Category Archives: Tips

Using the Card Catalog (Also In The Library Edition Of; Nice YouTube Video To Help You Learn More About This Powerful Resource; You Can View The Video Right In This Blog Post

Hi Everyone!

ancestry-logoYou may remember that at our most recent genealogy program at our library on the evening of February 10, 2015, our guest speaker spent some time making us aware of the “card catalog” feature that exists both in a personal subscription to as well as in the Library edition of that product.

At the home page, click on the “search” box on the right which will take you to the search page.  Do not start searching immediately!  Hover your cursor over the “Search”Tab at the top of the page.  You will see a drop down menu.  The “card catalog” is the last item in the list.

The card catalog does what it implies.  It is a database that contains all of the genealogy databases.  It can be searched by your keywords so you can discover what databases might exist for your own research needs.  If you were interested in what databases might exist that could help your Polish research, you could do a search of the card catalog maybe using search terms such as “Poland” or “Polish” to see what exists at a high level for the country.

I also like finding a database of interest and then selecting it individually to do your searching.  This can allow you to get “hits” in numbers that are not overwhelming because the hits are limited to just that database.  Sometimes this may seem meaningless to search in this manner but your hits are only in a specific database of interest.

You can also view the components of the card catalog by using other filters.  You can view the contents of the card catalog by:

  • Popularity (default)
  • By Title of the Database
  • By Date Updated
  • By Date Added
  • By Record Count

You can easily determine which databases have recently been added by viewing them by “Date Added”; you can see which databases have been recently updated by viewing them by “Date Updated”; you can the databases presented in alphabetical order by “Title of the Database”; you can see the databases in order of number of records contained within the databases from highest count to lowest by “Record Count”.

Knowing what has been added and what has been updated is a good way to make your research searches more meaningful rather than just using the basic search template over and over and expecting different results.  Know that a database has been added that connects to your  own research is important.  Know that a database you have previously used has been updated is important to know because there may be more records in it that now apply to your research.  Knowing that a database contains only 500 records when using the “By Record Count” filter can help you understand that your chances of discovering something on your ancestors might be limited simply because the base number is so small.

I also noticed that there is a nice YouTube video on the YouTube channel that speaks to the very issue of the card catalog.  I feel knowing about the Ancestry card catalog is important because it can make your searching more productive.  I think you will like this 31 minute video.

You can view this video right here:

I am so glad that our recent speaker made note of this feature at our program via her PowerPoint slide.  I too believe it is important for genealogy researchers to know that this feature not only exists in but to know how to use it to their research advantage.

Enjoy the above nice teaching video on their Card Catalog.

Tony Kierna
Genealogy Coordinator
Schaumburg Township District Library

Teresa Steinkamp McMillin, CG Will Be Bringing In Copies Of Her Recently Published Book For Sale At Our February 10, 2015 Genealogy Program; She Will Be Offering A Special Discount To Those In Attendance

Hi Everyone!

STDL Central Summer LgI just want to let you know that our upcoming guest presenter for our February 10, 2015 Genealogy Program, Teresa Steinkamp McMillin, CG, will be bringing copies of her recently published book for sale to our audience.  Her book is titled Guide to Hanover Military Records, 1514-1866, on Microfilm at the Family History Library.

The book normally retails for $44.95.  However, Teresa has indicated that she will be offering the book at a significant discount to anyone in the audience that would like to purchase it that night from her.

If you would be interested in making a purchase, please bring cash or a check.  Credit cards cannot be processed at this time by the speaker.

For anyone doing German research with a connection to the Hanover area of Germany, this may be a very useful book for your research into ancestors that may have been connected to the military of that area.  The book is a 468 page guide that identifies all of the Family History Library films that can be useful for this kind of research.

The amount of detail provided of the components of each applicable film is overwhelming.  The researcher can use all of this descriptive information to narrow in on an applicable film resource to assist in the research.

This is one of those books that would be an incredibly helpful tool to permanently have by your computer or in your personal library collection if you are doing Hanover, Germany military research.

The book will be available to you at our program for a significant discount from Teresa.  Cash or check only to the speaker.

You can also visit a website created by Teresa that has much more information about the book she will be bringing for sale.  You can find out more regarding excerpts from the book, reviews and some information about the author at:

Tony Kierna
Genealogy Coordinator
Schaumburg Township District Library

“What’s New At January 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 January 2015 video posted from that is titled “What’s New At January 2015″.

The video is an approximate 30 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 – Roots Tech 2015 and Federation of Genealogical Societies (FGS) (Combined Conferences), February 12 to 14, 2015, Salt Lake City, UT; National Genealogical Society (NGS) Annual Conference, May 13-16, 2015 at St. Charles, Missouri; Southern California Genealogy Jamboree, June 4-7, 2015, Burbank, CA,
  • New Product – FindAGrave Mobile App for Android.
  • Updated Product – Mobile App for iOS that now has a simplified merge records function.  You can also now edit records in the merge process.
  • Updated Service – The Barefoot Genealogist (Crista Cowan)  program that is part of will only be airing once per week instead of twice per week.  Program will be “live” on Tuesdays and once completed will be available at the YouTube Channel for viewing.  A live viewing can be seen of Crista at 1 PM (eastern) on Tuesday via LiveStream at
  • New Database – West Yorkshire, England, Select Tax Records, 1704-1932.  Contains about 3.9 million records.  Indexed and searchable with images.
  • New Database – Oregon Biographical and Other Index Card File, 1700s to 1900s.  Contains about 185,000 records.  This is a collection of indexes to other resources where Oregon biographical may exist on particular individuals.  Searchable via index with images to cards that might contain detailed information as well as a direction to other resource on the individual.
  • New Database – Jamaica Civil Births Registration, 1878-1930.  Contains 4.5 million records.  Indexed and searchable.  Index only record information.  I did not see that actual images of the original records are available.
  • New Database – Iowa State Census, 1905.  Contains 1.4 million records.  Indexed and searchable.  Index only record information.  I did not see that actual images of the original records are available.
  • New Database – Norway Select Census, 1875.  Contains 330,000 records.  Indexed and searchable.  Database was unavailable when I was writing this.  Not sure if original images are available to see or if the text index data is only present.  Data is in Norwegian.
  • New Database – Messina, Civil Registration, Italy.  Contains 920,000 records.  Not indexed.  Records are only browseable.  Can select from a list of Italian towns in the Messina area.  Then you can select the kind of record for that town to browse.  Records are in Italian.
  • 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

Season 2 Of Genealogy Roadshow Back On Public Broadcasting Service (PBS) On Tuesday Evenings At 10 PM Chicago Time On Local WTTW; Plan To Watch The January 20, 2015 Program To See A Participant Connected To The Northwest Suburbs Present Their Story

Hi Everyone,

Genealogy Roadshow PBS LogoJust a reminder to all of you that the Genealogy Roadshow is now back on PBS with new episodes.  You can find information about the show at the following PBS website:

Genealogy Roadshow Website At PBS

Please take a look especially at the upcoming January 20, 2015 program.  I have been told that there is a local suburban connection that will be part of the program.  Someone local to our area will be appearing on the show with their story that has to do with the Confederacy, New Orleans and the Civil War.

The nice thing about this series of genealogy shows is that you can view the entire episodes for free at the above PBS website.  So if you have missed an episode you can always view it from within the above website.

Let these wonderful episodes motivate you in your own genealogical research.

Feel even more connected to someone local to our own area and the story they will tell about their own personal genealogical mystery.

Don’t miss this show!!

Tony Kierna
Genealogy Coordinator
Schaumburg Township District Library


What Are All Those Acronyms And Abbreviations You See Associated In Genealogy Related Material??; Included Is A Nice List From The Association Of Professional Genealogists That Will Answer Your Mysterious Acronym Questions

Hi Everyone!

Association of Professional Genealogists LogoHave you ever been reading some genealogy published material and happen to come across those mysterious acronyms?

Surely you have seen some of the following:

  • CG
  • DAR
  • FUGA
  • NGS
  • NGSQ

Even though you are a knowledgeable genealogist, I am sure you find it very frustrating to come across acronyms like the above and not really know what they mean.  And you are even more frustrated when the acronym is not even defined within the article you are reading.  You know how that is.  It goes on your “To Do” list to find out and probably sits there still.

The same happens with me which is why this time I wanted to dig a little deeper and find not only my immediate answer to one acronym, but perhaps uncover an entire list of genealogically related acronyms.

And lo and behold, thanks to the Association of Professional Genealogists, I was able to make a discovery of a very nice genealogical acronym list they have created.

You can access this very nice list at the following link:

Genealogical Acronym List Provided By The Association Of Professional Genealogists

Now if you come across that mysterious genealogy acronym you can quickly refer to the above list and have the answers at your fingertips.

Thank you APG (oooops, I better define that – Association of Professional Genealogists.  Their logo above nicely defines the acronym!) for making this nice handy acronym list available to us.

Tony Kierna
Genealogy Coordinator
Schaumburg Township District Library


Computer Assisted Genealogy Group Of Northern Illinois (CAGGNI) Will Be Starting A DNA Special Interest Group (SIG); First Meeting Will Take Place On Saturday, January 10, 2015, At The Schaumburg Township District Library At 10:30 AM

Hi Everyone,

CAGGNI logoJust want to let you know of another new development from the Computer Assisted Genealogy Group of Northern Illinois (CAGGNI).  As active as they are, they are  about to embark on hosting another new Special Interest Group (SIG).  The new SIG that they will be starting is the DNA Special Interest Group.

The group will have its first meeting this Saturday at 10:30 AM at our library, the Schaumburg Township District Library which is located at 130 S. Roselle Road in Schaumburg, IL.

The SIG will be led by Alan and Michelle Wilson who are members of the CAGGNI group.

Here is a quoted program description from the group’s recent January 2015 Newsletter:


“CAGGNI is proud to announce Chicagoland’s first genetic genealogy special interest group.  The group will meet periodically throughout the year.  The first meeting will take place on January 10, at 10:30 am at Schaumburg Library. All CAGGNI members are welcome to attend and guests considering joining CAGGNI are welcome to attend as well.

Our DNA group will focus on learning the methods for analyzing DNA test results.  Throughout the year we will study autosomal DNA (“family finder” and “cousin finder” tests), mitochondrial DNA, Y-DNA and surname projects, X-DNA, and ancestral admixture results.  We’ll investigate third-party tools for analyzing your raw data results and for 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.  Bring your laptop or tablet and, if you’ve already tested, have your login credentials handy for accessing your results. 

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


You can connect to the CAGGNI group online at their website at:

Computer Assisted Genealogy Group of Northern Illinois (CAGGNI)

DNA Clip ArtIf you have submitted a DNA sample for genealogy purposes and are having a hard time making meaningful conclusions from your test results, then it sure sounds like this SIG group may be a good group to connect to.

I know this is somewhat short notice, but if you want to know more about how to interpret your DNA results as well as to learn more about many of the other DNA tests that can also be taken, this is the program to consider attending at our library.

Learn about DNA testing.  Learn about CAGGNI.  Learn about all of the other resources CAGGNI offers.  Non-members are welcome.  Consider taking the next step and become a member of CAGGNI.  You won’t regret it.

Tony Kierna
Genealogy Coordinator
Schaumburg Township District Library


Genealogy Estate Planning Tutorial Video At; Genealogy Codicil Form PDF Also Included

Hi Everyone, LogoIn my exploration of a variety of genealogy videos at, I happened to come across one that I thought was very good and that applies to all genealogical researchers.

It is also a video on a topic that is one we do not want to acknowledge.  And that topic is our own mortality.

For all of the years that we research our family history, perhaps it is good that we acknowledge our own mortality as it applies to all of our research material.  I have heard far too many stories about a genealogy researcher passing away and family members simply throwing out all of their paper research material out of ignorance or lack of direction.

What would you do if you were an executor faced with doing something with what is meaningless paper for you in trying to clean up someone’s estate?  If you value your research and research efforts, perhaps it is time to recognize your mortality.  While you are living,  provide your family members with clear direction as to how your genealogy research is to be handled after your death.

The 25 minute video is titled “Genealogy Estate Planning”.  It was created by Crista Cowen a frequent creator of wonderful genealogy YouTube videos from  Crista provides some matter of fact directions on how to go about passing on your family history research so that it does not wind up in the garbage dump or recycling bin!

You can see the video directly here:

Think about what genealogy researchers do.  They research the lives of our deceased ancestors!  None of us can escape our final end.  So why not acknowledge our end and provide direction about your materials while you can.

One of the tools I also discovered is a Genealogy Codicil Form.  This is a form that can become part of your existing Will.  It provides your Executor and the Legal Community with written direction as to how to treat your genealogy research material.  I thought this form is something you can use as you think through the process of directing your genealogy research material after your death.

Here is a copy of that form to consider to use with an existing Will or to include in a newly created Will:

Genealogy Codicil Form

View Crista’s “Genealogy Estate Planning” video and take a look at the Genealogy Codicil Form.

Don’t take a chance and have your life’s research work wind up in the dump or a paper recycling facility.

Tony Kierna
Genealogy Coordinator
Schaumburg Township District Library