Category Archives: Tips

Family Bible Collections Appearing In The Illinois State Genealogical Society Quarterly Journal; List Of Submitted Surnames; Consider Submitting Bible Records In Your Possession

Hi Everyone!

Some of you may be very lucky to have in your possession an old, old family bible used by your ancestors not only for religious purposes but also for a place in which births, marriages and deaths were documented for the family.

Consider yourself lucky if you have one.

Such bibles with the identification of births, marriages and deaths for family members may be the only place you will be able to find such vital record information, especially if the events occurred before it was the norm for vital record registration for such events (generally pre-1860s in the U.S.).

The Illinois State Genealogical Society (ISGS) publishes the Illinois State Genealogical Society Quarterly Journal.  One of the sections of this journal is titled “Family Bible Collections”.  It is within this section that contributors provide the society with transcribed lists of materials contained in the bibles the contributors have in their possession.  The ISGS has been collecting this data since 1988.  You will generally see the births, marriages and deaths that were recorded by ancestral family members that were transcribed and provided to the Illinois State Genealogical Society.

Here are some of the family names I saw in this quarterly section from the 2017, Volume 49, Number 1 issue:

  • Houston Family
  • Dillon Family
  • Ebert Family
  • Ellsworth Family
  • Elmore Family
  • Eury Family
  • Geddes Family
  • Graves Family
  • Gumbel Family
  • Hieser (Hiser) Family

The section also identifies for the particular bible the name of the person who submitted it, who owns the bible, family places of residence (if available) and births, marriages and deaths.  The submissions do not have to be only for Illinois ancestors.  The society does prefer submissions to be of pre-1920 dates.

Sometimes other non-religious, non-vital record information can be found in these bibles.  Things such as recipes, poems, other family contacts etc. might be found.

My point on sharing this with you is twofold.  Consider just browsing through the issues we have of this journal and look to see if any of the surnames you are researching are contained in the listings.  You can find this journal on the 2nd floor of our library on the magazine shelves.  We have this journal in our collection going back to the Fall of 2013.

If you personally become a member of the society you will receive the journal that contains this information as part of your subscription.

Better yet, check out the link below to the Society that will get you to the “Bible” part of the website to see the entire list of names that have been submitted to the society.  You might find a connection, especially if the name is not a common one.

Illinois State Genealogical Society Family Bible Collections

My second point is to consider being a submitter to the Illinois State Genealogical Society of any bible material you may have in your own possession.  Check the link above that will also give you information on what it takes to be a submitter to the society of bible records you have in your own possession.

Bible records are a hidden resource of valuable material.  You won’t always hit a home run with this material, but if you do it will be like a goldmine.

I want you to at least be aware of this resource from the Illinois State Genealogical Society.  Maybe you will find a connection previously unknown to you.

Check out the link above to access the list of surnames compiled from bible information submitted to the society.  Consider being a submitter and use the same link for information on how to be a contributor.

Tony Kierna
Genealogy Coordinator
Schaumburg Township District Library


Computer Assisted Genealogy Group Of Northern Illinois (CAGGNI) Offers DNA Special Interest Group (SIG) On Saturday June 10, 2017

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, June 10, 2017 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:


DNA Special Interest Group

CAGGNI’s genomic genealogy group continues into its third year. This group focuses on learning the methods for analyzing DNA test results. We study topics such as 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

For more information: DNA Special Interest Group


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

Interview Questions To Ask Of Older Relatives To Capture Your Family History Stories

Hi Everyone!

While just doing some general searching in my effort to help someone in their research, I did come across what I think is a very nice short and simple list of questions to ask of your living relatives to capture genealogical information.

The questions were put together by FindMyPast.  Big thanks to them for putting together a very good list of questions to ask of your older relatives.  Found it on their website.  The link is a little further down in this post.

Why is this important?

If we start asking our living relatives just general questions off the top of our head, we may discover that there were better questions we could have asked.  Sometimes you only get one chance to ask these questions.  It helps if you have a pre-set list of questions to elicit helpful genealogy material.

Another thing we may tend to do (I am guilty of this!) is to start with a question and then we segue into an unplanned series of questions from the responses we are hearing the person provide.  And we just go deeper down the rabbit hole while we realize we did not ask the questions on our list and time has run out.  Maybe we will be lucky to ask our relative the missed questions at another time.  Maybe not!

The questions on the list are very thoughtful and planned to get the most from the responder to help us pursue various aspects of genealogy research e.g Did you have a family that lived close?.  Such a question can expand your research possibilities if you hear about siblings of the responder or parents of the responder that lived close by.  Now you know who they are and can tie them to a specific geographic area.  Another question such as “Is there a naming tradition in the family?”  may allow us to know of a pattern where the firstborn son is named after the paternal grandfather to discover as we do our research.

Having a list of questions will simply keep you focused and not rambling.  Provide questions for which you would like responses in advance of your get-together so the person has had time to think them through.  Having them write responses would even be better but if not that is where you will capture the information via your interview.

Don’t think of doing all of the questions in one setting.  It will exhaust them to the point the responses will not be very good or well thought out.  You will get exhausted thinking you have to go through all of these items quickly.

Take a look at the list.  Consider using these yourself.

Here is the link I found online:

Questions To Use To Interview An Older Relative

Don’t use questions off the top of your head.  You will not obtain the best results. Use a list of questions.  Get the most out of what might be a one time only chance to obtain information from an older relative.

Tony Kierna
Genealogy Coordinator
Schaumburg Township District Library

Irish Genealogy Webinars From Fountaindale Public Library March 15-16, 2017 Program At Fountaindale Public Library In Bolingbrook; Videos Only Available Until June 15-16, 2017; About 11 Hours Of Video Material Available; Links To Programs And Handouts Included

Hi Everyone!

Fountaindale LogoDebra Dudek, a previous genealogy speaker at our own  past April 12, 2016 genealogy program and librarian at the Fountaindale Public Library, has made me aware that there was a wonderful 2-day Irish Genealogy Webinar that was put together by the Fountaindale Public Library of Bolingbrook and the  Ulster Historical Foundation.

Ulster Historical Foundation LogoThe program occurred on March 15, 2017 and March 16, 2017.  There was a series of 11 Irish Genealogy Programs presented by members of the Ulster Historical Foundation at the Fountaindale Library over the two days.  The 11 programs were recorded and were initially live streamed on the day of the presentation.  The 11 recorded programs are available for viewing BUT ONLY UNTIL JUNE 15-16, 2017.

The 11 recorded programs provide about 10 hours of video viewing.

Just as important is the fact that a full set of downloadable handouts from these 10 programs is also available for you to access up until June 15-16, 2017.  You can access these handouts here:

Downloadable Handouts for Two-Day Irish Genealogy Workshop 2017
 (Available In Person At Workshop)
timeline-for-the-plantation-of-ulster (Available In Person At Workshop)

Here are the titles of these 11 programs:

  • March 15, 2017 Session 1 – (2 programs) Introduction to Irish and Scots-Irish Family History Research, Irish Education and School Records
  • March 15, 2017 Session 2 – Gravestone Inscriptions and Newspapers as Sources for Irish Research
  • March 15, 2017 Session  3 – (2 programs) Sources Available for Irish Research by County, Introduction to Archives in Ireland
  • March 15, 2017 Session 4 – Using the Registry of Deeds and a Short Introduction to Irish Wills
  • March 16, 2017 Session 1 – The Great Famine in Ireland, 1845-51: A Brief Historical Overview
  • March 16, 2017 Session 2 – (2 programs) Emigration from Ireland to North America: An Overview, The Great Famine in Ireland: Sources for Research, Part 1
  • March 16, 2017 Session 3 (2 programs) The Great Famine in Ireland: Sources for Research, Part 2, Emigration from Ireland to North America: Strategies for Researching Emigrant Ancestors

You can connect to all these programs via the Fountaindale Public Library  Genealogy Blog at:

March 15-16, 2017 Irish Genealogy Webinar Videos from the Fountaindale Public Library in Bolingbrook, IL

If you have Irish ancestors here is a chance within a short timeframe to view these presentations from members of the Ulster Historical Foundation.  Remember, they are only available for viewing until June 15-16, 2017.

Enjoy the videos while they last!

Tony Kierna
Genealogy Coordinator
Schaumburg Township District Library

April 22, 2017 (Saturday) Computer Assisted Genealogy Group Of Northern Illinois (CAGGNI) Program At The Schaumburg Township District Library; “Getting The Most Out Of The Allen County Public Library Road Trip” Presented By Sandra Trapp

Hi Everyone!

CAGGNI logoJust wanted to let you know that the Computer Assisted Genealogy Group of Northern Illinois (CAGGNI) will be having a special program at our library on Saturday, April 22, 2017 starting at 10:30 AM that is connected to the group having an upcoming “road trip” to the Allen County Public Library in Fort Wayne, IN.

The program is open to all, those that will be taking the road trip as well as those that may just want to learn more about the Allen County Public Library that will not be making the trip.

The title of the program is “Getting the Most Out of the Allen County Public Library Road Trip”.  Speaker for the program is Sandra Trapp, a member of the CAGGNI organization.

The “road trip” itself will take place from June 15, 2017 to June 17, 2017.  See the link below to the CAGGNI website for details about this trip.

Program description is:

Allen County Public Library is the 2nd largest genealogical library in the U.S. and has a multitude of research resources for both the U.S. and some other countries.  The Program will include a review of what the Genealogy Center has to offer and how to prepare for your visit so you can make the most of your research time. 

Even if you are not joining the Road Trip, but want to learn more about the resources at Allen County, do join us for the workshop.

Speaker information is:

Sandra Trapp has been researching her family, her husband’s, son-in-law’s, and friends’ families for almost 20 years.  She has provided genealogy programs for local organizations and libraries and has been the resource chairman for the Naperville Family History Center since 2000.  Her areas of interest include England, Italy, and some New England, Mid-Atlantic, and Midwestern states. 

Here is a link to the CAGGNI website that provides information of the upcoming trip to the Allen County Public Library in Fort Wayne, IN that will take place from June 15, 2017 to June 17, 2017:

Information About CAGGNI Allen County Public Library Road Trip June 15-17, 2017

Find out more about the CAGGNI group and all that they do.  Visit them at their website at:

Computer Assisted Genealogy Group of Northern Illinois (CAGGNI)

Tony Kierna
Genealogy Coordinator
Schaumburg Township District Library

Historical Census Instructions For Enumerators; These May Help You Better Understand Your Own Ancestral Responses To Various Census Questions

Hi Everyone!

I recently had a question posed to me about some notes that were observed on some older census ledger sheets.  Sometimes these notes were not placed on the ledger sheets by the original census taker.  They may have been placed on the ledger sheets by other governmental agencies well after the original creations.  Such “add-ons” using the census ledgers may have been related to “proof” of age for Social Security applications or even for verification of passenger arrival  information.  You always have to take what is on the census ledgers with a grain of salt because these were not legal documents.  In our own research I am sure you have found many instances when a woman’s age seems to decrease over time in the reported census information over time!

The question did make me do some thinking on the instructions that a census taker had to follow when filling in the blanks in the census ledger sheets.  I did come across a nice website from the United States Census Bureau in which they make available PDF copies of these various instructions for a census taker.

Census Instructions for Various United States Census Enumerations

Unfortunately, many of these instructions are not available at this site in PDF format.  Here are the ones worth having with your research should you encounter unusual markings on your ancestors’  census ledgers.  These handy PDF census taker guides can shed light on something you see unusual on a census return.  Even if not unusual, sometimes it helps to understand how a census taker may have interpreted something said by ancestor of yours.

Here are the census instructions you can find in PDF format within the link above:

  • 1790
  • 1850
  • 1860
  • 1870
  • 1890
  • 1900
  • 1910
  • 1920
  • 1930
  • 1940
  • 1950
  • 1980
  • 1990
  • 2000
  • 2010

Following in “italics” are some rather stern directions noted in the 1870 census enumerator directions:


Assistant Marshals will begin the enumeration of their subdivisions, June I, and continue it without interruption till the work is complete. Intermission of work will be sufficient cause for removal.

Sheets must never be folded, either in the course of enumeration, or in transmission to Marshals, or to the Census Office.

When the Census Office is put to trouble and expense, by having to obtain through subsequent correspondence the answers to these questions, the cost of clerk hire and correspondence to the Department will be estimated, and deduction will be made for work not done.

The tenth section of the act of May 23, 1850, requires that the Assistant Marshal shall make the enumeration by actual inquiry at every dwelling-house, or by personal inquiry of the head of every family, and not otherwise. The duty cannot be performed by deputy or proxy. General publication will be made of the fact, so that citizens may know their rights, and resent unauthorized intrusion or inquiry. ,When persons properly subject to enumeration refuse to give information in the particulars required, they will be admonished of their liability under the provisions of the fifteenth section of the act of May 23, 1850. Assistant Marshals will, however, make as little show as possible of authority. They will approach every individual in a conciliatory manner; respect the prejudices of all; adapt their inquiries to the comprehension of foreigners and persons of limited education; and strive in every way to relieve the performance of their duties from the appearance of obtrusiveness. Anything like an overbearing disposition should be an absolute disqualification for the position.


I think it is even interesting to browse through some of the more recent instructions.  Our most recent censuses have been done through the mail with a follow-up done by an actual census enumerator if no response was provided or if the census bureau needed to just check things out.  The days of face-to-face enumerator/person are long gone.  As researchers, I think we always enjoyed looking at such long ledger census returns with unique questions over each of the censuses.

Researchers of the future may not have much “meat on the bones” when they will be researching an ancestor on a 2000 census return in the year 2072 (long after I am gone!).  The questions were few, simple and basic from what I remember.  I wonder if future researchers will be able to see digital images of original responses provided by us??  I don’t think they would see any handwriting on these returns since we just bubble filled in our responses to the questions.

Perhaps you have census ledgers for ancestors that you need a better understanding of a response they made.  Check out how the enumerator was supposed to handle the census questions and see if they might have made some kind of special notes for an ancestral response that may not have matched with how an enumerator was to handle it.

Consider including the above PDF files with your own research when it comes to the census.  You will at least have some paper trial to help you understand the replies of your ancestors on these various census ledger forms.

Tony Kierna
Genealogy Coordinator
Schaumburg Township District Library

Computer Assisted Genealogy Group Of Northern Illinois (CAGGNI) Offers A Family Tree Maker Special Interest Group (SIG); Group Is Meeting At The Schaumburg Township District Library On Saturday April 22, 2017 From 12:45 PM To 2:30 PM

Hi Everyone!

CAGGNI announced in December 2015 that it will be “retiring” their lineage software program Family Tree Maker.  If you are a user of the product you may be uncertain how that decision does or does not affect you as a user of Family Tree Maker.  Software MacKiev has purchased the product line from and will be supporting and developing the product further into the future.

Perhaps the Family Tree Maker Special Interest Group (SIG) of the Computer Assisted Genealogy Group of Northern Illinois (CAGGNI) can be of immense assistance to you.  The CAGGNI group has had a Family Tree Maker SIG for quite some time.  Perhaps you did not take advantage of this resource in the past.  Perhaps now would be the time if you are in a state of confusion on all things related to Family Tree Maker lineage software.

The Family Tree Maker SIG of CAGGNI is having their next meeting on Saturday, April 22, 2017 at our own library, the Schaumburg Township District Library located at 130 S. Roselle Road, Schaumburg,IL.  They will be meeting between 12:45 PM to 2:30 PM.

You can see details of this event in the CAGGNI Calendar of Events at:

April 22, 2017 Family Tree Maker Special Interest Group of CAGGNI Meeting at the Schaumburg Township District Library

You do not have to be a member of CAGGNI in order to attend.  I am sure if you attended and were not a member you may very well think of becoming a member of this wonderful genealogical organization.

You can also check out the CAGGNI group website itself at:

Computer Assisted Genealogy Group of Northern Illinois (CAGGNI)

Let the Family Tree Maker Special Interest Group of CAGGNI make some sense of the “retirement” of Family Tree Maker for you as a current user of the product.   Software MacKiev has purchased Family Tree Maker from and will be the new developer of the product.  Family Tree Maker is still alive and kicking under a new owner and developer.

Tony Kierna
Genealogy Coordinator
Schaumburg Township District Library