Archive for the ‘Presentations & Lectures’ Category

Free webinar on beginning your Civil War research tomorrow

Just a note to remind everyone that I will be presenting a free webinar tomorrow (October 24) at 2pm Eastern through Legacy Family Tree.

My presentation “Your Civil War Ancestors: Beginning Your Research” will discuss how to identify which of your ancestors may have served in the Civil War, and then how to find more information about the soldiers using compiled military service records and pension applications. Both Union and Confederate soldiers will be addressed.

To register for this webinar, visit

I hope to see you all there!

Free webinar tomorrow – “What is a ‘Reasonably Exhaustive Search’?”

There is still time to register for my webinar “What is a ‘Reasonably Exhaustive Search’?” Legacy Family Tree will be hosting this webinar, tomorrow (12 September 2012) at 2pm EDT.

The first requirement of the Genealogical Proof Standard is that we “complete a reasonably exhaustive search for all relevant records” related to our research objective. This presentation discusses what a “reasonably exhaustive search” entals, why this is necessary, and how to conduct a search. A case study explores how failing to identify all relevant records can lead to missing information and forming inaccurate conclusions about your ancestors’ lives.

To register visit You will receive a confirmation email after you complete the registration process.

Attendance at the webinar will be restricted to the first 1000 to sign in. There are already many more than this number registered, so it is important to sign in at least thirty (30) minutes early. If you are unable to attend the live webinar, the recording will be available to watch free on the Legacy Family Tree website for ten (10) days.

A more permanent copy of the lecture will be available for purchase on DVD directly from Legacy Family Tree here. Feel free to also pre-order the DVD  whether or not you can attend.

I look forward to seeing you there!

For more articles about conducting a “reasonably exhaustive search,” read:

You can also read any of the articles included in the category “Genealogical Proof Standard” on the right, for details about other very important research and analysis skills.

Free webinar tomorrow: “The Pursuit from Genealogy Hobbyist to Professional”

Tomorrow afternoon, 4 April 2012, Legacy Family Tree will be presenting a free webinar entitled, “The Pursuit from Genealogy Hobbyist to Professional,” featuring John M. Kitzmiller, II, AG and Claire V. Brison-Banks, AG.

According to Legacy’s website,

Several terms are applied to individuals that are interested in their ancestors. Those who are fascinated by the story but not really interested in the data could be termed amateurs. Moving up a rung on the ladder would be the hobbyists, who gather photos, letters and family memorabilia to share with others. They quite often are members of societies, are familiar with local history, and help others to find their ancestors. This group is quite underestimated, in that many have self-taught expertise and are quite knowledgeable. However, most of them do not charge money for their assistance. The next step is to operate at the “professional” level, which requires perspective, attitude, methods, process, and some business skills. This webinar will discuss various ways to make that transition. Join John M. Kitzmiller, II, AG and Claire V. Brison-Banks, AG for this special webinar, sponsored by the The International Commission for the Accreditation of Professional Genealogists (ICAPGen).

For more information, and to register for the free webinar, visit

Schedule of IGHR Evening Sessions now available

The schedule for the evening sessions at Samford University’s Institute for Genealogical and Historical Research, in Birmingham, Alabama, from 10-15 June 2012, has now been posted on the Institute’s website.

The scheduled sessions are as follows:

Monday June 11, 2012

“The Library of Congress: An Introduction and Overview for Genealogists”

This lecture discusses U.S. passenger arrival records, 1820-1957, which are available online and on microfilm. It explains what facts researchers need to know to begin their search for an immigrant ancestor’s ship, as well as how to conduct that search. Specific examples illustrate how to exploit Internet databases, National Archives indexes on microfilm, indexes published in book form and other pertinent research tools. How to find the ship of an ancestor who arrived before 1820 is also addressed briefly.

  • Presented by John Philip Colletta
  • 6:00-7:15 p.m.
  • Brock Forum, Dwight Beeson Hall

“Americans Abroad: Consular Records of the State Department”

In addition to diplomats, military personnel, or those abroad on official or semi-official assignments, Americans abroad-particularly in the nineteenth century, but also earlier-included many “ordinary” citizens: merchants, business men and women, middle-class travelers, naturalized citizens returning to their native countries, students, missionaries, artists, and others. Often circumstances caused them to seek assistance or support of the federal government while abroad. In such situations, as they interacted with the American government through its embassies or consulates, they created records, many with genealogical value. Those records are part of the State Department records in Record Group 59 at the National Archives. They begin as early as 1789 and continue to the present.

The presentation cites mostly records created in U.S. consular offices in France. However the examples are illustrative of similar records created in any other countries with which the U.S. had diplomatic relations-and thus had consulates where such records were created.

  • Presented by Claire Bettag
  • 6:00-7:15 p.m.
  • Auditorium, Brooks Hall

Tuesday June 12, 2012

“Certification: Procedures, Questions, and Answers”

  • Presented by Thomas Jones and Elissa Powell
  • 6:00 – 7:15 p.m.
  • Brock Forum, Dwight Beeson Hall

“The 17,000,000 Stories of Ellis Island: What’s Fact? What’s Myth?”

Ellis Island occupies a mythical place in the history of our nation. And rightly so! But many myths and misconceptions about the place persist, distorting genealogical research and reporting. This lecture puts Ellis Island into its proper place in the larger context of U.S. immigration history, and in so doing, sets the record straight as to what’s fact and what’s myth.

  • Presented by John Philip Colletta
  • 6:00 – 7:15 p.m.
  • Auditorium, Brooks Hall

Wednesday June 13, 2012

“Genealogical Research: Online Resources – for Free!”

In the economically challenged world we are in today, free is good! There are many choice websites that have digital images, databases, text files, etc. available free to use. The presenter will provide the attendees with insight into what is in store for them when they search some of the popular, and some so not well known, free websites available to them.

  • Presented by C. Ann Staley
  • 6:00 – 7:15 p.m.
  • Brock Forum, Dwight Beeson Hall

“Using the Genealogical Proof Standard to Research Slave Community”

The Genealogical Proof Standard provides a measuring stick to evaluate the validity of your conclusions. By allowing the Proof Standard to guide your research, you can be sure that your research is as accurate as possible.

During the Haitian Revolution in the 1790s, many planters fled the French colony Saint-Domingue (Haiti) for the United States. The Vincendiere family settled in Frederick County, Maryland, on land now part of Monocacy National Battlefied (a National Park), bringing several slaves with them. Within a few years, they owned several dozen slaves.

This case study will show how the Genealogical Proof Standard was used to research the slaves owned by the Vincendieres, from Saint-Domingue to Maryland, South Carolina, and Louisiana.

  • Presented by Michael Hait
  • 6:00 – 7:15 p.m.
  • Auditorium, Brooks Hall

Thursday June 14, 2012 — Banquet


  • Banquet Speaker: Larry H. Spruill
  • 6:30 p.m.
  • Cafeteria, University Center

For more information, visit the Evening Sessions page on the IGHR website at


RootsTech Genealogy Idol — At least we won’t be singing

This coming Thursday, 2 February 2012, Legacy Family Tree’s Geoff Rasmussen will be hosting a session at RootsTech 2012 in Salt Lake City: “RootsTech Genealogy Idol.” According to the description on the RootsTech website,

Attend the first-ever RootsTech Genealogy Idol competition as four contestants – 2 live and 2 online – compete for your votes. In the three rounds of competition, contestants will demonstration their gen-tech expertise and try to woo you with their favorite gen-tech secrets. Everyone will learn – but only one will leave with the title of RootsTech Genealogy Idol. The competition will also be broadcast to a live webinar audience who will cast their votes live.

I am excited to have been selected as one of the four contestants. I will presenting remotely from my home in Delaware. The other contestants are Marian Pierre-Louis (one of my favorite fellow genealogy bloggers), who will also be presenting remotely from her home in Massachusetts; and two live presenters, Elyse Doerflinger of California, and Elizabeth Clark of Connecticut.

We will each be presenting three three-minute presentations on the following topics:

  • Round 1: Favorite Technology Tip
  • Round 2: Genealogy Serendipity story
  • Round 3: Technology website or blog

At the end of the final round, the audience–watching live in Salt Lake City and via webinar–will vote on which of us will become the first “RootsTech Genealogy Idol.” I am sure that the voting will be extremely competitive.

If you will not be at RootsTech, be sure to watch the competition from home. To register for the free webinar, visit

And be sure to vote for your favorite presentations!

See also:

Geoff Rasmussen, “Genealogy Idol Competition – finalists announced AND sign up to watch and vote,” Legacy News blog, posted 13 January 2012 ( : accessed 28 January 2012).

Marian Pierre-Louis, “Participate in the 1st Genealogy Idol Competition,” Marian’s Roots and Rambles blog, posted 19 January 2012 ( : accessed 28 January 2012).

Elyse Doerflinger, “Who Will Be The Next Genealogy Idol?,” Elyse’s Genealogy Blog, posted 13 January 2012 ( : accessed 28 January 2012).

Upcoming lectures and webinars

The first half of my year is starting to shape up already, with a few already scheduled in the second half. Here are my upcoming lectures and webinars. (You can also keep up to date with my upcoming appearances using the calendar embedded in the sidebar on the right.) If you are interesting in my speaking at your event, please contact me through my website.

2 February 2012: “RootsTech Genealogy Idol,” live at the RootsTech conference, Salt Lake City, Utah, and via webinar. Hosted by Geoff Rasmussen, Legacy Family Tree. More information at and Click here to register for the webinar.

13 February 2012: “Using Civil War Records to Research African American Ancestors,” webinar, sponsored by the Friends of the National Archives – Southeast Region. More information at

23 February 2012: “Using the Genealogical Proof Standard to Research a Slave Community,” University of Maryland, College Park.

7 March 2012: “African American Genealogy: Tearing Down the Brickwalls,” Historical Society of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia. Registration information at (scroll down).

17 March 2012: Workshop at Genealogy Center, Tulsa City-County Library, Tulsa, Oklahoma:

  • “What is a ‘Reasonably Exhaustive Search’?”
  • “Using the Genealogical Proof Standard to Research a Slave Community”
  • “Research in the Old Line State: An Overview of Maryland Genealogy”
  • “Researching Online at the Maryland State Archives Website”

22 March 2012: “Genealogical Resources in Maryland,” on “Research at the National Archives & Beyond” with Bernice Bennett, BlogTalkRadio. More information at

17 April 2012: Delaware Genealogical Society, Wilmington. Subject still to be determined.

28 April 2012: Sussex County Genealogical Society Spring Conference, Georgetown, Delaware.

  • “Online State Resources for Genealogy: Beyond Ancestry & FamilySearch”
  • “Researching Online with the Maryland State Archives website”
  • “Genealogy in your Genes: Using DNA for Genealogy Research”

9-12 May 2012: National Genealogical Society Annual Conference, Cincinnati, Ohio.

  • “African American Genealogy: Tearing Down the Brickwalls”
  • “Online State Resources for Genealogy: Beyond Ancestry(TM) and FamilySearch(TM)”

More information at

19 May 2012: Tennessee Genealogical Society, Memphis.

  • “What is a ‘Reasonably Exhaustive Search’?”
  • “Your Civil War Ancestors: Beginning Your Research”
  • “Online State Resources for Genealogy”
  • “Reconstructing a Slave Community Using the Genealogical Proof Standard”

More information at (scroll down).

10-15 June 2012: Institute of Genealogical and Historical Research, Samford University, Birmingham, Alabama.

Course 3: Research in the South, Part I

  • “Maryland Resources – Part 1”
  • “Maryland Resources – Part 2”
  • “State Archives & Other Online Resources of the South”

Course 8: Researching African-American Ancestors: Slave & Reconstruction Era Records

  • Records of the Slave Claims Commissions

More information at

12 September 2012: “What is a ‘Reasonably Exhaustive Search’?” webinar, sponsored by Legacy Family Tree. More information at

24 October 2012: “Your Civil War Ancestors: Beginning Your Research” webinar, sponsored by Legacy Family Tree. More information at

Registration for the Institute of Genealogical & Historical Research–17 Jan 2012

Registration for the annual Institute of Genealogical and Historical Research will open next week, on 17 January 2012. The Institute will be held at Samford University in Birmingham, Alabama, from 10 June – 15 June 2012.

Registration for the courses will be staggered throughout the day, as it was last year, beginning at 11am EST/10am CST/8am PST. The schedule for registration will be as follows:

Opening at 11am EST/10am CST/8am PST:

  • Course 1: Techniques and Technology
  • Course 4: Advanced Methodology and Evidence Analysis

Opening at 11:30am EST/10:30am CST/8:30am PST:

  • Course 3: Research in the South, Part I
  • Course 5: Writing and Publishing for Genealogists

Opening at 12noon EST/11am CST/9am PST:

  • Course 2: Intermediate Genealogy and Historical Studies
  • Course 7: Virginia’s Land & Military Conflicts
  • Course 9: Military Records Research III: 1821-1919

Opening at 12:30pm EST/11:30am CST/9:30am PST:

  • Course 6: Advanced Library Research: Law Libraries & Government Documents
  • Course 8: Researching African-American Ancestors
  • Course 10: Tracing Your English Ancestors

Additional details, including a full schedule and instructor profiles, can be examined at the IGHR website:

If you have never attended IGHR before, please visit the “IGHR 101” page.  This site contains a short guide detailing the online registration process.

This will be my third trip to IGHR, and my first as an instructor. I will be teaching four classes this summer:

Course 3, “Research in the South, Part I” (coordinated by J. Mark Lowe, CG):

  • “Maryland Resources – Part 1”
  • “Maryland Resources – Part 2”
  • “State Archives & Other Online Resources of the South”

Course 8, “Researching African-American Ancestors: Slave & Reconstruction Era Records” (coordinated by Frazine Taylor):

  • “Records of the Slave Claims Commissions”

I hope to provide more updates on IGHR as the summer approaches.

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