Tuesday, February 6, 2018

DNA & the Genealogical Proof Standard

Confused about how to use your DNA results to further your genealogy research? Join us this Saturday at 1 PM for Karen Stanbury's presentation: “Using DNA Test Results in the Genealogical Proof Standard.

The presentation covers the Genealogical Proof Standard (GPS) and an exploration of DNA specifically within its framework. Learn about the types of research questions that use DNA test results as evidence and understand how DNA test results can be correlated with documentary evidence. We will also discuss published proof arguments incorporating DNA evidence.

This program is presented in partnership with the North Suburban Genealogical Society.

Tuesday, January 30, 2018

Illinois Bicentennial

This year we're celebrating Illinois' bicentennial. Illinois became the 21st state on December 3, 1818.

Visit Illinois 200 to see how the state is honoring its birthday, find out how to get involved, and learn about Illinois' past.

Look for upcoming Illinois 200 programs we're hosting at the library and discover more Illinois history in the Genealogy & Local History Room. We have shelves of Illinois history books dating back to the 1800s.

Wednesday, January 17, 2018

Weird DNA results?

Have you submitted your DNA to Ancestry, 23andMe, or another genetic genealogy site and been surprised by the results? Kristin V. Brown didn't understand the results of her aunt's DNA test so Brown decided to get her own DNA tested by three different companies. She received three different genetic heritage results.

Brown decided to investigate how DNA testing companies decide a person's genetic ancestry and she spoke with Adam Rutherford, a geneticist who explained that "we’ve got a fundamental misunderstanding of what an ancestry DNA test even does."

Read Brown's informative article here and join us in February for a further discussion of genetics and genealogy.

Monday, January 8, 2018

Family Charts

Want to get started with your family history this year? The first step is to start collecting the information you already know. You can start writing this information down in a family tree, pedigree chart, or in family group sheets.

You can create online family trees for free through Ancestry.com or MyHeritage. If you prefer paper, there are lots of free forms you can find online. Ancestry and Family Tree Magazine have a collection of printable sheets. You can also find links to more creative charts and trees at Cyndi's List or search Pinterest for downloadable forms and creative ideas.

Thursday, December 21, 2017

StoryCorps' Great Questions

With friends and family gathered together at this time year, it's a good time to share memories or start collecting oral histories. StoryCorps has a list of great questions to help you get these conversations started. Here are few favorites:

  • What are the most important lessons you’ve learned in life?
  • Are there any funny stories or memories or characters from your life that you want to tell me about?
  • If this was to be our very last conversation, is there anything you’d want to say to me?
  • If you could interview anyone from your life living or dead, but not a celebrity, who would it be and why?
  • Do you remember any songs that you used to sing? Can you sing them now?
  • How would you describe a perfect day when you were young? 
  • When you were young, what did you think your life would be like when you were older? 
  • Was there a teacher or teachers who had a particularly strong influence on your life? Tell me about them. 
  • What lessons has your work life taught you? 
  • Do you have a love of your life? 
  • What was the most profound spiritual moment of your life? 
  • What traditions have been passed down in your family?

Wednesday, December 13, 2017

Family History Apps

The holidays are great time to share family memories. Here are some apps and website that can quickly and easily preserve family stories.

With the StoryCorps app, you can interview your family members anytime, anywhere. The app walks you through the interview process, helps you develop questions, records the conversations and uploads the audio to the Library of Congress. 

The Memories page on FamilySearch allows you to upload and store documents, photographs, and stories. You can even upload audio to the site. Access FamilySearch Memories on your computer or as an app on your mobile device.  

Have you wanted to write a memoir but didn't know where to start? StoryWorth is an email-based story-telling subscription service that will email you one question or writing prompt a week. After a year, your responses are bound into hardcover book. This is a fun and easy way to record your story for future generations. 

Family history should be more than just dates and places. TreeLines is a collaborative site that helps you add stories and memories into your family tree. Upload your tree or start one from scratch. 

Create interactive timelines with Twile. Build your tree, then add milestones, photos, and memories. Twile makes your family history attractive, accessible, and engaging. 

Don't forget note-taking apps like Evernote can also be used for recording and storing family histories. 

Tuesday, December 5, 2017

Genealogy Memoirs

Most genealogy narratives outline a family's history and keep the researcher largely out of the story but the following books are memoirs about the genealogist and the research process itself. The writers discuss not only their family histories but share their reasons for starting their search, their stumbling blocks along the way, and the insights they've gained while doing their genealogy.

A.J. Jacobs has received some strange emails over the years, but this note was perhaps the strangest: “You don’t know me, but I’m your eighth cousin. And we have over 80,000 relatives of yours in our database.” Who are these people, A.J. wondered, and how do I find them? So began Jacobs’s three-year adventure to help build the biggest family tree in history. Jacobs’s journey would take him to all seven continents. He drank beer with a US president, found himself singing with the Mormon Tabernacle Choir, and unearthed genetic links to Hollywood actresses and real-life scoundrels. Jacobs upends, in ways both meaningful and hilarious, our understanding of genetics and genealogy, tradition and tribalism, identity and connection. It’s All Relative is a fascinating look at the bonds that connect us all.

The Cooking Gene: A Journey Through African American Culinary History in the Old South by Michael W. Twitty
In this unique memoir, culinary historian Michael W. Twitty traces the roots of his own family and the charged politics surrounding the origins of soul food, barbecue, and all Southern cuisine. From the tobacco and rice farms of colonial times to plantation kitchens and backbreaking cotton fields, Twitty tells his family story through the foods that enabled his ancestors’ survival across three centuries. He sifts through stories, recipes, genetic tests, and historical documents, and travels from Civil War battlefields in Virginia to synagogues in Alabama to Black-owned organic farms in Georgia. Along the way, he reveals the power that food has to bring the kin of the enslaved and their former slaveholders to the table, where they can discover the real America together.

My European Family: The First 54,000 Years by Karin Bojs
After the death of her mother, Karin Bojs decided to use DNA research to learn more about herself and her family. She went deep in search of her genealogy, having her DNA sequenced and tested, and effectively becoming an experimental subject. The narrative travels the length and breadth of Europe, from the Neanderthals of central Germany to the Cro-Magnon in France. This fresh, first-person exploration of genes and genetics goes well beyond personal genealogy and reveals much about the shared history of European peoples. This is a good introduction to how DNA research tracks the movement of people across history.

Journeys Home: Inspiring Stories, Plus Tips and Strategies to Find Your Family History
This compelling narrative addresses ancestry tourism and travel. Actor and award-winning travel writer Andrew McCarthy's featured story recounts his quest to uncover his family's Irish history, while twenty-five other prominent writers tell their own heartfelt stories of connection. Spanning the globe, these stories offer personal takes on journeying home, whether the authors are actively seeking long-lost relatives, meeting up with seldom-seen family members, or perhaps just visiting the old country to get a feel for their roots. Stunning images, along with family heirlooms, old photos, recipes, and more, round out this unique take on genealogical research.

Wednesday, November 22, 2017

2020 Mayflower

American Ancestors just unveiled their new 2020 Mayflower website to commemorate the 400th anniversary of the 1620 Mayflower voyage.

The website includes biographies of Mayflower passengers, information on Mayflower descendants, and resources for proving your lineage. More features and material will be added to the site periodically.

Wednesday, November 15, 2017

FamilySearch Affiliate

Glenview Public Library is a FamilySearch Affiliate Library. As an Affiliate, patrons can digitally access restricted content on FamilySearch while in the library.

If you're trying to view an image or access a digital microfilm collection but see a message that says you must "Access the site a FamilySearch Affiliate Library," those images can viewed at the Glenview Library.

You can view digital content on all library computers or via our wifi connection.

Access to FamilySearch's increasing digital collections should greatly expand your genealogy research options! 

Thursday, November 2, 2017

Spratts from Maine by Gertrude Lundberg

Local genealogist, Gertrude Lundberg notably published several collections of cemetery records but she also wrote family histories. In Spratts from Maine written in 1968, Lundberg chronicles the Spratt family.

Mercy Ward Spratt, 1803-1879
The history begins with the story of George Spratt from Wexford County, Ireland who emigrated to America around 1760 and follows various family lines until 1968. Photographs and transcriptions of original documents complement the family trees.

In addition to basic familial facts, Lundberg includes relevant social history and interesting anecdotes about the family. She adds traditions and family lore to the story: George Spratt supposedly survived a shipwreck on his way to America. There is also an early history of Maine and an account of the towns of China and Palermo where the Spratt family settled. Lundberg includes maps and diagrams of the family's properties and the surrounding areas.

This is a very nice example of how to write and research a succinct, well-documented but still interesting family history.