What the Heck Does That Say?: The Challenge of Difficult Handwriting (Available as a 1-hour lecture or 2-hour workshop)

Deciphering the handwriting in old documents can be difficult, but a few good strategies can make all the difference.  We'll look at a variety of ways to figure out what the chicken scratches on the page say, but also what the style of writing can tell us about our ancestors.


Voting Records: Genealogy's Best Kept Secret

Looking for a date of birth or death?  The date and court of naturalization? Where your ancestor disappeared to, or where he came from?  His political outlook?  Even what kind of house he lived in?  Voting records may have the answer.  These often-overlooked gems can be packed with genealogical information, and you won’t believe what they can tell us about our ancestors!


Beyond Names and Dates: Filling in the Stories of Our Female Ancestors  

For most of recorded time, women didn't leave much of a paper trail, but they still have wonderful stories to tell. We'll look at ways in which local history, laws, politics, natural disasters, probate inventories, and other resources can help.


Finding the Story Hidden Behind the Genealogical Facts

Our ancestors were real people with passions, problems, loves, and controversies, but the bare facts of genealogy, those important names, dates, and places, don't give us much sense of who these people were or what their lives were like.  Learn to dig deeply into the genealogical details to breathe life into your ancestors' stories.  


How to Write Ancestral Stories Your Relatives Will

Want to Read

Creating a captivating ancestral tale from genealogical facts is like turning fish eggs into caviar: the facts don't change, but the way you describe them makes all the difference.  With good research, thoughtful planning, and a dash of ingenuity, we can create engaging genealogical stories designed to entice even seemingly disinterested readers.  


Discovering Your Ancestor's Life in Records of Death

Sometimes the best way to learn about an ancestor's life is to dig into the mountain of paperwork created by his death.  We'll explore the surprisingly abundant information that is collected when a death occurs and glimpse just how much these records can reveal, not only about our ancestors' deaths, but also about their lives.  


Finding What You Need and Making the Most of What You Find

With so much information available to us today, it can be hard to know how to find what we seek, or what to do with it after we've found it.  Discover an assortment of techniques that can help you search the internet more successfully, extract those useful genealogical nuggets from your documents, organize what you've found, and evaluate your evidence.  We'll look at tools for locating overlooked records, understanding codes in documents, recovering missing websites, finding evidence of name changes, and much more.  


Genealogical Pits I Have Fallen Into and How to Avoid Them!

Here's your chance to learn from my mistakes without making them yourself!  We'll look at eight pitfalls that can get us into trouble, and how to dodge these traps so they won't keep you from reaching your goals.


Why They Left, Where They Went, and the Tales Their Journeys Can Reveal 

Why did our ancestors dare to leave their homes?  Why did they settle where they did?  We’ll see what secrets our ancestors’ migrations can reveal as we track them from place to place, across the ocean, across the country, and even across town.


Tracking Down Your Eastern European Ancestors

Available as two separate single lectures or a half-day seminar

In spite of the many wars, boundary changes, and political and natural catastrophes, an astonishing number of records exist for our Eastern European ancestors, both here and abroad.  We'll explore strategies for finding their places of origin, uncovering their original names, finding and requesting records, extracting and understanding their information, and dealing with foreign languages.


Genealogy For Beginners and Beyond

In this class, we'll explore the fascinating field of genealogy as we unearth the clues to our ancestral past.  We'll analyze the records our ancestors left behind and learn how to use them to bring the past to life.  From online resources we can use at home to more distant collections, we'll discuss where to find the clues to our ancestors' stories, what to do with the information, and how to make sure we don't find ourselves barking up the wrong family tree!   This class is suitable for those who are new to genealogy, but includes methodology that can help intermediates as well.


Absent Ancestors and Hidden Clues: City Directories, More Than Meets the Eye!

Naturally, these amazing resources offer important clues about those who are listed in directories, but also about those who appear to be missing.  Learn how to track down these ancestors and uncover essential details that may be hiding within the pages.