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Archive for the ‘Seminars’ Category

Seminar Season

Spring brings us genealogy seminars. I have scheduled myself to attend three:

  1. 2024 Nebraska State Genealogical Society Annual Conference. This will take place later this month in Columbus. The featured speaker will be Blaine Bettinger, the Genetic Genealogist. He will speak on various topics related to DNA. The conference will also include several breakout sessions of general interest.
  2. Colorado Palatines to America Spring Seminar. On May 4, Dana Palmer, a well-known genealogist in Germanic research circles, will cover four topics related to Germanic research. This will be an all-day event offered in a hybrid format.
  3. Colorado Genealogical Society. In lieu of a formal seminar this year, CGS will host a 100th anniversary celebration. James Jeffrey, retired genealogy librarian for the Denver Public Library, will be the keynote speaker at this catered event on May 18.

All three of these gatherings promise to be interesting and worth attending. They will provide useful information and offer opportunities to meet up with other genealogists. My calendar is getting full.

More Continuing Education

Here in the Denver area, genealogy programs abound. This week offered me two:

  1. Megan Koepsell, President of the Colorado Genealogical Society, spoke to the Highlands Ranch Genealogical Society on Tuesday about how to search for Irish roots. Since I identified my most recent Irish ancestor last summer, I have been working to fill in his family tree. Megan gave me a good list of sources to try.
  2. Professor Neil Price, one of the leading authorities on Viking history, will present to the Swedish Genealogical Society of Colorado this weekend on research in this field. I am not Swedish, but the club has graciously opened this meeting to everyone with Scandinavian heritage.

Both these meetings offered hybrid options.

I opted for the Zoom call on the Irish program. I was disappointed that the organizers chose to mute the business portion of the meeting, which they conducted first. It left those of us online, including the speaker, twiddling our thumbs for 20 minutes or so of dead air. I would not recommend this approach going forward. First, as a member of the club, I would have liked to hear the business meeting. Second, if it is a problem to let those online hear the meeting, why not have the speaker go first and then let the online attendees leave when the business meeting begins? Or at least schedule the program to begin at a specific time?

For the Swedish meeting, I have registered to attend in person. I am still leery of Covid exposure, but this program will take place in a large, high-ceilinged venue where I know I can keep my distance from others.

It is great to live in an area where so many people work so hard to schedule numerous events for the genealogy community. Without all this continuing education, I would not have had the expertise to compile the large family trees I have.

Early American Migration Routes

This month I had the good fortune to participate in a webinar about migration trails in America. During the early years of our country, people followed established routes to settle new lands.

The webinar speaker, Ann G. Lawthers, told us about the push and pull factors that led to this massive migration. Then she discussed the migration trails the settlers often traveled.

My own family moved and resettled along with all the others. I have incomplete information about their travels, but I know this much:

  1. Carter and Templeton—My ancestor John Carter’s (1790-1841) family settled at Carter Station, Tennessee in the 1780’s. John Carter and his wife Mary Templeton (1792-1857) migrated to Kentucky and then to Coles County, Illinois.
  2. Day and Howe—John Day (1760-1837), born in Lunenburg County, Virginia, served in the Revolutionary War and eventually settled in Morgan County, Kentucky with his wife, Rebecca Howe.
  3. Dunbar and Hall—These New Englanders lived on Cape Cod until 1831 when they moved on to Summit County, Ohio.
  4. Kirkham—Robert Kirkham (1754-1819) was born in Virginia and served in the Revolutionary War at Boonesborough, Kentucky. From there, he moved on to Indiana.
  5. Lawless and Ryan—these Irish immigrants arrived on the east coast before 1850 and settled in Illinois.
  6. Reed and Carr—This family lived in Morris County, New Jersey during Colonial times but had relocated to Fayette County, Pennsylvania by the Revolutionary War. From there they settled in Kentucky, fanning out from there to Indiana, Illinois, and Texas.
  7. Sherman—Daniel Sherman, born somewhere in New York around 1800, had arrived in Morgan County, Kentucky by the 1820’s.
  8. Stilgenbauer—This Bavarian family was living in Bartholomew County, Indiana by the 1850’s.

While attending the webinar, I learned that William Dollarhide’s classic book Map Guide to American Migration Routes, 1725-1815 (1997) has been updated and expanded to a 2-volume set. I ordered it right away, and it arrived this week.

The first part covers Indian paths, Post Roads, and Wagon Roads in early colonial America. The second volume describes stagecoach, steamboat, canal, and railroad routes. Both are chock-full of maps.

My family likely used all these means of transportation. This set will be a valuable reference tool for me as I delve further back in time with my American family history.

A Refreshing Break

Sometimes I need a break from my frustrating search for my Irish roots. What better way to recharge than to indulge in some genealogy continuing education?

Two opportunities came my way this week:

  1. Yesterday I listened to a webinar on Colonial Migrations. The speaker, Ann G. Lawthers, talked about settlers along the eastern seaboard—everything from their ethnicities and religions to where they moved when they decided to leave. My brick wall ancestors likely had ancestors who followed these migration routes. Where did you come from John Davis Riddle (1821-1896) and Daniel Sherman (abt. 1800-abt. 1863)?
  2. On Saturday, our local WISE (Wales, Ireland, Scotland, England) chapter will offer a Zoom program on the Ulster plantations. My grandmother always claimed our Reed family was Scots Irish, but so far no one has been able to verify this. Its time for me to learn a little more as I prepare to do additional research on the Reed family.

After I hear a good genealogy program, I muster some fresh enthusiasm for my own research. I am ready again to chase down those Ryans.

A Week of Genealogy Webinars

They say things come in threes. This week brought me three interesting genealogy webinars on various topics.

An Overview of My Heritage by Del Ritchhart

During this presentation hosted by the Colorado Genealogical Society, local genealogist Del guided us through the powerful My Heritage website. We learned how to create a family tree and expand it using the genealogy discoveries that My Heritage finds and suggests. He explained how to upload DNA test results and make the most of all the matches we receive. He demonstrated the site’s photo colorization and animation feature. During the presentation, I created a To-Do list of features I want to try. First up, the consistency checker for family tree errors.

Building Family Trees for Your DNA Matches by Mary Eberle

Legacy Family Tree Webinars engaged the founder of the DNA Hunters consulting service to talk about a methodology for determining how an unknown DNA match may be related. I was happy to learn that I am doing something right. I use the same approach she suggests. I, too, work to build trees for unknown matches out to the great-great grandparents looking for a common ancestor. She also offered some helpful tips for identifying matches who use just initials or an alias or who have no tree posted on the testing site.

Basics of New England Research by Ann Lawthers

This webinar presented by American Ancestors and scheduled for later today anticipates the release of the sixth edition of Genealogist’s Handbook for New England Research. The class promises to cover the historical context and organization of New England records. It will offer strategies for successful New England research. I have not worked with New England sources beyond town records and the American Ancestors website, so I am eager to learn more. I have numerous New England ancestors who lived in Massachusetts from 1620-1831 left on my research list.

Having these webinars available for free from home helps me stay up to date on my research skills. I learn something new each time. The only problem is deciding where to begin.

Busy Genealogy Time

This two-week period gives me the opportunity to brush up my research skills by participating in some excellent genealogical training. My local societies are offering several good choices for learning something new:

  1. Colorado Genealogical Society. On the 5th Saturday of March, Dr. Greg Liverman spoke on current happenings at all the DNA testing companies.
  2. Sleksforkningklubb. The Sons of Norway lodge hosts this Norwegian research group. Earlier this month my husband/tech advisor told us about migration patterns to, from, and within Norway through the centuries.
  3. Highlands Ranch Genealogical Society. At our regular monthly meeting we heard from professional genealogist Christine Cochran about the emerging field of forensic genealogy.
  4. Palatines to America. The Colorado chapter will host its 2021 Spring Seminar this weekend. Teresa Steinkamp McMillin, CG, will speak on four topics including German farm names, the German archives, German immigration waves, and a case study illustrating the use of indirect evidence.

Due to the pandemic, all these classes take place over Zoom. No need to leave the comfort of home to hear some top-notch presentations.

I take away some great ideas from these meetings every time. We have so much good information coming our way this time of year. I do not want to miss out on one bit.

Virtual Genealogy Anyone?

At this time of year, we have many opportunities to further our genealogical education. The invitations keep rolling into my In Box.

Many of these conferences and seminars, like RootsTech ( and the NGS 2021 Family History Conference (, offer a wide range of topics.

Others focus on more specialized subjects. The Colorado Genealogical Society’s 2021 Seminar will feature Crista Cowan “The Barefoot Genealogist” speaking on using (

Those who seek classes to help them further their German research have a couple of good choices coming up:

  1. 2021 International German Genealogy Conference. With the theme of Researching Together Worldwide, this virtual conference will be held 17 July to 24 July. Registration is now open and can be completed at the following link: A special Early-Bird registration discount is possible until 31 March 2021. This conference will feature popular speakers Ute Brandenburg, Wolfgang Grams, Timo Kracke, Roger Minert, Judy Russell, Katherine Schober, Diahan Southard, and Michael Strauss covering an extensive variety of German genealogy topics.
  2. Colorado Palatines to America Spring Seminar. On April 9 & 10, Teresa Steinkamp McMillin will speak via Zoom. She will offer four sessions including The Voyages of Our German Ancestors, Understanding German Farm Names, Discover the Holdings of German Archives, and a case study using indirect evidence. Registration for this seminar is open at

I am registered for a couple of upcoming genealogy events that look interesting to me. I am looking forward to hearing some good speakers and collecting some new research ideas.

What about you? How much time do you have available? What will you choose?

Learning Genealogy on Zoom

This month the Colorado Genealogical Society (CGS) scheduled two helpful Zoom classes for anyone looking for some new research techniques:

  1. Last week Dina Carson spoke on getting the most from database research. Dina, a Coloradan who writes books for genealogists and local historians, provided many ideas for effective searches on Google and in genealogy databases.
  2. Coming up this weekend will be Shannon Green and her program on correlating evidence to further one’s research. Shannon is a trustee on the Board of Certification for Genealogists. Her program will help all of us do more professional work.

These Zoom meetings begin a half hour before the scheduled presentation time. We use this extra time to converse and ask one another genealogy-related questions. This social time helps us stay connected when we cannot meet in person.

CGS, unlike some other societies, makes these sessions and the monthly Society meetings free and open to anyone who cares to register. Carson’s class drew over 100 participants, one from as far away as North Carolina.

I like the friendly approach of accepting all comers instead of putting up paywalls. It seems to attract new members to CGS. Every newsletter I have received during the pandemic contains a list of people who have joined the organization recently.

I hear that CGS may continue with some Zoom meetings once our usual location, the Denver Public Library, reopens. Parking has become more of an issue in downtown Denver, and the public transportation schedule has been reduced. Many people like the convenience of being able to participate from home.

Of course, it takes work for our Board to provide these meetings and classes. I am so glad they do. I get a lot for the nominal membership dues I pay this organization.

I cannot wait to hear what Shannon Green can teach me on Saturday.

Coronavirus Hits the Genealogy World

The genealogy community makes up just a small corner of the world, but like everyone else we face challenges presented by the spreading coronavirus. Event cancellations pour in as people practice social isolation.

  1. Yesterday the Denver Public Library cancelled all meetings and events for a month. This requires the Colorado Genealogical Society and the Colorado Chapter of Palatines to America in turn to cancel upcoming meetings and seminars that would have been held in Denver’s main library.
  2. Our local LDS meeting place has requested that the Highlands Ranch Genealogical Society gather elsewhere or cancel its monthly meeting and annual genealogy fair in April.
  3. My husband/tech advisor has offered to host a virtual meeting for our Sons of Norway board this month. If our usual meeting place at one of the Douglas County Libraries follows Denver’s example, we will lose our meeting room.
  4. He has already announced that the Norwegian Genealogy study group he facilitates will meet in virtual sessions during April and May.

One event (I hope!) that will not face cancellation is the Legacy Family Tree 24-hour Genealogy Webinar Marathon scheduled to begin later today. I registered for this event that I can attend on my home computer.

Several topics caught my interest. Luckily, they are not classes that will occur during the middle of the night in my time zone. I plan to tune in to these:

  1. How Do I Know It’s Correct: Evidence and Proof by Rebecca Koford
  2. Not Who He Once Was: Tips for Finding Your Name-Changing Ancestor by Mary Kircher Roddy
  3. A Vast and Virtual Genealogical Library is Waiting for Your Exploration by Mike Mansfield
  4. Advanced Googling for Your Grandma by Cyndi Ingle
  5. Researching Scandinavian Ancestors by Mike Mansfield

Perhaps these virtual meetings will become more commonplace. We do not know when or if our world will return to the days of carefree gatherings of every kind. Already we have adjusted to heightened security measures when we meet in large groups. Perhaps we will see a permanent change in public health practices for meetings, too. Genealogists and everyone else will have to adapt.

Spring 2020 Genealogy Training

Opportunities for genealogy training seem abundant this time of the year. I have many to offerings to choose from, some live, some online.


  1. RootsTech. This 4-day event in Salt Lake City this week provides over 300 breakout sessions taught by professional genealogists and industry experts. A huge expo hall houses vendors and more. I have never attended RootsTech in person. I would rather avoid the huge crowds it attracts. The conference offers a live streaming option for those of us who prefer to stay home.
  2. Colorado Palatines to America Spring Seminar on March 13-14. Teresa Steinkamp McMillin, a specialist in German research, will speak. Because I am not focusing on our German ancestors this year, I will not attend this seminar.
  3. Colorado Genealogical Society Spring Seminar on April 18. Angie Bush, chair of the National Genealogical Society’s Genetic Genealogy committee, will give four programs on building online family trees and using DNA testing for genealogy. I have other plans that weekend, so I will skip this seminar.
  4. National Genealogical Society Family History Conference on May 20-23. This annual conference travels around the country and will take place in Salt Lake City this year. I do not plan to attend. I live near enough to Salt Lake to visit its library when I am not competing with hundreds of other genealogists for research space.


  1. Legacy Family Tree webinars. Legacy hosts about 8 webinars a month on a variety of topics. I do not listen in on all of them, and I have not yet participated in one this year.
  2. American Ancestors webinars. Hosted by the New England Historic Genealogical Society, these webinars also cover a variety of subjects although many focus on New England ancestry. I am registered for one on March 19 where I will learn about Mayflower resources available on

As in any industry, change is constant. These training opportunities can help me keep up with current events in the genealogy world. Because many of them require large time and monetary commitments, I find it important to choose wisely when deciding what to attend.