Category Archives: Tips

Illinois Online Historical Newspapers Noted At A Blog Titled “The Ancestor Hunt”; Link Included

Hi Everyone!

Digital Newspaper ImageThanks again to Tom, one of my colleagues, who previously contributed information to me about the smallest cemetery in Illinois.  He has also just sent me some information on Illinois Online Historical Newspapers.  Thank you Tom!

A site called the Ancestor Hunt has posted information on the update to the Illinois Online Historical Newspapers.  As the site notes, over 8,000 newspapers have been published in Illinois throughout its history.  Granted, all are not available online.  But many are and more come online as remnants of paper copies that still exist are being digitized.

The blog post has a long list of links to these various online historical newspapers.  They are not really all organized by geographical areas.  They are not really all organized by name of newspaper or the town in which it may have been published.  Do you see what I am saying?  You almost have to just peruse the long list within the categories to see if you discover something that might be for a town of interest in your genealogical research.

My one gripe on digital newspapers in general is how they are presented.  Most of us that lived in a large city like Chicago should be able to come up with the names of the top papers of the city.  But if you are from a rural area or researching a rural area, the generic name of a newspaper often does not connect you to a geographic location for you to know it might have a connection to an ancestor you are researching.

Does the name of a newspaper titled “The Prairie Farmer” help you know what geographic areas it serves?  Rock Island?  Decatur?  Springfield?

Does the “Daily Gazette” help you know from where it was published?  Rockford?  Peoria?  Carbondale?

So unfortunately, you just have to peruse and open up some of the links to these newspapers to see if they might have a connection geographically to the area of your Illinois ancestors.

These are fun to just open and peruse through some newspapers that might have been published as far back as the 1830s.  Remember, there is very little “white” space in these papers.  Ink is everywhere which can make it tiring on the eyes to read through a good amount.  And these pages are full, beyond full with the news of the day.

Here is a link to the site of many lists to Illinois Online Historical Newspapers:

The Ancestor Hunt Blog: Illinois Online Historical Newspapers

Also, don’t be surprised to discover that where you think you hit the jackpot and found a paper for a town of an ancestor, you might sadly find that there are only 3 issues of the paper online rather than multiple years worth for you to really dig deep into.  It could be that only those particular physical paper copy issues still existed.  Or it could be that more will be digitized and will appear at a later date.  My guess, it is likely that only the 3 issues may be known to exist at all.  Sad but true.  Storing old copies of old newspapers took up a lot of space.  At some point you ran out of storage and chose to not save such material for historical purposes down the road.  Who knows?

So enjoy what you can find that can help you expand your own research on ancestors connected to some of the newspapers that are online.  Even if a newspaper does not connect you to an ancestor,  it is enjoyable to browse through just as a picture of history and the words that were contained on that very day of the issue.

You will know more about your ancestor and what their lives may have been like just by knowing the news of the day for these localized areas.

Tony Kierna
Genealogy Coordinator
Schaumburg Township District Library


New Season Of “Who Do You Think You Are?” Starts On Sunday Evening, July 26, 2015, At 8 PM Central Time On TLC; Check TLC Website For Show Information

Hi Everyone!

Who Do You Think You Are?I just want to let you know that the new season for “Who Do You Think You Are?” will be starting on the cable channel TLC on Sunday evening, July  26, 2015, at 8 PM Central time.

Previously, when the show was on NBC, they dedicated a portion of their website to the show so that you could always get updates on the show.  TLC appears to be doing the same for this show as it unfolds during this season.  You can find the information for the show on TLC at:

“Who Do You Think You Are?” Website At TLC

Currently, there is little detail at the TLC website for the show about the upcoming episodes other than mentioning the date and time for the season premier.  Your best bet is to just visit the TLC website as the date approaches.

Four of the “stars” have been identified for this season.  Here are the four “stars” identified so far in a Dick Eastman Online Newsletter blog post that will appear on the show during the  run for the season on TLC.  The order is alphabetical and does not represent the order of the shows as they appear to the best of my knowledge:

  • Tom Bergeron
  • Bryan Cranston
  • Ginnifer Goodwin
  • Alfre Woodard

Make sure you mark down the date and time and plan to watch these shows in their original airing rather than at a later time if you can.  (Ratings are important for continuity of this wonderful show!)  Last year if you did not watch the original airing or did not DVR the show, your alternative was to purchase a copy from iTunes to catch up on shows missed and not recorded by yourself.

Now is the time to get the buzz going and to reconnect with some TV help and entertainment to motivate you in your own genealogical research efforts.

Mark your calendar for Sunday evening, July 26, 2015 at 8 PM Central Time on TLC on cable.

Tony Kierna
Genealogy Coordinator
Schaumburg Township District Library

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 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 that is titled “What’s New At June 2015”.

The video is an approximate 26 minute production hosted by Crista Cowan of who provides the viewers with updates on what new things users of should be aware of.

Crista also mentions that in addition to the monthly YouTube video she creates describing “new” things at for a particular month the reader should always check the blog from that you can access at: 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,; Ancestry Days, November 7, 2015, Raleigh, NC; Ancestry Days, November 14, 2015, Indianapolis, IN.
  • Ancestry Blog Post – 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  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 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 site.

I also did a search on YouTube looking for similarly titled videos and did discover that there are many “What’s New At” 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

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

“What’s New At” 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 and where they are located.

Because so many of us use, 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  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