Category Archives: Tips

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.

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

As I write this in early December 2014, it already seems like we have had a taste of some very cold weather during the month of November 2014.  November 2014 was the 7th coldest November in the weather history for the Chicago area averaging about 7 degrees per day below the normal expected temperature.

Our December 9, 2014 program went off without a weather hiccup quite nicely.  The weather was as I like to use the term “uneventful”.  No snow, no ice, no sleet, no rain!  So 25 participants were able to focus on genealogy and not how they were going to get here or get back home facing a weather challenge.

One bad weather month down and three more to go as we are about to enter 2015.  Cross your fingers that good weather karma will be with us on our program nights for January, February and March of 2015.

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

Did You Know That AARP (American Association Of Retired Persons) Members Can Receive A 30% Discount On A New Subscription To For 1 Year?; Current Subscribers That Are AARP Members Can Receive The Same Discount With Their Next Renewal To

Hi Everyone!

AARP LogoI very recently became a member of AARP (American Association of Retired Persons) and happened to make an interesting discovery related to one of the benefits AARP members can receive in the form of discounts.

It appears that AARP members can receive a 30% discount to a new personal subscription.  I had no idea about that.  I have never heard that mentioned to me from anyone that has attended our genealogy programs over the years before I became an AARP member myself.

You must be a new subscriber to  The 30% discount is good for that first year subscription.  After the first year the subscription rate reverts to the normal rate in place at the time. LogoIf you are an existing subscriber to and are a member of AARP, you can take advantage of the 30% discount as a subscriber to with your next renewal to

Not having heard about such a benefit I thought I would post this so other AARP members that have an interest in genealogy who are not currently subscribed to can take advantage of this great discount offered by

And if you are subscribed to already as an AARP member and have not taken the discount with an initial subscription, you can obtain the discount with your next renewal to

I just happened to be reviewing an introductory publication to new AARP members that listed all of the discounts that AARP members can obtain from a multitude of services and products.  The discount was included in this list.

Since many of the AARP discounts are in the 10% to 15% range, this offer really stood out from the pack.

You can see more about this offer from the site and the AARP site at:

AARP Discount Offer For Subscription (AARP Site)

AARP Discount Offer for Subscription ( Site)

Check out the AARP link and the link mentioned above for a better understanding of how to obtain the 30% discount subscription as well as to understand the restrictions that apply towards the discount.

What a pleasant surprise to see this great discount offered to AARP members.

Tony Kierna
Genealogy Coordinator
Schaumburg Township District Library

Don’t Forget To Access Your Local Family History Center (FHC) To Access Their Electronic Database Products; Their Subscribed Database Products Are Different From Those Our Library Subscribes To

STDL Central Summer LgHi Everyone!

If you are a cardholder of the Schaumburg Township District Library and have an interest in genealogical research, then you know you can access genealogical electronic database products both from within the library and from home via your library card identification.

Did you know that the local Family History Centers in our area also offer access to electronic database products?  And that some of their accessible products are different from the ones our library uses?

Which means that you should consider visiting your local Family History Center (FHC) to try out some of the databases they offer that we do not offer or cannot offer.  If you do not visit them then you are not taking advantage of an opportunity to tap into a resource that is available to you.

When we subscribe to databases at our library, we need the availability of the product to be offered to as a “commercial” product.  What does that mean?  It means we have to have the ability to have the product available to our users in the library across a broad spectrum of computers as well as being available in a manner that does not require a log-in or password process.  Our library is the subscriber, not the individual user.  Our computers need to talk to the providers’ computers via IP addresses and not log-ins or passwords.

Consequently, there may be great genealogical database products that exist which we cannot add to our collection because the producer of the data does not offer a “commercial” product allowing us to connect to the data over multiple computers using IP address information.

However, it may very well be possible for a FHC to subscribe to such a service because they have a few computers on site making it easier to obtain a standard subscription offered by the producer.

In fact, in my discussions with some local FHCs, I have learned that the local FHCs offer what is known as a Family History Center Portal.  This Portal is provided by the Church of Jesus Christ Latter Day Saints to the local FHCs.  In the Portal are a series of databases that can be accessed by the researcher at the FHC.  Some of the components of the database are familiar to genealogical researchers such as Library Edition or Heritage Quest.  These two are available to users at our library.

You may also discover databases in the Family History Center Portal that we do not have such as 19th Century British Library Newspaper Archive or Godfrey Memorial Library.

It is also possible for a local FHC to add an  electronic resource to their on-siteFamily-History-Center-logo collection that is over and above what is offered in the Family History Center Portal.  This may not happen too often because this added database expense is then picked up by the local FHC whereas the Portal is provided to them at no cost to them directly.

Here are the names of the databases contained within the Family History Center Portal that are available at a local Family History Center in our suburban area:

  • 19th Century British Library Newspaper Digital Archive
  • (our library has this product)
  • Alexander Street Press – The American Civil War
  • The Library Edition (our library has this product)
  • ArkivDigital (Swedish Church Records)
  • FindMyPast (British Records)
  • Fold3 (Many Military Records) (our library has this product)
  • Godfrey Memorial Library
  • Heritage Quest Online (our library has this product)
  • Historic Map Works Library Edition
  • Legacy Stories
  • Paper Trail (19th Century westward American migration records)
  • World Vital Records

Local Family History Centers (FHC) that are closest to our library and the approximate mileage distance between us and them:

  • Buffalo Grove, IL (16 miles from our library)
  • Crystal Lake, IL (22 miles from our library)
  • Naperville, IL (30 miles from our library)
  • Schaumburg, IL (2 miles from our library)
  • Wilmette, IL (27 miles from our library)

Your local Family History Center is more than just a location to view any microfilms you may order.  Granted, you are excited at what might be discovered on those films.  You  just do not pay any attention to the computers sitting nearby that provide you access to databases you were not even aware of that might help your research.

Maybe you want to make a field trip to your local FHC just to check out the Portal of databases the FHC has on their computers that we do not have at our library.

Take a little time off from viewing microfilms and divert your attention momentarily to learn about the great resource that your local Family History Center has to help your research efforts.

Tony Kierna
Genealogy Coordinator
Schaumburg Township District Library

New YouTube Teaching Aid Screencast Created By Me; “Using Newspaper For Your Genealogical Research … What’s That All About?”; 32 Minute Tour Of Features And Functions Of Newspaper; You Can View The Video Right In This Post

Hi Everyone!

STDL Central Summer LgOnce again, my creative juices were flowing a couple of  weeks ago when I decided to create another teaching genealogy screencast.

The topic I chose to screencast was about one of our Electronic Reference Products (ERP) called “Newspaper”.  This resource provides the researcher with access to over 5,000 digital newspapers as well as newspapers from around the world.  Digital newspapers are a very powerful and useful tool to help you with your genealogical research.

This screencast currently exists within the Schaumburg Township District Library YouTube Channel.  Our library has a multitude of online videos across a variety of subjects, topics and events.  The “genealogy” component is also identified on our channel where you can now find 3 screencasts related to genealogy insights.  The other genealogy screencasts that exist on our channel are titled “Using America’s Obituaries and Death Notices Database” and “A Tour of Tony’s Genealogy Blog at the Schaumburg Township District Library”.  Check them both out if you were not aware of them.

Become familiar with the “how to use that database” screencast to help you make more ancestral discoveries.

You can get to all of the Schaumburg Township District Library YouTube videos at:

Schaumburg Township District Library YouTube Channel

But enough about all of our wonderful library YouTube videos!

I know you are looking at this post to see THE  YouTube screencast  video about “Using Newspaper for Your Genealogical Research”!  So here it is.  Get yourself in a nice comfortable chair.  Relax and enjoy the 32 minute tour right below direct from YouTube:

My plan is to create even more helpful screencasts in the future related to resources and tools that can help you in your own genealogy research.  Visit our library’s YouTube Channel linked above to access more genealogy screencasts that I plan on creating.  “Follow” this blog since I will let you know of new screencasts with published new posts.

Tony Kierna
Genealogy Coordinator
Schaumburg Township District Library

Take Advantage Of Holiday Family Gatherings As The Family Historian (Originally Posted In November 2009 And Still Applicable!)

Hi Everyone!

Roast Turkey and StuffingNow that the holidays are upon us again, I wanted to re-post a blog entry I made in November 2009 (actually one of my first posts to the new blog at that time) because the holiday times and family gatherings provide the perfect opportunity to the family historian to share previously researched information and also to gather new information to compile into the family history.

What follows in Bold and Italics is the post I published back in 2009.  The message to family historians is as important today as it was then.  Take a look at the message and take advantage of your time with family during the holidays of 2014-2015.


The Holiday Season is one of the best times of the year to moveChistmas Holiday Clip Art your genealogy research forward!  You are circled by family members who may be very interested to know of your research.  Not only can you share what you have discovered but you may have willing family members that can’t help but share more with you during this season of sharing!

Now is the time that family members will really see how serious you take your family research.  They may not open up to you as a willing participant at this time.  But you may have planted the seed in their mind that will come to grow at a future date when their assistance will become invaluable.

Bring some copies of research documents you may have uncovered to date as well as copies of pictures to share with the family members present at the gathering.  Keep the originals at home for safety and security!  If you have digitized your discoveries as .JPG images then bring your laptop with the data or your smartphone or your tablet computer if you have one that contains the images.  Even having the images on a flash drive will help because you can plug that into a computer that may exist in the house.  Even new HDTV sets often have a USB connection to the HDTV that you can plug into.  You can then look at the images on the TV screen!

What a great time to share family information as well as to gather more if you can.  Bring a digital recorder or a camcorder with to document the new information family members will be willing to share.  If you have a smartphone you probably have an App that can function as a digital recorder.  Don’t leave all of the stories to your memories.  Get the stories in the voice of the original provider for further analysis down the road.  Ask their permission to audio or videotape what they have to say.  Respect their wishes if they choose not to be recorded.  Then take notes.

Always remember to be a good guest if you are visiting.  It is the Holiday Season after all and not necessarily a genealogical convention!  Don’t make yourself a genealogical nuisance at this time but see if you can arrange a time in the future to revisit with key family members to obtain further information in a non-holiday pressured setting.

Share your family history stories and research.

Keep an ear open for other family history stories.

Plant those seeds among family members for future help.

But most importantly, enjoy your family during this Holiday Season!


Tony Kierna
Genealogy Coordinator
Schaumburg Township District Library

Update Information From Our November 11, 2014 Genealogy Program With Marsha Peterson-Maass And Her Program “Swab Your Cheek: How To Make The Most Of DNA Kinship Results”

Hi Everyone!

STDL Central Summer LgAt our genealogy program on November 11, 2014, Marsha Peterson-Maass presented a topic titled “Swab Your Cheek: How To Make the Most of DNA Kinship Results”.

During the program some questions came up from the audience for which Marsha indicated she would do some further investigation on the question to see what she could uncover.

The questions related to:

  • Neanderthal DNA detection in our current species.
  • Ethnicity DNA Results
  • Genographic Project of the National Geographic Society

Here are comments provided to me by Marsha that she would like for me to share with you:

Neanderthal DNA in Humans

o      Two commercially available testing companies offer atDNA test results including Neanderthal percentages, see “Special Features” on this Autosomal DNA Testing Comparison Chart

o     23andMe Blog has an interesting article at . You can also subscribe to their free Blog on that webpage.

Ethnicity DNA Results

o     You can receive a good synopsis of the history of ethnicity reporting problems thru the top 3 commercial DNA testing companies (FamilyTreeDNA, AncestryDNA and 23andMe) if you go to The Genetic Genealogist’s blog and down the right column you’ll see its “TGG Search” box where you can type the word “ethnicity.”

o     Find a list of other commercially available DNA testing companies here . . . for ethnicity results, look for “(ethnicity)” behind the company’s name. I have read positive things, but have no personal experience with the ethnicity atDNA STRs testing company called DNA Tribes . It “allows individuals to have their genetic ancestry analyzed based on autosomal STR genetic markers developed by the FBI for individual identification in a forensic context.” It is highly recommended if you’re looking to prove ethnicity to a specific indigenous tribe (i.e., many Native American tribes) with the ethnicities they can currently test for listed here by continent here . A summary of DNA Tribes services and some reference materials can be found here

The Genographic Project of the National Geographic Society

o     Home webpage

o     Project summary and many reference materials listed here

A big “Thank You” to Marsha for providing me with the follow-up information related to questions that came up during the program.

Please check out the links that Marsha provided as part of her responses.

Our program participants were certainly well-versed on the subject with some great questions posed to Marsha during the program.

Tony Kierna
Genealogy Coordinator
Schaumburg Township District LIbrary

Check Out The Illinois Digital Newspaper Collections; Full-Text Searchable; Browse Through Newspaper Titles And Issues

Hi Everyone!

Digital Newspaper ImageThanks to a group of Genealogy Librarians that I participate with, I have been made aware of another nice online tool that could help with your genealogy research.

It is called “The Illinois Digital Newspaper Collections”.

You can find it at:

Illinois Digital Newspaper Collections

Here is a small description of what it is that can be found at the site:


Welcome to the Illinois Digital Newspaper Collections.

This collection contains 45 newspaper titles, 93,011 issues comprising 1,112,621 pages and 7,160,392 articles.

Since 2005, the History, Philosophy, and Newspaper Library at the University of Illinois has been developing unique digital newspaper content. The works collected here include digital facsimilies of newspapers and trade journals in a variety of fields. Users may search, browse, tag, and correct OCR text to improve searchability and access.


These do not appear to be large-scale newspapers from large metropolitan areas.  Most appear to be from very “rural” areas.  I wish the developers had included a connection to the name of the newspaper and the relative geographic area it served.  When you look at the newspaper names you do not know where they are from in Illinois in many cases.  So it can be hard to associate an ancestor from an area of Illinois to a newspaper to search.  Your best bet is to just search the entirety of all newspapers.

You can do full text searching using a simple search box or an “advanced” search box.  You can browse through a list of all of the newspapers in the digital collection.  There is a very nice and lengthy “FAQ” part of the site (Frequently Asked Questions) from which you will gain great insight about the resource and how to use it.

You may discover an interesting newspaper connected to the location of your ancestors but may also find out that a small amount of editions is all that is included in the digital collection.  This is likely if only a small amount of the original newspapers still existed from which to make digital copies.  So you could encounter some disappointments with minimal amounts of digital material.

You may also discover the omnipresent problem of the actual digitization process that may scan a name incorrectly.  I have this happen frequently for my name KIERNA.  The name KIERNA may appear in the search results index but when you look at the actual newspaper image, the real name in the actual newspaper is KIERNAN.  This happens because some of the ink fades and the scanning process does the best it can but it picks up the name incorrectly into the index.

Again, you may encounter more disappointment.

I actually did discover a newspaper article about the death of a related ancestor in 1914 as the result of a motorcycle accident as reported in the Rock Island Argus.

You can save the full image page of the newspaper as a PDF or save all of the text of the page as a text file.  It looks better to save as a PDF and then zoom in on the article on the page of interest to you.

You can also e-mail the image to yourself for any discoveries.  Just look at the top right upper part of the page for the icons, one of which is an envelope, another is a “+” sign.  I tried using the envelope icon to mail and I did not receive anything.  I tried using the “+” sign and saw a list of options to share the material.  You will find Facebook, Twitter and many other areas to share including a simple “Email App”.  I used that and I was able to get the email to me that contained the link to the page where my research material is contained.

It is worth adding this resource to your list to use when researching Illinois ancestors.  It is a relatively small collection of online searchable material, but you can still find something just like I did.  The data will continue to grow within this resource as more digitization takes place in the future.

Give it a try!

Thanks to all my library colleagues that shared this among all of us.

Tony Kierna
Genealogy Coordinator
Schaumburg Township District Library