Our 2023 Genealogy Club schedule is confirmed! The club will continue to convene twice a month, and we can’t wait for you to enjoy our upcoming programs. Due to COVID-19 safety concerns and the availability of some of our meeting rooms, our programs will be a mixture of virtual and in-person events. We are also transitioning our second Wednesday meetings to their pre-pandemic timeslot of 7 p.m. in preparation for in-person meetings.

All in-person Genealogy Club meetings will be recorded and available for a limited time on our YouTube channel. Virtual Genealogy Club meetings will be held via Zoom at 11 a.m. CST. A link and handout to the program will be emailed to registrants one day before the program, with a second reminder and handout sent an hour before the event. We wish to thank our speakers for accommodating our researchers with recorded sessions for either seven or 30 days after each program to provide access to our homebound and working patrons.

All of our Genealogy Club meetings are free and open to the public by registration over the phone at 630.685.4176 or online at fountaindale.org/events. To register online quickly and easily, type ‘Genealogy’ in the search box at the top of the page and adjust the calendar dates to see what club meetings are open for registration.

You are not required to enter a library card number during the registration process. Please note our events are published to the calendar quarterly, so please be patient if you do not see a club meeting on the calendar multiple months in advance. To ensure you do not miss a meeting, you can use the following schedule of our 2023 events to set registration reminders for all programs. Looking at the 2023 calendar year, you can expect to find a great array of sessions that should help you break down your genealogical brick walls and steer you in a new direction of research.

Fountaindale Public Library Genealogy Club 2023 Schedule

Wednesday, January 11, 7 p.m. CST
Exploring Chicago Collections (Virtual) with Kate Flynn

Chicago Collections Portal Manager Kate Flynn will provide an overview of the resources available on the site, how to maximize your online visit, and highlight some of the must-see collections available to researchers.


Wednesday, January 25, 11 a.m. CST
Who are All These People? (Virtual) Presented by Tina LaFreniere

In this lecture, Tina will demonstrate how to utilize the Related Faces platform to narrow down or even pinpoint potential matching people. She will also describe methods for discovering and confirming people’s identities.


Wednesday, February 8, 7 p.m. CST
Beefing Up Your Ancestor’s Timeline (Virtual) Presented by Jeanette Shelinga

So often, there are unanswered questions and brick walls surrounding a person on your family tree. This presentation focuses on techniques and good practices to obtain and organize all of the information you can locate on a person and, hopefully, help answer your questions and break through the brick walls.


Wednesday, February 22, 11 a.m. CST
12 Sons Named George, Naming Conventions of our Ancestors (Virtual) Presented by Nancy Lee Waters

Fires that destroyed census records, courthouse records, and church and cemetery records present obstacles for genealogists that have tested us for years. Equal to these challenges are the numerous naming conventions used by our ancestors.  Understanding how the various nationalities and religious institutions, as well as tradition, affected naming conventions can explain why families have children with the same name and aid in identifying and differentiating between the multiple George’s.


Wednesday, March 8, 7 p.m. CST
Cartographic Tales of Chicago History (Virtual) Presented by Dennis McClendon

Historic maps of Chicago tell all kinds of intriguing stories about the city’s origins and development: vanished creeks and woods, big projects never accomplished, forgotten ethnic groups and neighborhoods, mysterious subdivisions, abandoned industrial areas, vice districts and world’s fairs, ghosts of railroad stations and streetcar lines and freight tunnels, reminders of a constantly changing city. Learn about the interesting stories seen in various corners of three dozen maps from Chicago’s past.

Wednesday, March 22, 11 a.m. CST
Buckeye Expansion: Migration into Ohio (Online) Presented by Dana Ann Palmer

Many people moved to Ohio or passed through it. Where did they come from, and where did they settle? Come learn about Ohio’s early expansion.

Wednesday, April 12, 7 p.m. CST
Publishing Your Genealogy Using Windows (Hybrid In-person & Virtual) Presented by Jacquie Schattner

Publishing your family’s history? Written a rough draft? Considering self-publishing? What’s next? Time to prepare for publishing. Learn about templates, layouts, ideas to add interest to your manuscript, inserting family photos, three ways to source, indexing, and creating a beautiful cover. We’ll discuss details on editing your manuscript and where to find help. Five steps will elevate your original manuscript to be publish-ready. Complete the steps, and you will be thrilled with the results.

Wednesday, April 26, 11 a.m. CST
How Advertising Brought Our Ancestors to the Midwest (Online) Presented by Annette Burke Lyttle

Business owners, land speculators, and communities wishing to grow all turned to various forms of advertising to entice people to migrate to the Midwestern territories and states. This presentation will examine how newspaper advertising, pamphlets, gazetteers, and books were aimed at prospective migrants from the eastern parts of the U.S. and prospective immigrants from Europe to get them to come and work, buy land, and settle in these sparsely-populated frontier areas. We’ll look at the messages these ads used to make hard work and pioneer living seem attractive.

Wednesday, May 10, 7 p.m. CST
Genealogical Records Found in New England States (Hybrid In-person & Virtual) Presented by Jennifer Warner

New England is the oldest distinguished region of the United States. Because of its long history, many records are available to trace your New England roots. Genealogist Jennifer Warner will show you research resources and methodology to find information on your ancestors.

Wednesday, May 24, 11 a.m. CST
Documenting African American Families from Enslavement to the Twentieth Century (Virtual) Presented by Denyce Peyton

Explore the untold stories of generations past by searching digitized oral histories, newspapers, maps, and photographs documenting African American lives after the Civil War. Genealogist Denyce Peyton shares key historical resources for tracing African American families from enslavement to the early twentieth century.

Wednesday, June 14, 7 p.m. CST
Illinois Prison and Penitentiary Records (Virtual) Presented with Steven J. Wright

Your ancestors may have been on the wrong side of the law and found themselves serving time behind bars. Historian and genealogist Steven Wright will introduce you to the history of prisons and penitentiaries in Illinois, what types of records were collected, and how to access information for your research.

Wednesday, June 28, 11 a.m. CST
Downloading and Uploading (Online) Presented by Suz Bates

Download sources, books and images to your digital archive. Upload them to your online research tree. Upload your DNA to another company. Downloading and uploading between websites and databases can be tricky. Learn some ways to make a smooth transition.

Wednesday, July 26, 11 a.m. CST
Genealogical Gems Found in Ledgers (Online) Presented by Diane L. Richard

Running out of places to look for information about your ancestors? Private and little-known archival collections are full of ledgers and account books, membership lists, and so much more! You can learn so much about your family and the neighborhood through these records. Relationships are sometimes noted. Ledgers from stores, post offices, businesses, hospitals, physicians and more can link family members and provide many interesting details invaluable to your family history narrative. Using Archivegrid as a resource will also be discussed.

Wednesday, August 23, 11 a.m. CST
Finding Your Ancestors’ Pre-Immigration Origins – a Three-Step Approach (Online) Presented by J. H. (“Jay”) Fonkert

Unless you are sure you know the locale of your ancestor’s origin outside North America, it is best to thoroughly research your ancestor’s American or Canadian life before jumping across the ocean (or border). It is not enough to know your ancestor came from Norway or Italy – you will almost certainly need to know at least a province or county, if not a specific locality in which to search. This webinar focuses on European origins, but the same principles apply to immigrants from other parts of the world.

Wednesday, September 13, 7 p.m. CST
All Politics is Local (Hybrid In-person & Virtual) Presented by Tina Beaird

Whether your ancestor was a voter, an elected official, or was inspired to run for office, lots of records and artifacts were created. Former 4-time political candidate, Tina Beaird, will guide you through the political process and explain what records may exist and where to find them.

Wednesday, September 27, 11 a.m. CST
Wisconsin Historical Society Collections & Services (Online) Presented by Lori Bessler

The Wisconsin Historical Society holds one of the top five genealogical collections in the country. The holdings include materials from all across the United States and Canada. It has access to online sources from around the world. The staff is well known for their knowledge of genealogical and historical research. This presentation helps the researcher understand how to use the collections and services to learn more about their ancestry.

Wednesday, October 11, 7 p.m. CST
Why Was Grandma So Mean? (Hybrid In-person & Virtual)  Presented by Jennifer Holik

There are always more than two sides to every family story. Do you ever wonder what influenced the behaviors, patterns, & emotions of our ancestors? Explore your genealogy & military documents with new tools & questions to understand who your ancestors were & what shaped their behaviors.

Wednesday, October 26, 11 a.m. CST
Let’s Meet DNA Painter! (Online) Presented by Sara Cochran

DNA testing has brought thousands of genetic family members to our attention. Now, we seek to visualize how they are related to us in a more concrete way. In this class, genealogist Sara Cochran will show you all of the tools of DNA Painter and how they can help you understand your genetic family history in a whole new way.

Wednesday, November 8, 7 p.m. CST
Using Fold3 To Your Advantage (Online) Presented by Craig R. Scott 

There are some significant differences between a Fold3 personal subscription Fold3 library edition. This presentation will help you decide which version to use and how to find what you need when you initially may not find it.

Wednesday, November 15, 11 a.m. CST
Prisoners, Missing & Dead (Online) Presented by Jennifer Holik

Explore the history & jobs of the men who worked in the American Graves Registration Service. We explore the Individual Deceased Personnel File & why you need this vital record. Finally, take a journey in the footsteps of a veteran through his records and path through Europe to his death and burial.  This lecture focuses on WWII, however, it also applies to WWI, Korean and Vietnam veterans.

Feel free to share our schedule with your family and genealogy friends. If you have any questions about our programs and research assistance, you can reach me by phone at 630.685.4201 or by email at ddudek@fountaindale.org.

See you at our next club meeting!