Category Archives: Tips

German Genealogy Podcast From RadioPublic; The German Genealogy Girl’s Podcast With Ursula C. Krause; Teresa Steinkamp McMillin, Professional German Genealogy Specialist, Being Interviewed; Teresa Will Be Our February 13, 2018 Genealogy Program Speaker

Hi Everyone!

I have recently become familiar with a podcast provider known as RadioPublic (  I was checking out what genealogy related podcasts are included in all that is offered.  Wanted to see what kind of variety of podcasts were available by ethnic area of interest.  I used “genealogy” as a search term as well as “family history”.  Some results showed some very active podcast series with lots of podcasts.  Some series had just a few podcasts.

For me as a blogger the nice thing about RadioPublic is that I can directly include the podcast into a post along with the player so that you can play the podcast directly from within my post.  Here is a direct link to the site from which you can search for all kinds of podcasts by subject:

Search RadioPublic Podcasts

Happened to notice there is a fairly new Germanic podcast series that goes under the title series of “The German Genealogy Girl’s Podcast with Ursula C. Krause”.  She has 5 episodes that are all fairly current, the most recent one being November 2, 2017.  This is how Ursula describes what her series focuses on:

“If you are of German descent and love doing research, this is the podcast to listen to! The German Genealogy Girl’s Podcast helps you make the most of your research time, by providing helpful techniques and a deeper insight into German research. Together with her guests from all over the world, Ursula Krause guides you through numerous websites, best practices, German history, pesky German grammar and language and best resources available. Her and her guest’s experience and knowledge will enlighten you and give you tools needed to advance your genealogical search. Join them monthly as they delve into the world of German genealogy.”

I checked out that podcast and happened to notice that the November 2, 2017 podcast included an interview with Teresa Steinkamp McMillin, a well-known professional genealogy researcher from our area who focuses on Germanic research.  Teresa will be our February 13, 2018 genealogy speaker.  She will present a program on that day titled “The Voyages of Our German Immigrants”.

Here is the actual podcast to listen to with the interview of Teresa Steinkamp McMillin.  One suggestion, click on the “+” sign that you see as part of the player first.  This will open up another full window that includes a text description summary of what is on the podcast as well as the player.  You can start listening just by clicking on the start arrow for the player within the full screen.  You can also choose to just start the player below without clicking on the “+” sign.  You just won’t see the text description summary of the program.  Your choice.

For those interested in Germanic research, check out the other 4 podcasts in this series from Ursula Krause.  You can find all of them here at:

The German Genealogy Girl’s Podcasts with Ursula C. Krause

Enjoy RadioPublic and all that you can find at the site searching for podcasts of interest.  There is even an app you can download and install on your phone for even easier mobile listening for either Apple or Android.  Download the app directly from the main website for RadioPublic at

Tony Kierna
Genealogy Coordinator
Schaumburg Township District Library

Podcast From RadioPublic Ties In With Newly Released Poll Question In This Blog; How To Prepare For A Trip To Visit Your Ancestral Area Of Origin

Hi Everyone!

I guess timing is everything in life!

You may have seen that I just recently activated a new Poll question on the right sidebar of this blog.  This new poll questions asks you:

“Have You Gone To Visit Your Ancestral Town/Village Of Origin Outside Of The United States?”

I have also been poking around RadioPublic seeing what kind of podcasts exist.  Lo and behold I noticed another series of genealogy podcasts there in a series called “Ancestral Findings”.  It looks like a very active and current series of podcasts.  I see a total of 153 podcasts with the most recent one having a date published of November 21, 2017 (how current is that since today is November 22, 2017 as I create this blog post).

Quickly, I noticed episode 152 created on November 14, 2017 is titled “How to Get the Most Out of a Trip to Your Ancestral Homeland”.

Again, timing is everything!

I thought I could include that podcast in this blog since it ties in so perfectly with my new poll question.

Right below is the player with this podcast that you can listen to right in the this post.  One suggestion, click on the “+” sign that you see as part of the player first.  This will open up another full window that includes a text description summary of what is on the podcast as well as the player.  You can start listening just by clicking on the start arrow for the player within the full screen.  You can also choose to just start the player below without clicking on the “+” sign.  You just won’t see the text description summary of the program.  Your choice.

Because it looks like the “Ancestral Findings” podcasts are so prolific with many podcasts and also being very active, I want to share the link to get you directly to the long list of 153 episodes for you to peruse the topics covered.  Almost all of the podcasts are in the 5 to 10 minute category for recording length.  I would also like to share the name of the creator of this wonderful series of podcasts, but I have yet to be able to find who it is from either the podcasts or their website or from Facebook.

For now,  here is the link in RadioPublic to get you to the series of “Ancestral Findings” total list of podcasts:

Ancestral Findings Podcasts From Within RadioPublic

You can also access the main website Ancestral Findings at:

Ancestral Findings

So …. you now have a “two-fer”.  Access the poll and submit your response.  Then listen to this podcast on “How to Get the Most Out of a Trip to Your Ancestral Homeland” that ties in directly to the poll question.

Timing is everything.  Efficiency is everything.

Have fun with the above podcast if you are now thinking about making a trip to the land of your ancestors.  Check out all of the others on a variety of genealogical topics from Ancestral Findings that are easily listened to for an under 10 minute commitment of your time.

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 Thanksgiving and Christmas holidays of this year .


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

Documenting Your Genealogical Discoveries; 2 Books In Our Collection That Can Help You Understand The Process; 2 Training Videos From Also Included

Hi Everyone,

Our library recently added a new genealogy book to our circulating collection.  It is titled “Mastering Genealogical Documentation”.  The author of the book is Thomas W. Jones.  The book will soon be on our circulating shelves available for you to check out.  The call number of the book is 929.1 JONES, T.  You will be able to find it on the 2nd floor of our library in the area noted by the Call Number.

I mention this additional book because up until now the best known source for genealogical documentation and citations is a book titled “Evidence Explained” by Elizabeth Shown Mills.  We also have that book in our collection.  The call number of this book is 929.3 MILLS, E.  It too is available on the 2nd floor of our library on the circulating shelves in the area indicated by the call number.  “Evidence Explained” has always been known in the genealogical community as the “Bible” for all things related to genealogical documentation.

Both books point out the necessity for documenting your genealogical discoveries whether your discoveries are online, in a desktop/laptop/tablet lineage program or just in a word document or spreadsheet that you have customized for your own research.  Identifying where you found something is critical to show your skills as a researcher as well as to leave a trail of resources that can be followed by other researchers that may follow-up on your discoveries to see if they can replicate what you discovered with the resources you mentioned when cited.

For those of you using a lineage program such as Reunion for a Mac, Legacy Family Tree for Windows, RootsMagic for Windows and other lineage programs for your desktop,or laptop, you will hopefully have discovered the methods within these programs to cite your sources and document your findings.  Once you set up a source citation you will find that it can be easily applied to future discoveries on other ancestors from within the same source.

If all else fails and you do not formally cite your sources, at least find a way to use the extensive notes fields of the lineage programs or your own customized methods of keeping your family history to identify and describe where you found material to advance your discoveries.  Yes it may not look like a perfectly, formally cited source but the descriptive notes you keep will ultimately lead you to be able to create a citation.

Now that just about all of us have smart phones with extensive picture-taking capabilities, think of using your phone to take pictures of the resources where you are making your discoveries when these are in book format.  Take a picture of the book and the first few pages that shows publication year, author, publisher, page where discovery was made etc.  Keep the picture in the lineage program or online with the person it was associated with just like you would include a regular picture of the person or a picture of a birth certificate etc.

At least make yourself aware that we have these resources in our collection for you to check out and apply to your discoveries in your research.  Yes, these books can be very “heavy” with all they are trying to do to encourage you to develop a process for documenting your discoveries.  See for yourself.  Check out one of the books.  Let your lineage program or online family trees show you how to document your discoveries.

Take advantage of any online tutorials or tutorials embedded in your lineage programs or online uploading locations.  Here are a couple of “learning citations” videos from


Perhaps you should look at all of the online family trees you will find in which there is hardly any citing of where materials were found.  These trees are just copied from one family tree to another and the best source or often noted for the material is that it was obtained from another family tree.  That is not a citation!

If you are brand new as a researcher, now is the best time to get in the habit of properly citing and documenting your discoveries.  Once you start it will become second nature to do so for every discovery.

If you are a seasoned researcher review what you have and where you obtained the discovery and start updating little by little your sources.

Enjoy these books.  Give them a try.  I think you will be happy on the guidance they can provide to you.

Tony Kierna
Genealogy Coordinator
Schaumburg Township District Library



“What’s New At November 2017” 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 November 2017 video posted from that is titled “What’s New At November 2017”.

The video is an approximate 18 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 –  Large conference dates for 2018 have been set.  These are:  Feb 28 – Mar -3, 2018, RootsTech in Salt Lake city, May 2-5, NGS, Grand Rapids, MI; May 31-June 2, 2018, So Cal Genealogy Jamboree in Burbank, CA; Aug 6-10, 2018, International Association of Jewish Genealogical Associations, Warsaw, Poland; August 22-25, Federation of Genealogical Societies, Fort Wayne, Ind.

>New Ancestry Functionality – Notes Notification and Comments Capability.  Look for the new icon that looks like a piece of paper signifying there is a “Note” associated with the profile header.  A tree can be public but a “note” can be considered private.  Notes that are public are viewable.  Also look for the icon that looks like a “text bubble” you would see in an online chat.  There could be a number associated with it that signifies how many comments are noted for the individual in the tree.

>  New Database
 – New York, New York, Births, 1910-1965; 7.8 million records; Birth Records; Indexed; Searchable; Images of documents can be browsed; select the year then the borough; browse images as if it were a microfilm.  Records are in English.

>  New Database – Salzburg, Austria, Catholic Baptisms, Marriages and Burials, 1600-1930; 1.9 million records;  Indexed; Searchable;  Select the Parish name within a long list of towns to browse images; Select the year range of records to browse images.  Select the type of church record to search.  Records are in German.  Can discover the name of the individual, baptism date, burial date, event location.

>  New Database – Halle (Saale), Germany, Military Recruitment Lists, 1828-1888;  no searchable records, only browseable;  Select by year of interest from list to browse through images; Records are in German.  Images are handwritten.

>  New Database – Bernalillo County, New Mexico, Marriage Index, 1888- 2017; 600,000 records; Indexed;   Searchable; Records are in English.  Records have been extracted and transcribed; there are no images in the database.

>  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 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

Archdiocese of Chicago Catholic Church Records; Joseph Cardinal Bernardin Archives And Records Center; PDF Brochure Describing How To Access The Records

Hi Everyone!

One of my genealogy librarian colleagues sent me an email that contained a PDF of a brochure from the Archdiocese of Chicago for the Joseph Cardinal Bernardin Archives and Records Center.  Thank you Celeste!

It is important to be aware of this facility as a resource for any Chicagoland Catholic ancestors that you are researching.

Here is a link to a copy of the PDF Brochure:

Joseph Cardinal Bernardin Archives and Records Center PDF Brochure

For many of us our original research of Chicago Catholic ancestors took place with inquiries directly to the parishes where we know they were associated.  Perhaps we received a transcribed document showing what was copied off of a baptism record or a marriage record.  We generally did not see the original document.

Perhaps we then moved our research to using microfilms from the Mormons for the parishes of interest to us.  We were able to look through much data hand cranking the film, using the handwritten indexes to get us to the correct page of the ledger book.  We may very well have found the exact handwritten document or entry of that Catholic event of perhaps a Baptism.

And now we can actually look at the digital microfilm rolls of church after church from the Archdiocese of Chicago because these records are available online through FamilySearch.  You can find them here  Even the brochure from the archdiocese  notes that many of the Catholic records you may seek of Chicago ancestral Catholics are available from FamilySearch.

The brochure does mention that “School and Orphanage” records are available.  I have personally pursued researching for Baptism, Holy Communion, Confirmation, Marriage and Death records from the Archdiocese for my Chicago Catholic ancestors.  However, I have not really pursued School and Orphanage records.  So the Bernardin Archives center may be worth investigating just for this additional piece of historic data that may be in the hands of the Archdiocese.

Here is also a direct link to get you to the Joseph Cardinal Bernardin Archives and Records Center website for you to also peruse more than is just contained in the brochure.  You can find them at:

Joseph Cardinal Bernardin Archives and Records Center for the Archdiocese of Chicago

So check out the brochure, the website and the online digital microfilm rolls for the Archdiocese of Chicago Catholic Church Records to see how these resources can advance your research efforts for your Chicagoland Catholic ancestors.

Tony Kierna
Genealogy Coordinator
Schaumburg Township District Library

Nice PDF Guide From FamilySearch To Help You Understand How To Find Digital Images Of Records; Title Of Guide Is “Finding Digital Images Of Records On”

Hi Everyone!,

While browsing through a recent copy of the magazine “Internet Genealogy” I came across a very nice handy link from FamilySearch that can help us all better understand the hunt for digital images of records within FamilySearch.

FamilySearch has put together a very nice 2-page PDF titled “Finding Digital Images of Records on”.

It basically tells the reader to go to the main website for FamilySearch at and to look for the “Search” tab at the site’s home page.  (The current website structure does not show “Records”, “Books” and “Catalog” under the main “Search” Tab on the homepage.  Find these under the “More” Tab. Under “More”, look for “Search”.  Under the “Search” tab you will find “Records”, “Books” and “Catalog”.  )

Since the discontinuance of the microfilm lending process from FamilySearch effective on September 1, 2017, many researchers may not be aware of how they can easily access digital image material online that was once on microfilm.

I have previously shared my thoughts on using the online catalog of FamilySearch to look for your geographic areas of interest related to your ancestors.  It is in the catalog you will discover films of interest that may be available to you online in two methods.  The first, and the best, is that you will see a “camera” icon with no “lock” associated with the film.  When you click on it, you will have no access restriction associated with the film allowing you to view it directly online wherever you want to.  However, you may be slightly unlucky to discover a film of interest that has a “camera” icon with a small lock above it.  When you click on the link you will see a message that notes that while the film is digitally available for viewing, it can be viewed only at a Family History Center (FHC) that is generally a facility within a Church of Jesus Christ Latter Day Saints church building OR at a FamilySearch Affiliate Library like a participating public library.  (The “lock” part of the camera icon is a new and welcome visual that let’s you know there are viewing restrictions associated with the digital microfilm.  A few months ago you only saw a camera icon and only upon opening it did you see that there was a viewing restriction associated with it.)

Here is the link to this nice handy 2-page PDF that give you a better sense of how to connect to the myriad of digital images of records from FamilySearch.  Keep in mind to click on the “More” tab of the main site and keep in mind you will see an icon of a camera with or without a small lock above it to signify it is a digital microfilm available for viewing.

“Finding Digital Images of Records on”

See what you think.  This is your alternative to microfilms.  Know what you can find digitally online.

Tony Kierna
Genealogy Coordinator
Schaumburg Township District Library