Category Archives: Tips

Free Genealogy Software Posting Made By Dick Eastman; Something To Consider In Light Of The Recent Announcement On The Ending Of Family Tree Maker Software

Hi Everyone.

ancestry-logoOn December 8, 2015, announced that it will be ending the creation of it’s Windows and Mac lineage program Family Tree Maker.  There will be one more year of support for Family Tree Maker users through December 31, 2016.  After that the program will no longer be developed or supported.

If you are a user of Family Tree Maker your existing software will still continue to work on your machine.  But many users of a discontinued lineage program often feel uncomfortable when they discover their program will no longer exist in the future as to future developments or new releases.

And so with this big announcement from there has been a lot of

Dick Eastman

Dick Eastman

“buzz” going around about this.  Dick Eastman in his online genealogy blog created a post highlighting all of the “free” lineage genealogy software that still exists for users to consider using or trying regardless of what software they currently are using.  Most of these programs will work both for Windows machines and for Macs.

Here is a link to the Dick Eastman blog post on “Free Genealogy Software”:

December 10, 2015 Dick Eastman Blog Post On “Free Genealogy Software”

This is a well put together article that can help those currently undergoing the uncertainties of the news surrounding the discontinuance of Family Tree Maker.  Many of those users will be entertaining switching over to a completely new lineage program.  For everyone else this is still a great article because it will expose you to all the lineage software that is available for you to sample yourself whether you are a Windows user or a Mac user.

Whether you have uncertainty if you are currently using Family Tree Maker or would like to try out another lineage program, you can always get your lineage data into another program by creating a GEDCOM file from your program and then importing it into your trial program.

My one rule of thumb is to always import a GEDCOM into a newly name file and not into an existing family file that you use.

Just do a Google search using the following terms “importing exporting gedcom youtube” and you will see many YouTube videos on how to deal with GEDCOM files both for importing and exporting between a variety of the lineage programs that exist.

You can also go the YouTube channel at: YouTube Channel

and just enter the term GEDCOM into the search box within the channel.  You will see many tutorial videos about importing, exporting and just about anything about what a GEDCOM process is.

Check out Dick’s expansive blog post on “free genealogy software” to see what is out there for you to consider using.  For all lineage software users this is a great chance to see what is out there for you to try that is different from what you are currently using.  There is plenty for both Windows and Mac users.

Tony Kierna
Genealogy Coordinator
Schaumburg Township District Library

“What’s New At December 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 December 2015 video posted from that is titled “What’s New At December 2015”.

The video is an approximate 33 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 – Salt Lake Institute, January 10 to 15, 2016 at Salt Lake City, UT.,; RootsTech 2016, February 3-5, 2016 at Salt Lake City, UT; 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 – All members will be moving to the “new” on December 15, 2015.
  • Ancestry Blog Post – Crista noted that in the New Ancestry that the Member Connect capability is back in Tools.  You would get a notification if you and someone else share the same person and the other party makes a change to the information for that person.
  • New Databases – Kentucky Divorce Records 1962-2005.  Contains 516,000 searchable records.  Searchable but with no images available.  Contains birth year, marriage, names, divorce year, divorce location, divorce certificate number that can be used to request copies of the actual records from the county where divorce occurred.
  • New Databases – English/Irish Freemason Membership Registers, 1751-1921.  Searchable and with images of original records.  Can often discover name of the member, when joined, with who joined, how long a member, lodge name, lodge number, lodge location, occupation, age, address.  Record images look very well-written and clear.  Look for any notations that might have been made to the 2-page entries.
  • New Databases – Pennsylvania WW I Veterans Service Files, 1917-1919, 1934-1948.  Searchable and with images.  About 700,000 records.  You can find birth info and birth location info of the person.  Residence of the person when filing the claim and the military branch served in.  Record images are typed and readable and also may contain other support documents provided by the veteran making the claim.
  • New Databases – Tulare County, California Sheriff’s and Jail Records.  Data is searchable and with images.  Can see the name of the person, court date, age, place of record and record type.  Data looks like a computer printout plus there are pages of “mugshots” associated with the page that have the inmate jail number.  The computer printout shows the name of the individual, the crime, physical description of the person, fingerprint classification and miscellaneous notes.  About 236,000 total records.
  • New Databases – Australasia Medical Directories, 1883-1915.  Searchable and browseable by year.  Years are not continuous.  Gaps exist. Images show an index of names within a community, their address and what the medical specialty was of the person.
  • 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

I Changed PREVIOUS PROGRAMS 2002 – 2014 Page Title To The Blog To Show Past Programs From 2002 To 2015

Hi Everyone!

I just changed the PAGE on the blog titled PREVIOUS PROGRAMS 2002 – 2014  to PREVIOUS PROGRAMS 2002 – 2015 to reflect our historical view of genealogy programs presented at our library to now include 2015.

You will find “Pages” to this blog on the top of the homepage of the blog.  You will see pages titled “About”,  “2016 Programs”, “Previous Programs 2002 – 2015”, “Favorite Links”, “Genealogy Program Flyer”.

Just look for it at the top of the blog.

Here is a direct link to the newly updated history of our genealogy programs presented at our library covering 2002 to 2015:

2002 – 2015 Genealogy Programs Presented at the Schaumburg Township District Library

Maybe you remember a program or speaker we had at one time.  Use this page to refresh your memory.  The programs are presented in order from 2015 back to 2002.  The programs within each year are in January through December month order.

Enjoy your travel through Memory Lane as it pertains to our past library genealogy programs!

Tony Kierna
Genealogy Coordinator
Schaumburg Township District Library

“2016 Programs” Added As A New Page On The Blog At The Top Of The Home Page

Hi Everyone!

I just want to let all of you know that I have created a new “page” on the blog that is at the top of the first page you see when you visit the blog.

The title of the page is “2016 Programs”.  You will find a list of the schedule of our upcoming genealogy programs for 2016 at our Central Library.  These programs always occur on the 2nd Tuesday evening of each month starting at 7:30 PM.  Doors to the room open by 7:00 PM.

Take a look at the variety of topics and speakers we have scheduled for 2016 to see which ones are of special interest to you.  Also note the quarterly “breakout” groups we have when we do not have a speaker scheduled.  Mark your calendars for 2016 for these programs.

You can also get directly to this schedule of our programs for 2016 from right within this post at:

2016 Genealogy Programs at the Schaumburg Township District Library

We look forward to seeing you throughout 2016!

Tony Kierna
Genealogy Coordinator
Schaumburg Township District Library

Newberry Library Offers Genealogy And Local History Tours And Orientations On First Saturdays Of The Month In 2016; PDF Flyer Of The Announcement Included

Hi Everyone,

Newberry Library LogoMatt Rutherford, curator at the Newberry Library, has made me aware that the Newberry offers an introductory genealogy orientation and tour of the Newberry on the first Saturdays of each month.

He has just provided me with an updated schedule of these events for 2016.


There are times when the library needs to change the date from the 1st Saturday of the month to the 2nd Saturday of the month.  Oftentimes it is as a result of a holiday occurring in the first week time period.  Please be aware that this can happen.  Such changes are always noted by the Newberry.

Here are the dates for 2016:

  • January 9, 2016 (2nd Saturday) @ 9:00 AM
  • February 6, 2016 @ 9:00 AM
  • March 5, 2016 @ 9:00 AM
  • April 2, 2016 @ 9:00 AM
  • May 7, 2016 @ 9:00 AM
  • June 4, 2016 @ 9:00 AM
  • July 9, 2016 (2nd Saturday) @ 9:00 AM
  • August 6, 2016 @ 9:00 AM
  • September 10, 2016 (2nd Saturday) @ 9:00 AM
  • October 1, 2016 @ 9:00 AM
  • November 5, 2016 @ 9:00 AM
  • December 3, 2016 @ 9:00 AM

The Newberry is located at 60 West Walton in Chicago, IL.  The phone number for the Newberry is 312-255-3700.

The program/orientation on using the Newberry’s collection starts at 9:00 AM.  The initial orientation takes about 1 hour.  A short tour of the library follows the orientation.

There is no pre-registration.  There is no cost.

The program is aimed at those new to using the Newberry and those new to the genealogical process.

Here is a link to the flyer that you can read from the Newberry that provides a description of the event:

2016 Genealogy and Local History Tours and Orientation Programs of the Newberry Library

If you have never been to the Newberry but are an experienced genealogy researcher, you may want to take advantage of these programs for 2016 to learn about the collections and resources of the Newberry.

If you are a new genealogy researcher, this orientation is also geared for you to learn how to begin your research plus you too will also learn about the Newberry and how it can  help your research.

I have placed these event dates into the Google Calendar that is also part of this blog.

Read the full flyer that is linked above.

Sounds like a great opportunity to visit the Newberry if you have never previously been there and then be able to get a nice orientation and tour of the facility.

Something to consider!

Tony Kierna
Genealogy Coordinator
Schaumburg Township District Library

FamilySearch Has Added Illinois, Northern District Petitions For Naturalization, 1906-1994 Database To Its Collection; Un-Indexed, Images Only; Could Still Be Very Helpful To Your Research

Hi Everyone! LogoI was looking through the recent Chicago Genealogical Society Newsletter (December 2015) and saw there was a small article authored by Ginger Frere, a librarian at the Newberry and a frequent speaker at our genealogy programs.  She wrote an article that stated that a new online database was available at FamilySearch that could have much use for those of us doing Chicago-area research on naturalizations.

The database title is “Illinois, Northern District Petitions for Naturalization, 1906-1994”.

You can access this free database at

I do not see the name of the database above in the list of the 68 existing databases noted for Illinois.  That is because those databases are all searchable.  This database is visible in a list of those databases that FamilySearch has for Illinois that are at this time still only browseable.

One big caveat initially is that the data is un-indexed. You cannot yet search it for names of any individuals that filed these petitions.  Images are available to browse through and are based on a year-by-year entry.  There are over 2 million images.  You can select sub-files for Cook County, IL that are identified such as “Petitions, 1906-1908, v. 1, no. 1-50″ or Petitions, 1912, v. 17, no. 1501-1600”.  Cook County is the only county noted at this time in this file.

It was in 1906 that Naturalizations started taking place under the Federal government as opposed to being done within local non-Federal courts.  The good news from this is that the process was very well documented by the officials.  Great details were often provided by the person petitioning for naturalization.  Prior to 1906 naturalizations were done in local courts with very little personal detail provided in the documents.  You might just see that the person renounces allegiance to the King of “XXXXX” with no other information noted such as when immigrated, from where etc.

If you had an ancestor for whom you either know of a year of naturalization that was after 1906 and who lived in the Chicago area then perhaps it might be worth your effort to look through some of the images for a particular year.  Look for an image at the beginning of one of the “books” that is an index of surnames. These are generally in alphabetical order, sometimes only by first letter of the surname.  Find your surname and note the associated page where the document can be seen.  Then just try to find the page you need by entering in a guestimate image number.  Just keep checking this way until you find the “page number” on the right “image number”.

The details are very impressive of what exists.  You might even discover the exact birth town location of this ancestor.  I saw many of these noted in just browsing through some of the images.  You may see what ship they arrived on into which port.  So while this data is not indexed it can be helpful to you if you can narrow down a naturalization year after 1906 you may have discovered via a census record or some other family documents you may have.

It is likely that at some point in the future this data will become indexed and searchable.

It is well worth browsing through a few of these images just to see what information you can capture.  I wish I had some ancestors that I could discover here.  My ancestors were all naturalized pre-1906 in local Chicago courts.

Tony Kierna
Genealogy Coordinator
Schaumburg Township District Library


Our Library Has A 1944 And 1953 Chicago Telephone Directory And A 1958-1959 Chicagoland Suburban Telephone Directory; May Help You With Your More Recent Chicago Ancestral Research

Hi Everyone!

STDL Central Summer LgSometimes I surprise myself on discovering research resources we have that I did not even know our library had.

I was asked to help someone on a research request that was related to searching through telephone directories.  Yes, that is right, printed, large-size, heavy paper phone directories from days past.  You remember those, don’t you?  Printed by RR Donnelly with updated directories dropped off at your doorstep year after year after year!

In going through our material in our collection to help answer a genealogy research question, I actually discovered that our library has on our Reference shelves 3 helpful “old” print telephone directories that can be of help to the genealogical researcher digging into ancestors that may have been in Chicago or the Suburbs of Chicago within the last 50 to 75 years.

Here is a description of the 3 items in our 2nd floor Reference Collection I want you to be aware of:

  • 1944 Chicago Telephone Directory (Commonly referred to as “White Pages”)  (R 384.6025 CHICAGO 1944)
  • 1953 Chicago Telephone Directory (Commonly referred to as “White Pages”)  (R 384.6025 CHICAGO 1953)
  • 1958-59 Chicago Suburban Telephone Directory (Commonly referred to as “White Pages”)  (ILLINOIS COLL R 384.6025 CHICAGO)

These can be very helpful to do look-ups in if you have Chicago ancestors that lived in Chicago proper during the time periods covered by these resources.

The 1944 directory is helpful to track any ancestor migration since the 1940Phone Book Stock Photo Census that is currently available (in the 1940 Census in Chicago, not present in the 1944 Chicago Telephone Directory); the 1953 directory is helpful because the 1950 Census has not been made public at this time.

I actually looked at the 1944 directory for my name and found no one listed under KIERNA.  I guess my more recent ancestors did not have any money to have telephone service??  But by 1953 the name KIERNA does appear in that directory.

Your ancestor might not appear in these directories if they chose to have their information “Non-Published”.  They paid for the privilege of not having their name published in the print directory.  They may also not be in the directory if they did not have telephone service.

Just know that these resources are available in our library for you to use as a research tool.  These books in print are on the 2nd floor Reference Shelves.  Use the Call Number of the books noted above to find them.   If you can’t come in to our library to take a look at these directories, you can always call our library at 847-985-4000 and ask for the “Ask Us” desk on the 2nd floor.  They would be able to do a look-up for you in the directory.

Hopefully, the surname you seek is not a common one like “SMITH” or “JONES” because the directories cover the City of Chicago where these names are very common in the directory.

Also, since many of our ancestors may have originally settled in Chicago back in the late 1890s and early 1900s, it was not uncommon for them and their children to also “migrate” out of the city into the suburbs as the suburbs started growing in the 1940s and 1950s.  This is where the Chicago Suburban Telephone Directory might be of more help to you to track down these early ancestors that might have moved out to the Chicago suburbs and were listed in the 1958-1959 Suburban Directory we have.

I am glad that my research effort made me aware of these nice resources that I have available right at my fingertips at the Schaumburg Township District Library.  Perhaps it can help you too for your Chicago ancestral research, especially the part that is a little more current in time.

Tony Kierna
Genealogy Coordinator
Schaumburg Township District Library