Military Monday – New Books To Be Released

It has been a while since I wrote anything about my military ancestors on my blog. But I have been writing…..books. It has been an interesting journey filled with twists and turns and plenty of emotion. My initial thought was to write three books. Two story books and a guide. Then a couple of weeks ago I visited Ginny, the widow of my Flying Tiger Robert Brouk. I wrote his story and published it in January of 2011. To Soar With The Tigers which is available through my website.

Ginny joined the WAC (Women’s Army Corps) after Robert was killed. She gave me permission a few months ago to write her story. When I visited her a couple of weeks ago I realized not only did I already have part of her story written with a lot of material, but she kept documents and photos and letters from the war. I was able to scan and type and copy those materials and have lengthy conversations with her about her service. Certain things that came up really helped put other things into perspective. Those will be discussed both on the blog and in the book.

So what can you expect from Generations and me in the coming months? Several things.

  1. Very soon you will see a new piece of my Generations business in the form of a new website and service offering. When that is ready I’ll announce it here.
  2. December 2, 2013 I am launching the first two books in my Stories of the Lost series. Stories of the Lost and The Tiger’s Widow. With that launch will also come several Generations Resource Guides to help you tell the stories of your ancestors.
  3. Before May 2014 the last three books will be released in my Stories of the Lost series. These are Stories of the Lost and Found and Stories of the Lost Companion Guide and Stories of the Lost Writing and Storytelling Guide. With that launch will come more Generations Resource Guides and probably a few other surprises.

Want to stay updated and learn new ways to research the stories of your military ancestors now? Join one or both of my new FaceBook groups. Military Research and Storytelling and Women During World War II.

Stay tuned! Exciting things are on the horizon!

© 2013, Generations, Woodridge, IL


Tags: , , , , , ,

Military Monday – Finishing the Story Lecture

Have you heard my Finishing the Story lecture? If not, you have one more chance this year to hear it! I’m presenting at the Chicago Genealogical Society on Saturday, September 7 at 1:30 p.m. The Chicago Genealogical Society meets at the Newberry Library.

Finishing the Story consists of three case studies on World War I and II military ancestors and locating their records.

Hope to see you there!

© 2013, Jennifer Holik, Generations


Tags: , , , , , , ,

Military Monday – Moving Vietnam Wall


For immediate release

Aug. 9, 2013


Herschel Luckinbill, Chairman, The Moving Wall Committee,,



Amy Roth, Media Representative, The Moving Wall Committee,,



Contributions, Volunteers Needed for Visit of the Vietnam Moving Wall Nov. 7-11


AURORA, IL – Veterans, their families and patriotic individuals can participate in bringing the Vietnam Memorial Moving Wall and other travelling military memorials to Aurora this fall by making a financial contribution and volunteering.

The cost of bringing The Moving Wall to Aurora is $60,000. Fox Valley Veterans Breakfast Club and Vietnam veteran Herschel Luckinbill heads the team that has received support from Fifth Third Bank, Dieterle Memorial Home of Montgomery, Aurora Fastprint, Inc., Weldstar Co., Wegman Construction and Comfort Suites. The group is approximately half way to its funding goal.

Luckinbill is estimating that more than 300,000 people, including area school children, will come to Aurora during the four days The Moving Wall is on display. The effort is still in need of additional volunteers and contributions. “There will be plenty to do,” Luckinbill said. “There will be a task for every person who would like to help.” To volunteer or make a contribution visit

The Moving Wall, a 3/5-size replica of the Vietnam Veterans Memorial in Washington, D.C., will rise in the practice soccer fields of West Aurora High School and be on display Nov. 7 through 11. Also on display will be the Illinois Fallen Heroes Traveling Memorial and a model of the World War II memorial.

In addition, a Healing Field of more than 2,000 American Flags dedicated to all military veterans, which will be at West High from Nov. 3-13.

Here is a timeline for Moving Wall/Healing Field Events:

•             Nov. 3 – The Healing Field of 2013 American Flags goes on display at West High

•             Nov. 7, morning – Moving Wall arrives at West High escorted by The Patriot Guard Riders.

•             Nov. 7, 1 p.m. – Public viewing of the Moving Wall begins

•             Nov. 8, 10:30 a.m. – Opening ceremony at the Moving Wall

•             Nov. 8, 6 p.m. – A public Veteran’s assembly in the West High auditorium featuring keynote speakers Gen. Max Baratz (WA ’52) and Vietnam veteran and Medal of Honor recipient Sammy Lee Davis

•             Nov. 8, 7:15 p.m. – A flag retirement ceremony at the Wall.

•             Nov. 9, 2 p.m. – Recognition of Gold Star Families who lost loved ones in war

•             Nov. 9, 6 p.m. to midnight – A night out for veterans at Ballydoyle’s to benefit Honor Flight Chicago, a group that flies WWII veterans to Washington, D.C. to view the World War II memorial

•             Nov. 10, 10 a.m. – A nondenominational healing service at the Wall

•             Nov. 11, 2 p.m. – A wreath laying ceremony for all branches of the military

•             Nov. 11, dusk – A candlelight vigil at the closing ceremony for the Wall

•             Nov. 13 – Flag pickup day at the Healing Field.

The Wall is engraved with the names of 58,282 Americans who perished in the Vietnam Conflict or are still unaccounted for (Prisoners of War and Missing in Action). Visitors to the Moving Wall also will be able to visit the nearby Healing Field and walk among the flags with family and friends to experience the Spirit of America as they never have before. Made possible by Old Second National Bank and the A+ Foundation for West Aurora, the Healing Field will be free of charge and open to the public daily.

Individuals can sponsor one of the 3-by-5-foot Healing Field flags for a donation of $30 and receive the flag at the end of the event as a premium. An honoring tag will be included for an additional donation of $5. After the event, a flag can be mailed to an address for an additional donation of $10. There are also small business and corporate packages available. To obtain a flag or learn more, visit or email

“We want this to be the biggest event this Wall and Aurora has ever seen, and we want it to honor all veterans,” said Luckinbill. “As a Vietnam veteran, having the Wall come to Aurora means everything to me. I served on the first American ship that received direct gunfire in the Vietnam War. I lost a shipmate who slept right above me. I know what war’s about.”


Tags: , , , ,

An Italian Project Update – Ricigliano Italians

I have had so many comments posted, especially in the last week, about the Ricigliano Italians that some decisions have been made. As you may know if you have followed the blog for a while, I started a Genealogy Department at Casa Italia, the Italian Cultural Center in Stone Park, IL, in January. Since that time I have been busy with our volunteers organizing the library and AV materials. That has been completed. The next step is organizing the flat files which contains such amazing things. I plan to have this project complete by the end of summer if not sooner.

In September I will launch a monthly genealogy group and two writer’s groups. You can read a little about the writer’s groups on the Casa Italia blog.

And finally, the newest project is a Ricigliano Collection. I am putting together a guide of what I would like to include in this new collection. I know I will be looking for donations of the following items. We are collecting copies of items unless you wish to officially turn over originals to Casa Italia.

  • Photographs
  • Vital Records
  • Naturalization Papers
  • Military Records
  • Family Histories
  • Any other documents you have
  • Oral Histories – I will be conducting oral history interviews at Casa Italia starting this summer and fall.

The goal right now is to begin collecting materials in May and by this time next year put together a reception or exhibit on the Rigis and our new collection.

Would you like to donate? You can contact me by email.

What Rigi names have I been working on through my client work? There are many but the main surnames are Altier(i) (Galtier), Bagnuolo, Caponigri, D’Ambrosio, DeLeonardis, Iacullo (Yacullo), Indelli, Malpede, Meccia, Pacelli, Palumbo, Parrilli, Pascente, Pintozzi, Rocco, Sabia, Salvatore, Saracco, Serritella, Stolfa, Tortoriello/Turtoriello/Turturiello, Vernieri.

Please note – as a volunteer at Casa Italia, if you need help getting started in tracing your roots, you can schedule a time to come in and get some free assistance from myself or one of the volunteers. Should you need more in-depth research conducted, I am available for hire for that. Several Rigis have worked with me over the last two years on their histories and we have amassed a great deal of information.

© 2013 Generations, Woodridge, IL


Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Index Italian Records with Casa Italia

italian-ancestors-sponsorCasa Italia’s genealogy department is a sponsor of FamilySearch’s Italian Ancestors Indexing project. I will post training materials on the Casa Italia blog and will get some indexing training dates set up at Casa Italia for those who need assistance getting started. There will also be indexing parties scheduled where you can bring your laptop to Casa Italia and hang out with other indexers for a few hours, enjoy conversation, refreshments, and index records.

Why are we indexing? To help make millions of Italian civil records searchable to those conducting Italian research. Currently the images are available to browse online but are not searchable. Having spent many hours browsing images locating the indexes for each year in set of birth records and then locating those specific records is time consuming. When the names are indexed, the search is much faster.

Please sign up for the indexers newsletter I created which can be found on the right sidebar of the Casa Italia blog. There is a link underneath the FamilySearch logo. It is through the newsletter I will sent out much information about contests, events, how we are doing, and other resources.

To become an indexer please visit the Italian Ancestors Project website. Click ‘Sign In’ at the top right corner of the page. If you are currently a FamilySearch user just log in. If you are not, you need to create a free account. Please add your phone number to the registration so I can contact you about indexing events.

After logging in click ‘Start Indexing Now’ which is in a red box in the middle of the initial screen you see. Now there are three steps to complete.

  1. Download the indexing software and install it on your computer.
  2. Register as an indexing volunteer.
  3. Download a batch to begin indexing.

There are many tutorials available as you scroll down this initial page. Please take a look at them before you begin indexing. You do not need to know the Italian language to index. The tutorials will help guide you through the process.

Important!! You must sign up under Casa Italia for us to be able to track your indexing progress and the whole of volunteers indexing on Casa Italia’s behalf. To do this,

  1. Open the indexing software and click ‘Tools’ in the menu bar across the the top and select ‘Options.’
  2. The Options box opens and you should select ‘Edit My Preferences’
  3. This takes you to the indexing website where you can select the level of difficulty and the languages you wish to focus on indexing. Edit this as you wish.
  4. Now click on ‘My Info’ in the top right corner of the screen near your name. This brings up your information box.
  5. Click ‘Edit’ and under the ‘Additional Indexing Information’ section there is a dropdown for ‘Local Support Level.’
  6. Click the dropdown and select ‘Group or Society.’
  7. Now click the next dropdown that says ‘Group.’
  8. Select ‘Casa Italia – Italian Cultural Center – IL’
  9. Add your phone number to your registration if you did not already do so.
  10. Click ‘Save.’ You will be taken back to the main ‘My Info’ page.

At this point you are registered under Casa Italia and I will be able to track how we are doing as an institution.

What’s next? You can read through the tutorials on the project page and download a batch into your software and begin indexing. Everything you submit will be arbitrated by someone who knows the Italian language and they will check for possible data entry errors or omissions. When an entire record set has been indexed and arbitrated, it will be available to search through the usual search avenues on FamilySearch. No longer will you have to only browse the record images to locate an ancestor.

 If you have any questions about getting started or would like to have a one-on-one training session before the main sessions begin, please contact Jennifer Holik via email to arrange a time to stop by Casa Italia on a Monday or Thursday when I’m in the library.


Tags: , , , , , ,

Follow Friday – Casa Italia Chicago

Chicago, Illinois – January 4, 2013: Jennifer Holik of Generations collaborates with staff at Casa Italia Chicago to create a new genealogy department. The mission of the Genealogy Department is to collect, catalogue and preserve vital records, documents, published materials, artifacts, and stories pertaining to the family history of Italian Americans in Chicago.

This department’s dedicated and energetic team works in conjunction with the Roselli Library goal of building the most comprehensive archive of Chicago Italian Americana in the Midwest. Scholars, students, authors, and family historians can utilize these materials to research a number of fields including sociology, religious studies, demography, and immigration. Currently, our resources include archives, newspaper articles, religious histories, oral history transcripts, ancestral town information, videos of past genealogy programs, Fra Noi articles and newspapers, the Communes of Italy publications, and many other genealogical references.

The department will present programs throughout the year for adults and children. A monthly genealogy group will form offering research assistance and programs presented by local genealogical speakers.

Casa Italia Chicago is a non-profit organization in Stone Park, Illinois, where people meet to pursue common goals, preserve our past, celebrate our heritage and ensure passage of values to future generations. Casa Italia offers a children’s summer camp, Italian language classes, and cultural programs throughout the year.

For more information, follow us on FaceBook, Twitter, our blog, or contact Genealogy Department Manager, Jennifer Holik.


Tags: , , , , , , , , , ,

Wisdom Wednesday – Visit South Suburban Genealogical Society

This was originally posted on my Generations blog on November 13, 2012.

On November 10 I presented my social media presentation to the South Suburban Genealogical & Historical Society in Hazel Crest, IL. If you have ancestors who lived in this area of Cook County or worked at Pullman, you absolutely must check this group out. They have a fabulous research library and house some Pullman employee records which were saved from the incinerator. I was given a tour of the room in which they keep these records, which is not open to the public. Some of the employee files contain birth certificates, marriage certificates, fingerprints, photo identification cards, pay stubs, family information, insurance information, pension information, and many other things. All you have to do is send in a request and the volunteer staff will search the files.

This group meetings every month except December and January. Their library is open many days of the week. It is a place I will be visiting soon to do some client work. I cannot wait to dig into all they have to offer. Their website lists some of the resources but there are many gems not listed. The society is looking for volunteers to help work the library and do various projects. If you live in the area and have a few hours a week or month to give, consider contacting them.

I look forward to working with the members of SSG&HS again soon! Check them out… won’t be disappointed.


© 2012 Jennifer Holik, Generations


Tags: , ,


Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 1,742 other followers