with 1813, there is a separate database for baptisms, marriages and burials; Indexed; Searchable;  Select the Parish name within Derbyshire; Select the year range of records.  Can discover the name of the individual, baptism date, burial date, event location.  Records are in English.

>  New Database – Montana Birth Index, 1870-1986;  1.0 million records;  Birth record index; Indexed; Searchable; searchable by last name and other search limitations that can be entered via the template.   Records have been transcribed to create the index; Records are in English.  No images of original records.

>  New Database – Scotland, Extracted Parish Records, 1571-1997 ; 247,000 records; Indexed;   Records are in English.  Records have been extracted and transcribed; there are no images in the database.

>  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

Computer Assisted Genealogy Group Of Northern Illinois (CAGGNI) Offers DNA Special Interest Group (SIG) On Saturday October 14, 2017

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, October 14, 2017 starting at 10:30 AM 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:

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

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

For more information: DNA Special Interest Group

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

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

Entertaining And Informative Set Of 3 Teaching Genealogy Videos From GenealogyMagazine.Com; Think Of Monty Python; Worth Seeing The “Happy Dance”

Hi Everyone!

I recently came across some information from the Dick Eastman blog on some genealogy teaching videos.  I always like these kind of videos to learn more about enhancing your research skills.  The videos were created by GenealogyMagazine.com.  So I decided to take a look at the 3 videos that were noted by Dick Eastman.

Looking at those videos really made my day.  I am still smiling about what I saw and still remembering the major “lessons” to be learned from within the subject covered in each video.

You simply have to take a look at the videos.  Each video is no longer than about 5 minutes so it should not be too time-consuming for you to view.  And I guarantee, once you start watching them, you will watch each one from beginning to end (and probably go back a few more times for encore viewings).

Do you remember the old “Monty Python” shows on PBS?  The content of the videos will look familiar to you!

Did you ever do the “happy dance” after discovering some great genealogical gem through your hard work and research?  Watch and wait for a rather unique “happy dance”!

Do you put on a smile looking at some vintage stock newsreel film footage?  Great use of these kind of vintage newsreel shorts to make a humorous connection to a genealogical tip!

Here are the links to these wonderful little videos that will at least put a smile on your face and more likely make you really laugh hard and loud!

GenealogyMagazine.com, Episode 1, “Courthouse Research”

GenealogyMagazine.com, Episode 2, “Family Bible Records”

GenealogyMagazine.com, Episode 3, “Diaries and Journals”

Sometimes our research efforts create more stress than we can imagine.  These videos will help alleviate that tension and also give you some insights to improve your genealogy research skills.

View the videos … enjoy … get tense again …. view the videos again … and again … and again!  Smiles and laughs will soon follow!

Thank you GenealogyMagazine.com for the creative and informative work done by James Pylant, editor of GenealogyMagazine.com.  Check out GenealogyMagazine.com at:

GenealogyMagazine.com

Tony Kierna
Genealogy Coordinator
Schaumburg Township District Library

“Try-It! Illinois 2017” Free Database Access Available From October 1, 2017 Through November 30, 2017; Request Log-In ID/Password From Illinois Secretary Of State; Approximately 35 Genealogy And Family History Databases Available To Try

Hi Everyone!

Try It Illinois LogoThe Illinois Secretary of State makes available on an annual basis access to a variety of electronic databases that are available for libraries to add to their collection for a fee.  Trying the databases can give the user feedback as to whether the database is good and useful to that user.

The Illinois Secretary of State calls the trial “Try-It! Illinois 2017”.

The Illinois Secretary of State will provide you with a Log In ID and Password that will allow you to visit the databases and give them a test run to see if there is material of interest to you.  If you find a database of interest that your local library is currently not subscribing to you can then provide your input to that library to see if the database access can be obtained by that library for ongoing use.

You can go to the site where Try-It Illinois 2017 information can be found.  At this site you can also submit a request to obtain a Log-In ID and Password that will allow you access to the databases available during the trial.  Here is the site to begin your trial access to a multitude of databases:

Try-It! Illinois 2017

This trial is open to users from October 1, 2017 through November 30, 2017.

Here is a little write-up at the Try-It Illinois 2017 website describing more about this Try-It Illinois 2017 access:

About Try-It!

Welcome to Try-It! Illinois 2017, the eigthteenth annual statewide database trial, sponsored by Secretary of State and State Librarian Jesse White and the Illinois State Library. Try-It! Illinois offers the staffs and library users of the more than 5,000 ILLINET member libraries the opportunity to survey and evaluate a wide variety of electronic resources. Thanks to the partnerships between the Illinois State Library and the participating electronic resource vendors, there is no charge for accessing these databases during Try-It! Illinois.

Note: We ask that you not post the Try-It! Illinois login and password on the Internet, on Web sites or in publicly archived e-newsletters.

Once I logged in to the trial, I was able to select the “subject” category and it presented me with a list of subjects one of them being “Genealogy and Family History”.  I think selecting the “subject” category will be your best manner of looking for databases rather than the other categories.  Within that category I saw there was a list of 35 databases that had been categorized with this grouping.  You can select a database of interest that will get you to the provider of the database.  With a few more clicks you will ultimately get yourself to the database to actually try it out.

Some of the databases within this list are databases our library currently subscribes to such as Fold3, Historical Chicago Tribune, Historical New York Times, and Newspaper Archive.com.  Many of the databases on the surface are named in a manner that would make you wonder how it got categorized as a genealogy type database!  e.g. “Films on Demand”.  But, nonetheless, it is in the list of 35 databases.  Many seem to be more “pure” history databases and not so much genealogy databases as we are more familiar with.  But at least the “subject” category narrows down your choices over and above the hundreds of databases made available overall.

You also have access to the hundreds of other databases available during the trial, not just the genealogy databases.  The list of databases will be presented to you in alphabetical order by name (Product).  You can also look at the list by “Company” or “Library Type” or by “Subject” as I did to find the Local History and Genealogy Databases. ( I recommend using the “Subject” method to find databases of interest within a subject category.)

So just head on out to the Try-It! Illinois link I provided above and submit your request to obtain a Log In ID and Password from the Illinois Secretary of State to begin accessing this multitude of databases, 35 of which are identified as being Genealogy and Family History oriented.

We should give a big “thank you” to Jessie White, the Illinois Secretary of State and State Librarian for making this access available for trial on a recurring basis each year for a rather lengthy period.  This trial is open from October 1, 2017 to November 30, 2017.

Check out the databases, especially ones that you have not previously accessed or even knew about.  There are literally hundreds of databases to sample across a myriad of subjects.  You have access to all of these not just the 35 databases categorized as being for Genealogy and Family History.

See what you think.

Tony Kierna
Genealogy Coordinator
Schaumburg Township District Library