Category Archives: Tips

Videos From Recent RootsTech 2017 Conference Are Now Available Online; Link Included In This Post For 2017 RootsTech Videos

Hi Everyone!

RootsTech 2014 LogoYou know I am a big believer in online training sessions to further educate yourself as a genealogy researcher.

I am happy to announce that online video sessions from the recently held 2017 RootsTech conference that was held in Salt Lake City, Utah are now available from the RootsTech web site.  There are currently an incredible 42 videos available in total for you to view from among the Wednesday, Thursday, Friday and Saturday video sessions.

Please be aware that while these videos are available right now, historically in the past, RootsTech has only made them accessible for a limited time after the end of that years’ conference.  You may want to check them out in the near term rather than wait a few more months and then realize they have been pulled down.

If you cannot attend these large-scale conferences, then it is a great pleasure to be able to see online a smattering of the programs that were held.  By no means is what is made available online representative of the total amount of overall programs presented over four days, but it is sure great to see a good amount of the material.

Here is a listing of some of the topics and the named presenter(s) from the online videos from the recently held 2017 conference from RootsTech below:

  • “Metadata—Writing on the Back of a Digital Photo” by Alison Taylor (Wednesday)
  • “Family at the Center: Making the FHC a Sacred Place” by Tamra Stansfield (Wednesday)
  • “Grandma’s Syrup: Fortifying Your Home with Family History” by Allison Kimball, Crystal Farish, Risa Baker. Rhonna Farrer (Wednesday)
  • “Getting Started in Genealogy” by Kelli Bergheimer (Thursday)
  • “DNA: The Glue that Holds Families Together” by Diahan Southard (Thursday)
  • “DNA Matching on MyHeritage” by Dana Drutman (Thursday)
  • “Jewish Genealogy: Where to Look and What’s Available” by Lara Diamond (Thursday)
  • “My Ancestors are in MY DNA!” by Angie Bush (Thursday)
  • “Family History Is Anything but Boring” by Crystal Farish, Rhonna Farrer (Thursday)
  • “FamilySearch and Partners: Using All the Resources to Find Your Ancestors” by Brian Braithwaite, Linda Gulbrandsen, Ryan Koelliker, Stephen Shumway (Friday)
  • “Mothers, Daughters, Wives: Tracing Female Lines” by Judy G. Russell (Friday)
  • “Censational Census Strategies”   by Mary Kircher Roddy (Friday)
  • “Next Steps in British Research” by Amy Harris (Friday)
  • “Understanding Your Family History Calling” by Rod DeGiulio (Friday)
  • “Big 4: Comparing Ancestry, findmypast, FamilySearch and MyHeritage” by Sunny Morton (Friday)
  • “You Found it Where? Unusual Records” by Rorey Cathcart, D. Joshua Taylor, Rich Venezia (Friday)
  • “Begin at the Beginning 2017: Helping Others Love Family History” by Diane Loosle (Friday)
  • “Cross the Atlantic with Religious Records” by Jen Baldwin (Friday)
  • “How to Preserve Your Family Heirlooms” by Anna Graff, Jennifer Hadley, Katie Smith, Andrew Thomas, Tyler Thorsted (Friday)
  • “Journaling Principles that Work” by Steve Reed, JRNL, Inc. (Saturday)
  • “Don’t Just Be a Searcher, Be a Researcher” by Crista Cowan (Saturday)
  • “Creating Google Alerts for Your Genealogy” by Katherine R. Willson (Saturday)
  • “Getting Started with Finding Your Ancestors” by Anne Metcalf, Gregg Richardson (Saturday)

You will also see at the RootsTech Video site below that there are also Keynote videos, General Session Videos and Innovator Showdown videos.  The ones I noted in the list above are more like traditional genealogy programs.

You can see  the programs themselves directly at the RootsTech website at:

2017 RootsTech Annual Conference Online Videos

You will see you can pick the videos from the Wednesday, Thursday, Friday or Saturday videos sessions.

Spend some time and really enjoy these and come away even more motivated.  Most videos are generally at least 1 hour in length.  Some Keynote videos are from about 70 minutes to 90 minutes.

Sometimes it is good to take a step back and take a look at the “big picture” in the world of genealogy.  The above programs seem to do that very thing, especially when you view the “keynote” speeches.  It is important to know what is ahead for us down our genealogical research paths.  What are the “new” things that will make our research faster, easier, intuitive, collaborative, more accurate, and with fewer errors.

I always get a good feeling about the RootsTech Annual Conference.  I have not attended any of the previously held conferences, but I still feel very connected through their site and these fabulous videos that are educational and inspirational!

I am very happy to say the new set of videos are at your fingertips via the RootsTech website indicated at the above link.  Take advantage of viewing them now while they are available.  Their availability online is limited.

So if you want to have an approximate 24 hour “marathon” weekend viewing of RootsTech videos, you can easily do so through the above link.

Tony Kierna
Genealogy Coordinator
Schaumburg Township District Library

New Season Of “Who Do You Think You Are?” Starts On Sunday Evening, March 5, 2017, At 9 PM Central Time On TLC; Check TLC Website For Show Information

Hi Everyone!

Who Do You Think You Are?I just want to let you know that the new season for “Who Do You Think You Are?” will be starting on the cable channel TLC on Sunday evening, March 5, 2017, at 9 PM Central time.

Previously, when the show was on NBC, they dedicated a portion of their website to the show so that you could always get updates on the show.  TLC appears to be doing the same for this show as it unfolds during this season.  You can find the information for the show on TLC at:

“Who Do You Think You Are?” Website At TLC

Eight of the “stars” have been identified for this season.  Here are the eight “stars” identified so far from a February 15, 2017 Dick Eastman Online Newsletter blog post (New Season Coming Up For “Who Do You Think You Are?”) that will appear on the show during the  run for the season on TLC.  The order is alphabetical and does not represent the order of the shows as they appear to the best of my knowledge:

  • Jessica Biel makes surprising discoveries that change what she thought knew about her heritage.
  • Julie Bowen uncovers the story of two relatives whose moral codes are from opposite ends of the spectrum.
  • Courtney Cox traces her maternal line back seven centuries to the Medieval times to discover royalty in her lineage and an unbelievable tale of family drama.
  • Jennifer Grey uncovers new information about the grandfather she thought she knew, learning how he survived adversity to become a beacon of his community.
  • Smokey Robinson searches for answers behind the mystery of why his grandfather disappeared from his children’s lives and finds a man tangled in a swirl of controversy.
  • John Stamos digs into the mystery of how his grandfather became an orphan, and learns of tensions between families that led to a horrible crime.
  • Liv Tyler learns that her family is tied into the complicated racial narrative of America.
  • Noah Wyle unravels the mystery of his maternal line, uncovering an ancestor who survived one of America’s bloodiest battles.

According to the TLC website for the show, the premiere episode for this new season will feature Courtney Cox.

Make sure you mark down the date and time and plan to watch this season’s new shows in their original airing rather than at a later time if you can.  (Ratings are important for continuity of this wonderful show!)  Last year if you did not watch the original airing or did not DVR the show, your alternative was to purchase a copy from iTunes to catch up on shows missed and not recorded by yourself.  Your cable provider may make these shows available as “ON-Demand” for viewing when you want to.

You can view previous episodes of this show for previous seasons directly at the TLC website when you supply your cable TV account number and sign in with your password.  So you do have alternative viewing options if you miss the original airing.

Now is the time to get the buzz going and to reconnect with some TV help and entertainment to motivate you in your own genealogical research efforts.

Mark your calendar for Sunday evening, March 5, 2017 at 9 PM Central Time on TLC on cable for the premiere episode of this season’s “Who Do You Think You Are?” featuring Courtney Cox.

Tony Kierna
Genealogy Coordinator
Schaumburg Township District Library

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

The video is an approximate 17 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 2017 have been set.  These are:  May 10-13, 2017, National Genealogical Society in Raleigh, NC; June 9-11, 2017, Genealogy Jamboree in Burbank, CA; July 23-28, 2017, International Association of Jewish Genealogical Associations, Orlando, FL; August 30-September 2, 2017, Federation of Genealogical Societies, Pittsburgh, PA.
  • New Databases – Province of Gerona, Spain, Municipal Records, 1566-1956 (in Spanish); 390,000 records; Birth, Marriage and Death Records; Not indexed; Not Searchable; Images of documents can be browsed; select the city or municipality, parish, record type; browse images as if it were a microfilm.  Records are in Spanish.
  • New Databases – Prussian Provinces, Selected Lutheran Baptisms, Marriages and Burials, 1661-1944 (in German); 2.4 million records; Birth, Marriage and Death Records; Indexed; Searchable; No Images; searchable by last name and other search limitations that can be entered via the template.  Can discover the name of the individual, event type, event date, event location and possible naming of other relatives.  Records are in German.
  • New Databases – Jersey. Church of England, 4 New Databases; 1.0 million records among the 4 databases; Use “Jersey” as search term to find the databases plus select by “date added”.  Birth, Marriage and Death Records; Indexed; Searchable; Images; searchable by last name and other search limitations that can be entered via the template.  Can discover the name of the individual, event type, event date, event location, parish and possible naming of other relatives plus other information.  Records are in English.
  • New Databases – A series of newly added Civil Registration Belgium databases; search the card catalog using “Belgium” and then select “date added” to pull these up.  8 new databases.  5.5 million records among the 8 databases;  Records are from Namur, Brabant, Antwerp, Liege, East Flanders, Limburg, Hainut, West Flanders; Birth, Marriage and Death Records; Indexed; Searchable; Images; searchable by last name and other search limitations that can be entered via the template.  Can discover the name of the individual, event type, event date, event location, parish and possible naming of other relatives plus other information.  Records are in French.
  • New Databases – Delaware,  Marriage Records, 1750-1954 ; 650,000 records; Use “Delaware” as search term to find the databases plus select by “date added”. Marriage Records; Not Indexed; Not Searchable; Browseable Images;  Choose images by year range groupings and then section to limit images.  Can discover the name of the individual, event type, event date, event location, parish and possible naming of other relatives plus other information.  Records are in English.  Images did not seem to be in any order either by name of groom or bride, or by certificate number or date. Looks difficult to find who you are looking for based on what looks like random order of images for a particular year grouping.  Looks like you would have to browse through a certain year grouping image by image to find what you are looking for.

Crista did emphasize to scroll down to the end of the card catalog database description and look to see if there is a link to FamilySearch that will take you to the FamilySearch Wikipedia entry for the database for a full description of what is all contained and what is not included.  The database description is basic highlighting what is contained in the database.  See the FamilySearch description for a complete description.

  • 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

Irish Genealogy Research Session Offered By The Irish American Heritage Center In Chicago On The Last Sunday Of Each Month; 1 To 3 PM; Led By Brian Donovan

Hi Everyone!

iahc-logoI just saw a Calendar entry in the Computer Assisted Genealogy Group of Northern Illinois (CAGGNI) February 2017 Newsletter.

The entry notes that the Irish American Heritage Center, located at 4626 N. Knox Ave. in Chicago, IL, is offering an Irish Genealogy Research Session on the last Sunday of each month.  The program is offered between 1 to 3 pm in the library of the facility.  It is being led by Brian Donovan.

These sessions are open to the public.  You do not need to be a member of the Irish American Heritage Center, although once you see the facility and get some help from these genealogy sessions you might be open to become a member.   It might be well-worth considering becoming an individual member because it costs a reasonable $30 per year.

They even have a pub in the facility!!

To learn more about the sessions, call the Center office at 773-282-7035, ext. 10.

Here is a text description of the program that comes from the website of the Irish American Heritage Center:



Are you interested in tracking down information about your ancestry?

Irish American Heritage Center In Chicago, IL

Irish American Heritage Center In Chicago, IL

Wondering just where and how to begin your search? Not sure what resources are available or how to locate them?

The Center offers a genealogy session with genealogist Brian Donovan on the last Sunday of each month from 1pm to 3pm in the Library. All sessions are free. Attendees are encouraged to bring relevant documents that could help in their search. We do not offer sessions any other times during normal Library hours, but appointments can be made for those who cannot attend the monthly sessions.

To learn more about the sessions, call the Center office at 773-282-7035, ext. 10.


Here is a link to the part of the site containing genealogy information where I found the above program description:

Irish American Heritage Center in Chicago, IL/Genealogy

Just so you can get a scale of the magnitude of this organization and its facility, the following description also comes from the website of the organization:


Irish American Heritage Center In Chicago, IL

Irish American Heritage Center In Chicago, IL

Located on the city’s northwest side in a renovated, turn-of-the-20th century building that sprawls over a full city block, the IAHC is dedicated to fostering Irish heritage, culture and traditions in America.

The Center boasts a 658-seat theatre, library, museum, art gallery, authentic Irish pub, dance practice studios, meeting rooms and banquet rooms for parties. The building is wheelchair-accessible.  We provide a broad selection of quality educational programs in traditional Irish music, dance, theatre, film, literature, language, Irish customs and more.


I highly recommend just visiting the organization at their main website and take a tour of all that is being offered there.  Lots and lots of Irish programs of all kinds.  When you look at the calendar you will be amazed at all they are offering related to Ireland and the Irish culture, including the program I am describing related to genealogy.

You can stop by the website at:

Irish American Heritage Center in Chicago, IL

The center is housed in what at one time was Mayfair Junior College.  I actually went to the center one time.  It has an expansive on site parking lot that certainly makes it easy to drive there and be able to park your car.

Another wonderful resource to consider tapping into for your Irish genealogy research efforts.

Tony Kierna
Genealogy Coordinator
Schaumburg Township District Library

Roots Tech 2017 Has Just Started Today; Consider Participating In The “Live Stream” Programs; Check Out The Archived Videos From 2016 To Get An Idea What It Is All About

Hi Everyone!

RootsTech 2014 LogoThe massive Roots Tech 2017 conference has just started today in Salt Lake City, UT.  Upwards of 20,000 genealogy focused people could be in attendance at this annual conference.  The conference will continue through February 11, 2017.

I have never attended the program in Salt Lake City, but I do try to attend by “proxy” by viewing many of the online videos of the programs that are available to view on many different topics.  Sometimes these videos seem difficult to discover because I think Roots Tech leaves them up for a period of time and then pulls them down.

It does appear that you can actually watch up to 18 of the live streaming programs that are taking place between today and Saturday.  You would not previously have had to register for the conference to do this.  In order to do so, you have to provide your first name, last name, email address and zip code via the link to access the live stream material.  Here is what FamilySearch says about this information:

“Watch all live streamed RootsTech sessions by providing your contact information.

FamilySearch International (“FamilySearch”) is requesting that you provide your personal information to help us evaluate how many people view and access RootsTech videos. FamilySearch will not sell your personal information. FamilySearch will retain the information you provide for as long as it has a useful purpose. FamilySearch uses technical and security measures to protect personal information against loss, misuse, and unauthorized access or disclosure. You understand that FamilySearch will collect, process, and transfer your personal information to the United States and you consent to this transfer, if applicable.”

Take a look at the Roots Tech website to connect with the live stream programs at the conference.  You can find them on the very first page you encounter.  Just click on the video image at:

2017 Roots Tech Conference

I can’t share with you any of the material of the current conference in progress, but I can share with you  a link to access the videos of the 2016 conference so you can get a flavor for what is all out there to learn from.  Roots Tech has about 29 videos that are available at:

2016 Roots Tech Videos Of Various Keynote Speeches, General Session Videos, and Genealogy Teaching Videos

I find these videos to be priceless and inspirational.  They are very high quality.  The topics can help you with your own genealogy research efforts as well as give you a peek at where genealogy is heading with the keynote speeches.

Most videos run about 1 hour.

Give at least one a try.  I don’t think you will be disappointed.  The only thing that will disappoint you is trying to figure out to squeeze in the time to view all of them!!

Consider “live streaming” participation.  Enjoy the videos.  Enjoy the experience.  This is the largest participatory genealogy conference you will ever see.

Tony Kierna
Genealogy Coordinator
Schaumburg Township District Library


January/February 2017 Illinois State Genealogical Society (ISGS) Online Newsletter Available To All; 12 Pages; Many Different Topics; Archive To Previous Newsletters From 2008-2017

Hi Everyone!

ISGS LogoJust want to let you know that the January/February 2017 Illinois State Genealogical Society (ISGS) Online Newsletter is available for you to read.  You do not need to be a member of the society in order to access this material.

You can find it here:

January/February 2017 Illinois State Genealogical Society Newsletter

Some of the things you could expect to see in this newsletter are:

  • President’s Column
  • Book Reviews
  • New Members List
  • Volunteer Opportunities
  • Upcoming Conference News
  • Webinars Offered by the Society
  • Governing Board Meeting Schedule
  • Calendar of Genealogy Events
  • Tips
  • Resources

Lots of good material throughout the newsletter to keep you informed on many genealogical topics applicable to the state of Illinois.  Plenty of embedded links for you to access from the PDF file of the newsletter.

You can also access the archive of previously published Illinois State Genealogical Society Newsletters from 2008-2017 at:

2008-2017 Illinois State Genealogical Society Online Newsletters

Check out the current newsletter as well as the archive of newsletters spanning 2008-2017.

You can visit the main website of the society at:

Illinois State Genealogical Society

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 2017

Hi Everyone,

Newberry Library LogoMatt Rutherford, curator at the Newberry Library, has made me aware that the Newberry continues to offer 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 2017.

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.

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 are the dates for 2017:

  • January 7, 2017  @ 9:00 AM
  • February 4, 2017 @ 9:00 AM
  • March 4, 2017 @ 9:00 AM
  • April 1, 2017 @ 9:00 AM
  • May 6, 2017 @ 9:00 AM
  • June 3, 2017 @ 9:00 AM
  • July 1, 2017  @ 9:00 AM
  • August 5, 2017 @ 9:00 AM
  • September 9, 2017 (2nd Saturday) @ 9:00 AM
  • October 7, 2017 @ 9:00 AM
  • November 4, 2017 @ 9:00 AM
  • December 2, 2017 @ 9:00 AM

Here is a text description from the Newberry website describing these kind of orientations:


9 am
Main lobby

Stop at the first floor information desk for meeting location


The Genealogy and Local History staff will introduce visitors to the Newberry and explain how to use its collections at an informal orientation. Aimed at researchers new to the library and/or new to genealogical research, the session will last approximately and hour followed by a short tour of the library. Afterwards you are welcome to begin your research in the General Reading Room where a reference librarian will be available to provide suggestions and assistance.

In order to maximize research time, please register in advance as a Newberry Reader. Click on and select “First Time Users.” Readers’ cards will be issued during the orientation.

Cost and Registration Information 

Reservations not required. Free.


Here is a link to the upcoming genealogy programs at the Newberry from their website for 2017 as of this posting:

2017 Genealogy Programs at the Newberry Program

If you have never been to the Newberry but are an experienced genealogy researcher, you may want to take advantage of these programs for 2017 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.

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