Category Archives: Tips

Free Online Webinar Program Titled “How To Use FamilySearch.org For Beginners” Is Available; Program Presented By Devin Ashby; Created By Legacy Family Tree Webinars

Hi Everyone!

legacy-family-tree-webinars-logoWhile going through a recent newsletter of the Chicago Genealogical Society, I noticed that they had a page of links to various genealogical items of note.  On that page was a highlight of a link to access a “free” online webinar titled “How to Use FamilySearch.org for Beginners”.  Program was presented by Devin Ashby and was originally produced by Legacy Family Tree Webinars.

It is an almost 2 hour presentation that contains “chapters” within the webinar to get you to specific topics covered within the webinar that may be of interest to you regarding FamilySearch.

Don’t be misled by the title noting it is for “Beginners”.  I believe any genealogist can and will benefit from learning more about using FamilySearch.org regardless of their skill level.

FamilySearch.org is a wonderful resource that contains far more than just searching for surnames within records.  The fact that this is an almost 2 hour presentation speaks to how much there is at FamilySearch that the presenter makes us aware of.

You can get access to this free online webinar program at:

“How to Use FamilySearch.org for Beginners” from Legacy Family Tree Webinars

You can also visit the website for Legacy Family Tree Webinars at:

Legacy Family Tree Webinars

to see all that they have to offer and how to go about gaining access to the genealogy webinar programs they have to offer.

Their subscription information link notes the following:

“Learn genealogy at your own pace with a monthly or annual webinar membership. All live webinars are free to the public. With a webinar membership, you get on-demand access to our entire video archives, and access to the instructors’ handouts. Watch via your computer or mobile device. New videos are added monthly at no additional cost.”

Subscription costs to access all of these webinars is $49.95 for an annual subscription or $9.95 for a monthly subscription.

Spend some time exploring all of the webinars offered by Legacy Family Tree Webinars.  While you can subscribe, there are also plenty of “free” webinars noted among a variety of genealogical topics.

Our library also recently had Dan Niemiec as a presenter on this very topic at our July 2016 genealogy program.  We were able to record his program (“Tips and Tricks for Using FamilySearch”) and the program is now on a DVD in our collection that can be checked out of our library for viewing on your home or computer DVD player.  The call number for our own DVD of  this program is DVD 929.1072 Genealogy Tips.  It is available on the 2nd floor of our library on the circulating shelves at the noted call number location.

The one thing I am not sure of this particular “free” webinar is whether it is “free” forever or for a limited time.  I accessed it yesterday and was able to  view it with no problem.  Just don’t know if it will stay like that or revert back to being accessed only with a subscription to the webinars offered by Legacy Family Tree Webinars.

Check it out while you can see it.  Learning about all of the functionality within FamilySearch can greatly assist your genealogy skills and allow you to more effectively do searching, create memories and upload family trees.

Tony Kierna
Genealogy Coordinator
Schaumburg Township District Library

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

The video is an approximate 12 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 –  October 29, 2016, Fairfax Virginia Genealogical Society.  All major national conferences are completed for 2016.
  • New Databases – A variety of Netherlands Civil Registration DatabasesThe new databases contain about 18 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 databases are not yet indexed and searchable.  There are images associated with the data that can be browsed by individual municipality name to select.  The records are in Dutch.
  • New Databases – A variety of Oxfordshire, England, Church of England, Birth, Marriage and Death DatabasesThese new databases contains about 4 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 databases are 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, event date, parish name, relatives mentioned.
  • New Databases – A variety of Peru Civil Registration databasesThese new databases contains about 2.5 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 databases are not searchable at this time but images can be browsed.  Records are in Spanish.  You can browse with sub-geographical areas within Peru.
  • New Databases – Variety of Germany, Civil Registration, Birth, Marriage and Death databasesThis new database contains about 4.8 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.  It will help to know the geographic area location of your ancestors before searching.  The databases are also indexed and searchable with a template to filter your search.  Records are in German.  There are images associated with the indexed text results that are printed text.  You will be able to see Name of the individual, event type, event date, event city and relatives mentioned.
  • New Databases – Variety of South Africa Parish Records.  These new databases contain about 1.5 million records.   The databases are also indexed and searchable with a template of information you can supply to narrow down your search.  You can choose from a list of town names within the diocese to search.  It is linked to images of the original records that for the most part are handwritten.   You can discover the name of the individual, event type, event date, event location and relatives noted in the record.
  • 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

The Book “The Stranger In My Genes” By Bill Griffeth Is In Our Circulating Collection And Available To Check Out; You Never Know What Your Genealogy DNA Testing May Uncover!

Hi Everyone!

stranger-in-my-genes-book-imageAt our most recent Genealogy Program on Tuesday evening October 11, 2016, I mentioned to the audience that we have added the book titled “The Stranger in My Genes” authored by Bill Griffeth.  Bill is one of the anchors on the CNBC cable channel business show “Closing Bell” that airs Monday through Friday at 3 PM Eastern time (2 PM Chicago time).  I mentioned that I was just in the process of reading it and that it would be available for routine checking out very soon.

That time is now.  It is now being processed back into the circulating collection and will soon be available for you to check out.

It is a very good book for any genealogical researcher that has submitted their DNA or is thinking about submitting their DNA for testing.

Bill Griffeth was just like each of us doing his genealogical research.  His brother suggested that he submit his DNA for testing to enhance further genealogical research once the DNA test results were in.  Sounded just like each of us would do until the test results turned Bill Griffeth’s world upside down!

I have finished the book and it is now being processed back onto our shelves.

The call number of the book is 921 GRIFFETH, B.

I highly recommend reading this book.

Check out our online catalog for availability.  Visit our library website at www.schaumburglibrary.org and look in the upper right corner of the home page for access to our library catalog.  Pick it off the shelf area of New Nonfiction books on the 2nd floor of our library where it will reside.  Or even place a hold on it for yourself.  This could be one of those books that will be very popular among genealogists leading to the need to place it on hold for yourself for reading when it becomes available.

So glad I read it.  It is a fast read.  You won’t need 3 weeks to finish it.  It just confirms that you need to have your DNA tested for genealogy with an understanding that you could get life-changing results!

Enjoy the book.

Tony Kierna
Genealogy Coordinator
Schaumburg Township District Library

“Try-It! Illinois 2016” Free Database Access Available From October 1, 2016 Through November 30, 2016; Request Log-In ID/Password From Illinois Secretary Of State; Approximately 32 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 2016”.

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 2016 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 2016

This trial is open to users from October 1, 2016 through November 30, 2016.

Here is a little write-up at the Try-It Illinois 2016 website describing more about this Try-It Illinois 2016 access:

About Try-It!

Welcome to Try-It! Illinois 2016, the seventeenth 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 32 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 32 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, 32 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, 2016 to November 30, 2016.

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 32 databases categorized as being for Genealogy and Family History.

See what you think.

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 8, 2016

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 8, 2016 starting at 10:30 AM at the Schaumburg Township District Library.

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

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

CAGGNI’s genomic genealogy group continues into its second year. This group focuses on learning the methods for analyzing DNA test results. Throughout the year we will study 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:  Al & Michelle Wilson

More information: DNA Special Interest Group

Best regards,
CAGGNI

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

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

Learn from others, help others.

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

Computer Assisted Genealogy Group of Northern Illinois

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

Tony Kierna
Genealogy Coordinator
Schaumburg Township District Library

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

The video is an approximate 15 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 –  Afro-American Historical and Genealogical Society, October 13-16, 2016, Atlanta, GA.  All major national conferences are completed for 2016.  Planning is going on for major programs for 2017 such as RootsTech, NGS, SoCal Genealogy Jamboree, FGS etc.
  • Ancestry Site – Provide feedback to Ancestry.com (not Ancestry Library Edition) on any and all things related to the site.  When you are at their site look at the top for “HELP”, click on it look for “SUPPORT”, click on it and then enter in “FEEDBACK” to search for an article on how to provide feedback.  (Here is the link for you that I already found – https://support.ancestry.com/s/article/Providing-feedback-about-Ancestry-1460088569413)
  • Ancestry Academy – New video.  “Getting Started Right: Documentation for New Genealogists” by Thomas Jones
  • New Databases – Ireland Police Gazzettes, 1861-1893This new database contains about 151,000 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 that are in print.  You will be able to see Name of the individual, criminal event type, event date and event place.
  • New Databases – Medway, Kent, Poor Law Union Records, 1836-1937This new database contains about 217,000 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, admission date to poor house, discharge date and Parish union.
  • New Databases – Bexley, Kent Electoral Registers, 1734-1965This new database contains about 3.2 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.  You can search with sub-geographical areas within Kent.  There are images associated with the indexed text results.  You will be able to see Name of the individual, residence year, residence city.
  • New Databases – California, Indian Census Index, 1928-1933This new database contains about 26,000 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 that are printed text.  You will be able to see Name of the individual, birth date, tribe.
  • New Databases – New Jersey, Episcopal Diocese of Newark Church Records, 1809-1816, 1825-1970.  This new database contains about 326,000 records.   The database is also indexed and searchable with a template of information you can supply to narrow down your search.  You can choose from a list of town names within the diocese to search.  It is linked to images of the original records that for the most part are handwritten.   You can discover the name of the individual, event type, event date, relatives noted in the record.
  • 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

September/October 2016 Illinois State Genealogical Society Online Newsletter Available To All; 21 Pages; Many Different Topics; Archive To Previous Newsletters From 2008-2016

Hi Everyone!

ISGS LogoJust want to let you know that the September/October 2016 Illinois State Genealogical Society (ISGS) Online Newsletter is available for you to read.  You do not need to be a member of the society in order to access this material.

You can find it here:

September/October 2016 Illinois State Genealogical Society Newsletter

Some of the things you could expect to see in this newsletter are:

  • President’s Column
  • Book Reviews
  • New Members List
  • Volunteer Opportunities
  • Upcoming Conference News
  • Webinars Offered by the Society
  • Governing Board Meeting Schedule
  • Calendar of Genealogy Events
  • Tips
  • Resources

Lots of good material throughout the newsletter to keep you informed on many genealogical topics applicable to the state of Illinois.  Plenty of embedded links for you to access from the PDF file of the newsletter.

You can also access the archive of previously published Illinois State Genealogical Society Newsletters from 2008-2016 at:

2008-2016 Illinois State Genealogical Society Online Newsletters

Check out the current newsletter as well as the archive of newsletters spanning 2008-2016.

You can visit the main website of the society at:

Illinois State Genealogical Society

Tony Kierna
Genealogy Coordinator
Schaumburg Township District Library