Home / Tag Archives: Dan Niemiec

Tag Archives: Dan Niemiec

Navigating the maze of online documents

A number of people have written to me with the same question, which means it’s a good time to address this for everyone. (Please write questions to me at italianroots@comcast.net at any time.) Readers have looked up films in the catalog on Familysearch.org, and the catalog tells them that the images for those films are online. So they go to look at the images, and Familysearch tells them “Nope you can’t see these!” Well, that stinks! To explain this situation, we need to talk about legal agreements for a moment. Familysearch has to negotiate with each repository of documents for ...

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Getting a grip on your documents

Anyone who knows me well, knows that I’m a stubborn person. Most people who don’t know me well believe I’m stubborn, too! Every so often, I write a column to ask you to do something that I’m not that good at, partly to push myself into getting better as a genealogist. I have been spending a lot of hours going through records I already have, in an attempt to better document my research. Why should we do this? I know where all my copies are. The papers are in piles and in boxes, and the digital images are all named ...

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Where’s Waldo buried?

I trust you’re all familiar with children’s book series, “Where’s Waldo,” in which kids are tasked with finding the titular character, who’s hiding in an enormous crowd. I have spent the better part of the past two months playing a genealogical game called “Where’s Waldo Buried?” It’s easy to keep track of the relatives you see frequently or you stay in touch with through social media. However, the relatives in your tree who you’ve never met and haven’t “friended” are another matter. These people may be distant relatives but you do not know them and they do not inform you ...

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What are the odds?

Last Thursday, I stopped at a local microbrewery to try their new chocolate stout. There were eight random seats throughout the place but every one had someone sitting next to them. I picked one at random and sat down. The guy sitting next to me was talking through my head to three men on the other side of me, and they were discussing politics and economics. I had no interest in discussing these subjects with strangers drinking beer with high alcohol content, so I stared at “Wheel of Fortune” with no sound on the TV across the way so I ...

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The mystery of the missing marriages

I have spent a lot of time during the past few months trying to track down Cook County marriage records on Familysearch. I should have spent that time coming up with better ideas for Christmas presents! I was surprised how many couples in my file were born in Chicago and had their children in Chicago, with no marriage records to show for it. It didn’t make sense. Since Familysearch released the 1921-1941 Cook County marriages, I figured I would find everyone in that time period and that would be that. However, I was missing quite a few couples and I ...

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A labor of love

More than 20 years ago, a woman named Cyndi Howells decided that she needed a set of links to her favorite genealogy sites. As with most genealogists who start a simple project, it got out of hand and became much larger and more time-consuming than originally intended. (I can speak with experience on this as well!) She ended up creating her own site called “Cyndi’s List” www.cyndislist.com, which connects to over 300,000 links to genealogy web sites all over the world. What started as a small personal project has become 8-12 hours a day, seven days a week! For free! ...

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Yet another genealogical treasure trove

During all the time I have been updating everyone with more information on familysearch, I seem to have neglected another site with Italian records that everyone who is working with Italian records ought to know about. This site is an ancestry site for Italy, designed to allow us to search and browse Italian civil registration records. It’s not Ancestry.com, it’s an Italian site called Antenati. (Antenati: Gli Archivi per la Ricerca Anagrafica, http://www.antenati.san.beniculturali.it/?lang=en) You can leave the language for the website in Italian if you wish! Antenati contains the same records typically available on familysearch, and on microfilm in the ...

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Help from beyond the graveyard

I have relatives all over the world. Literally. Obviously most of my close relatives are live in the Chicago area, but many other close and distant relatives stayed for decades in Chicago’s wonderful climate and then decided that once they retired, they would move to California, Florida, Arizona, Nevada etc. (I noticed nobody moved to the Yukon!) I have many relatives in Italy, naturally, but I also have some in France, a handful in Brazil and Argentina, and an entire group in Australia. Thanks to social media, I am able to keep track with some of these international cousins and ...

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The Census in digital times

  Genealogy conferences all over the nation almost always have a room set up for vendors to sell genealogy-related items such as books, maps, how-to manuals and old postcards. There are always vendors who sell T-shirts with humorous genealogy pun-laden sayings. The most common joke (I use the term loosely) is worn by about 20 percent of the attendees at the conference, and it says “Genealogists Never Die, They Just Lose Their Census.” I’ll pause while you groan…. Before the internet was a daily part of our lives, one of the most important sources was the federal census. If you ...

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Got questions? Message boards have answers.

  There are days that I wish there were a Facebook page just for genealogists! I would love to be able to post a question about a particular family, or a specific town, or both, and have everybody see it who has even a moderate interest. Everybody would try to answer the question. They would either tell me what I need to know, or teach me how to find it for myself, or both. The Facebook can be used that way, but you get all the hassles of being on Facebook, like endless vacation pictures, angry political posts, and unfunny ...

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