Training to be a Census Sensei – Tuesday’s Tip

Step beyond the US Federal Census returns! On Wednesday, May 14 at 7 pm at the Fountaindale Public Library, Tina Beaird will show you how to use agricultural, manufacturing, school, state, territorial, other special censuses!  Learn how to locate, access, and glean information from these special records, which will provide unique and interesting information about your ancestors!tina

Learn how your ancestor’s taxes supported the school district, what type of crops were grown on their farms, and the cash value of a farm, livestock, machinery and business enterprises.  As many of these special censuses are not available on a federal level, Tina will introduce you to the repositories which house these records, as well as providing online resources to meet your research goals.  You won’t want to miss this program!  Doors open at 6:30 pm, and light refreshments will be included.




BillionGraves Field Trips – Break out your smart phone and join the FPLD Genealogy Club for a series of summer BillionGraves fieldtrips!  There are two BillionGraves Field Trips scheduled for Saturday, June 14, 2014.  The first field trip will be held at 9 am at Boardman Cemetery in Bolingbrook.  At 1 pm, a second field trip will be held at Alexander Cemetery in Romeoville.  You do not need to be a Genealogy Club member to join in on the project!  For more information call (630) 685-4201.

See You At The Library!



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Get Ready for Genealogy Day this Saturday May 3, 2014! – Wisdom Wednesday

Genealogy Day Graphic 2014Genealogy Day is this Saturday, and I hope you all are excited about spending the day with the Fountaindale Public Library!  Genealogy Day registration begins at 9 am, with the program commencing at 9:30 am.  Here’s a quick checklist of what you will need for Saturday, May 3, 2014:

Bring or Order your lunch – If you forget your lunch on the day of our program, you can place a lunch order at Brooks Cafe during morning registration.  Some food selections may be limited, so you’ll want to place your order before 9:30 am!

Bring a seat cushion –  You will be sitting for extended periods of time, so a little padding is advisable.  If you want to make a few new friends, bring extra seat cushions.

Clip Board – Due to space constraints, we will have audience style seating in the room.  We recommend bringing a clip board for writing copious notes.

Two Photos – Regardless of registration for photo consultation, we have some awesome scanning equipment available for you to use!  If you need help on an item, Anna from Studio 300 is offering digital photo restoration services as time allows.

Flash drive – Great for saving your new digital images from our scanning equipment.  In a pinch, we will have a few flash drives available, or you can purchase a snazzy Fountaindale Public Library flash drive from Anna for $8 during Genealogy Day.

Marsha Peterson-MaassBook List –jennifer holik Our two guest authors will have great books for sale which will please the folks on your gift list.  Jennifer Holik and guest speaker Marsha Peterson-Maass will be available during the lunch hour to meet you, sign books, and discuss their projects.

Library Card – We will have a great genealogy book selection available for checkout!  If you don’t have a Fountaindale library card, you can sign up at the information desk to be a reciprocal borrower, which allows you to checkout books from our library free of charge!

Heritage Hash –Heritage Hash Brooks Cafe is offering a delicious snack for genealogy day – Heritage Hash!  This tasty blend of raisins, sunflower seeds, pretzel balls, bagel chips, sesame sticks, coconut flakes, papaya, pineapple, butterscotch chips, chocolate chips will be served in a 3 oz bag for $2.75.  They will also have soda, candy, and other items available to purchase during our break periods.

If you are unable to attend Genealogy Day, please cancel your registration online or call us at (630) 685-4176.  There is a wait list for people to attend our event, so please let us know if you cannot attend.

I am at your service to assist with questions before, during, and after the program!  Please do not hesitate to let me know if you need anything!  You can contact me by phone at (630) 685-4201 or by e-mail at

See you on Saturday!


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Pre-Release Book Signing Added to Genealogy Day Lineup! – Tuesday’s Tip

Jennifer Hjennifer holikolik will be joining us for a stories of the lostpre-release celebration of her new book Stories of the Lost at this year’s Genealogy Day on Saturday, May 3 from 1-2 p.m. Debuting on V-E (Victory in Europe) Day on May 8, Stories of the Lost chronicles the lives of servicemen who fought for freedom and never returned alive. Although buried in foreign territories, the government extended the services of individuals to identify the deceased, collect their belongings, and whenever possible, to send what they had found back home to their families. Stories of the Lost combines thoughtful case studies and research together to celebrate the lives a few good servicemen, and to give genealogists a method of researching their own family heroes.

To celebrate both V-E Day and the debut of this title, Genealogy Day participants will have a chance to win two copies of the book, and to have them signed by the author.  Stories of the Lost is priced at $25, and cash, check, and credit card payments are accepted. Jennifer will also have a limited supply of her popular Branching Out: Genealogy for Kids series which will be priced at $15-$30 each.

Speaker Marsha Peterson-Maass will be signing copies of her two books – Fundamentals of Genealogy: Basics for Everyone and Fundamentals of Genealogy: Medical Family Tree Workbook.  Genealogy Day participants will have a chance to win two of Marsha’s books, and have them signed during the lunch period from 1-2 pm.  Both Fundamentals of Genealogy titles are discounted 20% for this program, and priced at $20 each.   Cash and check payments are accepted for these items.

Make Your Lunch Orders with Brooks Cafe Today!

Save time standing in line! Order your Genealogy Day Box Lunch today!  Each lunch can be customized to suit your palate as well as your pocketbook.  You can purchase your Brooks Cafe lunch by calling (630) 685-4295 or by e-mail at  The deadline for placing a lunch order is Monday, April 28 at 8 p.m.

Heritage Hash debuts at Genealogy Day

In celebration of our Genealogy Day, Brooks Cafe is offering Heritage Hash, a tasty blend of raisins, sunflower seeds, pretzel balls, bagel chips, sesame sticks, coconut flakes, papaya, pineapple, butterscotch chips, chocolate chips in a 3 oz cup for $2.75.

There are still a few spaces open for genealogy day attendees, and we have three spaces open for society vendor booths.  If you would like to register for Genealogy Day, you can visit our online registration form, or contact the 3rd Floor Reference Desk at (630) 685-4176.

See You At Genealogy Day!


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New Chicago Indexing Projects on Family Search – Workday Wednesday

Attention researchers!  If you’ve been searching for new Chicago genealogy records, there are two amazing record sets available for indexing on FamilySearch right now!

family search projects

If you’re new to online indexing projects, FamilySearch indexing provides volunteers with a unique opportunity to contribute to the processing of genealogical records.  A free online registration, free software download, and a few tutorial videos later, you’re should be ready to participate in an indexing project.  Depending on your geographic research interests, there are collections available for the United States, Canada, Mexico, Europe, South America, and many more locations as well.  You do not need to read or write a second language to participate, but if you have any Spanish, Italian, German, Czech, Polish, Portuguese, French, or Korean language skills, you will definitely want to see what type of projects are available for indexing.

Illinois, Cook County—Deaths, 1959–1994 [Part B] English – 1959–1994 (Intermediate)

Many of these records are type written, clear, and easy to read.  There are few issues with informant signatures, as they can be in various stages of legibility.  You can glean a lot of information from these records, especially employment and cause of death.  In several instances, the work address of the deceased was included in each record. I was able to transcribe multiple batches in a morning, and really enjoyed how each record flowed into the next.  Maybe I missed my calling as a medical clerk.

As an interesting note, when looking at deaths occurring in a hospital, I was really surprised to see a the high number of nurses, admitting clerks, and hospital staff writing providing information as an informant.  In the earlier pre-1959 records, much of the family information had been provided by family members.

Illinois, Chicago—Catholic Church Records, 1833–1910 [Part A] English – 1833-1910 (Advanced)

Yes, a passing knowledge of Latin is helpful, but try this workaround: type the Latin entry texts into Google Translate, and you will see what information is needed for each column.  The advanced level of this project centers on deciphering handwriting and names in a variety of scripts.  It was good to use the Latin I learned in school this semester for the entry information.  On the other hand, I’m still shaky with deciphering handwriting.  With these two factors in mind, I was writing out a majority of the last names listed in each record.  This project took a bit longer than I would have liked, and I needed to take a break in the middle of one of the entries, but on the whole I felt pretty accomplished when I was finished.

What other indexing projects are you working on?  Share your thoughts, project information, or other tips and tidbits here!

See You at the Library!


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Irish Genealogy: Resources for Success! – Tuesday’s Tip

The Fountaindale Public Library District and the Plainfield Public Library District are hosting an evening of Irish genealogical research with the Ulster Historical Foundation on Wednesday, March 12, 2014 from 6-8:30 pm at the Fountaindale Public Library, 300 W. Briarcliff Road in Bolingbrook, IL.

irelandmapThe Ulster Historical Foundation, which is based in Belfast, Ireland will be making two stops in the Chicago area during their  Genealogical Lecture Tour of the US in March.

During their evening visit at the Fountaindale Public Library The Ulster Historical Foundation will feature a three-part lecture based program will feature three outstanding sessions –

  • Introduction to Irish and Scots-Irish Family History Research,
  • Records Relating to the Different Churches in Ireland, and
  • Using land valuation records including Griffith Valuation and Tithe Applotment

This event is free and open to the public with no registration required.  Call the library at (630) 685-4201 or visit the event website for more information.

See You At The Library!


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Genealogy Day 2014: Pinning Down the People, Papers, and Places of your Past – Wisdom Wednesday

Join us for Fountaindale Public Library’s fourth Genealogy Day on Saturday, May 3, 2014 from 9:30 am to 4pm!  Genealogy Day is free and open to the public, and registration begins on Friday, February 14, 2014.   You can register online or by calling the Fountaindale Public Library Reference Desk at (630) 685-4176.  The Fountaindale Public Library is located at 300 W. Briarcliff Road in Bolingbrook, Illinois.

This year’s theme is “Pinning Down the People, Papers, and Places oGenealogy Day Graphic 2014f your Past” and will feature three outstanding  speakers:

  • Tina BeairdPinning Down Your Past—Social Media Meets Genealogy
  • Mark HayesTraveling While Dead — Documenting Your Ancestor’s Journey to the Grave
  • Marsha Peterson-MaassHow Will I Ever Organize My Piles Into Files?  Winning the Battle with Paper

The event will also include an opportunity to consult Bruce Troyer, local Photography Instructor and Identification Expert, and Studio 300’s Anna Gillespie, an expert in digital imaging software and scanning technology.  Registered participants can bring in two photos for Bruce to examine.  Walk-up participants will be taken as time allows.  Anna will be giving demonstrations in how to use new and unique photo scanning equipment, so bring two photos, negatives, or slides and an 8 GB flash drive if you would like to save copies of your digitized items.  You can register for photo identification consultation online or you can call and register by phone at (630) 685-4176.

Participants are asked to bring a brown-bag lunch or pre-order a lunch from Brooks Café. For lunch choices, please see our Genealogy Day 2014 Lunch Order Form.  Due to limited parking, please carpool or make arrangements to be dropped off for this event.

For further questions, please contact Debra Dudek (630) 685-4201 or by e-mail

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Internet Archive Hosts Outstanding Collection of City Directories, Yearbooks, and Gazetteers – Follow Friday

Dear Genealogists, I want you to add just one more item to your list of goals this year – Get to Know the City Directories, Yearbooks, and Gazetters on Internet Archive.

internet archiveI’ve been extolling the virtues of Internet Archive as a place where you can find great genealogy resources – most of which are searchable and can be read online and downloaded for free to your e-reader or tablet.  The preview area of each title allows for users to view each page in miniature, individually, or in a set of four.  You can also perform a keyword search, listen to a audio transcription of selected pages,  and share a link to your title via your favorite social media sites.

After perusing the Genealogy subject page on the Internet Archive website, you will see an ‘All Items’ link at the bottom right of the first paragraph.  This will take you to all recently added genealogy titles by date.  This is both advantage and a curse for items such as city directories yearbooks, and gazetteers, as there are multiple volumes and publishing years listed, but each entry may not be in numeric order on the site.

A straight keyword search for ‘city directory’ will glean nearly 5,000 items off the main page of the site.  If you search via the genealogy subject page, the result will be closer to 375. So in a pinch, try searching for items via the main search page.

Here are a few gems I picked out of the site:

The Annual Monitor or Obituary of the members of the Society of Friends in Great Britain and Ireland 1843-1912  – The Annual Monitor is a list of British Quakers who died each year, between 1812 and 1919, including well over 20,000 persons. Most entries include basic data: age at death, date of death, names of parents or spousal information. Some entries have a “memorial”, the equivalent of our modern obituaries,  citing biographical details and religious accolades.

topeka undertakerRadge’s Topeka city directory : Shawnee County Taxpayers and an Official List of the Post-Offices of Kansas – This series chronicles the history of Topeka and provides essential information such as a street and avenue guide, a look at local government office holders, church addresses, descriptions of clubs, social and fraternal organizations, addresses of residences and businesses, and a fantastic alphabetical death record which occurred during the previous year.

Michigan Rural Directories (1916-1919) – Rural directories are valuable sources of information, as a majority of our ancestors resided in non-urban areas until the middle of the 20th century.  Much of the same information found in city directories are available in Rural Drectories.  Rural directories are traditionally not printed as frequently, and emerge in some states a little before the 20th century.  Michigan’s Rural Director collection includes titles such as:

  • Kalamazoo County, Michigan, rural directory (1919)
  • Montcalm County, Michigan, rural directory (1917)
  • Ingham County, Michigan, rural directory (1916)
  • Jackson County, Michigan, rural directory (1918)
  • Eaton County, Michigan, rural directory (1916)

The Spectrum – North Central College Class Yearbooks 1912-1927 – I fell in love with the college yearbooks from this lovely historic college in Naperville.  The earliest title I could find was from 1912, and I spent a few hours going through these very comprehensive and lively accounts of student life.  This photo of the 1912 Women’s Basketball Team was particularly memorable.

spectrum 1912

There a ton of treasures I would love share with you, but my blog can only hold so much awesomeness in one sitting.  I would love to hear your Internet Archive success stories, so please post them on our blog!

See you at the Library!


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