Category Archives: Tips

Illinois State Genealogical Society (ISGS) Offers Death Certificate Lookup Service; Much Lower Cost In Comparison to Other Services; For Members And Non-Members

Hi Everyone!

ISGS LogoWhile looking through the recent Winter 2016 issue of the Illinois State Genealogical Society Quarterly Journal (Vol. 48, No. 4), I happened to see a full-page ad in the issue placed by the ISGS.

The ad highlighted a wonderful “lookup” service offered by the society to both members and non-members for non-certified copies of death certificates that are contained in the Illinois State Archives Death Certificate Index, 1916-1950 database that exists at the Illinois Secretary of State’s website.

Here is the ad in the Winter 2016 issue of the Illinois State Genealogical Society Quarterly Journal:

Finding the Dead: Illinois Death Certificates Lookup Service at ISGS

The ISGS is offering the service to members for a cost of $6.  For non-members of the society the cost is $10 per non-certified death certificate.  Each of these costs is significantly lower than the $15 + cost (think Cook County!) you might expect to pay to request a copy of a non-certified death certificate within Illinois.  Obviously, being a member of the ISGS really gives you the best cost possible.  If you have many, many death certificates you would like to order, consider becoming a member of the society just for this benefit.  However, you will see many more resources of the society available to members over and above death certificate look-ups.

The ISGS accepts credit card payments for the service as well as PayPal.

Here is a link to the part of the ISGS website that describes the service of its Death Certificate lookup service:

Illinois State Genealogical Society Death Certificate Lookup Service 

Just remember, you search the Illinois Secretary of State database mentioned above.  If you find a result in that searchable index, then you can provide the details of that to ISGS for them to provide you with the copy of the non-certified death certificate.  That is what they have access to.

Check out all the above links.  Consider trying the service even if you have just one non-certified death certificate you are in need of that is contained in the database noted above.

Tony Kierna
Genealogy Coordinator
Schaumburg Township District Library

Computer Assisted Genealogy Group Of Northern Illinois (CAGGNI) Offers DNA Special Interest Group (SIG) On Saturday January 14, 2017

Hi Everyone!

CAGGNI logoHave you submitted your DNA for genealogical analysis?

Are you trying to make sense of the results you received back?

Feel like talking about it but don’t know where to turn?

Just want to make everyone aware that the Computer Assisted Genealogy Group of Northern Illinois (CAGGNI) has a DNA special interest group (SIG).

I just received an email from the group indicating that their next meeting will take place on Saturday, January 14, 2017 starting at 10:30 AM at the Schaumburg Township District Library.

Here is the text describing what will take place at this upcoming DNA SIG:


DNA Special Interest Group

Special Presentation:

A Genealogist Physician’s View of DNA

by David A. Stumpf, MD, PhD

DNA Clip ArtPhysicians and scientists have a unique view to genetic genealogy. Neurologists recognized peculiarities that disrupted Mendelian genetic concepts and lead to new insights relevant in medicine and genealogy. We will review genetic data resources, selected lessons from clinical genetics, recent scientific research, and ways these might influence your genealogy research.

About the Presenter

Dr Stumpf is Professor Emeritus at Northwestern University. His research involved genetics. He is board certified in neurology, pediatrics and clinical informatics; his portfolio for certification by the Board Certification for Genealogists is in review. He is a lifelong genealogist with roots in the Netherlands (paternal) and across the American frontiers (maternal). He codes his own software and tests new methodologies.

About the DNA SIG

CAGGNI’s genomic genealogy group continues into its third year. This group focuses on learning the methods for analyzing DNA test results. We study topics such as autosomal DNA, mitochondrial DNA, Y-DNA and surname projects, X-DNA and ancestral admixture results. We’ll also investigate third-party tools for analyzing your raw data and comparing DNA and gedcom data with test kit results from companies besides the one you tested with.

SIG LeadsAl & Michelle Wilson

Janaury DNA SIG Presenter: David A. Stumpf, MD, PhD


Consider connecting with this special interest group local to our area.  You spent good money on your DNA kits.  Why not really learn how to interpret and use your results in a real productive manner.  I am sure your testing company offers automated ways to interpret results through PowerPoint presentations or YouTube videos or maybe even person to person via customer service.  Here is your chance to discuss Genealogy DNA among fellow testers.  Learn about DNA tests that are over and above what you started with and how they can help you even more.

Learn from others, help others.

You can always visit the general website of the CAGGNI group to see what they are all about.  And I can guarantee you they are about many things genealogically speaking, including having this DNA SIG group.  You can visit CAGGNI at:

Computer Assisted Genealogy Group of Northern Illinois

See how this CAGGNI group can help you with your DNA results.

Tony Kierna
Genealogy Coordinator
Schaumburg Township District Library

“What’s New At December 2016” 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 2016 video posted from that is titled “What’s New At December 2016”.

The video is an approximate 16 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:  February 8-11, 2017, RootsTech in Salt Lake City; 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 – Callao, Peru, Civil Registrations, 1874-1996 (In Spanish)The new database contains about 360,000 records of civil birth, marriages and deaths.  Always a good idea to browse the database description of records before you search to get a feel for what is in the database.  The database is indexed and searchable.  Records are in Spanish.  Browse the list of kinds of records to narrow down your search.  Province of Callao with many municipalities of Callao available.  There are images associated with the data that can be browsed by individual municipality name to select.  Kind of event is noted.
  • New Databases – U.S. Presbyterian Records, 1743-1970This  new databases contains about 760,000 records for births, marriages and deaths.  Always a good idea to browse the database description of records before you search to get a feel for what is in the database.  The databases are also indexed and searchable with a template to filter your search.  You can filter and search records by state, church, record types and years.  There are images associated with the indexed text results.  You will be able to see Name of the individual, event date and place, and relatives mentioned.
  • New Databases – Japan, Clan Genealogies, 850-2012 database (in Japanese)This new databases contains about 87,000 records.  Always a good idea to browse the database description of records before you search to get a feel for what is in the database.  The database is not searchable, browseable only of the images.  Records are in Japanese.  You can select records to browse by family name, prefecture, county or city, town and village.  Yes, some of the records date back to 850.
  • New Databases – Korea, Collection of Genealogies, 1500-2009 (in Korean)This new database contains about 2.5 million records.  Always a good idea to browse the database description of records before you search to get a feel for what is in the database.  The database is not indexed and images are browseable.   Records can be filtered for browsing by Family name, country, province, city or county, town and village.
  • New Databases – Oklahoma, County Marriages,1890-1995.  This new database contains about 2.6 million records.   The database is  indexed and searchable with a template of information you can supply to narrow down your search.   You can discover the name of the individual, birth year, marriage date, marriage location and spouse name.  The indexed item will lead you to an image of the actual record.
  • New Databases – New Jersey, Birth Index, 1901-1903, New Jersey, Marriage Index, 1901-1914, New Jersey, Death Index, 1901-1903.  The birth index database contains about 360,000 records; the marriage index contains about 758,000 records; the death index contains about 92,000 records.    Each database is  indexed and searchable with a template of information you can supply to narrow down your search.   Image linked to indexed name.  You can discover the name of the individual, and other information specific to the kind of vital record.  You can view the original image.
  • 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

RootsTech 2017 Will Take Place February 8- 11, 2017 In Salt Lake City, UT; Some Classes To Be Available For Online Streaming From Upcoming 2017 Conference

Hi Everyone!

RootsTech 2014 LogoJust a reminder that the 2017 version of RootsTech will take place on February 8 to February 11, 2017 in Salt Lake City, UT.

Dick Eastman had a post about the upcoming 2017 conference.  You can see that post with the information here:

September  15, 2016 Dick Eastman Post Reporting On Upcoming 2017 RootsTech

This has proven to be  a wildly successful major genealogical conference that brings together genealogy researchers and genealogy software developers under one roof.  Dick Eastman reported in a March 18, 2015 blog post that 23,918 people attended the 2015 RootsTech conference.  Here is a link to Dick Eastman’s blog post reporting on information from the previous 2015 conference:

March 18, 2015 Dick Eastman Blog Post About RootsTech 2015

You can view the conference website for information about this 2017 RootsTech Conference at:

RootsTech 2017

There is a very large and detailed “Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)” part of the RootsTech website.  It is well worth browsing through the variety of questions about the conference.  The FAQ can really give you some good insights about the overall conference.  Here is a link to the RootsTech 2017 FAQ:

2017 RootsTech Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

RootsTech generally makes available a multitude of some of its recorded programs from the previous year for online viewing.  Unfortunately, as I write this post, the window for viewing those videos is no longer open.  Wish I could provide a link to these because they really provide an incredible insight into what RootsTech is all about through the programs they provide.  If I see that the window opens up and these are viewable again, even if only for a short time, then I will make another post letting you know they are available.

Consider going to Salt Lake City, UT to connect with the soon to take place 2017 version of RootsTech!

Tony Kierna
Genealogy Coordinator
Schaumburg Township District Library


Reminder Re-Post: Check This Blog During the Winter Months In Case Bad Weather Forces Us To Cancel A Genealogy Program; I Would Post That Cancellation Notice Here

Hi Everyone!

Winter Weather Clip ArtI just wanted to remind readers of this blog, especially those of you that often attend our monthly Genealogy Program at the Schaumburg Township District Library (STDL), that I would post a notice here if a Genealogy Program on the 2nd Tuesday evening of the month would have to be cancelled due to bad, wintry weather.

A few cancellations have happened in the past and I believe posting the cancellation of that program in this blog proved helpful and beneficial to those who thought of coming out on a bad wintry night.  I believe that our most recent cancellation of our genealogy program was in February 2010 just a few months after I started this blog.  We have had a pretty long run of no cancellations!!

A cancellation does not happen often,  but this blog can easily get the word out that a genealogy program is being cancelled due to inclement weather.

It could be that we need to cancel our program but our library could still be open on these dicey nights.  It is not uncommon that many of our speakers come from a distance and bad weather could make it impossible for them to drive to our library to make the presentation while our library would still remain open.

As I write this in late November 2016, we have been experiencing some incredibly warm, comfortable weather throughout October and November so far.  Good enough that you probably do not even think of those nasty, blowing, snowing nights that you know we will get this winter.  I just hope they don’t occur on the 2nd Tuesday evening of the month, the day of our program.

Cross your fingers that good weather karma will be with us on our program nights for December 2016 and  January, February and March of 2017.

So keep checking back here especially on the 2nd Tuesday evening of the month if you may be planning on attending our genealogy program during the months of December, January, February and March.  If the weather is dicey and we cancel the program, you will hear it here!

Tony Kierna
Genealogy Coordinator
Schaumburg Township District Library

Genealogy T-Shirt With Interesting Wording; Company Website Provided

Hi Everyone!

Schaumburg Township District Library

Schaumburg Township District Library

One of our very regular participants at our genealogy program attended our most recent program on November 8, 2016.  When he walked in the door, he showed off his brand new genealogy T-shirt that visually provided a very nice message.  But, the reader had to look even closer at the wording on the shirt because there were words of a smaller size under lines of words with a larger size.  Your eyes initially saw one message but further looking made you see an even different message from the one eyes initially saw.

This is one of those cases that you just have to see the image of the shirt with the words on it.  Putting down the text of the phrase in this blog will just not do it justice.  You have to visually see it to get the full effect.

The message on his particular shirt is intended for a shirt to be worn by a male.  Our genealogy participant did tell me that the company can also make a T-shirt for a female that has a similar message.

Here is a link to the shirt image and the company behind it:

Unique Genealogy T-Shirt

Here is a link to the same company that will get you to a larger variety of other T-shirts having a variety of other genealogy type humorous wording appearing on T-shirts:

Online Site For Etsy Company and Other Genealogy T-Shirts

If you want to tell everyone of your like for genealogy, as well as your love for your husband or wife, then check out not only the “special” genealogy T-shirt I noted above but also the many more varieties that are being offered by the company Etsy.

Put a little fun in your genealogy life and let everyone know how much you enjoy this great hobby.

A big “Thank You” to our participant for not only wearing that shirt for all of us to see but also for giving me the web information about this T-shirt and the company that makes them.


Tony Kierna
Genealogy Coordinator
Schaumburg Township District Library

DuPage County Genealogical Society (DCGS) Annual Conference On March 11, 2017 Will NOT Allow Any Un-Registered Walk-Ins

Hi Everyone!

DCGS LogoOn November 21, 2016 I made a blog post about the upcoming DuPage County Genealogical Society Annual Conference that will take place on March 11, 2017.

In that post I mistakenly noted that “Walk-Ins” on the day of the event would be able to participate assuming there were still openings for the maximum attendance amount of 280 for this program.

I did receive a comment via that blog post from Rose who is the Chairperson for the society’s Annual Conference in which she noted that the society for this year’s program will NOT be accepting un-registered “Walk-Ins” on the day of the event.  Walk-Ins had been allowed at previous years programs.  I should know that, because that is how I attended this annual conference once I realized they were not at capacity.  This year is different.  You will need to register before you arrive no matter what.  Keep in mind that they have a maximum attendance planned of 280.  Once that figure is reached, registration will end.

So if you want to go to the program, connect to my previous post in this blog on the subject at

2017 DuPage County Genealogical Society Annual Conference Information

and go through the online registration process before they reach capacity limit of 280.

I have also gone back to my original posting of this information and have updated it by removing any included references to “Walk-Ins”.

Also, while at the previous post location, visit the comments part of the post and see the actual comment left by Rose.

Thanks to Rose for the clarification.

So, don’t do like I did in years past and just come strutting in on the day of the event.  Get yourself registered in advance if capacity has not been reached even if it is right near the date of the actual conference.

Tony Kierna
Genealogy Coordinator
Schaumburg Township District Library