Category Archives: Tips

Videos From Recent RootsTech 2016 Conference Are Now Available Online; Link Included In This Post For 2016 RootsTech Videos

Hi Everyone!

RootsTech 2014 LogoYou know I am a big believer in online training sessions to further educate yourself as a genealogy researcher.

I am happy to announce that online video sessions from the recently held 2016 RootsTech conference that was held in Salt Lake City, Utah are now available from the RootsTech web site.  There are currently an incredible 30 videos available in total for you to view.

It is possible that there may be even more videos from the conference posted in the next few weeks.  You will want to check back to see if more than the 30 I saw have been added.

If you cannot attend these large-scale conferences, then it is a great pleasure to be able to see online a smattering of the programs that were held.  By no means is what is made available online representative of the total amount of overall programs presented over three days, but it is sure great to see a good amount of the material.

Here is a listing of some of the topics and the named presenter from the online videos from the recently held 2016 conference from RootsTech below:

  • “Closing Death Records: Silver Bullet or Dead End?” by Fred Moss
  • “What’s New in Family Tree for 2016” by Ron Tanner
  • “7 Unique Technologies for Genealogy Discoveries” by Mike Mansfield
  • “Using the Genealogical Proof Standard for Success” by James Ison
  • “Best Websites and Apps for Finding Local History” by Amy Crow
  • “Virtual Family Reunions” by Joseph Richardson
  • “Scottish Genealogy – Finding People” by Dr. Bruce Durie
  • “5 Steps to Identify a Family Photo” by Maureen Taylor
  • “Proven Methodology for Using Google for Genealogy” by Lisa Louise Cooke
  • “Homespun and Calico: Finding Our Foremothers” by Peggy Lauritzen
  • “A Digital Treasure: PERSI and Your Family History” by D. Joshua Taylor
  • “Finding Elusive Records on FamilySearch.org” by Robert Kehrer
  • “My Ancestors Are From Britain – What Do I Do Next?” by Myko Clelland
  • “Family History in a Digital Future” by Sharleen Reyes
  • “Become a Master Searcher on Ancestry” by Anne Mitchell
  • “Photos – Emerging Technologies in Photography” by Jens Nielsen
  • “Cemetery Crowdsourcing” by Michael Cassara

You will also see at the RootsTech Video site below that there are also Keynote videos, General Session Videos and Innovator Showdown videos.  The ones I noted in the list above are specific to a topic to learn.

You can see  the programs themselves directly at the RootsTech website at:

2016 RootsTech Annual Conference Online Videos

Spend some time and really enjoy these and come away even more motivated.  Most videos are generally at least 1 hour in length.  Some Keynote videos are from about 70 minutes to 90 minutes.

Sometimes it is good to take a step back and take a look at the “big picture” in the world of genealogy.  The above programs seem to do that very thing, especially when you view the “keynote” speeches.  It is important to know what is ahead for us down our genealogical research paths.  What are the “new” things that will make our research faster, easier, intuitive, collaborative, more accurate, and with fewer errors.

I always get a good feeling about the RootsTech Annual Conference.  I have not attended any of the previously held conferences, but I still feel very connected through their site and these fabulous videos that are educational and inspirational!

I am very happy to say the new set of videos are at your fingertips via the RootsTech website indicated at the above link.

So if you want to have an approximate 24 hour “marathon” weekend viewing of RootsTech videos, you can easily do so through the above link.  Sounds like a good thing to do on these still cold and snowy March days!

Tony Kierna
Genealogy Coordinator
Schaumburg Township District Library

“FREE” Access To Irish Records, Including The Newly Indexed Irish Catholic Parish Registers, From FindMyPast From March 1, 2016 To March 8, 2016

Hi Everyone!

FindMyPast LogoOne of our avid participants at our monthly genealogy programs made me aware that FindMyPast is offering “FREE” access to Irish records (110 million), including the newly released Irish Catholic Parish Registers (10 million registers that include 40 million names that are indexed and searchable), from March 1, 2016 to March 8, 2016 (Note the small window!).

You can get to FindMyPast directly here at FindMyPast or read much more about this free one week offering through a posting by the Gleeson Clan Gathering 2016 site at:

FREE Access To Irish Records From FindMyPast From March 1, 2016 To March 8, 2016 Including The Recently Released Indexed Irish Catholic Parish Registers

Initially, the Irish Catholic Parish Registers data was made available as un-indexed data that you could browse through the images to do research.  Now, the data has been indexed and is searchable.

Spanning over 200 years of Ireland’s history from 1671-1900, the Irish Catholic Parish Registers contain over 40 million names from over 1,000 parishes and cover 97% of the entire island of Ireland, both Northern Ireland and the Irish Republic.

For anyone doing Irish research, this is a great opportunity to access the Irish Catholic Parish Registers in addition to the other Irish data within FindMyPast that would normally not be free.

It is a short window of time to access this material for free.  Consider taking advantage of this access through FindMyPast.

Tony Kierna
Genealogy Coordinator
Schaumburg Township District Library

Massive Polish Research Outline Available From FamilySearch From Within Their Wiki; Link Included To 115 Page Guide; Great All-In-One Reference Guide; Link Included To Research Outlines For Many Other Countries And U.S. States

Hi Everyone,

FamilySearch.org LogoOne of my colleagues at work shared a wonderful genealogy resource with me that can be a great resource for those genealogy researchers that are researching their Polish roots.

The resource is available from within the FamilySearch Wiki.  If you search the Wiki using “Research Outlines” you will not only come across the one specific to Poland, but you will also find research outlines for many other countries that you may be researching ancestral lines.

Thank you Tom for sharing this link with me allowing me to dig a little deeper into the myriad of all the other Research Outlines that are available.

Here is the link that will get you specifically to the Research Outline for Poland ancestry research:

Poland Research Outline From FamilySearch

For those of you doing genealogy research applying to other countries, here is a link to the general Research Outline material in which you will see a listing of countries from which you can select the Research Outline:

FamilySearch Research Outlines

The United States is included in the Research Outlines in the above link.  Each state within the US has a Research Outline.  Think of this resource as both a help for international country research that your research is moving into as well as for any state within the US that your research is engaged in.

The FamilySearch Wiki is a wonderful resource.  These Research Outlines can attest to one component of all that you can find within the Wiki.

Polish genealogy researchers, check out the link to the Research Outline applicable to your interests.

Anyone else, check out the other link above to gain access to the totality of all of the Research Outlines available to you on a country basis as well as on a state by state basis for the United States.

Tony Kierna
Genealogy Coordinator
Schaumburg Township District Library

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

The video is an approximate 31 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 –  National Genealogical Society Annual Conference, May 2016, at Ft. Lauderdale, FL; Southern California Jamboree, June, 2016, Burbank, CA; IAJGS Conference, August 2016, Seattle, WA; Federation of Genealogy Societies, August 2016, Springfield, IL
  • New Databases – Northamptonshire, England, Church of England Baptisms, Marriages and Burials, 1532-1812.  This new database contains about 4.5 million records.  Always a good idea to browse the listing of the parishes and types and date intervals of records before you search to get a feel for what is in the database.  The database is also indexed and searchable with a large size template of information you can supply to narrow down your search.  When searching you can select the actual image of data to look at.
  • New Databases – U.S.,  Departing Passenger and Crew Lists, 1914-1962.  This new database contains about 7.6 million records.  It contains data for those that left by either ship or airline.    Always a good idea to browse the listing of the states of records before you search to get a feel for what is in the database.  The database is also indexed and searchable with a large size template of information you can supply to narrow down your search.  When searching you can select the actual image of data to look at.  I actually searched this for KIERNA and found some included.  It showed them on a list of passengers on a named airline noting where they were leaving from and what their destination was.  Also included the home address of the person.  Images I saw were typed lists and very readable.
  • New Databases – Michigan, Death Records, 1867-1950.  This new database contains about 8.4 million records.  Always a good idea to browse the listing of the date intervals of these records before you search to get a feel for what is in the database.  The database is also indexed and searchable with a large size template of information you can supply to narrow down your search.  When searching you can select the actual image of data when it is available.  Due to privacy considerations, some actual original certificates are not available to view.  So you will often get results, some having actual images to look at and others just noting the death in the indexed result as transcribed text.
  • New Databases – Queensland and Victoria, Australian Directories, 1859-1947.  This new database contains about 26.3 million records.  Always a good idea to browse the listing of the of records before you search to get a feel for what is in the database.  In this case, you can select Queensland or Victoria to narrow down the search.   The database is also indexed and searchable with a basic size template of information you can supply to narrow down your search.  When searching you can select the actual image of data to look at.  Many of the listings include the occupation of the individual in the directory and the town they reside.  I did not see an exact address provided for anyone listed.
  • New Databases – Wurttemberg, Germany, Lutheran Baptisms, Marriages and Burials, 1597-1959 (in German).  This new database contains about 50.7  million records.  Always a good idea to browse the listing of the towns/cities (very long list) and date intervals of records before you search to get a feel for what is in the database.  The database is also indexed and searchable with a large size template of information you can supply to narrow down your search.  When searching you can select the actual image of data to look at.  But remember, the records are in German.  It would be helpful for you to know a more exact geographic location to search if you know it and select it from the large list of towns/cities.
  • New Databases – Mexico, Select Church Records, 1537-1966 (in Spanish).  This new database contains about 41.6  million records.  Always a good idea to browse the listing of the Mexican states, then towns, then parishes to see the date intervals of records before you search within a particular parish.  The database is also indexed and searchable with a large size template of information you can supply to narrow down your search.  When searching you can select the actual image of data to look at when available.  But remember, the records are in Spanish.  It would be helpful for you to know a more exact geographic location to browse if you know it and select it from the listings within Mexican state, city and parish.
  • 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

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

The video is an approximate 29 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 –  National Genealogical Society Annual Conference, May 2016, at Ft. Lauderdale, FL; Southern California Jamboree, June, 2016, Burbank, CA; IAJGS Conference, August 2016, Seattle, WA; Federation of Genealogy Societies, August 2016, Springfield, IL.
  • Ancestry Blog Post – Navigational updates done to online family trees.
  • Ancestry Blog Post – Visual changes made to online family trees.  Not dramatic but done in response to customer feedback.
  • Additional Records to Existing DatabaseU.S. School Yearbooks, 1880-2012.  About 58,000 new school yearbooks have been added to the collection.  Crista recommends you select the database by itself before searching all the databases.  Then scroll down to browse the collection box.  Here you will be able to see what states have yearbooks, what towns within the states are in the database and finally what schools within the towns are in the database.  This is a way to determine if a school of interest for you is in the database.  You will also be able to see the total number of yearbooks in the collection for the school by year.  Crista also mentioned it is worth looking at the yearbook page by page.  There may be handwritten notes in the book that have not been included in any of the indexing.
  • New Databases – Many new Germany databases have been added to the collection.  These databases are based on specific geographic town locations.  It can be very difficult for you to meaningfully use these individually if you do not have a town location for your ancestors.  About 23 databases added.  Some have birth, marriage and death records in one file.  Some may just have births or marriages or deaths or combinations.  Looks to be about 60 million records.
  • New Databases – Indiana Marriages Index, 1993-2015.  Searchable but no images.  Web-based so you will leave Ancestry to access the data outside of the index.  About 1.9 million records.
  • New Databases – Victoria. Australia Outbound Passenger Lists. 1852-1915.  Contains about 1.8 million records.  Searchable database from data outside of Ancestry.  No images.  Index leads you to text record.  You can leave Ancestry and go to site where indexed record was obtained to see image of record.
  • New Databases – Alabama, Episcopal Church Registers, 1832-1972.  About 14,000 records.  Data is searchable and will lead you to text record.  You can leave Ancestry and go to site where indexed record was obtained to see image of record.
  • New Databases – Pennsylvania, Chester County, Poor School Children, 1810-1841.  About 63,000 records.  Data is searchable and will lead you to text record.  You can leave Ancestry and go to site where indexed record was obtained to see image of 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 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 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

Access The Illinois State Genealogical Society Newsletters Online From 2008 To 2015; Handy Way To Keep Up With Society Activities And Research Tips; PDF File Lets You Access All Embedded Links

Hi Everyone!

ISGS LogoI just saw a Dick Eastman post that noted you can access the Newsletters of the Illinois State Genealogical Society online via their website.

After visiting their site, I see that you can access the newsletters from 2008 through 2015, plus the first one for 2016.

The newsletters are dated in the months of January, March, May, July, September and November of each year.

Here is the link to get you to these newsletters:

Newsletters from the Illinois State Genealogical Society 2008-2015

The link above should work fine as new additional newsletters are added to the site.

Some of the things you could expect to see in these newsletters 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

You do not have to be a member of the society in order to access this very nice archive of materials.  These newsletters can be helpful to you and your research.  Plenty of links you can visit for more details on items mentioned in the newsletter.

Check these out and bookmark the site from the above link.

Tony Kierna
Genealogy Coordinator
Schaumburg Township District Library

Reminder – RootsTech 2016 Will Take Place February 3- 6, 2016 In Salt Lake City, UT; See What It Is All About By Viewing Selected Videos From The 2015 Conference On Various Programs; Some Classes To Be Available For Online Streaming From Upcoming 2016 Conference

Hi Everyone!

RootsTech 2014 LogoJust a reminder that the 2016 version of RootsTech will take place on February 3 to February 6, 2016 in Salt Lake City, UT.

Dick Eastman just had a recent post about the upcoming 2016 conference.  You can see that post with the information here:

January 8, 2016 Dick Eastman Post Reporting On Upcoming 2016 RootsTech

This has proven to be  a wildly successful major genealogical conference that brings together genealogy researchers and genealogy software developers under one roof.  Dick Eastman reported in a March 18, 2015 blog post that 23,918 people attended the 2015 RootsTech conference.  Here is a link to Dick Eastman’s blog post reporting on information from the previous 2015 conference:

March 18, 2015 Dick Eastman Blog Post About RootsTech 2015

You can view the conference website for information about this 2016 RootsTech Conference at:

RootsTech 2016

If you want to know more about what RootsTech in general is all about, visit the following link to a series of 20 Videos produced by RootsTech from their 2015 program.   These are videos of stunning quality!  I think you may want to look at what the videos showcase about what RootsTech is all about.  They may not all be at a very specific research level, they are often at a “larger view” of what technical developments are occurring that connect to genealogical research.

You can really get the “big picture” by looking at any one of the videos.

Take a look at these videos at:

2015 RootsTech Videos

Enjoy the 2015 videos.

Consider going to Salt Lake City, UT to connect with the soon to take place 2016 version of RootsTech!

Tony Kierna
Genealogy Coordinator
Schaumburg Township District Library