Tag Archives: Daniel Niemiec

Entering data into your program

Today we explore the basics of genealogy software. We need a place to store, organize and reproduce the work we have done. Using pencil and paper can get complicated and messy, and unless you have a Xerox machine in your house, it’s hard to make copies for anyone. We talked about the basics of using genealogy software in the last column and most genealogy software programs are pretty similar. Each one does specific tasks that differ and the screens don’t look alike, but for the basics the screens are pretty close. I will use Family Tree Maker as my example …

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Tagging tricks

A few columns ago, I wrote about my project to tag everyone in my family photos. Since I have been researching my family history for 25 years, and have scanned the photo collections of many relatives, I have over 23,000 photos to tag. If it’s any surprise, yes I am still working on this project after all these months. I have a few new items to present to those of you who might have thought about starting this project with your own photos. Believe me I am not discouraging anyone from starting the project, even though it is taking months …

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A cemetery survival guide

Last month was spent planning an all-day cemetery trip to visit those relatives who were not as close to you during your lifetime, if at all. We decided who to look for, found the grave locations from the cemetery kiosk or by calling the cemetery directly. If that printout from the kiosk did not have a section map, then you will need to stop at the cemetery office to get some help. I do not suggest just wandering around the section until you find the grave, unless you enjoy doing that. There are some clues in the sections themselves. If …

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Extending your graveyard visit

It is normal for families to pack a lunch, bring a flowerpot and gardening tools, and drive down to the cemetery to visit the grave of a loved one. They may plan to spend a good portion of the day. In most cases, people know where the person is buried without section and lot numbers. They just wind to the left and turn right at the tree. It’s four rows in and six graves over. Easy. They go every Mother’s Day or Memorial Day, plus the loved one’s birthday, or maybe on the anniversary of their death. They go several …

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A deeper look at citizenship papers

Last month I talked about the information that can be found on two documents that are filled out when an immigrant applies for citizenship: The declaration of intention, and the petition for naturalization. The information is quite similar, with the petition containing data about the spouse and children as well as the immigrant himself. Since I wrote that column, I have spent a lot of the past month looking for records of any relative in my file who was born outside the United States and who likely spent time here. I have found out quite a bit of new information …

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Petitions for naturalization

Anyone who was born in America can take his citizenship for granted. Many others who were born in Italy and elsewhere and moved to America had to decide whether to become an American citizen or not. Many Italian immigrants to American 100 years ago presumed they would only stay here long enough to make money to send home, and then return to Italy when they were rich! That dream eluded the vast majority of Italian immigrants, and many settled in American permanently. At some point, when the reality settled in that they would not return to live in Italy, they …

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Where to look for death notices

Last month we talked about all the information you can find from a death notice, and all the information you probably won’t find. I spent a lot of time this summer and fall looking for death notices and then visiting the graves of the dearly departed. I have found that both can lead the curious genealogist to the names of other relatives who you might not have known about. The death notice might list the names of other relatives who have passed away, and the gravesite might have other people in the same lot that are related that you didn’t …

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Navigating death notices

In a number of recent columns, I have mentioned that one of the steps is to go out and find the death notice. It took a couple of e-mails asking “um ok. How DO you find the death notice?” to get me to thinking that I need to explain this process to you. The death notice is a great tool for finding the names of the descendants of long-lost relatives. It’s not guaranteed and never comprehensive, but it’s always worth looking for. From a death notice, you can (most of the time) find the following: * Maiden names — Most …

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A worthwhile trip to Wilmette

In a few columns, I talked about finding free birth, marriage and death certificates for Cook County. Some time ago, they pulled the free certificates off the familysearch.org website. Not to fear. Thanks to the Family History Center located in Wilmette, you can find some of the certificates. Hours and location can be found at the center web site at http://www.wilmettefhc.org/. The procedure is very simple and I can speak for its effectiveness because I have found hundreds of certificates I need, and all I paid was the gas to get there. You need the following tools: * Name of …

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Checking and double checking

Last month, we talked about the priests and civil clerks who had a bad day, just like we do sometimes, and made mistakes in the official records. You and I, as genealogists who look at these records, need to be aware that mistakes are made, how to recognize them, and what to do about them. So what other kinds of mistakes happen when the clerk doesn’t have enough espresso in the morning? Last month, we saw how they messed up dates by forgetting what month it was, and writing the wrong month in the book. The bigger problem is that …

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