Category Archives: Tips

Access The Illinois State Genealogical Society Newsletters Online From 2008 To 2015; Handy Way To Keep Up With Society Activities And Research Tips; PDF File Lets You Access All Embedded Links

Hi Everyone!

ISGS LogoI just saw a Dick Eastman post that noted you can access the Newsletters of the Illinois State Genealogical Society online via their website.

After visiting their site, I see that you can access the newsletters from 2008 through 2015, plus the first one for 2016.

The newsletters are dated in the months of January, March, May, July, September and November of each year.

Here is the link to get you to these newsletters:

Newsletters from the Illinois State Genealogical Society 2008-2015

The link above should work fine as new additional newsletters are added to the site.

Some of the things you could expect to see in these newsletters 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

You do not have to be a member of the society in order to access this very nice archive of materials.  These newsletters can be helpful to you and your research.  Plenty of links you can visit for more details on items mentioned in the newsletter.

Check these out and bookmark the site from the above link.

Tony Kierna
Genealogy Coordinator
Schaumburg Township District Library

Reminder – RootsTech 2016 Will Take Place February 3- 6, 2016 In Salt Lake City, UT; See What It Is All About By Viewing Selected Videos From The 2015 Conference On Various Programs; Some Classes To Be Available For Online Streaming From Upcoming 2016 Conference

Hi Everyone!

RootsTech 2014 LogoJust a reminder that the 2016 version of RootsTech will take place on February 3 to February 6, 2016 in Salt Lake City, UT.

Dick Eastman just had a recent post about the upcoming 2016 conference.  You can see that post with the information here:

January 8, 2016 Dick Eastman Post Reporting On Upcoming 2016 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 2016 RootsTech Conference at:

RootsTech 2016

If you want to know more about what RootsTech in general is all about, visit the following link to a series of 20 Videos produced by RootsTech from their 2015 program.   These are videos of stunning quality!  I think you may want to look at what the videos showcase about what RootsTech is all about.  They may not all be at a very specific research level, they are often at a “larger view” of what technical developments are occurring that connect to genealogical research.

You can really get the “big picture” by looking at any one of the videos.

Take a look at these videos at:

2015 RootsTech Videos

Enjoy the 2015 videos.

Consider going to Salt Lake City, UT to connect with the soon to take place 2016 version of RootsTech!

Tony Kierna
Genealogy Coordinator
Schaumburg Township District Library

Computer Assisted Genealogy Group Of Northern Illinois (CAGGNI) Offers A Family Tree Maker Special Interest Group (SIG); This Group Could Be Helpful Knowing That Is “Retiring” Family Tree Maker; Group Is Meeting At The Bloomingdale Public Library On Saturday January 16, 2016 From 12:45 PM To 2:30 PM

Hi Everyone!

CAGGNI announced in December 2015 that it will be “retiring” their lineage software program Family Tree Maker.  If you are a user of the product you may be uncertain how that decision does or does not affect you as a user of Family Tree Maker.

Perhaps the Special Interest Group (SIG) of the Computer Assisted Genealogy Group of Northern Illinois (CAGGNI) can be of immense assistance to you.  The CAGGNI group has had a Family Tree Maker SIG for quite some time.  Perhaps you did not take advantage of this resource in the past.  Perhaps now would be the time if you are in a state of confusion on all things related to Family Tree Maker lineage software.

The Family Tree Maker SIG of CAGGNI is having their next meeting this coming Saturday, January 16, 2016 at the Bloomingdale Public Library located at 101 Fairfield Way in Bloomingdale, IL.  They will be meeting between 12:45 PM to 2:30 PM.

You can see details of this event in the CAGGNI Calendar of Events at:

January 16, 2016 Family Tree Maker Special Interest Group of CAGGNI Meeting at the Bloomingdale Public Library

The CAGGNI group will be having their regularly scheduled program also on this date at the same location.  Their regular program will start at 10:30 AM and is titled “Publishing Your Book: Tips and Tricks for the Writer”.  The speaker will be Regina Yuill, a member of the organization.

You can make it a long day if you wanted to attend both the SIG and the regular CAGGNI program.

All guests are welcome to attend either program.  You do not have to be a member of CAGGNI in order to attend.  I am sure if you attended and were not a member you may very well think of becoming a member of this wonderful genealogical organization.

You can also check out the CAGGNI group website itself at:

Computer Assisted Genealogy Group of Northern Illinois (CAGGNI)

Let the Family Tree Maker Special Interest Group of CAGGNI make some sense of the “retirement” of Family Tree Maker for you as a current user of the product.  Put your mind at ease by getting the real low down on what you should be aware of as Family Tree Maker is put to pasture over the next year!

Tony Kierna
Genealogy Coordinator
Schaumburg Township District Library

New England Historic Genealogical Society (NEHGS) Is Offering Free Access To Portions Of Its Membership Accessible Database From December 30, 2015 To January 31, 2016; Many Colonial American Records Available Via This Database

Hi Everyone!

NEHGS LogoHappy New Year to all of you on behalf of the Schaumburg Township District Library!

I just happened to come across a new posting from Dick Eastman that I believe would be of interest to you.

The New England Historic Genealogical Society (NEHGS) has just announced that it is making available “free” access to a select group of some of its renowned Colonial American databases that are generally reserved to members of the society starting on December 30, 2015 and ending on January 31, 2016.

It is providing access to a limited number of its databases and not all of the databases just for clarification.

Here is a link to Dick Eastman’s post providing all of the details:

NEHGS Offers “Free”Access to Important Databases on During the Month of January 2016 From Dick Eastman’s Blog

Here is a link to a part of the NEHGS website that provides information on this offering:

New England Historic Genealogical Society (NEHGS) January 2016 Database Access Offer

You can also check out the website of the society just to see what they are all about and what they offer to members and non-members alike.  You can see them at:

New England Historic Genealogical Society (NEHGS)

I think this is also worth noting because our library has a subscription to theSTDL Central Summer Lg society and as such we are able to offer access to their full selection of these databases ONLY FROM WITHIN THE LIBRARY ON OUR REFERENCE COMPUTERS.

The full database in our library is called “American Ancestors” and it is in the Genealogy Databases on our Reference computers.

Anyone can come to our library buildings and have access to the “American Ancestors” database resource for Colonial American research.  However, due to licensing restrictions, our library does not allow access to this database outside of our buildings.  Home access to genealogical databases is a wonderful convenience to offer but we must adhere to the limitations placed on us by outside organizations.  Access to the “American Ancestors” databases only from within our library is similar to and the access we can provide to them via the Ancestry Library Edition we have that also limits access to in-house library use.

So here is a wonderful opportunity for anyone doing Colonial American research to access a portion of the database from home all during the month of January 2016 through the NEHGS once you register with them.

When you read the Dick Eastman post, you will note that you will need to register yourself with the NEHGS to be able to gain access to this material during January 2016.

If you have Colonial American ancestors AND you are not an existing member of the society AND you don’t/can’t come to our library to use this database in our library building, then by all means this is an opportunity for you to get access to a portion of the database to do some research from home.

I am glad I saw this and can give you a longer “heads up” for you to begin accessing a portion of the database from home from the NEHGS during January 2016.

Tony Kierna
Genealogy Coordinator
Schaumburg Township District Library And Ancestry Library Edition Have Chicago And North Western Railroad Records Online For Retired And Deceased Employees Covering 1935-1970

Hi Everyone!

ancestry-logoI was reading through the recent Chicago Genealogical Society Newsletter (December 2015) and saw an article in there describing one of the databases at (also the Ancestry Library Edition).  It is a database for anyone doing Chicago ancestral research or Midwestern research to consider to search .

The database is titled “U.S., Chicago and North Western Railroad Employment Records, 1935-1970”.

I tried leaving a link for you to go to it directly but the link would only link you to the general page after a while.  So your best bet is to go to or our library edition product and just access the Card Catalog under the Search Tab.  Then use the database name I noted above.  That way you can explore all about the database as well as the description of the material for the database.

The database is searchable and also browseable, but I did see records that came up in my search for which there was no image of the record.  Perhaps, these are the records considered as being unavailable for privacy concerns.

The Chicago and North Western Historical Society had these personnel records Chicago and North Western Railroad Logoin their possession but did need to move them to another location.  That location was the Newberry library in Chicago, IL.  Prior to the move the society was able to work with and have the data scanned so it could become a database within

Here is the database description of this material as found in

This collection of railroad employee records from the Chicago and North Western Railroad and the Chicago, St. Paul, Minneapolis & Omaha Railway was digitized from the collections of the Chicago & North Western Historical Society. The Chicago, St. Paul, Minneapolis & Omaha Railway was a smaller railroad established in 1880 and 1881 with the mergers of several rail lines. In 1882, the Chicago & North Western (CNW) bought controlling stock interest in the railway, which passed through Wisconsin, Minnesota, South Dakota, Iowa, and Nebraska.

This collection includes Chicago & North Western Work Cards and Social Security applications for the years 1937–1970 and retiree records from the Chicago, St. Paul, Minneapolis & Omaha Railway, a smaller semi-independent railway the CNW owned a controlling interest in.

  • employee names
  • occupations within the company, with dates and locations of service
  • residences
  • Social Security numbers (redacted for those born after 1912)
  • birth dates
  • death dates
  • start dates with the company
  • employee signatures
  • absences from service of the company
  • parents’ names (on Social Security applications)

Research Tips Pay special attention to leaves of absence. Some farmers worked railroads during the winter and requested leaves of absence during the summers to work their family farms.

Note: For potentially living persons, images have been withheld for privacy reasons.

Craig Pfannkuche, a speaker we have had in the past for our genealogy programs, was at one time the archivist of these paper records.  I had seen him give a presentation on these Railroad Records.  He noted that he would be happy to do some look-ups on surnames given to him.  I gave him just a few of my surnames of interest and he was able to find employment records and information on the names provided.  WOW!  That was a great discovery.  My ancestors were in the Chicago area which made searching railroad records a meaningful search.  Craig had mentioned that railroads back to the 1850s going forward were often the largest employers of people in the country.

So if you have ancestors from all over the country, just do a search in Google looking for “railroad historical societies” to see if you can find a railroad society in the geographic area of your ancestors.  These societies just like the Chicago and North Western society may have similar records in their possession.

Also do a search within the card catalog of using the search term “railroad” to see what Ancestry may have in their databases for railroad records or other data related to railroads.

Take a look at these records as well as read the database description above.  Perhaps you may find something within this database if you had Midwestern ancestral connections as well as Chicago connections.

Tony Kierna
Genealogy Coordinator
Schaumburg Township District Library

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

Hi Everyone.

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

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

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

Dick Eastman

Dick Eastman

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

You can also go the YouTube channel at: YouTube Channel

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

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

Tony Kierna
Genealogy Coordinator
Schaumburg Township District Library

“What’s New At December 2015” YouTube Video; You Can View The Video In This Blog Post

Hi Everyone!

ancestry-logoI just did a quick look at YouTube and saw that there is now a December 2015 video posted from that is titled “What’s New At December 2015”.

The video is an approximate 33 minute production hosted by Crista Cowan of who provides the viewers with updates on what new things users of should be aware of.

Crista also mentions that in addition to the monthly YouTube video she creates describing “new” things at for a particular month the reader should always check the blog from that you can access at: Blog

Topics covered in this video by Crista are:

  • Upcoming Conferences – Salt Lake Institute, January 10 to 15, 2016 at Salt Lake City, UT.,; RootsTech 2016, February 3-5, 2016 at Salt Lake City, UT; National Genealogical Society Annual Conference, May 2016, at Ft. Lauderdale, FL; Southern California Jamboree, June, 2016, Burbank, CA; IAJGS Conference, August 2016, Seattle, WA; Federation of Genealogy Societies, August 2016, Springfield, IL.
  • Ancestry Blog Post – All members will be moving to the “new” on December 15, 2015.
  • Ancestry Blog Post – Crista noted that in the New Ancestry that the Member Connect capability is back in Tools.  You would get a notification if you and someone else share the same person and the other party makes a change to the information for that person.
  • New Databases – Kentucky Divorce Records 1962-2005.  Contains 516,000 searchable records.  Searchable but with no images available.  Contains birth year, marriage, names, divorce year, divorce location, divorce certificate number that can be used to request copies of the actual records from the county where divorce occurred.
  • New Databases – English/Irish Freemason Membership Registers, 1751-1921.  Searchable and with images of original records.  Can often discover name of the member, when joined, with who joined, how long a member, lodge name, lodge number, lodge location, occupation, age, address.  Record images look very well-written and clear.  Look for any notations that might have been made to the 2-page entries.
  • New Databases – Pennsylvania WW I Veterans Service Files, 1917-1919, 1934-1948.  Searchable and with images.  About 700,000 records.  You can find birth info and birth location info of the person.  Residence of the person when filing the claim and the military branch served in.  Record images are typed and readable and also may contain other support documents provided by the veteran making the claim.
  • New Databases – Tulare County, California Sheriff’s and Jail Records.  Data is searchable and with images.  Can see the name of the person, court date, age, place of record and record type.  Data looks like a computer printout plus there are pages of “mugshots” associated with the page that have the inmate jail number.  The computer printout shows the name of the individual, the crime, physical description of the person, fingerprint classification and miscellaneous notes.  About 236,000 total records.
  • New Databases – Australasia Medical Directories, 1883-1915.  Searchable and browseable by year.  Years are not continuous.  Gaps exist. Images show an index of names within a community, their address and what the medical specialty was of the person.
  • Research Reminders #1 – Read the complete database descriptions for the newly added material to know what is contained and what is NOT contained.  Don’t just search!
  • Research Reminder #2 – Understand the records you are looking at when you are searching a newly added database.  Knowing what is there will help you create better search terms for better results.  Just create a “test” input search to see the results.
  • Crista spent a good time on this video noting that it is important to consider “browsing” records rather than always searching indexed databases.  Browsing databases are those that have not yet been indexed.  You cannot search these but the data as images is available for you to look through.  The data is generally subdivided into manageable viewing components.  Think of it as viewing a microfilm online.  Look at an individual database via the “Card Catalog” and look to see if it has a “Browse Box” that allows you to look at the data but not be able yet to search it.  The “browse box” implies the data is not yet indexed for direct searching.

You can view this video directly here:

Crista does an excellent job of sharing what is new at that can make your use of the product even more effective and beneficial with your family history research.  She shows you via her computer screen what to look for at the site.

I also did a search on YouTube looking for similarly titled videos and did discover that there are many “What’s New At” videos on YouTube going back at least until April of 2012.  These series of videos are a great tool to use to review going back in time so you keep current with all that is being offered and added to

Here is a simple link to my search in YouTube that will give you this nice list of these videos posted to YouTube that you can do some catching up on to know about all of the new things at

“What’s New At” YouTube Videos

The host does a very good job verbally describing the new additions as well as showing you the new things at Ancestry via screencasting.  That allows you to see her computer screen as she points out the various “new” things you may see at and where they are located.

Because so many of us use, either via a personal subscription or by using the Ancestry product at our local libraries, these YouTube videos are quite informative to keep users up to date with new features that take root on  The host provides even more depth to the importance of the change and even why it was done.

I think you will enjoy the most recent video above as well as looking at the link above for even more of these videos.

Tony Kierna
Genealogy Coordinator
Schaumburg Township District Library