This week, I give two different presentations at different locations.
On Tuesday morning, May 9, at 10:00 a.m., I teach a hands-on workshop “Demystify Ancestry Library Edition and FamilySearch” at the Arlington Heights Memorial Library at 500 North Dunton, Arlington Heights, Illinois. It is for Arlington Heights card holders only. Before diving into tips and tricks for using these two websites, I begin with a segment on focused research planning. It is so important to plan out your research before you begin clicking.
You must begin with a specific research question. You then need to determine what sources might be available to answer that question. Only then should you start to comb these websites to determine if they have the information you need. Often the resources you need will not be on either of these websites. In fact they may not be online at all. Successful researching involves finding where the specific resources are that you need, be they online; in an archive; on microfilm that may be ordered; or in some other format or location. You might think that this type of process will slow you way down. It probably will in the short term. However, this approach will ultimately lead to many more research successes. There is so much more to this topic of research planning. I am not able to do it justice in this small space.
Thursday, May 11, at 6:45 p.m., I will be joining the Tinley Moraine Genealogists at the Tinley Park Public Library, 7851 Timber Drive, Tinley Park, Illinois. This presentation is “Holy Cow! Where are My Chicago Catholics Now?” Chicago Catholic records are a significant source because most of them survived the 1871 Chicago Fire. All extant records up to 1925 are digitized and freely available at FamilySearch. They are not completely indexed at this time, but all of the images are online and may be browsed. This is exciting stuff. The only trick that remains is determining which parish(es) your ancestor may have attended. In 1850, there were nine parishes in Chicago, but by 1900, there were around 140. You can see why some strategies are necessary for determining the correct parish. This talk will show you how to find these valuable Catholic records for your ancestor.
If you are in the area, I hope to see you at one of these events. Have a great week!
 Jack Bochar, Locations of Chicago Roman Catholic Churches, 1850–1990 (Sugar Grove, Illinois: The Czech & Slovak American Genealogy Society of Illinois, 1997), 51, 6, and 18. Of the twenty-seven parishes that existed at the time of the fire, Holy Name Cathedral and St. Paul experienced record destruction.
 Ibid., 51–52.