Category Archives: Tips

Computer Assisted Genealogy Group Of Northern Illinois (CAGGNI) Offers DNA Special Interest Group (SIG) On Saturday October 8, 2016

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, October 8, 2016 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:


CAGGNI’s genomic genealogy group continues into its second year. This group focuses on learning the methods for analyzing DNA test results. Throughout the year we will study 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.

DNA can break down genealogical brick walls once thought impenetrable – but only if you know how.

The SIG will combine short 15-20 minute lectures with interactive workshop-style activities. 

Get ready to put your DNA results to work for you!

Facilitators:  Al & Michelle Wilson

More information: DNA Special Interest Group

Best regards,


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

The video is an approximate 15 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 –  Afro-American Historical and Genealogical Society, October 13-16, 2016, Atlanta, GA.  All major national conferences are completed for 2016.  Planning is going on for major programs for 2017 such as RootsTech, NGS, SoCal Genealogy Jamboree, FGS etc.
  • Ancestry Site – Provide feedback to (not Ancestry Library Edition) on any and all things related to the site.  When you are at their site look at the top for “HELP”, click on it look for “SUPPORT”, click on it and then enter in “FEEDBACK” to search for an article on how to provide feedback.  (Here is the link for you that I already found –
  • Ancestry Academy – New video.  “Getting Started Right: Documentation for New Genealogists” by Thomas Jones
  • New Databases – Ireland Police Gazzettes, 1861-1893This new database contains about 151,000 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 also indexed and searchable with a template to filter your search.  There are images associated with the indexed text results that are in print.  You will be able to see Name of the individual, criminal event type, event date and event place.
  • New Databases – Medway, Kent, Poor Law Union Records, 1836-1937This new database contains about 217,000 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 also indexed and searchable with a template to filter your search.  There are images associated with the indexed text results.  You will be able to see Name of the individual, birth date, admission date to poor house, discharge date and Parish union.
  • New Databases – Bexley, Kent Electoral Registers, 1734-1965This new database contains about 3.2 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 also indexed and searchable with a template to filter your search.  You can search with sub-geographical areas within Kent.  There are images associated with the indexed text results.  You will be able to see Name of the individual, residence year, residence city.
  • New Databases – California, Indian Census Index, 1928-1933This new database contains about 26,000 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 also indexed and searchable with a template to filter your search.  There are images associated with the indexed text results that are printed text.  You will be able to see Name of the individual, birth date, tribe.
  • New Databases – New Jersey, Episcopal Diocese of Newark Church Records, 1809-1816, 1825-1970.  This new database contains about 326,000 records.   The database is also indexed and searchable with a template of information you can supply to narrow down your search.  You can choose from a list of town names within the diocese to search.  It is linked to images of the original records that for the most part are handwritten.   You can discover the name of the individual, event type, event date, relatives noted in the record.
  • 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

September/October 2016 Illinois State Genealogical Society Online Newsletter Available To All; 21 Pages; Many Different Topics; Archive To Previous Newsletters From 2008-2016

Hi Everyone!

ISGS LogoJust want to let you know that the September/October 2016 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:

September/October 2016 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 2008-2016 at:

2008-2016 Illinois State Genealogical Society Online Newsletters

Check out the current newsletter as well as the archive of newsletters spanning 2008-2016.

You can visit the main website of the society at:

Illinois State Genealogical Society

Tony Kierna
Genealogy Coordinator
Schaumburg Township District Library

Family Tree DNA Lowers Price Of Its “Family Finder” DNA Testing Product From $99 To $79

Hi Everybody,

Family Tree DNASome recent posts I made about Family Tree DNA noted that it was having a “big” sale on one of its main genealogy DNA testing products.  The product was normally priced at $99 and it was on sale during August 2016 for $69.

The bad news is that sale is now over.  Maybe you missed out on that opportunity price.

The good news is that Family Tree DNA has not returned that product to its normal price of what was $99.

Instead it looks like the Family Finder DNA product from Family Tree DNA is now being sold at a regular price of $79, $20 less that it was just a little over 6 weeks ago.

Once again, if price was your barrier to having your DNA tested, you may feel a lot more comfortable finally making the DNA testing plunge with Family Tree DNA at this even lower price.

The Family Finder product is the one I purchased from Family Tree DNA in July when it was on “sale” at that time for $79 instead of the normal price at the time of $99.

Visit the Family Tree DNA website at:

Family Tree DNA

Everything you need to know is there for you to begin the process of having your DNA tested.

Why wait any longer?  Now is a great opportunity to finally take the DNA plunge at this nicely reduced “Family Finder” kit cost from Family Tree DNA.

Tony Kierna
Genealogy Coordinator
Schaumburg Township District LIbrary

Re-Post Reminder: Family Tree DNA Has Sale Of Many Of Its DNA Products; Family Finder Product Normally $99 On Sale For $69

Hi Everyone!

Family Tree DNAI received an email from Family Tree DNA, the company to which I submitted my own DNA, stating that the big summer sale on their DNA products is soon to come to an end.  The Family Finder product that I used has been on sale for the last month at a price of $69.  Normally it is $99.  I purchased it at what I thought was a great price of $79.

The last day of the current $69 sale price of this product ends at midnight, central standard time on August 31, 2016.

The clock is running out quickly at this great sale price of $69.  You have got to act quickly if you want to save an immediate $30 off of the normal price for this DNA product that many use as the “entry” level product when you take the plunge to have your DNA tested.

I am so happy that I made the decision to get my DNA tested.  If you are on the fence, a $69 price for the basic DNA test with this company should really not only make you get off the fence but jump over the fence!

See the original blog post below the insert line with all of the details as well as a link to Family Tree DNA.

Read fast!

Get off that fence!

Tony Kierna
Genealogy Coordinator
Schaumburg Township District Library


Hi Everyone!

Family Tree DNAHopefully, you have seen me making some recent blog posts about my entering the world of Genealogy DNA with the submission of my DNA for testing.  I submitted my DNA to Family Tree DNA for analysis.

I was able to submit when there was a sale of Family Finder, the “entry” level DNA product offered by Family Tree DNA.  Normally the product sells for $99.  I was able to obtain the product for $79.  I was very happy with that price.

Here is the link to Family Tree DNA:

Family Tree DNA Website; 2016 Summer Sale On Their DNA Products

Well guess what?  That same product from Family Tree DNA is now on sale for:


So if you are on the fence for having your DNA testing as it pertains to your genealogical research but were still holding out for lower price testing, it looks like your ship has come in from Family Tree DNA.  At $69 the price represents a 30% discount off of the normal pricing.

This product has never been offered previously at the $69 price!  I had been monitoring it for sale prices and had always previously seen it discounted to the $79 purchase price I was able to get.

Many of their other DNA testing products that are significantly more expensive are also on sale with some great discounts.

When I look at the website for Family Tree DNA, I cannot find an “end” date for this fabulous sale.  I did find some other material on the web that noted this could be an “open-ended” sale meaning it will last for a while or it could mean that the next time you visit the web site thinking you will purchase a kit you discover that the sale prices reverted back to their higher.

I guess that is the perfect tease!!

I thought I got a great bargain when I purchased the Family Finder kit from Family Tree DNA for $79.  Now you have an opportunity to make a purchase for this same product for $69.  The web site as of my writing this post is still showing this product and many others still on sale.

Don’t wait!  If you have been considering testing your DNA now is the time at such a great price for this entry-level DNA product.

The $79 price sale when I purchased did not last long, maybe 2 weeks.  I was so happy with that discount.  You can get the same thing I got for even less at $69!!

Act now.  Don’t take a chance and think you can visit the site in a week to make your sale purchase.  It could be gone just that fast.

Tony Kierna
Genealogy Coordinator
Schaumburg Township District Library

Our Recorded Genealogy Program DVDs Have Been Moved From Our Audio Visual Group To Our 2nd Floor Circulating Shelves

Hi Everyone!

Good news!

Schaumburg Township District Library

Schaumburg Township District Library

The project for re-cataloging and relocating our Genealogy Program DVDs has been completed.  When we have had a program with a genealogy speaker who has given me permission to record the program, you may have seen me in the back of the room with our camcorder on a tripod recording the program.  Once recorded, I have transferred the program to DVD and make it available to check out from our library for viewing at home on your DVD player.  I started recording our library’s Genealogy Programs (with speaker)  in February 2012.  So that is as far back as we have.  There have also been occasions when a speaker has not given me permission to record their program.  So there will be gaps where a program with a speaker does not exist on DVD.  These DVDs originally were on the first floor of our library in the Audiovisual location.  Due to pending remodeling of the area we needed to relocate these DVDs to our 2nd floor circulating collection.

We have now completed that process.

The two most recent recorded programs for the July 12, 2016 genealogy program and the August 9, 2016 genealogy program are in processing for cataloging and packaging.  They should be available very soon.  I had to hold these off for processing until the previously recorded DVDs were redone.

The Genealogy Program DVDs are now cataloged as the following call number style:

929.1072 GENEALOGY (  Plus the 2nd word of the call number is the first word of the title of the video)

As a real life example, the catalog entry for the recorded DVD titled “Archivist’s Notebook: Gleaning Genealogical Evidence From Ephemera” is cataloged and is labeled on the shelf as:


If searching our online catalog, you can search for these DVDs using the search term “genealogy program“.  You may discover a few “strays” that are selected with that term that are NOT Genealogy Program DVDs, but for the most part your search will give a nice list of these recorded programs we have on shelf.

You can see by the picture how the DVDs look on the shelf.   TheGenealogy Program DVDs On Shelf cataloging number we gave them has grouped them all together for easy viewing in one spot on the shelves.  The title of the DVD has also been placed on the spine of the case.  Yes I know you have to turn your head to look at it that way OR you can take a handful off the shelf and turn them sideways in your hand to read in routine!!  They are very lightweight.  Spine label reading problem solved!

Having them on the 2nd floor with the genealogy books that are available to check out just makes it that much easier to browse the shelves and see both book and DVD material together for the same subject of genealogy.

You know my library mantra about checking out library material!  I encourage you to check them out of our library so I can be sure they stay there and do not have to be removed for lack of circulation!  You can help me with this by checking them out!

Thanks for being patient while these were unavailable and they were being re-processed.

Head on up to the 2nd floor of our library to the tall circulating shelves.  Look for the 929.1 to 929.3 section and browse our genealogy books as well as the recently added DVDs of previously recorded Genealogy Programs at the Schaumburg Township District Library.

I am sure there must be a program of interest for you among these DVDs that perhaps you did not see or you want to view an encore presentation if you did see it!

While looking at the DVDs see what other genealogy book material might be of interest to you.

Tony Kierna
Genealogy Coordinator
Schaumburg Township District Library

I Took The Genealogy DNA Plunge (Continued)!; Revealing My Results That Were Processed By Family Tree DNA

Hi Everyone!

Family Tree DNAI have made some previous posts describing my participation with Family Tree DNA ( to have my DNA analyzed with their Family Finder product.

I made a post describing how the information was provided to me from Family Tree DNA and how you as a submitter would see and understand the process of what takes places when you submit for DNA analysis.

The one thing I previously did not share was my actual results!  Yes, I guess I fall into the media specialization of including “teasers” to bring you back for the “reveal”.  Please forgive me for that tactic!

Over the recent years many of you have actually shared with me some of your own DNA results that you submitted through Family Tree DNA.  Now that I have my results, it will be like comparing “Oranges to Oranges” for those of you that also tested through Family Tree DNA.

I cannot speak for how results are presented to a submitter from Ancestry DNA, 23 And Me or any other DNA testing company.

Many of you have told me of the variety of your DNA analysis among many different ethnicities  as identified by the DNA testing company.  No two companies come up with the same analysis.  The analysis of DNA ethnicity is based on company specific algorithms to make that determination.  So someone might be shown as being 84% Eastern European in the results from one testing company while being shown as 80% Eastern European from another testing company.

The results that many of you have shown me indicated significant multipleDNA Clip Art geographic and ethnic areas of origin spread around the world for your own DNA.  Some of your results might have said Eastern European, Scandinavian, British Isles and many other areas of the world.  Maybe you had percentage breakouts for 5, 6, or 7 different world/ethnic areas.

So where am I going with this?  I am going to my big reveal of my DNA analysis from Family Tree DNA that said:

I am 100% European with a breakdown of that showing me as having 98% Eastern European plus 2% British Isles.  That’s it!  No 5, 6,  or 7 different percentage components of ancestral origins as so many of you have had in your own testing that you shared with me.

That’s it!  No big mysteries to uncover among many unexpected ethnicities as so many of your own results have shown, although I do consider the 2% (small though it is) for British Isles as the most intriguing aspect of these results.

So I guess all of my family stories and research showing me as being of Polish origin fits quite well with the DNA analysis that says Eastern European is my dominant ethnicity.

But I was actually quietly hoping for some other ethnic breakdowns just for the fun of it and the mystery it would have conveyed.  Oh well, maybe at some point I will knock on the door of DNA and purchase a kit from them to see what their analysis would tell me about my origins.

I am sure you each had your own quizzical looks on your face when you first saw your own results.  Mysterious, puzzling, intriguing or even what the heck is this report telling me!!

The next item to note for my own DNA results with Family Tree DNA is that the “Matches” part of the overall report connects me to about 300 other Family Tree DNA testers to whom I have some genetic connection.  The highest match shown in the list of these 300 is someone noted as a “2nd cousin – 4th cousin” relationship!  That sure is not a close connection to anyone.  I only have 4 people noted as a match to me at the 2nd-4th cousin level.  Most of my matches are noted as being “3rd cousin – 5th cousin” matches as well as “4th cousin – remote cousin” and “5th cousin – remote cousin” matches.

One major item to note is that you have to be prepared to possibly discover a very close relationship to someone else that submitted DNA to this company, a person you simply may not even know existed!!  One of the report items is something categorized as”Close and Immediate”.  You could be in for the shock of your life if perhaps you discovered an unknown sibling or half-sibling who also submitted DNA for testing with Family Tree DNA.

I did not have any surprises in this regards but was surprised how distantly related I was to the 300 matches I had.  Maybe you experienced similar results and was hoping to have someone much more closely related genetically to come up that you did not know about.  I just note that none of my known cousins has submitted their DNA to Family Tree DNA for testing based on my not having any “Close Relative” results.

Now I have a list of people to contact and see how we might be related.  Now I can also submit my results to GedMatch to see if I have matches to others that submitted to GedMatch but did not test with Family Tree DNA.  They may have tested with or 23 And Me or any other testing service.  Who knows how many more matches I can add to the 300 I already have.

Still more to do related to uploading family tree material to Family Tree DNA.  By including data in your myFamilyTree component of your myFTDNAHome it will make it easier to compare your family tree data to those from the “match” list to maybe be able to better analyze what family connection exists between me and them.  Many individuals take the test and do not upload or create any family tree data.  With no family tree data it becomes difficult to see how you might be connected to someone that is a match genetically.

Lots more to do and lots more to write about to share with you via future blog posts as I start working with my results and matches.  Still plenty to learn about the process.

At least wanted to do my big reveal here and now!  Thought I would have more interesting data results but they are what they are!

Tony Kierna
Genealogy Coordinator
Schaumburg Township District Library