Category Archives: Tips

Permission Granted From Dan Niemiec, Our August 9, 2016 Genealogy Program Presenter, To Post A PDF Copy Of His Handout “Tips And Tricks For Using FamilySearch.org”

Hi Everyone!

Schaumburg Township District Library

Schaumburg Township District Library

What a great genealogy program we had last night!

We had a total of 60 participants in attendance last night and of those 60, 18 were noted as being first time attendees at our program!  In all the years I have been doing this I have never had that many first time attendees at any of my previous programs!

WOW!

Additionally, Dan Niemiec, our presenter for his program titled “Tips and Tricks for Using FamilySearch.org” was on fire last night with his presentation.  He really knows his stuff and presented the internet material in a way that was eye-opening, especially on how to use all of the search filters.  He also gave us many fun-filled laughs with his humorous comments made throughout.

See, genealogy can be and should be fun!  Thanks Dan!

Dan has also been kind enough to allow me to include in this post a PDF copy of his 12 page handout from last night’s programs.  For those of you that attended and picked up the paper handout this has little impact on you.  But for those of you that are regular attendees (or for anyone else that comes across this post out in the blogosphere) and were unable to attend last night,  this will be very helpful to you to have access to it electronically.

Here is the link to this 12 page handout:

August 9, 2016 “Tips and Tricks for Using FamilySearch.org” Handout From Presenter Dan Niemiec

Thank you to all that came out to our program last night.  Thank you to Dan Niemiec for allowing me to include the PDF version of the handout from last night.

I hope the program left you with a lot more knowledge on how to use the FamilySearch.org website at:

FamilySearch

Tony Kierna
Genealogy Coordinator
Schaumburg Township District Library

Family Tree DNA Has Sale Of Many Of Its DNA Products; Family Finder Product Normally $99 On Sale For $69

Hi Everyone!

Family Tree DNAHopefully, you have seen me making some recent blog posts about my entering the world of Genealogy DNA with the submission of my DNA for testing.  I submitted my DNA to Family Tree DNA for analysis.

I was able to submit when there was a sale of Family Finder, the “entry” level DNA product offered by Family Tree DNA.  Normally the product sells for $99.  I was able to obtain the product for $79.  I was very happy with that price.

Here is the link to Family Tree DNA:

Family Tree DNA Website; 2016 Summer Sale On Their DNA Products

Well guess what?  That same product from Family Tree DNA is now on sale for:

$69

So if you are on the fence for having your DNA testing as it pertains to your genealogical research but were still holding out for lower price testing, it looks like your ship has come in from Family Tree DNA.  At $69 the price represents a 30% discount off of the normal pricing.

This product has never been offered previously at the $69 price!  I had been monitoring it for sale prices and had always previously seen it discounted to the $79 purchase price I was able to get.

Many of their other DNA testing products that are significantly more expensive are also on sale with some great discounts.

When I look at the website for Family Tree DNA, I cannot find an “end” date for this fabulous sale.  I did find some other material on the web that noted this could be an “open-ended” sale meaning it will last for a while or it could mean that the next time you visit the web site thinking you will purchase a kit you discover that the sale prices reverted back to their higher.

I guess that is the perfect tease!!

I thought I got a great bargain when I purchased the Family Finder kit from Family Tree DNA for $79.  Now you have an opportunity to make a purchase for this same product for $69.  The web site as of my writing this post is still showing this product and many others still on sale.

Don’t wait!  If you have been considering testing your DNA now is the time at such a great price for this entry-level DNA product.

The $79 price sale when I purchased did not last long, maybe 2 weeks.  I was so happy with that discount.  You can get the same thing I got for even less at $69!!

Act now.  Don’t take a chance and think you can visit the site in a week to make your sale purchase.  It could be gone just that fast.

Tony Kierna
Genealogy Coordinator
Schaumburg Township District Library

I Took The Genealogy DNA Plunge (Continued)!; Received Confirmation From Family Tree DNA (FTDNA) Of Receipt Of Swabbed Samples; Batch Process Identified; Pending Date Range for Results!

Hi Everyone,

Family Tree DNAAs you may know from a recent post I made, I have taken the plunge into the world of Genealogy DNA.  I submitted my swabbed samples to Family Tree DNA (FTDNA at www.familytreedna.com) for processing in their Family Finder product.

I did receive an email confirmation from FTDNA that they have in fact received my swabbed samples.  I will say, it sure does look like FTDNA is doing a good job of keeping me informed at each step of the DNA process as to what is happening.

As of the writing of this post, I have not received any further information from FTDNA about completion of the testing of my swabbed samples.  I know it has only been about 2 days, but this is what happens as you await results.  You can normally expect an interval of 3-4 weeks to receive your results back after they have received your swabbed material.  I am getting more excited as each step reaches conclusion until I finally receive some results for me to analyze and then say “Now What??”.

When I log into Family Tree DNA with the Kit Number and Password they provided, I can now follow the events that are occurring related to processing my DNA.  Each process is identified within Family Tree DNA along with a date for the process when it occurred.  Once they received and confirmed my swabbed material FTDNA they assigned it a batch number when initial processing took place as well as a date.  They are now showing that processing of my DNA has a pending date for completion with expected results between July 6, 2016 and July 20, 2016.

Family Tree DNA is sure keeping me appraised of what is happening, when completions occurred and pending dates for future completions!  Can’t really ask for anything more.

My anticipation level is rapidly rising awaiting my DNA results targeted to be completed in the first couple of weeks of July 2016 (Hopefully earlier rather than later … I am normally a very patient person, but it is so true that you want to see the results fast once they have the material!).

I will let all of you know what piece of information I receive next from FTDNA.

I just keep telling myself, “Be patient”!

Tony Kierna
Genealogy Coordinator
Schaumburg Township District Library

I Took The Genealogy DNA Plunge!; Submitted To Family Tree DNA; Will Share Future DNA Experiences As They Occur

Hi Everyone!

Family Tree DNAThought I would let all of you know that I have personally made the leap into the world of genealogy DNA.  I chose to submit my DNA to Family Tree DNA also known as FTDNA.  You can find them online at www.familytreedna.com.

One of our active participants in our genealogy program made me aware that FTDNA was having a short-term sale on their entry-level product called Family Finder.  Normally, it is offered at $99.  I was able to purchase the kit online for $79.  It is a good idea to check the Family Tree DNA website frequently, especially around Holidays, Mother’s Day and Father’s Day.  It is not uncommon to see sales of their line of products during such times.  Oftentimes you might expect a 20% discount.  I purchased the kit of choice for me at such a discount.  It was only being offered for a very short time.

Thank you Barb P. for our many DNA conversations pertinent to Family Tree DNA.  Thank you for making me aware of the sale of this “entry” level kit.  Thank you for the encouragement to get me “off the fence”!

Now that I have taken the plunge (better late than never!) I also thought that perhaps this would afford me the opportunity to write about the process and my experiences.  Perhaps you are on the fence yourself thinking whether you should or should not submit.  My DNA curiosity finally got to me plus the fact that I think it is important for me to have a real-life experience with such a hot topic as genealogy DNA so that I can be more informed to share with other genealogy researchers.  Maybe my own personal experience with Family Tree DNA will give you the confidence to take the plunge yourself.  Plus, I will relate the process itself to give you a level of comfort.

My initial purchase of the “kit” was done online.  You can contact them viaDNA Clip Art phone number if you are inclined to do so to order a kit.  If you are familiar at all with online shopping you will find this a piece of cake.  Go to Family Tree DNA, select the kit called Family Finder, add it to your cart, provide mailing, email and billing information and click to make your purchase a reality.

Once submitted to FTDNA for purchase, you will receive a confirmation/thank you email from FTDNA very quickly.  It will mention the kit number they have assigned to you as well as a temporary password for you to use at the FTDNA website to watch the tracking of your kit as well as to use the site when results are back to you.  You can change the Password information at any time at the site and make them different from the ones they initially provide.

Expect to also receive some follow-up marketing emails as I did making me aware of the other kits and sales they have with FTDNA, other than the Family Finder one I ordered.  I received one around the time of Mother’s Day when they were offering their mitochondrial (mtDNA) test kit (for tracing or confirming direct line maternal ancestry) .  I did receive a marketing email related to Father’s Day that has come and gone since there is a test related to the paternal line of DNA (Y-DNA).  So yes I have seen a couple of marketing emails!    I do not feel abused with email offerings from FTDNA (thank you FTDNA!).

The kit with a unique kit number designated for me arrived in my mail box within about a week.  It is a small plastic white sleeve that contains a welcome letter, an instructional page, 2 swabs, 2 containers having what must be a preservative liquid, a submission signature sheet giving FTDNA permission to share your e-mail address with other participants at FTDNA that are a match to your results in different degrees, and a return postage-paid envelope.

There are simple directions on what to do with the kit to collect your DNA, plus Barb P. was able to provide me with her own experience related to the scraping of your inner cheeks.  In this case I needed to scrape my inner left cheek with one scraper for at least one minute and then push-button release it from the swabber into one of the vials with the preservative liquid.  Repeat the process with the other cheek.  Each cheek should be swabbed at a suggested time in the morning before you start having some coffee or eating or brushing your teeth.  In other words,  don’t submit scrambled eggs and coffee for DNA analysis!!   The instructions did note that it is possible you might even see a little blood on the scraper when you remove it from your mouth.  Mine were clear with no blood appearing at all.  WOW!  I did not even think that might be possible but at least they warn you.  Other DNA testing companies may require you provide saliva rather than a cheek scraping.

FTDNA does make sure you check the kit number that appears on the return envelope along with the kit number on the vials that everything matches and is the same.  In other words check and double-check wherever you see a kit number to be sure it is all the same number as the original one assigned to you.  Mine was fine.

Barb P. and FTDNA made me aware of a Wednesday batch processing cycle at FTDNA when kits received by Wednesday are processed.  So if your kit arrives back at FTDNA on a Thursday it may sit there for a few more days before they process yours and all the kits they received in the previous cycle.  I don’t think this a big thing but if you are really wanting to get your results quicker get your kit to the Post Office in the return envelope by at least the Monday before the batch cycle Wednesday processing.

So now my level of anticipation is up.  So far, so good!

I ordered the kit, received confirmation of the order and have received the kit at home.  Swabbing was done and mailed back, albeit on a Thursday by me.  So don’t be like me.  If you have the kit in hand on a Monday, swab them cheeks and get the completed kit into the mail that very day so you have a chance to get into the Wednesday batch processing cycle by FTDNA.

So now I await to see that they received my kit and move on to the processing and results from FTDNA.

Will let you know when that happens.

Tony Kierna
Genealogy Coordinator
Schaumburg Township District Library

PowerPoint Presentation Available From Our July 12, 2016 Genealogy Program Presented By Caron Primas Brennan On “Using Ancestry.com Family Trees”; You Can Also View PowerPoint Presentations For 4 Additional Programs Presented By Caron

Hi Everyone,

Schaumburg Township District Library

Schaumburg Township District Library

Great news!  Our speaker last night, Caron Primas Brennan,  let us all know that her PowerPoint presentation of the program she presented at our library on the evening of July 12, 2016 is available for viewing by everyone!

Thank you so much Caron for sharing that information with all of us last night.

This blog post has the link that will connect you with the presentation material.

So if you missed last night’s program, you can get yourself a front row seat to review the PowerPoint presentation material.  If you attended last night, this gives you the chance to review material that perhaps that did not sink in immediately last night.

Here is the link to Caron’s 67 slide PowerPoint presentation on “Using Ancestry.com Family Trees” from our genealogy program at the Schaumburg Township District Library that took place on July 12, 2016:

July 12, 2016 PowerPoint Presentation From Caron Primas Brennan On “Using Ancestry.com Family Trees

Thank you so much to Caron for sharing this great information for the benefit of those unable to attend our program last night as well as for those that did attend that would like to review the material.

Additionally, Caron has 4 other PowerPoint presentation programs available at her blog that you can also look at.  Here are the programs for which a PowerPoint presentation exists:

  • “FamilySearch Primer”
  • “Ancestry.com Primer”
  • “What’s New On the Internet for Genealogists”
  • “Where Did I Put Great-Grandpa?: Organizing for Genealogists”

Go to the following link to Caron’s blog and just scroll down the list of programs she has presented and will be presenting.  The above 4 are from her most recent presentation at the Newberry Library on July 9, 2016.  Look for the hyperlink that is noted as “Slides”.

Caron Primas Brennan Speaking Engagements; Look for Available PowerPoint Presentations from Recent Speaking Engagements

Thank you again Caron for making available the PowerPoint presentation from last night’s genealogy program at our library, as well as making available the additional programs you recently presented at the Newberry Library on July 9, 2016.

Tony Kierna
Genealogy Coordinator
Schaumburg Township District Library

“What’s New At Ancestry.com July 2016” 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 July 2016 video posted from Ancestry.com that is titled “What’s New At Ancestry.com July 2016”.

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 –  Midwest African-American Genealogical Institute, July 12-14, 2016, Fort Wayne, IN; BYU Family History Conference, July 26-29, 2016, Provo, UT;  IAJGS Conference, August 7-12, 2016, Seattle, WA; Federation of Genealogy Societies, August 31-Sept 3, 2016, Springfield, IL
  • Ancestry DNA – Global Database now includes results from about 2 million contributors.  Those who submitted from a foreign country are now included in this one universal database.  Your chances of having a match have increased because all data is contained in this one database.
  • Ancestry Academy – New videos.  Short Courses for Illinois, Vermont, Massachusetts and Michigan.  “Find Your Revolutionary War Ancestor (Subscription); “City Directories: Your Guide to the Past” (Subscription); “Hidden Treasures on Ancestry.com” (Free To All)
  • New Databases – Indiana Birth Certificates, 1907-1940This new database contains about 7.1 million records.  Always a good idea to browse the database description of records before you search to get a feel for what is in the database.  The database is also indexed and searchable with a template to filter your search.  There are images associated with the indexed text results.  You will be able to see Name of the individual, birth date, birth place and parents.
  • New Databases – Indiana Death Certificates, 1899-2011This new database contains about 16.6 million records.  Always a good idea to browse the database description of records before you search to get a feel for what is in the database.  The database is also indexed and searchable with a template to filter your search.  There are images associated with the indexed text results.  You will be able to see Name of the individual, birth date, death place and death place.
  • New Databases – Arizona Birth Records, 1881-1948This new database contains about 68,000 records.  Always a good idea to browse the database description of records before you search to get a feel for what is in the database.  The database is also indexed and searchable with a template to filter your search.  There are images associated with the indexed text results.  You will be able to see Name of the individual, birth date, birth place and relatives.  Many of the record images are handwritten especially the farther back the records are dated.
  • New Databases – Arizona, County Coroner and Death Records, 1881-1971This new database contains about 67,000 records.  Always a good idea to browse the database description of records before you search to get a feel for what is in the database.  The database is also indexed and searchable with a template to filter your search.  There are images associated with the indexed text results.  You will be able to see Name of the individual, birth date, death year and death place.Many records are handwritten, especially older in time.
  • New Databases – Gloucestershire, England, Electoral Registers, 1832-1974.  This new database contains about 11.6 million records.   You can select by Parliamentary division if you know that associated with an ancestor or you can search entire database.   The database is also indexed and searchable with a template of information you can supply to narrow down your search.  It is linked to images of the original records.   Images of the original handwritten scanned pages are provided.  Even many of the older ones are in print and easily readable.  You can discover the name of the individual, place of abode, nature of qualification to vote, location where property is and indication if there is a tenant on the premises or not.
  • New Databases – Gloucestershire, England, Prison Records, 1728-1914.  This new database contains about 235,000 records.   The database is also indexed and searchable with a template of information you can supply to narrow down your search.  It is linked to images of the original records.   You can find birth year, conviction or committal date, prison place, discharge date.  Images of the original handwritten scanned pages are provided.  Even many of the older ones are in print.
  • New Databases – Gloucestershire, England, Land Tax Records, 1713-1833.  This new database contains about 1 million records.   The database is also indexed and searchable with a template of information you can supply to narrow down your search.  It is linked to images of the original records.   You can find residence year, parish, owner.  Images of the original handwritten scanned pages are provided. 
  • New Databases – Naturalization records have been added for about 20 states .  These individual new databases per state totally contain about 7.2  million records.    Search Ancestry.com Card Catalog using the term in the title field of “naturalization”.  Data added for New Mexico, Connecticut, New Hampshire, Rhode Island, Colorado, Wisconsin, Minnesota, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Nebraska, south Dakota, Vermont, Virginia, Utah, Maryland, Illinois, Michigan, Montana and Missouri. Always a good idea to browse the listing of the records before you search to get a feel for what is in the database.    The database is also indexed and searchable with a basic size template of information you can supply to narrow down your search. 
  • 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 A Family Tree Maker Special Interest Group (SIG); Group Is Meeting At The Schaumburg Township District Library On Saturday July 16, 2016 From 12:45 PM To 2:30 PM

Hi Everyone!

CAGGNI logoAncestry.com announced in December 2015 that it will be “retiring” their lineage software program Family Tree Maker.  If you are a user of the product you may be uncertain how that decision does or does not affect you as a user of Family Tree Maker.

Perhaps the Special Interest Group (SIG) of the Computer Assisted Genealogy Group of Northern Illinois (CAGGNI) can be of immense assistance to you.  The CAGGNI group has had a Family Tree Maker SIG for quite some time.  Perhaps you did not take advantage of this resource in the past.  Perhaps now would be the time if you are in a state of confusion on all things related to Family Tree Maker lineage software.

The Family Tree Maker SIG of CAGGNI is having their next meeting on Saturday, July 16, 2016 at our own library, the Schaumburg Township District Library located at 130 S. Roselle Road, Schaumburg,IL.  They will be meeting between 12:45 PM to 2:30 PM.

You can see details of this event in the CAGGNI Calendar of Events at:

July 16, 2016 Family Tree Maker Special Interest Group of CAGGNI Meeting at the Schaumburg Township District Library

The CAGGNI group will be having their regularly scheduled program also on this date at the same location.  Their regular program will start at 10:30 AM and is titled “Who Got the Family Album?: Digitizing and Sharing Family Artifacts”.  The speakers will be Mary Hoyer, Larry Olson and Michelle Wilson, members of the organization.

You can make it a long day if you wanted to attend both the SIG and the regular CAGGNI program.

All guests are welcome to attend either program.  You do not have to be a member of CAGGNI in order to attend.  I am sure if you attended and were not a member you may very well think of becoming a member of this wonderful genealogical organization.

You can also check out the CAGGNI group website itself at:

Computer Assisted Genealogy Group of Northern Illinois (CAGGNI)

Let the Family Tree Maker Special Interest Group of CAGGNI make some sense of the “retirement” of Family Tree Maker for you as a current user of the product.  With Ancestry announcing it will no longer sell FTM after Dec. 31, 2015, and end support on Jan. 1, 2017, the group will be exploring what comes next, including the ongoing development of FTM by Software MacKiev and a future connection between RootsMagic software and Ancestry.

Tony Kierna
Genealogy Coordinator
Schaumburg Township District Library