Thursday, August 10, 2006

NGS Wrap-up

The conference is over and it was a great event.

Thanks to those who helped in any way: the volunteers, presentors, staff, and attendees.

Click here for final attendance numbers

Total attendees: 1138

Thanks for visiting!

Sunday, June 04, 2006

Help Wanted

That's right, these conferences don't just happen, they take hours of time and effort. You probably already knew that, having attended them before. We ask that you please read on...
See How You Can Help!

A couple of hours (or minutes) of your time will help make this conference a success. There are a few holes in our scheduling. Will you take a look and see if you can help us out? Perhaps you are already signed up for a luncheon that doesn't yet have a ticket taker. A few minutes taking tickets and you will have contributed to the conference. Maybe there is a session you plan to attend where a door monitor is needed. You will still get to hear the lecture. Your task will be to guide folks to their seats if need be, and let them know they are in the right room. Take a peek at what the CGC has left, and see if you can help us out.

Wednesday Needs
Registration Desk: Noon-3pm
Volunteer Room: 11am-3pm
Ticket Taker at the ICAPGEN Luncheon
Volunteers are needed in the following sessions:
11am- W105, W107, W109
12:15pm- W112
2:30pm- W114, W117, W119
4pm- W123, W126, W129, W121

Thursday Needs
Registration: 7:15am- Noon (2), Noon - 3pm (2)
Hospitality: 11-2 and 2-5
Ask Me: Many openings
BCG Luncheon T226, Ticket takers
8am T208, T209
9:30am T214, T209
11am T220, T222
12:15pm T226, T228
2:30pm T235, T237
4pm T239, T243, T244, T245, T237

Friday Needs
Registration: 10:45- Noon , Noon-1:30, 1:30-3pm
Volunteer Room: 7:30-9:45am
Hospitality: 7:45am-11am, 11am-2pm, 2pm-5pm
Ask Me: all areas
APG Luncheon F325- Ticket taker
FHL/GSU Luncheon F326- Ticket taker
8am F302, F306, F308, F309
9:30am F310, F311, F306, F309
11am F318
12:15pm F325, F327
2:30pm F329, F311, F332
4pm F337, F338, F332, F341

Saturday Needs
Registration: 7:15am-9am
Ask Me: All areas
Exhibit Support: 11am-2pm, 2pm-4:30pm
Volunteer Room: 2:15-4:15
8am S401, S403, S404, S408, S409
9:30am S410, S411, S412, S413, S414, S415, S409
11am S424, S425
2:30pm S431, S432
4pm S437, S438, S440, S441, S442, S443

To volunteer for one or more of the available slots contact Peg Gleich at the conference or on her cell phone at 608-289-1180. The CGC thanks you! We will be busy Monday arriving at the hotel and making preparations for the conference... the countdown begins.

See you in Chicago!

Saturday, June 03, 2006

Hospitality and Volunteers

The Hospitality Committee of the Chicagoland Genealogical Consortium (CGC), the local host organization, looks forward to welcoming attendees to the NGS 2006 conference and the Chicago area. Hospitality members can be recognized by their neon green, yellow, pink and orange hats.
Keep Reading!

The Hospitality Committee will have an information desk set up near the Exhibitor Hall. Make this your first stop with questions about the conference, local research facilities, restaurants and tourist attractions. These volunteers will have plenty of resources on hand to help answer your questions. The Hyatt’s concierge desk is also ready to help with directions, provide tourist brochures, etc.

In addition to the Hospitality desk, other volunteers will be stationed at key locations throughout the conference area of the hotel to answer questions. If you need help finding the Exhibitor Hall, a luncheon location, the computer labs, or have other questions, look for the volunteers wearing “Ask Me!” buttons.

A message board will be set up near the Exhibitor Hall. Attendees can leave messages about carpooling, arranging outings, buying or selling meal tickets, finding missing friends, or seeking long lost cousins. There will also be a message board in the Volunteer Office.

There are still volunteer opportunities available. Your help would be appreciated no matter what your level of experience at conferences or with volunteering. As an added incentive, volunteers will be entered in daily drawings for cash awards and other prizes.

To volunteer call Peggy Gleich, 608-289-1180 (cell) or contact her at the conference.

The members of the CGC and the many volunteers are eagerly awaiting your arrival. We are sure it will be a great conference!

Chicago Museums Update

Two of Chicago’s favorite destinations are having free admission days the week of NGS 2006, and a third is offering free evenings!
Read About the Museums

Shedd Aquarium - Discount Week: June 4th - 9th
Shedd Aquarium, located on the shores of Lake Michigan at Chicago’s Museum Campus is the world's largest indoor aquarium. During this discount week, general admission is free, and admission to both the Oceanarium and Wild Reef is available for an additional fee. Favorite exhibits at Shedd Aquarium include:

The Oceanarium - Follow the call of the whales through a spruce and cedar rain forest to the water’s edge. Dolphins leap and splash in the harbor while playful otters tumble in a nearby cove. Colorful sea stars cling to rocks in tidal pools. And the beluga whales chirp a welcome.

Lizards and the Komodo King - In this exhibit, guests can explore the world of lizards and learn through several interactive features, including a texture-rubbing station. They can even listen to recordings of geckos barking. This visual exhibit will connect you to more than 25 lizard species, including the crocodile monitor – the world’s longest lizard – the bearded dragon, green tree monitor, caiman lizards, shield-tail agamas and much more. The highlight of Lizards and the Komodo King is certainly Faust, the Komodo dragon. Shedd guests will come face to face with all 8 feet and 120 pounds of him. With his forked tongue, unbelievable size, and ability to take down water buffalo, Faust will show guests why the Komodo is a ferocious predator. The highly visual exhibit will be a feast for the eyes, with larger-than-life images, spectacular video of lizard behavior, and dozens of lizards on display!

For more information, please call 312-939-2438 or visit Advance tickets are recommended and are on sale through Ticketmaster at 312-559-0200 or

Museum of Science and Industry - Discount Week: June 4th - 9th
General admission will be free on these days. Visitor favorites include a coal mine exhibit, Colleen Moore’s Fairy Castle and a real U-505 submarine. Current exhibits include Leonardo da Vinci: Man, Inventor, Genius, and opening June 9, Frogs: A Chorus of Color. Some exhibits require the purchase of special tickets, in addition to the general admission. For details, contact the museum's call center at (773) 684-1414 or see the museum’s website:

Art Institute – Free Evenings
The Art Institute of Chicago has announced new summer and free hours. As of June 3, the galleries will be open Mondays, Tuesdays, and Wednesdays until 5:00 p.m. Admission is free on Thursday and Friday evenings from 5:00 to 9:00 p.m., featuring live music and museum tours at 5:30 and 7:00 p.m. Current Exhibitions include: Honoring Heroes in History: Illustrations from the Coretta Scott King Award Books, 2001-2005, Great American Drawings, The Concerned Photographer, Casas Grandes and the Ceramic Art of the Ancient Southwest. For further information, phone 312-443-3600 or see:

Field Museum - No summer discount days.
The Field Museum is located on Chicago’s Museum Campus. It was founded to house the biological and anthropological collections assembled for the World's Columbian Exposition of 1893. These objects form the core of the Museum's collections which have grown to more than twenty million specimens.

General Admission entitles you to entry into the Museum, which includes SUE (the biggest T. rex skeleton ever found,) Evolving Planet (which requires a separate timed-entry ticket) and Inside Ancient Egypt as well as exhibitions on many different cultures, mammals, birds, gems, minerals, and plants! Temporary exhibits currently open include:

Tutankhamun and the Golden Age of the Pharaohs, which includes more than 130 priceless artifacts, including treasures from the tomb of the celebrated “boy king” Tutankhamun. All the artifacts in the exhibition are 3,300 to 3,500 years old.

From Fins to Feet. This exhibit features a 375 million year old fossil fish known as Tiktaalik, a “missing link” in the story of how fishes evolved into land-living animals.

The Auschwitz Album: The Story of a Transport. This is an exhibit of black-and-white photographs taken by Nazi S.S. officers of the arrival and imprisonment of Hungarian Jews in the Auschwitz-Birkenau concentration camp.

Some exhibits may be in high demand and/or require the purchase of tickets in addition to the price of general admission. For information, see or call 312-922-9410.

Adler Planetarium – No summer discount days.
The Adler Planetarium, located at Chicago’s Museum Campus, is home to more than 35,000 square feet of exhibits, including scale models of the Solar System, ancient astronomical instruments, and interactive adventures. Currently running shows include:

Stars of the Pharaohs, a unique look into the grandeur of ancient Egypt on a giant 360-degree dome screen that is 55-wide and three stories tall.

TimeSpace...Time Travel Only at the Adler, a new show that turns the Adler's StarRider theater into a time machine! See and experience the Big Bang, the Doom of the Dinosaurs, the sudden appearance of Halley's Comet in the Yucatán Sky, Apollo 11's moonlanding and man's first steps on the moon, and a leap into the future to 3001.

Egyptian Nights: Secrets of the Sky Gods. Journey back more than 5000 years to see the sky as the ancient Egyptians did from the banks of the Nile River. Learn about how ancient Egyptians incorporated the sky into their daily lives, civic culture, and spiritual belief system.

For admission prices, show times and other information, phone 312-922-STAR or see

Friday, June 02, 2006

Speaker Spotlight: Cecile Wendt Jensen

Cecile (Ceil) Wendt Jensen was given a family history writing assignment in grade school. She interviewed her father Frank J. Wendt. He took a brown canvas pouch imprinted with F. Missler from the top dresser drawer and removed three small pieces of paper written in German. They were the birth certificates that her great grandfather Franz Wendt and his sons Franz and Adolph used for their passage to America. She was hooked!
Read More About Ceil Wendt Jensen

Her father's untimely death several months later cloaked her family history in a mystique that lingers today. She was determined to continue her research and find out where the documents came from. At that time she was perplexed that the certificates were in German yet the family was Polish. Ceil is now a Certified Genealogist who has documented her ancestry back to the 1600s. She has done on-site research in Poland and now understands how a Polish family once carried documentation written in German.

Arcadia recently published Ceil's book Detroit's Polonia. She is working on two more publications: Detroit's Mt. Elliott Cemetery and Detroit's Mt. Olivet Cemetery. She has a forthcoming book for the Polish Genealogical Society of America, Sot Lat - A Modern Guide to Polish Genealogy. Ceil presents practical examples and suggestions on how to use records, databases and archives to start or advance your genealogical research while dispeling the myth that records were destroyed during the World Wars and that language barriers make European research difficult. She delights in helping researchers find their ancestral villages.

Her NGS lectures include Researching Your Polish Heritage Online and Polish Archives: Behind the Scenes, complete with digital video.

Ceil taught in public schools for 30 years in traditional and electronic art, art history, and social studies. She transitioned to professional genealogy in 1999. Her studio now develops websites, video, CDs, DVDs and databases for genealogists of all ages. For additional information see:

APG Roundtable

The APG Roundtable is an informal discussion meeting that is open to APG members only. It is a great place to network, learn, and share ideas. The topic of this Roundtable is Vive la Difference! What makes the difference? A special look at Ethnic Research. Beverly Rice will moderate. For more information see

The APG Roundtable will be on Tuesday in the Ozark AB room at the hotel. The meeting starts at 7pm. See you there!

Thursday, June 01, 2006

RTA Trip Planner Makes Visiting Chicago A Breeze

This is a repeat but the info will be very helpful for those who want to travel in the city.

Looking for a way to get around Chicago? Try the online RTA Trip Planner.
Read More About the RTA Trip Planner

Just plug in a starting and ending address, cross street, or an already named destination (see the drop down box for the pre-selected locations). If you are staying at the event hotel, use the Rosemont Convention Center choice as your start and/or end point. The Rosemont Convention Center is right across the road from our event hotel. Add approximate times that you would like to travel and the trip planner will give you specific directions to the subway, bus, or train. They also tell the time of the stop and how much it will cost to ride.

The trip planner will take some of the stress out of visiting a new city, and be helpful to you if you want to explore some of Chicago's destinations.

Wednesday, May 31, 2006

Vendors- Societies of the Eastern United States

Not all of the geographic-based societies represented at the NGS conference this year are from the Midwest. We’d like to give a warm welcome to these out-of-town visitors. We hope you’ll pay them a visit while attending NGS.
Learn More About Societies

The Virginia Genealogical Society (VGS)
The Virginia Genealogical Society was organized in 1960 to foster interest in genealogical, biographical, historical and heraldic research; to publish information pertaining to genealogy; and to share genealogical methods, techniques and knowledge among the members of the society. The society publishes a quarterly, the Magazine of Virginia Genealogy, and a bi-monthly newsletter. VGS sponsors an annual conference in Richmond and a biannual genealogical institute. In 2007, the Virginia Genealogical Society will co-host the NGS Conference in the States, "Rediscover Virginia: 400 Years of Family History" on May 16-19. To learn more, stop by Booth 304 or visit their website:

The New York Genealogical & Biographical Society (G&B)
For nearly 400 years, New York has been known for the diversity of its people. Whether your ancestors were among the first Europeans or Africans who came to New Netherland, or the Native Americans who were already living here, or whether they were among the long stream of immigrants from all over the world who came in the subsequent years, the G&B can help you learn more about those ancestors and the world in which they lived.

The G&B is a membership organization, and new members are always welcome. Benefits of membership include access to all of the Library's collections (published materials, manuscripts, and microforms); subscriptions to the Society’s two quarterly publications, the Record and the Researcher, and discounts on other publications; unlimited queries on the NYG&B Bulletin Board, four free queries per year, published in the Researcher and on the G&B website; access to the Member's Area, and reduced fees for educational programs and the library's record search service. For details, visit Booth 201 or see the G&B website:

The New England Historic Genealogical Society (NEHGS)
The New England Historic Genealogical Society (NEHGS) is the oldest genealogical society in the country. For over 150 years, NEHGS has helped new and experienced researchers trace their heritage in New England and around the world. Today the Society has over 20,000 members worldwide and a professional staff which includes leading genealogists and experts in American, English, Irish, Scottish, and Canadian research. Members have online access to over 110 million names; on-site use of the research library, including special collections and manuscripts; subscriptions to New England Ancestors and The Register; and discounts on goods and services. Members can also take advantage of the Society’s circulating library, with over 23,000 books loaned in the year 2000.

While at NGS, be sure to stop by Booths 509 and 511 to learn more about NEHGS. And on your next visit to Boston, be sure to include a trip to NEHGS to see the vast collection of books, manuscripts, microfilms, and electronic resources, and experience first-hand the expertise of their staff of professional genealogists. See for further information.

Be sure to drop by these booths while at NGS and let them help you plan your next trip “Back East.”

Tuesday, May 30, 2006

Chicago Area Libraries

Libraries are great places and are often full of genealogy and local history resources. Some of the best local libraries in the Chicago area include:
Read About Chicago Area Libraries

The Gail Borden Library
The Gail Borden Library, located in Elgin, Illinois, is known for its genealogical resources. Its collection of over 3,900 books is concentrated on Elgin and Kane County, Illinois. There is also information for 25 other states, mostly east of the Mississippi River, and five European countries. The library has hundreds of reels of microfilm and access to on-line research sites. There is a 125-year newspaper index for vital statistics in the area. Good local history resources include newspapers on microfilm going back to the 1800s and “Views of Old Elgin,” a collection of photographs. The Elgin Genealogical Society meets at the library. The Kane County Genealogical Society also covers this area. The library phone number is 847-742-2411, and its website is

Arlington Heights Library
This library, with an exceptional collection of genealogical information, is located in downtown Arlington Heights. There is ample parking and restaurants are nearby. Included in their over 8,000 reference books are Chicago city directories from 1838-1928 (on microfilm and microfiche) as well as other city and county directories and histories. There is a DAR member present on Saturdays to help patrons. The library staff is extremely helpful. The library subscribes to several databases, including America's Obituaries and Death Notices, the largest collection of newspaper obituaries and death notices in the U.S., searchable by individual record, date range, or text contained in the obituary or death notices. For information, phone 847-392-0100 or see the library’s website:

Wheaton Public Library
The Wheaton Public Library, located near downtown Wheaton, is currently undergoing renovations and an addition. However, it is open and ready for out of town visitors. There is information here for all 50 states with emphasis on Pennsylvania, New York and Virginia. The library has a vital records index to Wheaton papers beginning 1885 and, also something not found everywhere, Digital Sanborn Maps, 1867-1970. The local genealogical group is the DuPage County Genealogical Society. For more information, phone 668-1374 ext. 510 or see the library’s website:

South Suburban Genealogical and Historical Society Library
Although a little farther removed from the conference site than others, this is a gem. The Genealogical and Historical Society was gifted with a large number of research books. From 1975 to present the library has grown to more than 11,000 books, microfilms and periodicals as well as CDs, maps, and directories. The material pertains to south Cook and east Will counties, Illinois including Chicago's Roseland/Pullman neighborhoods. If you are researching these areas, this is the place for you. Located in the Hazel Crest, Illinois Municipal building, the phone number is (708) 335-3340. See the Society’s website for details:

Barrington Area Library
The Barrington Area Library has a collection of genealogical resources and local history. Of special interest are the family trees, cemetery listings, and town history by Arnett C. Lines, who left his papers to the library upon his death in 1970. Much of this information is available on the "Barrington Area History" section of the library's home page. The library has copies of the Barrington Courier-Review newspaper from February 1890 to the present on microfilm. Library staff and volunteers produce the Barrington Courier-Review Index, which is updated on a regular basis. Indexes for births, deaths and marriages exist from 1890–present. News stories are indexed from 1970–present. For more information call 847-382-1300 or see the library website at:

Schaumburg Township District Library
The Schaumburg Township District Library (STDL) owns a wide selection of materials for individuals interested in genealogy including books, cassettes, videos, handbooks and government documents for the beginning genealogist as well as for the advanced researcher. The collection includes general information on such topics as how to start a search to more specialized materials such as obtaining vital records, county records and land and property research. STDL employs a Genealogy Coordinator who is available to help genealogy researchers with finding materials or providing direction in doing in-depth research. Also available is the Local History Digital Archive. Begun in 2001, it is designed to be a historical collection of digitized photographs, documents, maps, and videos related to the Schaumburg Township area. For information phone 847-985-4000 or see the website:

Fremont Public Library
Fremont Public Library in north suburban Mundelein is home to the Lake County Illinois Genealogical Society’s research facility. The collection includes numerous family histories, cemetery books, and reference materials. There is an extensive obituary collection, and a probate index, newspapers and censuses on microfilm. Fremont Library itself has a good collection of local history books, newspapers on microfilm, and a map of township landowners in the 1830s. For details, call: 847-566-8702 or see the website:

Cook Memorial Library
Cook Memorial Library is located in downtown Libertyville. The library has a collection of genealogical reference materials, including several journals, DAR books and newspapers on microfilm. The library also has an obituary index, and several subscription databases of interest. The Ansel B. Cook Victorian Museum is on the grounds; it contains furnishings and items of historical interest. For information, call 847-362-2330 or see the library’s website:

Winnetka Library
The Winnetka Library's Katharine Greeley Genealogical Collection has over 6,000 volumes that include manuscripts, magazines, microfilm, microfiche, CD-ROMs and computer databases. The collection contains information primarily about states from the Atlantic to the west bank of the Mississippi River, but also contains information from other areas. The Obituary Index covers obituaries published in The Winnetka Talk from 1917-present. The collection is also strong in military history, New England resources, local and family history and heraldry. The library has access to several genealogical databases and subscriptions to major genealogical periodicals. For details call 847-446-7220 or see the library’s website at:

For links to other Chicago-area libraries with genealogical collections, see these websites:

A Library Database - by the members of CAGG-NI

Barrington Area Library Local Information: Web Pages of Local Libraries

If your ancestors came from the Chicago area, why not check out the local library while attending NGS? You never know what you might discover.

Adding Meal Events

Did you forget to add a meal event to your registration or have trouble deciding which luncheon talk you wanted to hear? While it is too late to add to your registration using the NGS website, it is not too late to add a meal event (or three!) while at the conference. Just see the NGS registration person by mid-morning of the day your desired event will take place. Let them know that you want to get in on the fun. Once you pay for the event you will be good to eat, chat, and listen to a wonderful lecture!

Saturday, May 27, 2006

Trolley Tours of Chicago

The Chicago Trolley & Double Decker Company offers Hop-On Hop-Off City Sightseeing Tours on trolleys and double decker buses. They provide a two hour entertaining and informative tour of the city as well as serving as convenient, low-cost transportation to the city's most popular attractions. The fully narrated tour covers 13 magnificent miles of Chicago's downtown and the Loop. You can Hop Off and explore the city and Hop On when you are ready to continue your tour.
Read About Chicago's Trolleys

Stops on the tour include Sears Tower, Millennium Park, the Theatre District, the Art Institute, the Museum Campus, Navy Pier and North Michigan Avenue. Additional routes include the South Museum Route with stops at the Museum of Science and Industry and the DuSable Museum, and the Ethnic Chicago Route with stops in Chinatown, Greektown and Little Italy. The tours run 7 days a week from 9:00am to 6:30pm.

Adult All Day (price reflects 10% web discount) - $22.50
All Day 2-Day (price reflects 10% web discount) - $31.50
Senior All Day (ages 65 and over, price reflects 10% web discount) - $18.00

For details, phone 773-648-5000 or see the website:

Chicago's Free Trolleys
Chicago's Free Trolleys are a great way to see some of Chicago's most popular destinations. The Free Trolleys run on three routes: the Museum route, the Navy Pier route and the Shopping route. The trolleys serve many popular visitor, cultural and shopping destinations such as Navy Pier, the Museum Campus, Michigan Avenue and Lincoln Park Zoo - with dozens of stops in between. No tickets or reservations are required to ride the free trolleys. To catch one, just look for the free trolley signs at any specially marked stop. The Free Trolley service runs 7 days a week from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. from Memorial Day weekend (May 27) to Labor Day weekend (September 4).

The Free Trolleys are operated by the city of Chicago’s Department of Transportation. For details, google Chicago Free Trolleys or follow this link.

For public transit information, call (312) 836-7000. Visitor information may also be obtained 24 hours a day by calling toll-free 1-877-CHICAGO (1-877-244-2246) / TTY (312)/ 866-710-0294 or by visiting the tourism website at

Welcome to Chicago!

Friday, May 26, 2006

Comedy in Chicago

When it comes to comedy, Chicago is second to none! Here are just a few of the opportunities to have a good laugh while in town.
Read About Comedy!

Second City
Since 1959, The Second City has established itself as a Chicago landmark and a national treasure. The theatre that launched the careers of such comic greats as John Belushi, Mike Myers, Bill Murray, Gilda Radner, and more offers nightly comedy shows, as well as a variety of other programs. The theatre has two resident stages: The Second City Mainstage, which seats 290 and The Second City e.t.c., which seats 180. Each theatre has a resident troupe that writes and performs an original comedy revue. The shows are smart, funny, and highly original.

The Second City is located on the north side of Chicago, at 1616 N. Wells St. The Second City e.t.c. and Donny's Skybox Studio Theatre are located at 1608 N. Wells St. (Piper's Alley.) Parking is available for a fee across Wells street in the Treasure Island parking lot, or 1/2 block west on North Avenue at the Piper's Alley self park garage. Fees range from $6 to $15. For more information, call the box office at 312-337-3992, or see the website:

If you prefer stand-up comedy to improv, then you’ll want to go to Zanies, which brings national headliners to its night club style settings. See the Zanies website for their current schedule at:

The three Chicagoland locations are:
Zanies Chicago, 1548 N. Wells St., Chicago. Phone: 312-337-4027
Zanies St. Charles, at the Pheasant Run Resort & Spa in St. Charles, Illinois. Phone: 630-584-6342
Zanies Vernon Hills, 230 Hawthorn Village Commons (Hawthorn Village Commons Plaza), Vernon Hills, Illinois. Phone: 847-549-6030

The ComedySportz show offers improvisational comedy that is appropriate for all ages. The Red and Blue teams battle it out in front of a referee in games that the audience selects, and points are awarded based on how quickly and effectively the performers complete the games. The eternal battle of Red vs. Blue is improvised 5 times weekly, and the show is never the same twice!

ComedySportz is located on the north side of Chicago at 3220 N. Lincoln Ave. To purchase tickets by phone, or for more information, call (773) 549-8080 or see their website at:

Chicago Comedy Company
This multimedia interactive improvisational comedy theater, describes itself as "the first 100% improvised, 100% audience interactive improv comedy theater dedicated to clean comedy, with no alcohol served or allowed in and no smoking." Live video feed of latecomers provide comedic fodder for those waiting inside to start the show, and a computer internet kiosk allows the audience to search for comedy ideas before and during the show. There's even an interactive iPod station where the audience can play music to create a scene.

The Chicago Comedy Company is located at the Streets of Woodfield Mall, 601 N. Martingale Road, Suite 171, Schaumburg. For information, call 847-240-0380 or see their website:

Blue Man Group
If you prefer your comedy in the form of performance art, try the Blue Man Group. The Blue Man Group is a performance troupe that produces edgy and unique work. The silent but oddly endearing blue trio explore in their humorous and bizarre fashion such questions as what makes art worthy, and how many marshmallows can be fit in someone's mouth.

Blue Man Group performs at Chicago’s historic Briar Street Theatre at 3133 N. Halsted For details call 773-348-4000 or visit the website:
For other possibilities, see the following guides, and have some fun while you’re in town:

Chicago Sun-Times Calendar at:

Centerstage at:

Thursday, May 25, 2006

Dining in Rosemont

Are you wondering where you can get a good meal while attending the NGS conference? There are plenty of restaurants, with a wide range of cuisines and prices.
Read More About Restaurants!

First are the luncheons, banquets, and local host event offered in conjunction with the conference itself. These offer great opportunities to meet fellow genealogists. The luncheons enable you to hear top speakers and learn more about the sponsoring organizations. The banquets are a chance to celebrate another year of success with the organizations sponsoring them. The local host event, Sweets Home Chicago, gives you a chance to relax and listen to great jazz music while indulging your sweet tooth at the dessert buffet. How can you resist? We hope you will have the opportunity to attend at least one or two of these special events during the conference.

Those seeking other options may want to consider the following suggestions.

At the Hyatt

Garden Terrace
This open-air restaurant is located on the Atrium Level and serves American cuisine for breakfast and lunch. The sandwiches are highly recommended.

Knuckles Sports Bar
The perfect place to get together after a long day, or to catch the big game on one of the 38 televisions. Knuckles offers a large selection of imports and microbrews, with 72 varieties available. There are two pool tables, video games and a juke box. Hours: Sunday - Friday: 11:00 am - 1:00 am; Saturday: 11:00 am - 2:00 am.

Sarah's Pantry
Located in the Main Lobby next to the front entrance, this gourmet coffee house serves Starbucks coffee, cappuccino, espresso and flavored coffees along with a variety of fresh baked goods, fruit, gourmet sandwiches and snacks. Open 24 hours a day to fulfill those midnight coffee cravings.

The Other Place Steak House
Experience the ambiance and charm of a Chicago-style steak house. Located on the Atrium Level, next to Knuckles Sports Bar and Restaurant. Open for dinner, 5:30pm to 10:00pm.

Near the Hyatt

The Great Expoteria
This cafeteria-style eatery is directly across the street from the hotel’s Grand Ballroom entrance. Hot and cold food is available from 7:00am to 4:00pm. Breakfast choices include omelettes and french toast. Lunch offerings include soup, hot or cold sandwiches, a salad bar, and daily hot entrees. Beer and wine are available.

The McDonald’s closest to the Hyatt is at the corner of River Road and Higgins Road, about ¾ mile north of the hotel. The restaurant has a drive through.

People magazine claims that Morton’s serves the best steak in America. The restaurant features a truly memorable dining experience, with service beyond compare and an elegant, clublike setting. Morton's signature menu features perfectly grilled USDA prime aged beef, fresh fish and seafood. Morton’s is located at 9525 W. Bryn Mawr Avenue, in the Columbia Centre III building, less than .1 mile from the Hyatt.

This restaurant offers the quintessential stuffed pizza, with fresh, high quality ingredients nestled between two layers of golden crust. NBC-TV called it "the Best Pizza in America." Also on the menu are thin-crust pizza, sandwiches, salads and pastas. Try the stuffed spinach pizza, a Chicago favorite. Giordano’s is located at 9415 W. Higgins Road, at the corner of River Road and Higgins Road, less than a mile from the Hyatt.

Carlucci offers a unique country Italian dining experience reminiscent of the traditional home cooking of Tuscany, with an open kitchen, woodburning oven and simple earthy ingredients. Carlucci is located at 6111 N. River Road, about ½ mile from the Hyatt.

Chez Collette
Chez Collette boasts classic French dining. The Le Bar lobby lounge offers a light menu, live music and special cocktails menu. Chez Collette is located at the Hotel Sofitel. Chez Collette is open 6:30 am to 11:30 pm. Le Bar is open 11:00 am to 12:30 am.

Dominick’s Finer Foods
If you prefer to buy some groceries or need to fill a prescription this well stocked grocery store can accommodate you. It is located two miles from the Hyatt at 1900 S. Cumberland.

For additional possibilities, see the hotel concierge or the Rosemont website:

Wednesday, May 24, 2006

Vendor Spotlight: Keepsake Family Trees by Olsongraphics

Keepsake Family Trees are custom designed based on genealogical information provided by customers. Uniquely designed family trees are ready for framing or display in sizes up to 3.5 ft x 25 ft. The many styles include Ancestral Family Trees, Descendant Family Trees, Lineage Society Charts, Wedding Trees and Family Reunion Wall Sized Charts. Archival quality paper and inks are used in these treasures.
Read More About Keepsake Family Trees

A special Keepsake Family Tree of the Frank Sinatra Family has been created especially for this event. Sinatra made the song My Kind of Town famous. Chicago became home to immigrants from everywhere in the world - Frank Sinatra's ancestors immigrated to the United States from Italy. Enjoy viewing the Sinatra Tree and other sample trees at the Keepsake Family Trees booth #905.

Further information on Keepsake Family Trees can be found at or by calling 888-759-4228.

Monday, May 22, 2006

Things to do: Chicago Boat Tours

June is a great time to see Chicago from onboard a boat. Several options are available. Glide along in water taxis, commuter boats, and for architectural boat tours on the Chicago River, or have a real adventure with a luxury dinner cruise on the lake.
Learn More About Chicago's Boat Tours!

Wendella Boats
Wendella is a third generation family run business which has become Chicago's most comprehensive boat tour company. The experienced and knowledgeable docents and tour guides provide educational and insightful narration about Chicago's rich history and magnificent architecture.

Tours are offered seven days a week, April through November. All depart from the 400 North Michigan Avenue dock, at the northwest corner of the Michigan Avenue Bridge. Possibilities include the Chicago River Architecture Tour, the Combined Lake and River Tour or Chicago At Sunset. In addition to tours, Wendella operates the RiverBus Passenger Ferry, Chicago's original water transportation system.

For further information, contact Wendella by phone at 312-337-1446 or see their website:

Shoreline Sightseeing Boat Tours
These tours leave from Navy Pier and the Shedd Aquarium/Museum Campus. The 30 minute Lake Michigan tours are reasonably priced. An architectural tour on the Chicago River is available. Shoreline also offers a 90 minute Chicago River and Lake Michigan tour. Shoreline runs water taxis on the river and the lake between some of Chicago’s major attractions.

For details, call 312-222-9328 or see the website:

Chicago Architecture Foundation
Marvel at Chicago’s soaring towers while enjoying a 90-minute, narrated river cruise. This tour spotlights more than 50 architecturally significant sites where you will discover the city from a new perspective. Come aboard either of the well-appointed vessels, Chicago's First Lady or Chicago's Little Lady. Both open-air and climate-controlled indoor seating are available to make your journey comfortable. Snacks and beverages are available for purchase on board each vessel.

To purchase tickets, call Ticketmaster at 312.902.1500 or visit Ticketmaster fees will apply.

The Foundation offers walking and bus tours as well. For details, call 312.922.3432 ext. 240 or see their website:

Odyssey Cruises
The Odyssey II cruises on Lake Michigan year-round. These cruises leave from Navy Pier. Brunch, lunch, dinner and moonlight cruises are available. Live music is included.

The cruise route begins going south along the lake shore, past the Adler Planetarium, turns and heads north to Montrose Harbor, then returns south to Navy Pier. Enjoy the beautiful views of Chicago’s world-famous skyline, from the John Hancock, to Sears Tower, the Museum campus, and more. The ship typically remains within one mile of shore.

To learn more, call 888-957-2322 or check their website at:
Whether you are looking for a luxury late-night cruise on the lake or just want to get from Navy Pier to the museums quickly, Chicago’s boat tour operators have something that will suit you.

Saturday, May 20, 2006

Vendors – Lineage Societies

The Exhibitor Hall at the NGS conference will include representatives from two of the top lineage societies in the country.
Read About Lineage Societies

The National Society of Daughters of the American Revolution (DAR)
The DAR, founded in 1890 and headquartered in Washington, D.C., is a volunteer women's service organization dedicated to promoting patriotism, preserving American history, and securing America's future through better education for children. DAR members volunteer more than 55,000 hours annually to veteran patients, award over $150,000 in scholarships and financial aid each year to students, and support schools for the underprivileged with annual donations exceeding one million dollars.

The DAR boasts 168,000 members in 3,000 chapters across the United States and internationally. Any woman 18 years or older who can prove lineal descent from a patriot of the American Revolution is eligible for membership.

The DAR Library, one of the largest genealogical centers in the United States, is an essential destination when researching your family history in the Washington, D.C. area. Since its founding in 1896, the library has grown into a specialized collection of American genealogical and historical manuscripts and publications. The library is open to the public.

For more details, visit the DAR at Booth 203 at NGS or see their website at:

National Society of the Sons of the American Revolution (SAR)
The National Society of the Sons of the American Revolution was organized on April 30, l889 -- the l00th anniversary of the inauguration of George Washington. The SAR was conceived as a fraternal and civic society composed of lineal descendants of the men who supported the cause of American independence. The SAR is a historical, educational, and patriotic non-profit society that seeks to maintain and extend an appreciation for true patriotism and a respect for our national symbols.

Today the SAR consists of 26,000 members in over 500 chapters in the United States, Canada, France, Germany, Switzerland, and the United Kingdom. Almost l65,000 descendants of the men and women patriots of the American Revolution have been admitted since the SAR was founded. To learn more, visit Booth 512 or the SAR website:

Friday, May 19, 2006

Computers and Genealogy – The right tool for the job

Genealogy and computers go together like a hand and glove. Managing, storing and retrieving large amounts of data are what a computer does best. What is genealogy but a large collection of facts, pictures, videos, and possibly sounds?
Read More About Computers and Genealogy

Computers and the internet have revolutionized the research process. It is now possible to contact a researcher or relative across the country and exchange digital photos of headstones or scanned documents in moments rather than days or weeks. Indexes have been developed and posted online that never existed before. Source documents have been digitized and made available to researchers, some free and others for a fee.

A computer cannot think (yet), but it can follow directions. If we learn how to give it better instructions it can be our perfect genealogy partner. The key word is “learn”. Nobody was born with an instinctive knowledge of computers. Don’t be ashamed of that and don’t be intimidated by a collection of circuits and wires. The computer is a tool and like any tool, you need to practice a bit before you can claim proficiency.

Once held as a separate conference, GenTech is now incorporated into the NGS curricula. Let’s take a quick spin through the brochure.

Two tracks are identified as GenTech. Wednesday’s topics cover how to choose and use a digital camera, devising effective electronic queries, finding your immigrant in cyberspace, the NGS book loan collection, the Illinois Digital Archives, and combining traditional and internet research techniques.

Thursday you can learn about computer housekeeping. Clooz™, online surname search strategies, advanced census techniques, New England resources online, documents and books online, Geographic Information Systems (GIS), searchable newspapers online, Family Maps, and Document & Data Protection and Recovery for when disasters happen.

Friday features talks about advanced Ellis Island search techniques, Irish Historic Maps, analyzing and selecting the various genealogy software programs, search engines, effective use of the Family History Library Catalog, spreadsheet tricks, Sanborn Maps, Polish Heritage online research, use of scanners beyond photos, and another take on traditional vs. computer based research techniques and how to incorporate the best of both.

Saturday features a look at what’s new at, real research on the internet,, search and share, cutting edge technologies, Chicago and Cook County research on the internet, using PDAs, and international expansion, and two presentations by Stephen Morse. Stephen Morse has gained fame by creating better ways to search the Ellis Island database. He went on to create tools to enhance searhes on other websites. He’s going to show us how to get more out of existing search applications and how to create one-step search tools of our own.

In addition to the GenTech tracks there is a computer workshop track. These are two hour hands-on computer labs with limited participation and added lab fees.

The first lab is Pamela Boyer Porter teaching genealogical applications for the word processor. This lab filled before the end of April. Bob Velke of The Master Genealogist (TMG) is teaching three labs: Beginning, Intermediate, and Advanced TMG techniques. Rhonda McClure is teaching a lab on Using Scanners. Steve Broyles will be teaching the basic skills needed for a mapping project using Deedmapper software. Bruce Buzbee will give a one hour an overview of RootsMagic software.

There are thirty programs designated as GenTech and seven computer workshops, but don’t be fooled. Nearly every program will have at least some reference to an internet source or technology.