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Dan Niemiec

Member for
21 years · 2 months · 22 days
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i have been researching my family tree since 1990 and have traced my ancestors back to the mid 1600s in Italy, mid 1700s in Poland, and early 1800s in Ireland and Scotland. I also have one Norwegian great-great-grandmother and the brick wall she built. I was founder and former chairman of POINTers in Person, Chicago North Chapter, and I write a monthly genealogy column in Fra Noi since 2004. I have given presentations on genealogy to dozens of local and a few national societies and groups. I am tracing the descendants of my ancestors, so I have built up a family tree file of about 93,000 people, almost all my own original work (not linking to a Charlemagne tree on the internet!) About 7000 of the people in my file are known to have died in the United States, and I have found many of their grave locations on Find-A-Grave and many photos as well. Approximately 4500 of my known relatives are buried in cemeteries in Illinois, including well over 2200 in the village of Hillside at Mount Carmel and Queen of Heaven cemeteries. I have visited Mount Carmel, Queen of Heaven, All Saints (Des Plaines) and St. Joseph (River Grove) approximately 100 times total in the past 18 years.I have been up to recently an inactive member of Find-A-Grave but after giving a presentation on Chicago cemeteries, I decided to get more involved. People have been very helpful with fulfilling my photo requests and I thank you all. I have found out that it is much more of an imposition to ask people to find graves and not giving them the grave or crypt location, and thus most of the time they do not fill the request. I have gone back to all of my open requests and filled in the plot, and I encourage everyone out there to do the same. The corporations that own many cemeteries are frustrated with the requests from the genealogy community and have started to charge $ for locations, or to ask for us to send the requests in writing, which they then throw away. One cemetery actually sent me a two page form that had to be filled out and signed by a notary in order to look up the location of a stillborn infant. The Catholic Cemeteries of the Archdiocese of Chicago (Cook and Lake counties) have implemented a series of kiosks that allow us to look up grave locations and print maps without having to bother their staff. Each kiosk has the data for all the Catholic cemeteries in the Archdiocese. Eighteen of the larger cemeteries have these kiosks and many of them have printers to print the section maps. With this system easily available to Chicago area residents, there is no reason why those locations are not entered in Find-A-Grave to make the photo requests easier to fulfill. These locations can now be accessed via the Catholic Cemeteries web site by asking for a link and you have 15 minutes before the site stops working, I guess to prevent people from trying to harvest the entire site. I will try to occasionally look up locations on the kiosks for the cemeteries in the Archdiocese and edit the Find-A-Grave records so the plots will appear on the photo request list. (For example, of 927 requests open in the Archdiocesan cemeteries as of Aug 25, 2015, about 30% have a plot (some of them are incomplete) and 70% have no plot.) Some people type the plots in the notes or in the bio, but that doesn't show up on the photo request screen! I encourage everyone to fill in the dates of birth and death, and the plot, for all the memorial pages they open. Someone actually requested a photo of the grave of Robert Smith, with no plot and no dates of birth and death….. Not sure how to help with that one. Oh yeah! Fill in maiden names if you know them. Makes it easier to know which Mary Jones is the right one.Ok enough of my soapbox. I'll see some of you out there when I fill plots and photo [email protected]


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