Category Archives: Tips

“What’s New At December 2014″ 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 December 2014 video posted from that is titled “What’s New At December 2014″.

The video is an approximate 32 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 – Historical Insights for iOS (not yet for Android) – A newly created iOS app from explores different events throughout history that you can tie into the time of your ancestor.
  • New Appearance to Search Template – template for searching looks different.  The new appearance is being rolled out gradually so you may not yet be able to see it.  Search Filters start automatically popping up when you start entering in search terms.  Kristin has produced a video to watch about this new appearance that is on the channel at YouTube at
  • New DNA Circles – for public trees, if you have done an DNA test, your matched results are included in your tree.  Kristin also has a video on the channel at YouTube at .
  • New Databases – has added 11 new databases, many of which are  specific to the Oklahoma Indian Record Collection that are very helpful if your ancestral connections lead to the Five Civilized Tribes.  Some of the databases are fully indexed, some are just images that are browseable.  Some of the dates go back to 1850.  Some dates are as current as 1937.  Even if you do not have a connection to the Five Civilized Tribes, some of the data may help you if your ancestors were possibly involved in the Oklahoma Land Rush era between 1889 to 1926.  One of the files in general also covers Indian Treaties from 1722 to 1869.
  • New Database – United Kingdom World War I Service Medal and Awards Rolls, 1914-1920.  Contains 5 million records.
  • New Databases – New South Wales, Australia, Criminal Court Records, 1830-1945
  • New Database – UK Lunacy Records, 1882-1898
  • New Database – UK Criminal Lunatic Asylum Registers, 1820-1843
  • New Database – West Yorkshire (UK) Bastardy Records, 1690-1914
  • 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

Family Tree DNA And DNA Have Their DNA Kits On Sale For The Holiday Season; Might Be A Good Gift Idea For Yourself Or Your Relatives

Hi Everyone!

Family Tree DNAAs expected during the Holiday season, genealogy DNA testing kits are on sale within Family Tree DNA (FTDNA).

You can visit Family Tree DNA at their website at:

FamilyTree DNA (FTDNA)

The Family Tree DNA website notes that the three main DNA test kits are on sale:

  • The yDNA kit is marked down from $169 to $129.
  • Family Finder kit is marked down from $99 to $89.
  • The mtDNA kit is marked down from $199 to $169

The sale is good until December 31, 2014.  Now is the time to act for the holidays and take advantage of the discounted price across their major DNA kits.

Family Tree DNA also notes that it contains over 700,000 DNA results in its database, being the largest DNA database in the world.  Having your test done with an organization that has such a high number of participants means you stand a good chance to have some matches for your own submitted test. DNA is also having their test on sale.

You can visit them at their website at: DNA

They are noting a sale price on their kit as follows:

  • Regular price of $99 is now on sale for $89

The sale price is in effect only until December 21, 2014.

Think of even giving the test to other relatives as a Holiday gift.

Think of even giving these DNA test kits at a sale price to the most important person in your research  — YOURSELF!

Tony Kierna
Genealogy Coordinator
Schaumburg Township District Library

Reminder Re-Post: Check This Blog During the Winter Months In Case Bad Weather Forces Us To Cancel A Genealogy Program; I Would Post That Cancellation Notice Here

Hi Everyone!

Winter Weather Clip ArtI just wanted to remind readers of this blog, especially those of you that often attend our monthly Genealogy Program at the Schaumburg Township District Library (STDL), that I would post a notice here if a Genealogy Program on the 2nd Tuesday evening of the month would have to be cancelled due to bad, wintry weather.

A few cancellations have happened in the past and I believe posting the cancellation of that program in this blog proved helpful and beneficial to those who thought of coming out on a bad wintry night.  I believe that our most recent cancellation of our genealogy program was in February 2010 just a few months after I started this blog.

It does not happen often but this blog can easily get the word out that a genealogy program is being cancelled due to inclement weather.

As I write this in early December 2014, it already seems like we have had a taste of some very cold weather during the month of November 2014.  November 2014 was the 7th coldest November in the weather history for the Chicago area averaging about 7 degrees per day below the normal expected temperature.

Our December 9, 2014 program went off without a weather hiccup quite nicely.  The weather was as I like to use the term “uneventful”.  No snow, no ice, no sleet, no rain!  So 25 participants were able to focus on genealogy and not how they were going to get here or get back home facing a weather challenge.

One bad weather month down and three more to go as we are about to enter 2015.  Cross your fingers that good weather karma will be with us on our program nights for January, February and March of 2015.

So keep checking back here especially on the 2nd Tuesday evening of the month if you may be planning on attending our genealogy program during the months of December, January, February and March.  If the weather is dicey and we cancel the program, you will hear it here!

Tony Kierna
Genealogy Coordinator
Schaumburg Township District Library

Did You Know That AARP (American Association Of Retired Persons) Members Can Receive A 30% Discount On A New Subscription To For 1 Year?; Current Subscribers That Are AARP Members Can Receive The Same Discount With Their Next Renewal To

Hi Everyone!

AARP LogoI very recently became a member of AARP (American Association of Retired Persons) and happened to make an interesting discovery related to one of the benefits AARP members can receive in the form of discounts.

It appears that AARP members can receive a 30% discount to a new personal subscription.  I had no idea about that.  I have never heard that mentioned to me from anyone that has attended our genealogy programs over the years before I became an AARP member myself.

You must be a new subscriber to  The 30% discount is good for that first year subscription.  After the first year the subscription rate reverts to the normal rate in place at the time. LogoIf you are an existing subscriber to and are a member of AARP, you can take advantage of the 30% discount as a subscriber to with your next renewal to

Not having heard about such a benefit I thought I would post this so other AARP members that have an interest in genealogy who are not currently subscribed to can take advantage of this great discount offered by

And if you are subscribed to already as an AARP member and have not taken the discount with an initial subscription, you can obtain the discount with your next renewal to

I just happened to be reviewing an introductory publication to new AARP members that listed all of the discounts that AARP members can obtain from a multitude of services and products.  The discount was included in this list.

Since many of the AARP discounts are in the 10% to 15% range, this offer really stood out from the pack.

You can see more about this offer from the site and the AARP site at:

AARP Discount Offer For Subscription (AARP Site)

AARP Discount Offer for Subscription ( Site)

Check out the AARP link and the link mentioned above for a better understanding of how to obtain the 30% discount subscription as well as to understand the restrictions that apply towards the discount.

What a pleasant surprise to see this great discount offered to AARP members.

Tony Kierna
Genealogy Coordinator
Schaumburg Township District Library

Don’t Forget To Access Your Local Family History Center (FHC) To Access Their Electronic Database Products; Their Subscribed Database Products Are Different From Those Our Library Subscribes To

STDL Central Summer LgHi Everyone!

If you are a cardholder of the Schaumburg Township District Library and have an interest in genealogical research, then you know you can access genealogical electronic database products both from within the library and from home via your library card identification.

Did you know that the local Family History Centers in our area also offer access to electronic database products?  And that some of their accessible products are different from the ones our library uses?

Which means that you should consider visiting your local Family History Center (FHC) to try out some of the databases they offer that we do not offer or cannot offer.  If you do not visit them then you are not taking advantage of an opportunity to tap into a resource that is available to you.

When we subscribe to databases at our library, we need the availability of the product to be offered to as a “commercial” product.  What does that mean?  It means we have to have the ability to have the product available to our users in the library across a broad spectrum of computers as well as being available in a manner that does not require a log-in or password process.  Our library is the subscriber, not the individual user.  Our computers need to talk to the providers’ computers via IP addresses and not log-ins or passwords.

Consequently, there may be great genealogical database products that exist which we cannot add to our collection because the producer of the data does not offer a “commercial” product allowing us to connect to the data over multiple computers using IP address information.

However, it may very well be possible for a FHC to subscribe to such a service because they have a few computers on site making it easier to obtain a standard subscription offered by the producer.

In fact, in my discussions with some local FHCs, I have learned that the local FHCs offer what is known as a Family History Center Portal.  This Portal is provided by the Church of Jesus Christ Latter Day Saints to the local FHCs.  In the Portal are a series of databases that can be accessed by the researcher at the FHC.  Some of the components of the database are familiar to genealogical researchers such as Library Edition or Heritage Quest.  These two are available to users at our library.

You may also discover databases in the Family History Center Portal that we do not have such as 19th Century British Library Newspaper Archive or Godfrey Memorial Library.

It is also possible for a local FHC to add an  electronic resource to their on-siteFamily-History-Center-logo collection that is over and above what is offered in the Family History Center Portal.  This may not happen too often because this added database expense is then picked up by the local FHC whereas the Portal is provided to them at no cost to them directly.

Here are the names of the databases contained within the Family History Center Portal that are available at a local Family History Center in our suburban area:

  • 19th Century British Library Newspaper Digital Archive
  • (our library has this product)
  • Alexander Street Press – The American Civil War
  • The Library Edition (our library has this product)
  • ArkivDigital (Swedish Church Records)
  • FindMyPast (British Records)
  • Fold3 (Many Military Records) (our library has this product)
  • Godfrey Memorial Library
  • Heritage Quest Online (our library has this product)
  • Historic Map Works Library Edition
  • Legacy Stories
  • Paper Trail (19th Century westward American migration records)
  • World Vital Records

Local Family History Centers (FHC) that are closest to our library and the approximate mileage distance between us and them:

  • Buffalo Grove, IL (16 miles from our library)
  • Crystal Lake, IL (22 miles from our library)
  • Naperville, IL (30 miles from our library)
  • Schaumburg, IL (2 miles from our library)
  • Wilmette, IL (27 miles from our library)

Your local Family History Center is more than just a location to view any microfilms you may order.  Granted, you are excited at what might be discovered on those films.  You  just do not pay any attention to the computers sitting nearby that provide you access to databases you were not even aware of that might help your research.

Maybe you want to make a field trip to your local FHC just to check out the Portal of databases the FHC has on their computers that we do not have at our library.

Take a little time off from viewing microfilms and divert your attention momentarily to learn about the great resource that your local Family History Center has to help your research efforts.

Tony Kierna
Genealogy Coordinator
Schaumburg Township District Library

New YouTube Teaching Aid Screencast Created By Me; “Using Newspaper For Your Genealogical Research … What’s That All About?”; 32 Minute Tour Of Features And Functions Of Newspaper; You Can View The Video Right In This Post

Hi Everyone!

STDL Central Summer LgOnce again, my creative juices were flowing a couple of  weeks ago when I decided to create another teaching genealogy screencast.

The topic I chose to screencast was about one of our Electronic Reference Products (ERP) called “Newspaper”.  This resource provides the researcher with access to over 5,000 digital newspapers as well as newspapers from around the world.  Digital newspapers are a very powerful and useful tool to help you with your genealogical research.

This screencast currently exists within the Schaumburg Township District Library YouTube Channel.  Our library has a multitude of online videos across a variety of subjects, topics and events.  The “genealogy” component is also identified on our channel where you can now find 3 screencasts related to genealogy insights.  The other genealogy screencasts that exist on our channel are titled “Using America’s Obituaries and Death Notices Database” and “A Tour of Tony’s Genealogy Blog at the Schaumburg Township District Library”.  Check them both out if you were not aware of them.

Become familiar with the “how to use that database” screencast to help you make more ancestral discoveries.

You can get to all of the Schaumburg Township District Library YouTube videos at:

Schaumburg Township District Library YouTube Channel

But enough about all of our wonderful library YouTube videos!

I know you are looking at this post to see THE  YouTube screencast  video about “Using Newspaper for Your Genealogical Research”!  So here it is.  Get yourself in a nice comfortable chair.  Relax and enjoy the 32 minute tour right below direct from YouTube:

My plan is to create even more helpful screencasts in the future related to resources and tools that can help you in your own genealogy research.  Visit our library’s YouTube Channel linked above to access more genealogy screencasts that I plan on creating.  “Follow” this blog since I will let you know of new screencasts with published new posts.

Tony Kierna
Genealogy Coordinator
Schaumburg Township District Library

Take Advantage Of Holiday Family Gatherings As The Family Historian (Originally Posted In November 2009 And Still Applicable!)

Hi Everyone!

Roast Turkey and StuffingNow that the holidays are upon us again, I wanted to re-post a blog entry I made in November 2009 (actually one of my first posts to the new blog at that time) because the holiday times and family gatherings provide the perfect opportunity to the family historian to share previously researched information and also to gather new information to compile into the family history.

What follows in Bold and Italics is the post I published back in 2009.  The message to family historians is as important today as it was then.  Take a look at the message and take advantage of your time with family during the holidays of 2014-2015.


The Holiday Season is one of the best times of the year to moveChistmas Holiday Clip Art your genealogy research forward!  You are circled by family members who may be very interested to know of your research.  Not only can you share what you have discovered but you may have willing family members that can’t help but share more with you during this season of sharing!

Now is the time that family members will really see how serious you take your family research.  They may not open up to you as a willing participant at this time.  But you may have planted the seed in their mind that will come to grow at a future date when their assistance will become invaluable.

Bring some copies of research documents you may have uncovered to date as well as copies of pictures to share with the family members present at the gathering.  Keep the originals at home for safety and security!  If you have digitized your discoveries as .JPG images then bring your laptop with the data or your smartphone or your tablet computer if you have one that contains the images.  Even having the images on a flash drive will help because you can plug that into a computer that may exist in the house.  Even new HDTV sets often have a USB connection to the HDTV that you can plug into.  You can then look at the images on the TV screen!

What a great time to share family information as well as to gather more if you can.  Bring a digital recorder or a camcorder with to document the new information family members will be willing to share.  If you have a smartphone you probably have an App that can function as a digital recorder.  Don’t leave all of the stories to your memories.  Get the stories in the voice of the original provider for further analysis down the road.  Ask their permission to audio or videotape what they have to say.  Respect their wishes if they choose not to be recorded.  Then take notes.

Always remember to be a good guest if you are visiting.  It is the Holiday Season after all and not necessarily a genealogical convention!  Don’t make yourself a genealogical nuisance at this time but see if you can arrange a time in the future to revisit with key family members to obtain further information in a non-holiday pressured setting.

Share your family history stories and research.

Keep an ear open for other family history stories.

Plant those seeds among family members for future help.

But most importantly, enjoy your family during this Holiday Season!


Tony Kierna
Genealogy Coordinator
Schaumburg Township District Library