Lecture Topics

Computer and Internet

  • Wonderful Websites: Real Records Online
    Original records can be found online. Scattered and varied, their value is immense. Several sites will be reviewed.
  • Expert Insider Tricks: Online Newspapers
    Online newspaper collections and their search functions vary greatly. Learn tips to get the most out of them, even when search functionality seems limited. Formulate searches in new ways to discover items formerly hidden by the use of more obvious search terms.
  • Beyond the Law: Resources for Legal Context Online
    Locate and understand statutory and case law, and easily find definitions of legal terms and phrases. Discover resources that compliment statutory and case law and increase understanding of them and their impact on a research problem.

Essential Skills

  • Transcription: Simple Rules, Powerful Results
    Follow basic transcription rules to avoid common errors. This valuable data collection and analysis tool can reveal hidden evidence, help establish identities, and further your research.
  • Digging Through Documents Word by Word
    Proper scrutiny of each piece of information in a document is essential to understanding that item’s evidentiary value. Studying every word’s meaning and context ensures that evidence has been properly analyzed and comprehended.
  • Taking the Awe Out of the Law Library
    The law library intimidates newcomers. Use it to your genealogical advantage. Learn to track the history of a law and find ancestors in case law.
  • The Write Stuff: Family Histories with Substance and Appeal
    Narrative genealogical writing does not need to be dull. Learn to artfully weave facts into passages that help to bring an ancestor to life.

Essential Records

  • Land, Oh!
    This overview of land records, metes and bounds, township and range, maps, and related online websites and tools will help turn “land ugh” into “land oh!”
  • Internet Acres and Courthouse Castles: Intermediate-Level Land Research*
  • Newspaper Research in the Midwest
    Learn issues unique to newspaper research, and how to find and access digitized, microfilmed, and archival copies of Midwestern newspapers. Major repositories will be discussed.
  • Newspaper Research: Beyond the Birdcage
    Learn in-depth newspaper research techniques and the types of information newspapers contain. Explore regular and specialty publications, such as ethnic, trade, and religious newspapers. Find and access indexes and digitized, microfilmed, and archival holdings. Major repositories will be discussed.

Special Research Problems

  • Options in Post-Adoption Research
    The laws governing the release of adoption information are unique to each jurisdiction. Learn about the various options and how to begin a search.
  • Bringing Our Soldiers Home
    Thousands of lost soldiers and airmen from past wars were never recovered. Some were missing in action, killed in action, or prisoners of war. Learn about the project that aims to bring them home, and how genealogy is aiding in that effort.
  • Twentieth and Twenty-First Century Research: Resources, Methods, and Skills
    Modern research requires specialized skills, methods, and resources. The importance of ethics when dealing with living people will be addressed.
  • Land Records in Pennsylvania and Ohio
    Learn about the various systems of land sales and mapping that were in place in Pennsylvania and Ohio.

Expanding the Search, Breaking Down Walls, Methodology, Case Studies

  • Lessons from a Snoop: Collaterals and Associates
    Crucial information on direct ancestors is often found by nosing into the lives of collateral relatives, associates, and neighbors. Case studies present examples of invaluable finds.
  • Two Dan Dyes: Correcting Past Errors with Solid Evidence
    Two men named Dan Dye. One questionable DAR entry. When past research combines two people into one, it’s time to get out your paring knife.
  • The Curious Case of the Disappearing Dude
    James McBride seemingly vanished after coming of age. This case study presents how multiple versions of obituaries and other records helped uncover a name change, discover a famous James, and identify what became of his kin.
  • Clues from the Mid-West
    Getting from New England to the Midwest was an accomplishment. How did they do it? Why did they go? What types of records hold clues on the decisions made to leave old homes and travel to new ones? Learn about helpful resources and methods to find them and the clues they contain.
  • Families after Transit: Case Studies in Ohio
    Families during this period were often making homes for themselves in new places. Initially those places had few systems in place for record-keeping. Case studies of select Ohio families will reveal their origins in other states, and the things that brought them to and sometimes kept them in Ohio.
  • Case Study: New York to Ohio
    Case studies of select Ohio families will reveal their New York origins, and things that brought them to and often kept them in Ohio.

National Archives and Government Records

  • The United States Life-Saving Service
    A predecessor to the Coast Guard, the USLSS employed a number of people who lived near and worked on the Great Lakes and the oceans. Operating between 1871 and 1915, the agency created numerous records. Their genealogical value is illustrated through examples.
  • U.S. Passport Applications
    U.S. passport applications contain a wealth of information. Who, why, and when people applied for passports will be covered. Examples are shown.
  • Patently Unique: Locating Patent Records, Online and Off
    Was your ancestor an inventor? Learn how to locate patent records quickly and easily. Patents offer glimpses of creative genius and add interesting stories to family research.
  • Government Documents: Maps
    Maps and related materials are abundant in government documents. While some maps were created as a final product, others were published to illustrate reports, or as a larger set of information on a location or topic. Because some maps were published as part of a larger report, it may take forethought and persistence to locate them.
  • Government Documents: Department Documents
    A number of departments support the executive branch of government. The departments oversee agencies, bureaus, and other organizations. Learning about departments and related agencies helps with the search for items in government documents collections.


  • World War I Draft Registrations
    The World War I Draft Registration has been described as a census of a large section of adult men. Learn who had to register and what these records can tell you.
  • Prisoner of War Records
    Prisoners of war can be traced in government records. Different agencies created and kept POW records over the years.
  • Pension Application Files
    Military pension application files are invaluable resources of genealogical and historical information. Many pension application documents are preserved and contain valuable data. The various laws that governed pensions will be discussed.
  • Quartermaster Records
    The Quartermaster’s office had a number of functions including transportation, supplies, subsistence, construction, hiring contractors, and supplying gravestones and maintaining national cemeteries. Quartermaster records offer information on both military personnel and civilian employees and contractors.
  • Internet Sources: Colonial Wars to War of 1812
    Online sources dealing with early military records are explored. From indexes to digitized records, finding and using these resources enhances traditional military research.
  • Manuscript Collections: Non-NARA, Colonial Wars to War of 1812
    A review of major and some minor non-NARA manuscript collections helps steer genealogists toward valuable repositories, and teaches items to consider when searching for additional holdings.
  • Military Records, 1821-1919: Manuscript Collections
    Manuscripts are original handwritten papers and documents, often in the form of letters, diaries, journals, hand-drawn maps, and other works. Most manuscripts are found in scattered collections. Learning to locate manuscripts is essential.
  • Military Records, 1821-1919: State and Regional Resources
    State and regional military resources are of great value, and are often unique. As varied as record keepers and repositories, they may offer items not found anywhere else. While researchers often consider military research to be on the federal level, much is gathered and preserved locally.
  • Fraternal Organizations
    Post-war involvement in fraternal organizations provides insight into the post-service lives of servicemen. Military fraternal and lineage organizations allowed collective memories and resources to be combined, often leaving records of the organization’s work, and sometimes of individual members.
  • Uncovering the War of 1812
    Discover records created during and after the war. Learn how and why the War of 1812 impacted lives and decisions.
  • Bounty Land: State and Federal
    Uncover bounty land records. Learn how this system and its resulting records can enhance your research.

Luncheon/Banquet (approximately 35 – 45 minutes)

  • When I Stopped to Listen: Lessons Learned From the Living and the Dead
    Often more is said than is initially heard. Learning to listen with the ears and heart can help us to solve and better understand research problems, and the people who created them. This lighthearted jaunt through both the absurd and touching demonstrates that when things get too loud, earplugs can’t hurt.


  • Problem-Free Programming
    Program chair problems. Speaker issues. Prevent misunderstandings with successful planning. Consider audience, speaker, and society when offering programs.

*Future program

2 Responses to Lecture Topics

  1. Margie LaCerra says:

    Are you available to do two lectures on Saturday September 26, 2015? Also, what is the expected honorarium?

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