Category Archives: Tips

Revisit FamilySearch.org For Updated Illinois Databases; 5 Illinois Databases Have Been Updated In The Last 4 Months

Hi Everyone!

FamilySearch.org LogoI was browsing around FamilySearch.org today.  I happened to notice that 5 of the total of 25 Illinois databases in the collection are noted as having been updated in the last 4 months.  Updated dates are being shown as for February and April 2015.

One thing I emphasize is that you must make return visits to your database resources because these are added to over time with new information, some of that information may be for your ancestors!

Illinois databases I noted that have been recently updated are:

  • Illinois, County Marriages, 1810-1934 updated on April 24, 2015.  It contains 1,026,354 searchable records at this time.  Here is a direct link to the database Illinois, County Marriages, 1810-1934.

If you are doing Illinois, Cook County, Chicago research and have not visited these databases of late, then now would be a good time to say hello again to these wonderful databases that are geared directly to your own research.  4 of the 5 updated databases are searchable.  One of them is only browseable by looking through the images.  This is still very useful to your search.  Don’t just use databases that are only indexed and searchable.  You can still make great headway in your research in the browseable only databases.  These are not that impossible to look through as you might think.

Generally, your research may be across many more states and counties.  So if I am able to report 5 of the Illinois databases have recently been updated, it is a good idea to check the other geographic areas of searching interest for any updating activities.

And also don’t forget to check on the international databases for the various countries you are researching.  They too are often updated.

Keep tuned in to your resources.  They may not change for a while and then all of a sudden new data appears!

Tony Kierna
Genealogy Coordinator
Schaumburg Township District Library

Oral Interviews Are Critical To Your Genealogy Research; Watch/Listen To A 1 Hour Previously Recorded Webinar Presented By Barry Ewell Titled “Conducting Oral Interviews: The Most Important Research You’ll Ever Do”

Hi Everyone!

STDL Central Summer LgI receive an e-mail update on the blog activities of Barry Ewell who has a blog called “Genealogy with Barry”.  He forwards to me a blog newsletter titled “Genealogy By Barry Newsletter”.

I would highly recommend connecting to his online blog just to explore.  He has an incredible amount of content on the blog as well as an incredible amount of content in his newsletter.

You can visit his blog at:

Genealogy By Barry

In the December 1, 2014 newsletter, I noticed he had a “Webinar” subject category in the newsletter that contained a link to a webinar he created on a very important topic in genealogy research that I feel we often tend to overlook too much.  His webinar topic is called “Conducting Oral Interviews: The Most Important Research You’ll Ever Do”.

Interviews are so important early on in your genealogy research because the person you want to interview may not be available years after your  interest has started.  These relatives are generally elderly when you start your interest in genealogy.  You may think that you have time down the road to conduct an interview.  However, we all have our own personal stories of our relatives passing away due to an illness that may have taken their lives quickly.  These relatives may hold incredible family history stories for your research that can be gone in the blink of an eye as they age.

The availability of online data has made us turn away far too easily from conducting these important interviews.  We seem way too inclined to start tapping away at the keyboard rather than spending some serious time with a relative capturing their stories.  Sometimes we search online because we think what we know is enough to pursue genealogy.  Yet golden opportunities are wasted to get even more information from our elderly relatives because so much is at our fingertips.

Don’t pass up these wonderful opportunities to capture these stories before they are lost forever.

Barry Ewell has created a 1 hour and 8 minute online webinar of how to go about conducting these very important oral histories.  You want to make the most out of your time with an elderly relative to capture these moments.  Barry provides a nice webinar that will give you the roadmap you want to successfully conduct your own oral history interviews.

You can view Barry’s webinar at his web site at:

“Conducting Oral Interviews” Webinar by Barry Ewell

It may be one of the best hours you can spend to establish a good foundation for your family history research efforts.

Tony Kierna
Genealogy Coordinator
Schaumburg Township District Library

Recipes And Food Connect Us To Our Past; Over 2,600 Recipe Links At “Genealogy By Barry” Blog To Check

Hi Everyone!

recipes - word in vintage letterpress wood type inside rustic wooden dough bowl, isolated on white

I routinely receive a newsletter update from a blog titled Genealogy By Barry. He does put together a wonderful resource for all genealogists.  If you are not familiar with his blog, just click on the above link to take a look at all that is there.  I think you will like what you see.

One of the things that caught my eye was a category he highlighted titled “2,679 Recipes”.  You can find the link to the “2,679 Forgotten Recipes” at Genealogy By Barry here:

Forgotten Recipes At Genealogy By Barry Blog

Food and recipes may have a spot in the heart of every genealogist.  I do notRecipes Photo1 mean from a nutritional point of view but rather from a “memory” creation view.  Let’s be honest.  No matter how old you are doing your genealogy, I will bet you that you can remember the food experiences of yourself as a child growing up.  These may be good experiences like when you overloaded eating some candy bought in the local candy store for 10 cents (bought after returning 5 Coke bottles to the store for a 2 cent per bottle deposit refund) or for that horrible food memory of having to eat a Polish soup dish called Czarnina (duck blood soup!  My personal experience!  Nothing against the Polish as I am one by ancestry!)  Remember, as a kid, you simply did not have all of the appreciation for food flavors then as we perhaps do now!!

Genealogy is about facts on births, marriages and deaths and other record related data.

But it is also memories and stories that should be captured to pass on to the next generations.  That is why this topic at Genealogy By Barry caught my eye.

When you look at some of the recipes contained in Genealogy By Barry, some might look and sound familiar.  Some may even sound gross!  Remember, these are the recipes of our ancestors from 1832 to 1928.

Recipe box with apple. Apple fritter recipe card showing.

But think of the story and memory you can add to your genealogy whether it is a specific recipe you find in Genealogy By Barry or you start remembering your own early life food experiences at home growing up!

See what the recipes at Genealogy By Barry triggers in your mind.  Add those thoughts to your own genealogy research.  It will add a lot to your own life story.

I still think about the Czarnina and even the Kiszka (a Polish sausage dish also known as

graphic hand-drawn illustrations. national Mexican soup and ingredients

“blood” sausage”).  Additionally, if you also let your brain take over in this exercise you will also probably begin remembering the “smells” of all of those food experiences.  I can actually smell the aroma of the raisins that were an ingredient of Czarnina made by my mother that made the soup somewhat palatable to me over and above the duck blood!

Include all of these things in your own genealogy and your story will be rich beyond just your date of birth!

Give yourself a little time as you peruse the 2,679 “Forgotten” recipes!  Enjoy.

Tony Kierna
Genealogy Coordinator
Schaumburg Township District Library

We Have Recently Added 4 New Genealogy Books To Our Circulating Collection

Hi Everyone!

STDL Central Summer LgI thought I would give you an update on some recently added genealogy books to our circulating collection.

In the last month or so we have added the following 4 genealogy books to our circulating collection:

Family Tree Historical Maps Book United StatesThe Family Tree Historical Maps Book: A State-by-State Atlas of U.S. history, 1790-1900 by Allison Dolan.  Call number is  929.1 DOLAN, A.

 

 

 

Family Tree Historical Maps Book EuropeThe Family Tree Historical Maps Book : Europe, a Country-by-Country Atlas of European History, 1700s-1900s by Allison Dolan.  Call number is NEW 929.1 DOLAN, A.

 

 

 

How to Archive Family PhotosHow To Archive Family Photos: A Step-by-Step Guide to Organize and Share Your Photos Digitally by Denise May Levenick.  Call number is NEW 929.1 LEVENICK, D.

 

 

Set Yourself Up To Self PublishSet Yourself Up to Self-Publish: A Genealogist’s Guide by Dina C. Carson.  Call number is NEW 929.1 CARSON, D.

 

 

 

The two historical maps books should be on the shelf for you to access.  But do check our online catalog to be sure they are available.  I believe I was even able to show them at our most recent genealogy program on May 12, 2015.

The Archive Family Photos and Self Publish books have just been received by me yesterday and are currently checked out to me for review.  These two books should be available to the public within the next couple weeks following this blog post.  Check our online catalog for availability of these 2 books if you are interested in either of them.

When you see the word “NEW” as part of the call number, it means that this book is being shelved in the special area by the “Ask Us” desk on the 2nd floor where newly added books to our collection are all in one shelf area for you to browse through among all subjects.  After approximately a 6 month interval has passed being categorized as “NEW”, the book is then filed on the normal circulating shelves and the category of “NEW” is then removed from the call number.

You can check our online library catalog for the above materials at:

Schaumburg Township District Library Online Catalog

I was very happy to discover these and add them to our circulating collection.  They do seem topical and current to help you in your research endeavors as they apply to your own genealogies.

Tony Kierna
Genealogy Coordinator
Schaumburg Township District Library

“What’s New At Ancestry.com May 2015” YouTube Video; You Can View The Video In This Blog Post

Hi Everyone!

ancestry-logoI just did a quick look at YouTube and saw that there is now a May 2015 video posted from Ancestry.com that is titled “What’s New At Ancestry.com May 2015”.

The video is an approximate 28 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 – Southern California Genealogy Jamboree, June 4-7, 2015, Burbank, CA, www.genealogyjamboree.com.; IAJGS (International Association of Jewish Genealogy Societies) July 6-10, 2015 in Jerusalem, Israel.
  • Ancestry Blog Post – Ancestry.com has developed and made available an Ancestry app intended to be used on the new Apple Watch.  You can read the full blog post about this new available app here at Ancestry App For Apple Watch.
  • Ancestry Blog Post – the new “Beta” test site for what will be a new look for Ancestry.com has been updated with many of the suggestions that many of the “beta” testers suggested from interacting with the test site.  Good sign that Ancestry seems responsive to those that are testing out this beta site.  You can see the blog post about some of the new features unfolding at the beta site here at Ancestry Beta Site; New Developments; LifeStory and Historical Insights
  • Ancestry Blog Post – Ancestry Academy is a new tutorial resource part of Ancestry.  Many free online hour-long tutorials on various aspects of genealogy research.  Many new tutorials requiring a subscription to the resource.  Get all the information about this new service at Ancestry from the blog post here Introducing Ancestry Academy.
  • New Databases – A good amount of new World War I related databases have been introduced.  These are not in the usual record content format like surname, birth, death etc.  Instead, these databases are “diaries” from World War I.  You cannot search by name but can search by regiment, date, location etc.  Great details and insights about World War I from those that served and wrote diaries about their experience.  Covers 1914-1920.
  • New Databases –  Some additional World War II databases have been added.
  • New Databases – Canadian Imperial Service records added.
  • New Databases – Sweden Death Records covering 1899 to 1941 has been added as a database.  Consists of about 2.2 million records.
  • New Databases – Evangelical Lutheran Church Records covering 1875 to 1940 has been added as a database consisting of 2.9 million records.  It includes records from about 2,000 congregations.  Content can vary among the congregations.  All records are not in English especially if a congregation may have consisted of German members etc.  Can expect to find baptisms, marriages, deaths, funeral records, membership records,transfer records, etc.
  • 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

Ancestry.com Has New Ancestry Academy Resource; Online Video Tutorials; Some For Free; Others Require Ancestry Academy Subscription

Hi Everyone!

Ancestry.com LogoIn case you are not aware, Ancestry.com has just introduced an online tutorial resource called Ancestry Academy.

You can see what this is all about by visiting the Ancestry Academy at:

Ancestry Academy at Ancestry.com

There are “free” tutorials that anyone can access.  There are premium tutorials that will require a subscription to the Ancestry Academy.

Subscription rates to Ancestry Academy are noted as:

  • $11.99 per month
  • $99.99 per year
  • $199 for a 6 month subscription to Ancestry World Explorer Plus that gives you access to all of the records of Ancestry.com, Newspapers.com, Fold 3 and all of the Ancestry Academy tutorials.

Even if you are not a subscriber to Ancestry.com, there are tutorials noted as “free” that anyone can access and learn from.

If you want the non-free tutorials, you will need to subscribe to the Academy under one of the above pricing options.

I personally have a full, all access subscription to Ancestry records.  I thought this might allow me to access all of the tutorials.  It did not.  I think that is because I do not have additional subscriptions to Newspapers.com and Fold 3.  This is how Ancestry.com seems to be packaging the $199 product offering.  It just looks like you will have to proactively subscribe to the Academy and not assume that a current subscription package you have will gain you access to it.

Perhaps if you subscribe to the highest level offerings from Ancestry.com, maybe you would actually be able to gain access to Ancestry Academy under your current subscription.  It is probably worth a call to Ancestry to check out if you have an interest in pursuing full access to Ancestry Academy.

Whether I was signed in to Ancestry.com with my subscription or just accessing Ancestry.com not signed in, I had no trouble accessing the free tutorials at Ancestry Academy.

I did look at some of the segments of one of the free tutorials.  They are well put together.  The video presentation looks professional and well-polished.  The video instructors are top of the line genealogists from around the country.  They seem to exhibit a very good on-screen presence as teachers.   Each tutorial is broken down into various sub-segments noting the topic contained in that one.  When the initial segment ends the next segment automatically starts up.

You can even gain access to outside material such as PDF files or websites through the tutorials through the links provided that correlates to material spoken about in the tutorial.

And finally, you can even take an optional test at the end of the tutorial to see how you absorbed the covered material.  If you get any wrong answers, you can even link back to the section of the video that covered the material.

“Free” is good but there may be some great presentations that are worth the price of admission, especially if it is on a more “niched” topic that connects to your own personal research.  I think there is enough now at the Academy for you to sample and gain an idea on how the material can help you.

And Ancestry.com has indicated there will be more and more tutorials added.  I’m sure there will also be more “free” ones added in the future.

Check out the link above to the new Ancestry Academy being offered by Ancestry.com.  Try one of the “free” ones.  I think you will like what you see.

Tony Kierna
Genealogy Coordinator
Schaumburg Township District Library

“Who Do You Think You Are?” New Episode Showcasing Melissa Etheridge Airs Sunday, April 26, 2015, On TLC At 9 PM Central Time; Final Premiere Episode For This Season’s Shows

Hi Everyone!

Who Do You Think You Are?I wanted to remind you that a  “new” episode of “Who Do You Think You Are?” for this year’s series airs on Sunday night, April 26, 2015, on TLC at 9 PM Central time.

Melissa Etheridge is featured on this episode.

Here is a small text description from the TLC website for the show of what this night’s episode is about:

“Melissa Etheridge digs into her French roots and finds a family shaken by a scandalous lawsuit; a turbulent relationship entangled with tragedy; and an adventuresome ancestor who prospered in colonial America.”

Try to watch the original airing on TLC if possible.

Here is the schedule of the balance of the original airings of the new episodes for this season:

  • April 26: Melissa Etheridge

The “new” airings are already winding down for the season.  This is the final “premiere” airing for this season’s episodes of “Who Do You Think You Are?” .

Visit the shows website at TLC at:

“Who Do You Think You Are?” On TLC

You can find so much at the website about the show, video snippets of previous shows, and full online viewing in its entirety of many of the previously broadcast The Learning Channelshows.

Enjoy this new episode of “Who Do You Think You Are?” Sunday night, April 26, 2015 at 9 PM Central time featuring Melissa Etheridge on TLC!

Tony Kierna
Genealogy Coordinator
Schaumburg Township District Library