Try-It! Illinois Databases Are Here! – Wishful Wednesday


The Try-It! Illinois Database trial is is now live!  From now through November 30, 2013, you will be able to use a variety of databases for free from the comfort of your home computer!

This fantastic opportunity is brought to all state residents by the generous sponsorship of Secretary of State and State Librarian Jesse White and the Illinois State Library. Thanks to the partnerships between the Illinois State Library and the participating electronic resource vendors, there is no charge for accessing these databases during the trial period.

This year, several new genealogy databases are available to researchers, including two new resources: Genealogy Connect & Archives Unbound.

You will need a username and password to access these resources.  The Try-It! Illinois administrators have asked libraries not to provide login information electronically.  You can request login and password information from participating local libraries.

The Fountaindale Public Library provides a one-page handout which can assist you in navigating the site.  Try-It Illinois! information sheets are available at the 2nd and 3rd Floor Service Desk.  For more information call me at the library (630) 685-4201.

See you at the library!


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Sign Up for Free Online Genealogy Classes this Summer! – Tuesdays Tip

Summer learning abounds at the Foundaindale Public Library!

Come in from the summer heat into our air conditioned computer lab for two free Online Genealogy Classes!  Our classes will introduce you to new websites and tools which can help you with your family history research, and put you in touch with people who share your passion for genealogy research.

Our Online Genealogy Class is held from 1-2:30 pm on Sunday, July 21 and Sunday, August 4. The class will include overviews of both new sites and how-to directions to use them successfully.  Handouts, flash drives, and book recommendations will be available.  Following class, participants may conduct their own research and receive one-on-one assistance.

Individuals wishing to use the session to conduct genealogy research but not participate in the class are also welcome. Registration is free and open to the public.  To register or for more information, contact the library at (630) 685-4176 or by e-mail at

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Sign up for June Civil War Genealogy Programming! – Tuesday’s Tip

Do yoImageu have a Civil War veteran in your family tree?   Learn how to research your veteran ancestors during Fountaindale Public Library’s Civil War Genealogy Workshop on Saturday, June 1 from 10 am to noon.  Librarians Tina Beaird and Debra Dudek will share the resources, records, newspapers, and other materials to help you with your research. You’ll walk away with new information which will give great insight into the lives of soldiers who fought for both sides of the conflict.

Later in the day, author Michael Weeks will present Finding Hallowed Ground: America’s Civil War Sites Today from 1-3 pm.  The program highlights the history and accessibility of Civil War sites and how small or obscure locations can hold incredible stories.  Following the program, Michael will sign copies of his book The Complete Civil War Road Trip Guide: 10 Weekend Tours and More than 400 Sites, from Antietam to Zagonyi’s Charge.  The cost for each book is $15.

These programs are free and open to the public.  Please register by calling the Fountaindale Public Library at (630) 685-4176.

Stop by the library on Sunday, June 23 from 1-2 pm for program entitled “The Underground Railroad”.  Appearing as an owner of a ‘safe house’ in Illinois, Terry Lynch explains how a safe house was used as a stopping point for the slaves to gain rest and nourishment before continuing on to safety in Canada. Several safe houses in the Chicagoland area will be highlighted.  This is a free drop-in program designed for attendees of all ages.

All three of these Civil War programs were made possible with a grant presented by The Library of America in partnership with The Gilder Lehrman Institute of American History and is supported by a grant from The National Endowment for the Humanities.

ALSO: The next Genealogy Club meeting will be held on Wednesday, June 12 at 7pm and will feature Bruce Troyer’s presentation of Genealogical Clues in the Photographic Process.  Participants are invited to bring a few photographs with them to the program, as Bruce will be available after the lecture to assist with any photo identification questions.  This is the last meeting of the Genealogy Club before the summer break, so save the date for this great program!

See You At The Library!


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Exciting Summer Genealogy Programing @ The Fountaindale Library!

Looking for a great way to kick off your summer research season?  The Fountaindale Public Library his hosting a fantastic array of programming which will help engage your next genealogical challenge!

Did your ancestors take up sides during the Civil war?  Join us on Saturday, June 1 at 10 am for our Civil War Genealogy Workshop!  Learn about the resources, research sites, and strategies for learning more about your Artillery-Civil-War-001veteran ancestors!  Light refreshments served.  Handouts and research materials provided.

Later in the day, join us for a fantastic program entitled Finding Hallowed Ground: America’s Civil War Sites Today with author Michael Weeks.  While many Civil War sites are preserved as national or state parks, most are not. However, even the smallest sites hold incredible stories. Experiencing them firsthand remains the most memorable and enjoyable way to learn about the war and provides tangible ties to our not-so-distant past.  An author book signing will immediately follow the event.

Dofflemyer_familyThe FPLD Genealogy Club will host photographer Bruce Troyer for his program entitled Genealogical Clues in the Photographic Process on Wednesday, June 12 at 7 pm.  Following the progress of early American photography, Mr. Troyer will help you spot clues in your family photographs which will assist you in your research.  This program is a must for anyone interested in dating photographs, and discovering more about how early photography impacted our ancestors.  Bring a few of your photographs to share, and Mr. Troyer will help you access a time period and help you discover more information about your items!

Need some help with your online research?  Learn new skills with our free online genealogy classes!  Held on Sunday, July 14 and August 4 from 1-5 pm, our Beginning Online Genealogy Classes will held from 1-2:30 pm. Following class, participants may conduct their own research and receive one-on-one assistance. Individuals wishing to use the session to conduct genealogy research but not participate in the class are also welcome. Registration is required.

Good luck with your summer research and we’ll see you at the library!


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Space stil available for Genealogy Day 2013!

There’s still time to register for our amazing Genealogy Day!   Join us our fantastic free program on Saturday, April 20 from 9:30 am to 4 pm and learn more about the following genealogical topics:

Homesteading Records –  The Homestead Act of 1862 allowed any qualified individual to claim up to 160 acres of free land. Over 1.6 million people rose to the challenge and claimed 270 million acres of land. Original homestead claims are a fantastic collection of documents, certificates, applications, land descriptions, citizenship affidavits, testimonies, and written receipts. Learn how to access these great records and how they can fill in the gaps to your research.

Naturalization : Beginning ofgenealogy day flyer pic your U.S. Family Heritage – Find your immigrant ancestors’ naturalization papers and to see the beginning of your roots in American History. Traditional and online sources are reviewed. Great program to find clues to your heritage.

Using Railroad Records in Family History Research – Vast members of Americans in the 19-20th centuries were railroad employees. Many personnel records still exist and provide a potential treasure of family history data to researchers. Learn about the real history of railroads in the US and ways to access these valuable records.

In addition to the speakers, participants will enjoy Door Prizes, Society Booths, Author Book Signings, and refreshments.

Participants are asked to bring a brown-bag lunch or pre-order a lunch from Brooks Café.  You can email a lunch order form from the Brooks cafe website:

Due to limited parking, please carpool or make arrangements to be dropped off for this event!

If you have any questions, call the library at (630) 685-4176!  Call your friends and sign up today!

See you at the Library!


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December’s To-Do List from a Genealogist – Wisdom Wednesday

The months of November and December always seem to move by so fast!

Thanksgiving with its wonderful weather was a welcome change, and I was even more gratified by having some time to discuss genealogy with my family, albeit in an underhanded way.  My parents are not terribly sentimental people, but I noticed they reminisced a bit more than usual during the few days we were together for Thanksgiving.  And for that reason alone, I was exceptionally grateful.  I felt pretty cool when I showed my Granny the Ancestry App on the iPad.  She still doesn’t care two figs for the Ancestry App, but she does want an iPad.  You go Granny!


I’m grateful for the holidays, as I will have some extra time around the end of the month to work on a few projects that have piled up by my computer:

 1) Projects/Assignments/Research from my University of Strathclyde Genealogy Course – I have honestly never been this worked up about producing quality results in my life.  If I take anything away from this course, it will be a firm understanding of the obsessive cult of source citation.

 2) Transcribing Family Search Michigan County Death Records 1921-1952 – I’ve really been really pumped about this project!  If you’ve been conducting any sort of Michigan research, you probably noticed the gap in online death record availability.  This is frustrating as Michigan has a great history of record keeping; Birth/Marriage/Deaths were required at the county level beginning in 1867.

There is no ‘one stop shopping’ site for Michigan death records.  Think of the journey as a bizarre road from Family Search’s Michigan Deaths 1867-1897, Seeking Michigan’s Death Records 1897-1920, and Ancestry’s Michigan Deaths 1971-1996.

The completion of Family Search’s Michigan County Death Records 1921-1952 will bring light to a much needed record set, and hopefully create more availability for records from 1953 onward.  And it will also save genealogists quite a bit of coin, as Michigan death record requests run about $24 each.

3) Genealogical Presentations – I’ve been preparing/updating four presentations including:

  • What’s the Buzz About BillionGraves?
  • Notes from a Small Island – Discovering Records on
  • Peeling Back the Plaid – Revealing the Records of ScotlandsPeople
  • Piecing Together Your Irish Ancestry – Discovering Records on FindMyPast.iebilliongravesbuzz

If you want to preview one of my Ohio State Genealogical Society 2013 Conference seminars, bring your friends and stop in to the FPLD Genealogy Club meeting on Wednesday, January 9, 2013 at 7 pm.  I’m presenting What’s the Buzz About BillionGraves, and your feedback and comments are most welcome.  Plus there’s hot beverages and cookies, and who doesn’t like those?

4) Civil War Veteran Biographies – I’m working in conjunction with the Bolingbrook Historical Preservation Commission to compile biographies of local Civil War Veterans buried in our area cemeteries.  We’re looking for photographs (I’m stressing ANY PHOTOGRAPHS!) of each veteran and informational details, which will be printed and displayed in the cemeteries for Memorial Day and again in the library during our special summer 2013 Civil War programs.  Stay tuned for more details on this project!

5) BillionGraves Headstone Transcriptions – This is an end of the day wind-down project and something I look forward to working on when my folks are busy watching television.  I keep voting we play Monopoly, Yatzee, or something, but sadly TiVo wins every time.  *sigh*

6) Michael Wood’s Story of England – Due to school work, projects, and other research, I tend to stream my entertainment via Netflix.  I mainly use my storyofenglandTV for watching the occasional DVD, which tend to be of the non-fiction variety.  I’m a multi-tasker, and sitting to watch something is difficult.  Since I need to finish a few more scarves before Christmas, I grabbed Michael Wood’s Story of England, and began knitting away.  If you haven’t gotten around to watching it, please do so!  It’s an excellent look at the story of men and women through genealogy, history, anthropology, archeology, and all those additional social sciences which contribute England’s rich cultural heritage.  While you’re at it, I highly endorse Michael Wood’s additional programs which include In Search of Myths and Heroes, In Search of the Trojan War, The Story of India, In the Footsteps of Alexander the Great, In Search of Shakespeare, Legacy: The Origins of Civilization, and Conquistadors.

Enjoy your winter holiday break!


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Genealogy Club Webinar: Finding an Ancestors Disasterous End – Tombstone Tuesday

We all want a happy ending, but for some of us that may not be how the story ends.

As a genealogist, I’ve learned it can be easy to track down an ancestor when they’ve passed away horribly or under terrible circumstances.  Let me say, I wouldn’t want that to happen to me or to anyone I know.  But when someone’s life turns into a series of unfortunate events, there are ways to research their story and turn it into a genealogical treasure.

Join the Fountaindale Public Library Genealogy Club as it hosts “It Is Well With My Soul – Finding Ancestors Amid the Rubble of Disaster and Misfortune” on Wednesday, November 14, 2012 at 7 pm.  This webinar-based program will be presented by Thomas MacEntee of High-Definition Genealogy.  Thomas is a fantastic presenter who specializes in an array of technology and genealogy topics, so you won’t want to miss this program!

“It Is Well With My Soul” is designed to teach researchers how to locate evidence of their ancestors experiences and how to add first-hand accounts to that body of evidence.  This is a great program for genealogists and family historians of all experience levels.

This is a free drop in event.  Light refreshments will be served.  The room is open at 6:30 pm for socializing and discussion before the program.  The Fountaindale Public Library is located at 300 W. Briarcliff Road in Bolingbrook, IL.  Questions?  Contact Debra Dudek at (630) 685-4201 for more information.

REMINDER: The Fountaindale Public Library Genealogy Club will not meet in December 2012.  Enjoy your holiday season and get ready for a full list of genealogy programs in 2013!

ALSO: Don’t forget visit Boardman Cemetery for it’s annual Halloween Open House on Wednesday, October 31, 2012 from 5-9 pm!  This event is hosted by the Bolingbrook Preservation Commission, and features trick-or-treating, live actor performances, cemetery information, and an opportunity to learn more about our early pioneer settlers.

Boardman Cemetery is located off Royce Road on Paxton Drive in the Heritage Creek Subdivision.  Heritage Park is right across the street.   The cemetery is accessible from Paxson Drive.

The Fountaindale Public Library Genealogy Club will have a table display and information regarding library events and services.  Drop by and say hello!

Have a Happy Halloween!


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