All posts by statelinegenealogyclub @ Beloit Public Library - Vicki RUTHE HAHN

Vicki Ruthe Hahn - Public Services Librarian, Beloit Public Library, Wisconsin, BA and MLIS Blog creator of ""June 15, 2014 ; founder of Stateline Genealogy Club @ Beloit Public Library April 13, 2012. I graduated from the University of Illinois Urbana- Champaign campus with a Bachelor’s degree in Liberal Arts and Sciences - Anthropology Major, and Minors in History & Home Economics (creative emphasis); as well as a Masters in Library and Information Science; and am an unpublished writer. That, and wanting to grow up to be a detective, writer, or helping people in some way, has led me to the unavoidable and satisfying role of Genealogical/Local History searcher, librarian, teacher, and Blogger. I sort out mysteries, rediscover histories,weave stories, and am lucky to be able to use some of my paid Librarian time and skills to do that for our patrons. As the "Stateline Genealogy Sorter" SGS, I help people with their family genealogy and local history SOSs, specializing from Central Illinois to Central Wisconsin. (Definition: SORT 1) group of similar things, people, etc.; class; kind. 2) arrange systematically; put in order. SORT OF - more or less, to some extent.)

How to Use for Your DNA Results

How to Use for Your DNA Results

Vicki’s note – click on the article link below to learn more from Gedmatch.about how to use this.:



Gedmatch can be a great place to collaborate with others who have been tested at other companies and gain access to more genetic tools to try to figure out how you are related to others.

It is a FREE (yes, FREE!) service provided by very intelligent and motivated genetic genealogists. Anyone with genetic genealogy test results from 23andMe, (the Family Finder test), and

1. Head over to and click on “New User.”


6 Frequently Asked Questions About Marriage Records


6 Frequently Asked Questions About Marriage Records

Vicki’s Note – 1-17-2018 – an article from Ancestral Findings:

Marriage records are considered one of the Top Three “basic” genealogical records. These are the records every beginning genealogist should start out using, and the ones they will turn to again and again as they become experienced genealogists and discover even more ancestors. The Top Three are: Birth, Death, and Marriage. These comprise the basic records of vital statistics that tell the main information anyone wants to know about their ancestors. Of course, as an experienced genealogist, you will want to research more and discover the stories of the lives of your ancestors, the details behind the dates and names. However, you still must start with the basics. Here are the top six most frequently asked questions about marriage records, and how they are used in genealogy.…

Free Genealogy Research Sites for each U. S. State

Free Genealogy Research Sites for each U. S. State

Vicki’s note – see Family History Daily link for these. 


Absolutely Free Genealogy Research Sites for Every Single U.S. State

by family history writer Tony Bandy

2018 Legacy Family Tree Webinar Classes

Vicki’s note – 1-17-2018

160 classes free to watch one week after held.  Click on the link below to sign up:


2018 Legacy Family Tree Webinar Series announced

MyHeritage and are pleased to announce that registration is now open for its 2018 Legacy Family Tree Webinar Series. Choose from 106 classes from genealogy’s leading educators on topics ranging from to Jamestown to England, from DNA to online privacy, and from Geni and MyHeritage to Legacy.

Vital Records from GRO of England and Wales

Vicki’s note: 1-17-2018   

article from Legacy Tree Genealogists:


Ordering Records from the General Register Office of England and Wales

If you have British ancestry and have done any research on those family lines, you’ve probably noticed that the index information for vital records doesn’t provide you with a lot of details – usually not even the exact date of the event. However, the actual records themselves can contain quite a bit of helpful information, and are almost always worth the time and effort to obtain them from the General Register Office (GRO). In this article, we’ll share how to request these records in order to extend your family history.

Mandatory civil registration of births, marriages, and deaths in England and Wales began in 1837, and these records can be ordered online through the General Register Office (GRO). Before you can place your order you will need to create a free account. Once you’ve registered you can either order a record right away, or search the index for a reference number before ordering. Although supplying the GRO reference number when placing an order does not change the cost, it does change how quickly your order is processed. Records are processed by the General Register Office in 4 business days if you send them the reference number, while orders without the reference number take 15 business days to process. Once processed, the certificates are mailed out and take anywhere between three and ten business days to arrive, depending on the destination.

Indexes to General Register Office reference numbers can be found in several different places online. Currently, you can search indexes of births (1837-1916) and deaths (1837-1957) directly on the GRO website when you log into your account. One advantage of searching the indexes directly on the General Register Office website is that you can order a certificate directly from the index entry and reference information will be added automatically on the order form. The General Register Office does not have indexes of marriage records.

Another website to access civil registration index reference numbers is FreeBMD. Users can start searching immediately, as the website does not require a login. As expressed in its name, FreeBMD is a free website which contains indexed references for civil births, marriages, and deaths. Most birth and marriage entries have been indexed for 1837 to 1983, but index coverage after 1983 is only mostly complete.[1] Index coverage of death records 1837 to 1974 is complete with partial coverage of 1975 to 1983.[2]


Click here for the rest of the article:


Here is more about FreeBMD; click here for the website:

FreeBMD is an ongoing project, the aim of which is to transcribe the Civil Registration index of births, marriages and deaths for England and Wales, and to provide free Internet access to the transcribed records. It is a part of the Free UK Genealogy family, which also includes FreeCEN (Census data) and FreeREG (Parish Registers). To search the records that have so far been transcribed by FreeBMD click on the Search button below.

The recording of births, marriages and deaths was started in 1837 and is one of the most significant resources for genealogical research. The transcribing of the records is carried out by teams of dedicated volunteers and contains index information for the period 1837-1983, BUT WE HAVE NOT YET TRANSCRIBED THE WHOLE PERIOD. A breakdown by event and year can be viewed here.

FreeBMD is exactly that – FREE. We do not make any charge whatsoever for use of the site. FreeBMD is a registered charity and our objective is to provide free online access to the GRO Index. However, FreeBMD costs money to run and if you would like to make a donation, by PayPal or other methods, please see here.

Essential Family Tree Forms

Vicki’s note – Family Tree has some very good forms for genealogy.  This Family Tree e-newsletter shows you can get 5 for free below.Click on the link below:


A Sample of Essential Family Tree Forms

To help you kick your new year off right, we’re giving away 5 of our favorite essential genealogy forms! Here’s how to get yours.
Businessman signing documents – Getty Images

January is often a time of resolutions, fresh starts, and getting organized. If you’ve been joining us in our Month of Family History Fitness you are already well on your way to a year of great genealogy health, but we want to help you take it even further!

To assist you in your 2018 research, we’re offering 5 of our very favorite essential family tree forms for free. Taken from this collection of 75 forms, the genealogy worksheets, templates and checklists to organize family facts and track your genealogy work. Each letter-size PDF form is enhanced so you can type and save your work, or simply print blank forms to fill in.

You’ll receive our:

Family Group Sheet
Source Documentation Cheat Sheet
Death Records Worksheet
Research Calendar
Online Search Tracker

To download the forms simply enter your email address in the form below.


Cheers to a year of breaking down brick walls and mastering your research!


2017 DNA Testing Company Ratings and FAQ

2017 DNA Testing Company Ratings and FAQ

Vicki’s note – This is an  article that I modified from the Internet from this site –  I don’t know much about this rating organization, so take their rankings with a grain of salt. Their analysis of DNA testing and company features is thorough and answers a lot of FAQ frequently asked questions about DNA.

I am not familiar with some of the testing companies; new ones are added every year. My experience is that is probably the most popular, and so should have the most DNA test takers.  This increases the ability to see more ethnic fine divisions and findings.  The results are compared to the typical DNA for most of the people in a particular population area.

All of them have sales, usually at holidays.  You can click on each of the online links below to find out more about pricing, etc.

I added 23andMe, as it is highly rated; and is a DNA testing company that does medical/health DNA tests, as well as Genealogy DNA tests.  There are several other adequate DNA testing companies that are not listed here as part of the ranking, such as FTDNA Family Tree DNA.

You also may want to be aware of the different company’s country of origin.

Hint – if you use a DNA testing company that uses the cheek swab method – be sure and “chew” the inside of your cheek before taking the sample.  This allows maximum amount of skin DNA cells to get an accurate test sample.

Most of the on-line sites have very interesting stories of actual cases where clients found family members, etc.  Some have a BLOG, news releases, and videos of case studies.


2017 Top DNA Tests

Votes (7833)

Get results in 4-6 weeks

DNA matches in huge family tree database

Outstanding 9.8

Votes (1359)

$20 off per kit

5x more ethnic regions

Excellent 9.5

Votes (2194)

Excellent 9.2

Votes (275)

GPS Origins DNA tests revolutionize the DNA testing industry. Since 1995…Read Review

Paternal and maternal lineages

Very Good 8.9

Votes (557)

Diet, exercise, supplementation, and ancestry personalized to your DNA …Read Review

$99 for health + ancestry report

Receive results in 4-6 weeks

Very Good 8.7


               “Our Mission – To help people access, understand and benefit from the human genome.”


What is DNA Testing?

DNA testing examines the genetic code that’s carried in every person’s DNA. The code can be found in the cells of any human material, from a drop of saliva to a smear of blood or a strand of hair.

How Does DNA Testing Work?

DNA testing works by taking a sample of cells from the person who’s undergoing the test. Scientists isolate the DNA code that is at the heart of every single cell and carries the information which determines all of your physical characteristics, from your hair color and height to your chances of developing certain conditions.

How Do I Use the Kit?

If you use a home DNA testing kit, you’ll find all the instructions included. Usually, you’ll be sent a sterile tube to collect your saliva sample. It can be awkward to get enough spit for the test purposes. Some companies send a cheek swab that you rub against the inside of your cheek to get a sample of cells from there, instead.

Once you’ve collected your DNA sample, you’ll seal it into the sterile package and use the included mailing package to send it back to the company. It usually takes a few weeks to get the results, but the timeframe varies; it can be anything from 4 to 12 weeks.

When your results are ready, you’ll typically get an email inviting you to view the results online. Ancestry DNA companies have a dashboard that lets you explore your results.

The Top 3 DNA Testing Kit Providers

1.MyHeritage DNA is a huge service that supports genealogists as well as providing DNA tests. It offers advanced family history tools and has a very strong online genealogical community to help you make the most of your results.

Best for: looking for lost relatives

Results in: 4-6 weeks

Test type: cheek swab

Pros       Cons

Sync your results with family history data

Strong privacy policy

Only offers autosomal DNA testing

Your details are only stored for 25 years


Best for: building family trees

Results in: 6-8 weeks

Test type: saliva test is a well-established DNA testing company with one of the biggest databases of users, at around 6 million people, which gives it an edge when it comes to matching relatives.

Pros       Cons

Largest database of users

Stores your DNA information forever

Easy-to-use dashboard

No chromosomal browser on offer

Only offers autosomal DNA testing

  1. LivingDNA

Best for: biogeographical ancestry results

Results in: up to 12 weeks

Test type: cheek swab

LivingDNA​ is a good choice for anyone who wants reliable information about family origins from the British Isles. By offering all 3 types of DNA tests, it offers an advanced and scientific approach to DNA ancestry testing that promises to deliver more reliable and detailed results.

Pros       Cons

Offers autosomal, Y-DNA, and mtDNA testing

Free test updates if results change

No chromosomal browser

No cousin matching service


Who Needs DNA Testing?

Potentially, everyone could need DNA testing at some point. It can be used to check for genetic disorders or inherited health conditions, paternity testing, or ancestry testing to learn more about your origins and search for family members. DNA testing has been used by historians and archaeologists to learn more about skeletons found at historic sites. For example, when the body of King Richard II was dug up in a modern parking lot, his identity was finally confirmed after DNA tests with some of his modern-day descendants.

What Are the Different Types of DNA Tests?

Paternity tests are used to confirm who is the father of a baby, child, or adult.

Genealogy or ancestry tests are used by genealogists to determine ancestral ethnicity and relationships.

Gene therapy DNA testing is most commonly used for parents before they try to conceive or for fetuses to check for inheritable genetic conditions or if an embryo is carrying any birth defects.

Forensic DNA tests are used by police at crime scenes in order to identify victims or find criminals after certain crimes.


How to Choose DNA Testing

Here are the key considerations to look for when you choose a DNA testing company or kit.


Type of Test

If you want a DNA test in order to learn more about your family and your origins, you have a few options. An autosomal DNA test checks only 22 out of the 23 pairs of chromosomes and can be used to compare DNA from both males and females, so it’s best for finding a range of living relatives. It gets less reliable the further back you go because of autosomal DNA changes every generation, so it’s only good for identifying up to third or sometimes fourth cousins and can only give reliable information back to your great-great-grandparents.

A mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) test checks the tiny mitochondrial strands inside every cell. Both males and female inherit these mitochondria from their maternal line. It can be extended much further back in time because it doesn’t change quickly. It gives very precise details about your ancestors and distant cousins – even your 48th cousin! – but only if they lie on your maternal line. It’s good for proving you come from a particular region, ethnicity, or family group but not for finding relatives.

Y-DNA testing examines only the genetic information in the Y-chromosome, which is only found in males. It also does not change quickly, so like mtDNA, Y-DNA testing is good for proving relationship to a common ancestor or checking relationship with another individual, but it only works along the male or paternal line. This also means that only men can do a Y-DNA test, although women could ask a close male relative to take the Y-DNA test and then share the results.


The price of the DNA test varies between different companies as well as depending on the type of test you take. mtDNA tests are the most expensive type of DNA testing, while autosomal DNA tests are the lowest cost and Y-DNA tests come in somewhere between the two. Although the tests are more or less the same, there’s a huge fluctuation in price between different companies so do compare prices before you buy. Some companies, like LivingDNA, offer a package of all 3 tests for a discount.

Ease of Use

Most DNA testing kits are pretty straightforward, but some elderly or weak individuals can find spit tests awkward to use. In those cases, companies that offer a cheek swab for taking samples instead of needing a saliva sample could be easier.


Not every company offers the same range of reports. Very few genealogical DNA testing companies will include health and wellness reports. Most companies provide ancestral reports, which break down your family heritage, ethnicity, and which region of the world you hail from, although some are more detailed than others. Some also provide a chromosomal browser which lets you compare your genetic profile with that of others from around the world. You can also find cousin matching reports, which let you know if you have any matches with other people registered with the same service.

Test Accuracy

The type of test you choose affects the accuracy since autosomal DNA tests are less accurate the further back you go but mtDNA and Y-DNA tests remain reliable for dozens of generations. The biggest DNA testing companies such as, MyHeritage, and LivingDNA are all pretty equally accurate in their test results. However, all companies warn that you shouldn’t use home DNA tests for detailed and critical genetic information like the risk of genetic disorders or of developing cancer.


With the rise of hackers and cyber thieves, privacy is a big concern for DNA testing. Check that the company you choose uses industry-standard safeguards and firewalls to protect your details. You should also check that the company you choose has a strong privacy policy and won’t sell your details to medical research facilities or commercial partners without your agreement. It’s important to ask what exactly the company does with your details.

Special Features

As well as these considerations, there are a few extra features that are offered by some DNA testing companies. Some companies store your data indefinitely which means you can discover new family history information 50 years down the line. Others only store it for a certain number of years.

Another feature is the size of the database. The bigger the database of users, the better your chances of finding a match.

Some companies also permit you to upload raw genealogical data to their database so you can see if you have any matches without taking a test again.

CAGGNI Program – Brick by Brick: Tracing Your Home’s History

Vicki’s note – here is a program on how to do the Genealogy of  your house or a building.  City Directories are very good for finding information on a house and on the people living in it.:cropped-a1

CAGGNI – Computer Assisted Genealogy Group of Northern Illinois

Brick by Brick: Tracing Your Home’s History

20 Jan 2018

10:30 AM – 12:30 PM

Schaumburg Township District Library,

Brick by Brick: Tracing Your Home’s History

by Tina Beaird

If walls could talk … was your home moved, damaged by fire or enlarged to accommodate a growing family? Tina will provide strategies for researching the history of your home using government records, newspapers, phone directories, maps and other resources. Every home tells a story – what does yours say?

Tina Beaird is the Genealogy/Local History Librarian at a midsized Chicagoland public library and owner of Tamarack Genealogy.  She provides lectures on genealogical research, archival preservation, and Illinois history at national, state and local conferences. She is a governing board member of the Oswego Heritage Association and also volunteers her time with several local historical and genealogical societies.

P.O. Box 59567, Schaumburg, IL 60159-0567,

Organizing Genealogy Digital or Paper Files by Using a Uniform Labeling System


Organizing Genealogy Digital or Paper Files

by Using a Uniform Labeling System

Dec 29, 2017

Vicki’s Note – this is a December 17, 2013 article “DIGITAL FOLDER ORGANIZING & NAMING MADE EASY” , by Diane Gould Hall from her BLOG

Click HERE for her full article.

Diane includes samples.  I will be using her method in further organizing my genealogy.  She has added some refinements to what I use already.

The main hint is to be consistent in how you label and organize your genealogy files and records.  It is easiest to stay consistent if you keep a master Filing Cheat Sheet near your genealogy office area so that you can repeatedly refer to it as you add files whether they are paper files, photographs, or digital computer files.  Keep your cheat Sheets in plastic protective sleeves, in a special notebook, or laminate it.  Files grow so quickly that organizing them can get overwhelming if you don’t have a method.




These rules apply to ALL photos and to documents.
Whether you are scanning & saving them, or you grab them from a website. Whether they are census records, birth records, probate records or family photos.

There MUST be a file naming standard.

I use this rule for naming all of my files.


U.S. Federal Census Guides by Questions (Information Asked), & by Year

U.S. Federal Census Guides

by Questions (Information Asked), & by Year


Vicki’s note – thorough, concise guides to what information is on each of the United.States Federal Censuses.  Charts are done by the question (information asked for), AND by the Census year – from 1790 – 1940. 

This is the Family History Daily article – “The Ultimate Quick Reference Guide to the U.S. Census for Genealogy”. Thank you to Family History Daily Associate Writer Jessica Grimm for her hard work making this guide possible.

Click HERE for their full article. 


Here are some Brief Reminders from Vicki:

1790 – 1840 The head of household was the only individual listed by name.  All other residents were represented by hash marks within ranges of age, and slave/free.

1850  was the first year that all individuals were listed by name rather than just head of household , (Native Americans and slaves excluded).

1880 was the first year to report the relationship of each individual to the head of the household and to specify the place of birth of the individual being enumerated, and also of his/her parents. 

1890 was the first year that Enumerators were instructed to add the street name and house numbers. 

1920 was the first year that- Individuals were recorded by permanent residence instead of temporary residence (where they worked or visited). 

See also other U.S. Federal Census postings on my BLOG  – 

How do I find out what the dwelling house number was on a street by using the (ED) Enumeration District numbers on a U. S. Federal Census?

“Finding the (ED) Enumeration District numbers on a Census – More Information” Nov 28, 2017

 “Research Roadmap: Enumeration District Maps” Nov 28, 2017   Family Tree Magazine article by