In Love with Free Online Genealogy Goodies – Follow Friday

Dear Genealogists,

Love is in the air, online, and just a click away.  No, I’m not talking about e-Harmony.  I’m too busy falling in love with the free 1930 census records on!

From February 16 to 2o, Ancestry is opening its 1930 census online for free.  You’ll find out more about your ancestors as a warm up to the release of the 1940 census in April.

I’ve also learn to love land records again.  This was a thoroughly complicated relationship of long waits, unreturned phone calls, and a lot of anger.  I’d almost given up on the entire thing.  But then Olive Tree Genealogy Blog posted a wonderful article on how to conduct research at the Land Records Office, and I was optimistic and hopeful about the whole affair again!  I can’t wait to renew my relationship with these wonderful records!

I’m looking forward to my birthday in April, and the best present you could give me and to any of your April-born friends is to help index the 1940 census.  FamilySearch has a volunteer page with project information and how you can help make the 1940 census free for everyone!

If you’re in love with a genealogy page, resource, topic, or person, feel free to post them in the comment box.

ALSO: Don’t forget to attend our free upcoming events!

Polish Genealogy: Where to Start with Steve Szabados on Wednesday March 14 at 7 p.m.
Genealogy 101: Where to Begin with Debra Dudek on Wednesday, April 11 at 7 p.m.
Military Genealogy with Tina Beaird on Wednesday, May 9 at 7 p.m.

Genealogy Day will be held Saturday, April 21 at 9:30 am!  Registration is free and is available online or by calling (630) 685-4176.

Jennifer Holik-Urban – Finishing the Story
Jeanne Bloom – Lost Children: Orphans, Vagrants, Delinquents, Half-Orphans, Dependents, Surrendered, Adopted
Craig Pfannkuche – Digging Grandma’s Privy for Family History Information
Jane Haldeman – From Land Records to Google Earth: Mapping your Family’s Place

Remember my friends, the best thing about free online goodies is the lack of guilt you feel after you’ve enjoyed them!

See you at the library!


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Be There or Be Square: FPLD Genealogy Club Speaker Schedule updated! – Motivation Monday

What do you have to lose?  Make a resolution to attend more Fountaindale Public Library Genealogy Club programs! We have three great speakers ready to help motivate you to success!  The FPLD Genealogy Club meets on the second Wednesday of the month at 7 p.m in Meeting Room A of the Fountaindale Public Library.

UPCOMING EVENTS                                                                                                          January 11, 2012 – Cemetery Symbolism and Victorian Mourning Customs: Lifting the Veil off Morbid Genealogical Treasures by resident FPLD genealogist Debra Dudek

February 8, 2012 -Branching Out: Learn how to use online family trees and social networking to make connections with genealogist Jennifer Holik-Urban.

March 14, 2012 – Polish Genealogy: Where to Start with genealogist Steve Szabados.


Don’t forget to save the date for Fountaindale Public Library’s Genealogy Day on Saturday, April 21 beginning at 9:30 am.  Great speakers, comprehensive handouts, prize drawings, and great tips make this free event a ‘must see’ for any genealogist or family history researcher.  Space is limited and registration is required!  You may call to reserve your place beginning Monday, February 6 at (630) 685-4176 or you can register online.

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New Tech Tools That Will Make You Drool – Tech Tuesday

I’m always on the lookout for genealogy tech tools.  Gadgets, software, websites, I love to look at all the cool new stuff and demo as much of it as I can.

With the holiday season approaching, retailers and websites are offering an array of new and improved gadgets which are great for genealogists.  And you’ll find them in the most unlikely places, like Menards or Bed, Bath & Beyond.  Look for special deals and coupons and be aware that these products may offer a special mail-in rebate.  Pandigital’s Handheld Wand Scanner with Dual Rollers and it’s sister the Pandigital Handheld Wand Scanner typically retail for $99, but Lee Lasseigne (a FPLD Genealogy Club member) saw them on sale at Menards for $75 with a special $25 rebate available bringing the price down to $50!  Lee noted this scanner “can be invaluable in a pinch, carry it around wherever you go!”

If you missed the Menard’s deal, you can still save about $19 for the same item by using great coupons at Bed, Bath & Beyond.  First time email subscribers for Bed, Bath & Beyond get a 20% off one item in-store Savings Certificate, which can be used in conjunction with any additional rebates to bring the price of the Pandigital scanner to about $60.  Don’t forget to check your mailbox, because you might be able to use BB&B’s $5 flyer coupons along with your 20% savings certificate!

I found an interesting genealogy website a few days ago.  Family History Notebook offers free online document storage (limit 100), and reasonable plans for up to 4,000 documents.  This could be a great gift idea for the genealogist who is looking to ditch the accordion file folders!

If you haven’t tried Mocavo and the newly launched, you’re in for a treat.  Mocavo is the world’s first and largest genealogy search engine. In addition to browsing the web for your ancestors, you can publish your own information, share your research, and work on collaborative projects with other genealogists.

If you have any suggestions or comments on these items, post them on our blog!

See You At The Library!


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Illinois opens original birth certificates to adoptees! – Tuesdays’s Tip

Have you heard the great news genealogists?

The next phase of the new Illinois open records adoption law went into effect this week.  As of November 15th, adopted persons over the age of 21 who were born in Illinois on or after January 1, 1946 may now request a non-certified copy of their original birth certificate.  Adopted persons born in Illinois prior to January 1, 1946 have been able to request their original birth certificates since the law went into effect in 2010.

Important Note: Under the new law, original birth certificates cannot be issued in person by state or county vital statistics offices.  In most cases, the original birth certificate will list the first and last names of one or both birth parents.   All birth parents may indicate their preferences regarding contact with their adult birth child.

The options available under this new law are different for adopted persons, birth parents and their family members. The options available also change depending on the date of birth of the adult adopted person.

The law also makes provisions for surviving spouses and adult children of deceased adopted persons to make requests for the adopted person’s original birth certificate.

The form for requesting the original birth certificates is available on the Illinois Department of Public Health’s website at:

You can also visit for more information about these changes!

See You at the Library!


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Free DNA Genealogy Presentation Nov. 10 at the Fountaindale Library – Thrifty Thursday

Demystify your DNA research with a fantastic fall program at the Fountaindale Public Library!

Noted genealogist and author Dave Dowell will present “Adding DNA Testing to your Genealogical Tool Kit” and sign copies of his new book Crash Course in Genealogy.

The event will be held on Thursday, November 10, 2011 at 7 p.m. in Meeting Room B of the Fountaindale Public Library.  The library is located at 300 W. Briarcliff Road in Bolingbrook, IL.

Dave’s DNA program will help answer questions on Which DNA tests should you take and what type of information you can glean from the results.  His Crash Course in Genealogy book signing will follow the lecture portion of the program!  You won’t want to miss meeting this fantastic author and presenter!

Registration for this event is strongly encouraged, and will ensure that our bookseller will bring enough copies of the book to the signing.  Light refreshments will be provided.

I blogged about Dave Dowell’s book, Crash Course in Genealogy back in July, and I really can’t tell you how much I love his book.  I purchased a copy for our circulating collection, and it’s constantly checked out!  In the library world, there’s no better praise for a book title!

You can register for this event by calling the library at (630) 685-4176 or by visiting our registration event calendar online.

Bring twenty of your friends!

See you at the library!


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Find Free Genealogy Resources @ Try-It Illinois October 1 – November 30, 2011! – Follow Friday

Attention Illinois residents!  Some of the best genealogy resources online are available for free through the Try-It! Illinois Database trial October 1 – November 30 2011.

This twelfth annual statewide database trial is sponsored by Secretary of State and State Librarian Jesse White and the Illinois State Library. Try-It! Illinois offers library staff and patrons to survey and evaluate a wide variety of electronic resources. Thanks to the partnerships between the Illinois State Library and the participating electronic resource vendors, there is no charge for accessing these databases during Try-It! Illinois.

Due to the nature of this program, libraries are asked not to post the Try-It! Illinois login and password on the Internet, on Web sites or in publicly archived e-newsletters.  To access these resources, please contact your local Illinois Library and pick up a login information sheet in person!

Due to the absolutely astounding offering of databases, I’ve compiled a “must see” list of genealogy resources available during the trial:

  • African American Heritage
  • America`s GenealogyBank
  • America`s Historical Newspapers
  • America’s Obituaries & Death Notices
  • American Broadsides and Ephemera
  • Digital Sanborn Maps Geo Edition
  • Fold3 History & Genealogy Archives Plus
  • Historic Map Works
  • Historical Chicago Defender (1909-1975)
  • Historical Chicago Tribune (1849 – 1985)
  • Historical New York Times (1851 – 2006)
  • Newspaper Source Plus
  • (world newspapers from 1700’s onward!)
  • ProQuest Obituaries

Here is a recommended list of auxiliary resources which may assist you with your research:

  • African-American History Online
  • American Antiquarian Society (AAS) Historical Periodicals Collections: Series 1
  • American History
  • Daily Life America
  • Daily Life Through History
  • Daily Life World Folklore and Folklife
  • Dictionary of Irish Biography
  • p4A Antiques Reference database

The Try-It Illinois database trial is a great way for patrons to give libraries valuable observations and feedback regarding online databases.  So please let your librarian know what you enjoyed and what tools you found useful!

See you at the library!


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Utilizing Spokeo for Genealogy Research – Thankful Thursday

The ancient Greek philosophers have urged countless generations to “Know Thyself”. Now there’s a website that can tell you (and others) who you are with one mouse click., a split personality website which marries online ‘white pages’ with an information gathering search engine, allows subscribers to search for individuals by name, location, ect. and relays information about marital status, household income, political affiliation, and other vital tidbits.

This site was a topic of discussion at our FPLD Genealogy Club meeting last night.  Our speaker Robin Seidenberg reminded us that our information isn’t really private in this digital age. (BTW: Read Jennifer Holik-Urban’s review of last night’s meeting.  It’s fantastic!)

According to their website, Spokeo is “a people search engine that organizes vast quantities of white-pages listings, social information, and other people-related data from a large variety of public sources. Our mission is to help people find and connect with others, more easily than ever.”

The really interesting aspect of this website, apart from the cute name and accurate mapping tools, is the epic failure of the information available.

According to Spokeo, I’m married, and live with my parents, three siblings, grandmother, and several cats in my parent’s home in Michigan.

Our house appraised at over one million dollars, I’m a Catholic, a Republican, and I run a home-based business. My hobbies are cooking and traveling. My astrological sign is Aries, and I enjoy reading books about fashion.

WOW! I’M MARRIED! REALLY? WHEN DID THAT HAPPEN?  (Shouldn’t I remember something like that?  I know some people would like to forget their marriage, but am I one of them?)

AND GRANDMA’S ALIVE!   NO WAY! (Dude, she died a decade ago!  But to be fair, we still get her catalogs and mail.)

I’ll admit my parents just had their kitchen remodeled, but I’ve dropped off their mortgage checks at the bank, and there’s NO WAY their home is worth one million dollars.Political and religious privacy aside, I don’t run a home based business.

Did they get anything right? Yes. My parents have a cat, I am an Aries, and I enjoy cooking and traveling.

And I could have found out more about myself, like my education level, my economic health, or my wealth level if I purchased a one-year subscription to the website for the ultra low price of $2.95 a month.

So, go to, get to know yourself, and comment on your findings in the comment/reply section below, and let me know what you think.

In the meantime, if you find my husband on Spokeo, tell him to come home to my flat, because he doesn’t need to drive to my parents place. I want to start a family, and I need him to help me hang up the new curtains I bought and empty the trash before garbage day. Oh, and tell him we’re having my deceased grandma over for the weekend, so we’ll need to run a few errands before then.

See you at the Library!


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