Our Next Genealogy Program Is Coming Up On Tuesday Evening January 12, 2016 At 7:30 PM

Hi Everyone!

I thought I would post this reminder of our next upcoming Genealogy Program at the Schaumburg Township District Library.

There is no pre-registration required in order to attend the program.  There is no fee charged to attend.  Anyone can attend this program.  You do not have to be a library card holder with the Schaumburg Township District Library in order to attend.

Here are the details of our upcoming program for Tuesday evening, January 12, 2016:

Grace DuMelle (Photo by Bob Nick and Liz Sloan)

Grace DuMelle (Photo by Bob Nick and Liz Sloan)

The Genealogy program will be held on Tuesday, January 12, 2016 at 7:30 PM in the Rasmussen South Meeting Room on the 2nd floor. The guest speaker for the evening will be Grace DuMelle. Grace will present a program titled “Chicago Genealogy 101”.

Learn the challenges of searching for Windy City relations, such as address and street name changes and scores of unindexed newspapers. Then discover some resources family historians often overlook: fire insurance maps, inquest records, and probate cases. Grace will offer copies of her book, Finding Your Chicago Ancestors, after the program.

Grace DuMelle has been a professional researcher since 1995, helping clients from all over the United States and several foreign countries. Her firm, Heartland Historical Research Service, has assisted the United States Department of Justice and Graystone Communications (parent company of The History Channel), among others.

Heartland’s projects have taken Grace to the Library of Congress and the National Archives as well as facilities throughout the greater Chicago area.

Since 2001, Grace has also been on staff at the Newberry Library in Chicago, one of the country’s foremost genealogical libraries. Guiding beginners to discoveries about their families is something she greatly enjoys. Her experience on both sides of the reference desk — as a staffer and as a researcher — influenced the very practical, hands-on approach of her book, Finding Your Chicago Ancestors: A Beginner’s Guide to Family History in the City and Cook County. It has received state, regional and national awards for instructional nonfiction, and is now in its second printing from Lake Claremont Press in Chicago.

Grace is an alumna of Rosary College (now Dominican University) and the Institute of Genealogical and Historical Research. Media appearances include WGN Radio, WLS TV, WGN TV, Chicago magazine, Real Simple, the Wall Street Journal, and USA Weekend. Conference appearances include Czechoslovak Genealogical Society International 2013, Wisconsin State Genealogical Society 2014, and National
Genealogical Society 2006.

The doors to the room will open at approximately 7 PM so participants can pick up any handouts, review books and journals and interact with other participants. Tony Kierna, the STDL genealogist, will start the program at 7:30. Introductions of new participants will occur as well as a brief review of handouts and genealogical matters. It is expected that the guest speaker’s presentation will start at around 7:45-8:00 PM. We will end the session by 9:30 PM.

For further information contact Tony Kierna at 847-923-3390.

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 AmericanAncestors.org 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 Ancestry.com 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


New Poll On Right Sidebar Of The Blog; Simple Question Being Posed; “Are You Currently Using Family Tree Maker Lineage Software For Which Ancestry.Com Indicated It Is Retiring The Software?”; “Yes” Or “No”?

Hi Everyone!

Well, here goes another Poll that is now on the right sidebar of the blog right at the top of the blog homepage.

I am just asking for a simple response to a very basic question.

“Are You Currently Using Family Tree Maker Lineage Software For Which Ancestry.Com Indicated It Is Retiring The Software?”  Yes or No

On December 8, 2015 Ancestry.com announced that it will be retiring Family Tree Maker lineage software?  What does that mean.  It means it will no longer be developing the software and will only continue to support it via customer support until December 31, 2016.  After that, you will no longer be able to call in for assistance to help you through problems you might encounter with your working software.

Your existing software will still continue to function but there will be no new or upgraded versions of the software coming for you to purchase.  So over time your product though continuing to work will no longer have the capability to be upgraded to newer features that other software developers may be installing in their lineage software product.

Such an exit from a business can and does put those that are using their service into a tizzy!  Your Family Tree Maker will continue to work but do you want to stay with it until it absolutely no longer functions within future operating system upgrades?  Maybe it is better to start looking into other lineage software to purchase and then transfer your Family Tree Maker data into it via a GEDCOM transfer.

With this new poll I just want to know if you are a Family Tree Maker user that is impacted by Ancestry.com’s decision to exit Family Tree Maker as a product it has developed, sold and supported.

So ……………………. “Are You Currently Using Family Tree Maker Lineage Software For Which Ancestry.Com Indicated It Is Retiring The Software?”

Simple, direct and to the point!

Take a look at the new Poll.  Consider providing a reply.

Let’s see how active this poll can be.

The more the merrier!

Tony Kierna
Genealogy Coordinator
Schaumburg Township District Library

Poll On The Right Sidebar Has Been Closed For “Have You Ever Downloaded A Genealogy E-Book That You Used Rather Than An Available Genealogy Book In Print?”; Results Indicated

Hi Everyone!

It is amazing that about  2 months has passed on the life of the poll I had on the right sidebar of the blog since October 28, 2015.  It is time to move on!  I think a new poll question is in order to start 2016!

The poll had asked the question “Have You Ever Downloaded A Genealogy E-Book That You Used Rather Than An Available Genealogy Book In Print?”

The results of the poll showed the following from the 34 total respondents that took the brief time to provide their “Yes” or “No” response to the question.  The numbers show that 13 responses (38.24%) noted they have downloaded a genealogy E-Book  while 21 responses (61.76%) indicated they have not downloaded a genealogy E-Book .

I am actually surprised at the numbers showing that 38.24% have downloaded a genealogy E-Book.  I actually thought there would have been less indicating they have downloaded a genealogy E-Book.  Not my scientific opinion,  just a gut feeling.  This is good to see.  When I search for genealogy books to add to our collection, there are many times I actually find what looks like a book but then see that it is a book only available in the Kindle format.  I generally do not order just E-Book genealogy material.  As a selector I also like to see it available in print primarily so I can order a print copy for our shelves.

Many authors today certainly find it easier to write books that find their way to E-Book format rather than in print or in print as well.  When you avoid printing a book onto paper, you can avoid a substantial amount of costs.  So even printing can be done in a more effective manner today.  Books can be printed “on-demand” as needed from electronic original material.

In days past, authors often had to pay up front for a minimum print run of perhaps hundreds if not a thousand books when they did not find a publisher who would take the risk.  An author could be thousands and thousands of dollars in the hole right from the start.  If the book is not a good seller, the author is the one left with a garage or basement full of unsold books he authored.

Self-publishing is the way of today for small-scale authors today.  Yes there are still many well-known authors that have publishers who advance them hundreds of thousands of dollars but for the average “Joe” interested in authoring a book, self-publishing either in E-Book format or E-Book and Print-On-Demand may be the way to go.

But we all know that there still may be more and more material in the future coming online as an E-Book.  If there is no version in print, your choice is to download the book as an E-Book or forget reading it.

For me, even a large iPhone with a 5.5 inch screen is still too small for me to want to sit with and read a novel.  A 9.0 inch iPad screen is much more doable to read from, plus it is simply easier on the eyes.

So what are you going to do next time you are faced with some interesting genealogy material in E-Book format only?  Are you going to download it and read it on your favorite device?  Or are you still going to hope that it one day appears on your library’s shelf?

I am always looking for a larger response than even that which I just saw!  So come on down ——  affix your opinion as a “Yes” or “No” when so asked to the varied polls on different topics in the world of genealogy and family history research.  Your answers count.

I plan on putting up a new poll rapidly.  Come back for that one to see the new question being asked.

A big thank you to all of those that took the time to respond to this just recently closed poll.  Take a look at the results of that poll to satisfy your own curiosity.

Don’t forget to visit my Poll Archives as part of this blog.  Look for the link at the top of the homepage of the blog where it simply says “Poll Archives”.  In here you will find the statistical results of the 21 previously active polls in addition to the poll that is generally “active”.  If you were not aware of this Archive, you may want to visit to see what all the previous polls were about.

Here is a direct link to the Poll Archives at my blog:

Poll Archives At Tony’s Genealogy Blog At The Schaumburg Township District Library (STDL)

Get ready for another poll ……………………..SOON!

Tony Kierna
Genealogy Coordinator
Schaumburg Township District Library

Northwest Suburban Genealogy Society (NWSGS) Next Program Scheduled For Saturday Morning, January 9, 2016 At 10:00 AM; “Solving Genealogical Mysteries With Facebook’s 5,000+ Genealogy Groups” Live Webinar By Katherine Willson

Hi Everyone,

Northwest Suburban Genealogy Society logo.newjpg (New 2014-25)-150I just received a program notice from the Northwest Suburban  Genealogy Society (formerly known as the Northwest Suburban Council of Genealogists) indicating that their next genealogy program is scheduled for Saturday morning, January 9, 2016 at 10:00 AM.

The society will be meeting on Saturday, January 9, 2016 at 10:00 AM at the Arlington Heights Senior Center, 1801 W. Central Road in Arlington Heights, IL.

There is no prior registration needed.  There is no fee to attend.

The society offers an early informal gathering at 9:00 AM that would allow you to exchange information and ask questions with others present at the time before the formal program starts.

Please be sure to view the link below that will get you to the program description material supplied to me by the society. 

Feature Presentation Clip ArtThe speaker for the morning program will be Katherine Willson.    The speaker will present a program titled “Solving Genealogical Mysteries with Facebook’s 5,000+ Genealogy Groupsvia a “Live Webinar”.

Please take a look at the full PDF announcement of the program by going to:

Northwest Suburban Genealogy Society (NWSGS) January 9, 2016 Program Notice

You will find more details about the program location, the program contents and some information about Katherine Willson, the speaker for the morning from the above link to the program information.

You can always visit the website of the Northwest Suburban Genealogy Society to see what they are all about at:

Northwest Suburban Genealogy Society

Tony Kierna
Genealogy Coordinator
Schaumburg Township District Library

Ancestry.com 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 Ancestry.com (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 Ancestry.com page after a while.  So your best bet is to go to Ancestry.com 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 Ancestry.com and have the data scanned so it could become a database within Ancestry.com.

Here is the database description of this material as found in Ancestry.com:

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 Ancestry.com 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 Ancestry.com Announcement On The Ending Of Family Tree Maker Software

Hi Everyone.

ancestry-logoOn December 8, 2015, Ancestry.com 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 Ancestry.com 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 Ancestry.com YouTube channel at:

Ancestry.com 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