Wednesday, April 12, 2017

Comparing the 'Big 4'



Ancestry, FamilySearch, findmypast, and MyHeritage are currently the four biggest genealogy databases available. Which one(s) should you be using? Are they worth purchasing a subscription?

At this year's RootTech, Sunny Morton compared the "Big 4" to help users understand which databases best fit their research needs. You can watch her discussion here.

Ms. Morton says that when choosing a database, you need to consider what you need right now. Remember that no one website will have what you need all of the time.

The biggest question you probably have is: Which site holds the historical records I want? Here is a brief overview of the databases:

Ancestry.com
  • 80 countries -- particularly: USA, Canada, Germany, France, Italy, Australia, Mexico, and the UK
FamilySearch
  • 96 countries -- strong global outreach with a unique collection of Central & South American, African, and Asian records
findmypast
  • 7 countries -- focus is on UK and Irish records as well as US, Australia, and New Zealand
MyHeritage
  • Claims to cover 'all' countries -- primarily Europe and global Jewish collections

For more information, watch Sunny Morton's information presentation.

Thursday, April 6, 2017

Census Records

Do you have questions about how to use census records in your genealogy research? Attend our class on April 12 to learn census research tips. 

Register online or call the Reference Desk at 847-729-7500.

Thursday, March 30, 2017

The Day That Lived in Infamy


Regardless of service branch, many records exist to tell your soldier, sailor, or Marine’s story. Jennifer Holik will teach you how to research World War II records for any branch of the military in this informative program.

In this engaging and informative presentation, Jennifer shares:

  • A trip through time, exploring the service history of several men and women. 
  • Explore resources to search prior to obtaining military records.
  • Provide information on obtaining Official Military Personnel Files. 
  • Show and teach you what military records can be used to reconstruct service history. 
  • Tips on weaving military, genealogical, and historical records together. 
  • A brief exploration of the Individual Deceased Personnel File (IDPF).

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

Register online or call the Reference Desk at 847-729-7500.


Wednesday, March 22, 2017

New England Women

For Women's History Month, read about some exemplary 19th century women from New England.

Sketches of Representative Women of New England edited by Julia Ward Howe and published in 1904 features biographies of prominent New England women.

These women were philanthropists, writers, doctors, lawyers, and teachers. The sketches describe the roles these women played in society and highlight their many achievements. Of interest to the genealogist, the entries also detail family histories including the names of parents, spouses and children. They also contain important dates, addresses, and occasionally photographs.

The women highlighted here feature a variety of accomplishments and come from relatively diverse backgrounds. Fascinating reading for those interested in women's history!

Thursday, March 16, 2017

Free Irish Resources


For Saint Patrick's Day, all Irish resource collections are free on American Ancestors until March 22. Their databases include information on Irish immigrants in America, Catholic parish records, and some record collections from Ireland. You can also watch webinars and read articles on Irish genealogy. Ancestry.com has made their Irish records free for the weekend as well.

Find even more online Irish resources here.

Wednesday, March 8, 2017

Genealogy Research Day


Drop in this Saturday to get one-on-one help with your genealogy and to utilize our print and digital resources. Join us in the Technology Lab or the Genealogy & Local History Room any time between 1-4 PM.

Monday, March 6, 2017

Glenview History Center Annual Tea

Join the Glenview History Center on Saturday, March 18, for the Jackie O. Luncheon. Leslie Godard will portray Jacqueline Kennedy and share the story of her life in the White House and the death of John F. Kennedy.

Thursday, March 2, 2017

FamilySearch Class


Next Wednesday at 2 PM we'll be learning how to use FamilySearch.org. Discover how to use this free database that rivals Ancestry.com. Search their impressive catalog of books of microfilm and utilize their online learning resources.

Register online or call the Reference Desk at 847-729-7500.

Wednesday, February 22, 2017

Finding Free African Americans in the South

If you are searching for free African Americans in the colonial South, we have two valuable volumes
in our collection:

Free African Americans of North Carolina, Virginia, and South Carolina from the Colonial Period to about 1820
Free African Americans of Maryland and Delaware: From the Colonial Period to 1810 

Both books are by Paul Heinegg. While working on his own genealogy, Heinegg became interested in the history of free black families in the South. Many free African Americans were freed in the seventeenth and early eighteenth centuries. They often formed relationships with white servants or Native Americans and owned land and property. With the spread of plantations in the mid-1700s, legal restrictions on miscegenation and manumissions and increasing racism, caused free people of color to migrate elsewhere or to begin "passing" as white. Some freed African Americans were even forced back into slavery. Heinegg's work is indispensable for understanding and following the lives and genealogies of free people of color in the colonial period.      

Heinegg tells the story of free African Americans through family histories. Heinegg provides detailed information including marriages and births as well as land and court transactions and even physical descriptions when those details are available. He pulls this information from census records, tax lists, wills, deeds, marriage bonds, parish registers, Revolutionary War pensions and "free Negro registers."

This is an important volume for researching African Americans in the colonial era.

Friday, February 17, 2017

Chicago Genealogy Class

Do you have Chicago or Cook County ancestors? On Wednesday, February 22 at 10 AM, discover local resources to help you with your research.

Register online or call the Reference Desk at 847-725-7500.

Tuesday, February 7, 2017

The Chicago 1893 World’s Columbian Exposition

Beautiful Scenes of the White City
Join us this Saturday at 1 PM for The Chicago 1893 World’s Columbian Exposition: What Remains & New Links to H.H. Holmes. Local historian and former criminal investigator Ray Johnson discusses the legacy of the 1893 World’s Columbian Exposition, including relics that remain and previously undiscovered links to “The Devil” Dr. H.H. Holmes. This program is presented in partnership with the North Suburban Genealogical Society.
Great Yerkes Telescope, Manufactures Building from
Beautiful Scenes of the White City


Register online or call the Reference Desk at 847-729-7500 .

Our Genealogy & Local History Room contains two books that were published in 1893 and 1894 to commemorate the Exposition.

The Dream City
A beautiful over-sized book of photographs and descriptions of the architecture and attendees of the fair. The editors discuss the creation of the exposition and the people involved in turning the fair into reality.

Beautiful Scenes of the White City
The photographs here are largely focused on individual exhibits and attractions. Lovely interior images evoke an idea of what it would have been like to attend the fair.

Also, look for Chicago: The Wonder City published in 1893 to promote the city and the fair. This book focuses more on the city of Chicago itself.
"The Columbian Illuminations" from The Dream City

Monday, January 30, 2017

#DiscoverFreedmen

The National Museum of African American History and Culture recently partnered with FamilySearch, the National Archives, the Afro-American Historical and Genealogical Society, and the California African American Museum to create a database of records of emancipated African Americans.

DiscoverFreedmen.org searches FamilySearch's collection of Freedmen's Bureau records. Established in 1865, the Freedmen's Bureau provided aid to recently emancipated slaves and poor whites in the South. The Freedmen's Bureau archives include marriage, census, land, court, school, and medical information from between 1865 and 1872. Because slaves were rarely recorded in pre-Civil War records, the Freedmen's Bureau is an excellent starting point for tracing enslaved ancestors.

 


Wednesday, January 25, 2017

Genealogy Research Day



Need help with a tough genealogy problem? Just getting started with your research? Drop in this Saturday to get one-on-one help with your genealogy and to utilize our print and digital resources. Join us in the Technology Lab or the Genealogy & Local History Room any time between 1-4 PM.

Monday, January 16, 2017

Books to break down your brick walls

Do you want to improve your genealogy research skills this year? Here are a few new(ish) books to help you master new techniques in the new year.

Advanced Genealogy Research Techniques by George G. Morgan
This book is all about breaking down your brick walls. The authors describe how to reexamine the evidence you have, how to use little-known resources, and how to develop research strategies to address your unique specific problems.

The Family Tree Guide to DNA Testing and Genetic Genealogy by Blaine T. Bettinger
This is the most comprehensive guide on DNA and genealogy. Understand the basics of DNA testing and how to interpret and incorporate your DNA results into your research.

How to Use Evernote for Genealogy by Kerry Scott
Learn how to organize your research (and your life!) with this helpful note-taking app. Store, organize, and share your documents, notes, photos, and audio files with Evernote.

Organize Your Genealogy by Drew Smith
One of my favorites! This excellent guide will help you organize not just your physical and digital files but also your research process, correspondence, research trips, and your educational goals.
The Troubleshooter's Guide To Do-It-Yourself Genealogy by W. Daniel Quillen
Go beyond the basics of genealogy research. Quillen provides in-depth explanations of records and advanced research techniques.

Unofficial Guide to Ancestry.com by Nancy Hendrickson
Explore all of Ancestry's vast collections and master the best search techniques for finding your ancestors. Also discusses Ancestry Family Trees and AncestryDNA.

Unofficial Guide to FamilySearch.org by Dana McCullough
Discover the best research strategies for using FamilySearch. Learn about their offline resources, family trees, and more.

Wednesday, January 11, 2017

Beginning Genealogy

New to genealogy? Attend our Beginning Genealogy class on January 17 at 2 PM. Learn the basic steps to get started with your research.

Register online or call the Reference Desk at 847-729-7500.

Wednesday, January 4, 2017

Name Changes at Ellis Island


One of the most common stories in American family lore is that officials at Ellis Island changed an
immigrant ancestor's name. It's a persistent myth and one that isn't true.

For the 125th anniversary of the opening of Ellis Island, Smithsonian.com examines the history of immigration in the US and explains the truth about immigration officials and names. Here are a few key points from the article:
Ellis Island inspectors were not responsible for recording immigrants’ names. Instead, any error likely happened overseas.
At the shipping line’s station in Europe, a clerk wrote the passenger’s name in the ship’s manifest, sometimes without asking for identification verifying the spelling.
The ship’s manifest was presented to Ellis Island inspectors after the boat docked. From there, the inspector would cross-reference the name on the manifest with the immigrant passenger, and also ask 30 questions to screen out rabble-rousers, loafers, or the physically and mentally infirm, but also to glean information on who they would be living with and where in America, says Urban. The inspectors also would see if the answers matched those recorded by the shipping clerk before departure.
“If anything, Ellis Island officials were known to correct mistakes in passenger lists,” says Philip Sutton, a librarian in the Milstein Division of United States History, Local History and Genealogy, at the New York Public Library, in a blog post delving into the name change mythology.
More commonly, immigrants themselves would change their names, either to sound more American, or to melt into the immigrant community, where they were going to live, says Sutton. If name changes happened with any frequency on Ellis Island, it was not noted in any contemporaneous newspaper accounts or in recollections from inspectors, Sutton says. 
It is also unlikely a foreign name would flummox an Ellis Island inspector. From 1892 to 1924, “one-third of all immigrant inspectors were themselves foreign-born, and all immigrant inspectors spoke an average of three languages,” says the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services. 
Read the entire article to learn more about immigration in the late 19th and early 20th centuries.