Saturday, September 26, 2015

2015 NARA Virtual Genealogy Fair Schedule

Mark your calendars for October 21 & 21, 2015 so you don't miss the NARA Virtual Genealogy Fair. The schedule has been released, and is listed below. These free classes will be live broadcast via YouTube, and you can send in your questions for the presenters. If you do miss the live sessions they will be archived for viewing later. 

Handouts and session descriptions can be found here.

Day 1: Wednesday, October 21 (Eastern Time)

Session 1 at 10 a.m. ET
Introduction to Genealogy at the National Archives by Claire Kluskens.

Session 2 at 11 a.m. ET
Preserving Your Family Records:  Conversation and Questions by Mary Lynn Ritzenthaler.

Session 3 at 12 p.m. ET
Personnel Records of the National Archives– St. Louis. By Bryan K. McGraw. 

Session 4 at 1 p.m. ET
It’s in the Cards: Finding Family Members in National Archives–St. Louis’ Card Series by Daria Labinsky & David Hardin. 

Session 5 at 2 p.m. ET
Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) Personnel Records by Ashley Mattingly.

Day 2: Thursday, October 22 (Eastern Time)

Session 6 at 10 a.m. ET
Where’d They Go?  Finding Ancestral Migration Routes by Jean Nudd.

Session 7 at 11 a.m. ET
Access to Archival Databases (AAD): Looking Down, From Above, to Look it Up!  by John LeGloahec. 

Session 8 at 12 p.m. ET
Finding Your World War I Veteran at the National Archives at St. Louis by Theresa Fitzgerald. 

Session 9 at 1 p.m. ET
Women in War Time Civilian Government Employment by Cara Moore.

Session 10 at 2 p.m. ET
Broke, But Not Out of Luck: Exploring Bankruptcy Records for Genealogy Research by Jessica Hopkins. 

Watch live video stream on YouTube US National Archives YouTube Channel

Wednesday, September 16, 2015

Announcing the Adventures in Genealogy Education Facebook Page

I am excited to announce that I have created an "Adventures in Genealogy Education" Facebook page.  See

This will be a companion page to the "Adventures in Genealogy Education" blog. I will use the Facebook page to post press releases and announcements about opportunities in genealogy education, including webinars, conferences, institutes, books, articles, and much more. I will reserve this blog for longer posts reviewing genealogical courses, books and programs.

This summer was very busy for me and I did not have time to write many blog posts. Here is what I have been up to:

June -- Coordinating the Intermediate Genealogy course at the Institute of Genealogy and Historical Research (IGHR) at Samford University

July -- Teaching in the Advanced Research Tools: Land Records course at the Genealogy Research Institute of Pittsburgh

August -- Featured speaker at the Northwest Genealogy Conference in Arlington, Washington

August -- My oldest daughter got married (this kept me the most busy of all)

September -- I will be teaching a course on Digging in Federal Land Records for the Virtual Institute of Genealogy Research on September 19th and 26th. See

I hope to be able to write more blog posts soon, but in the mean time I will keep you up-to-date with opportunities in genealogy education on Facebook.

Tuesday, September 15, 2015

Registration Now Open for RootsTech 2016

I received the following press release today:

SALT LAKE CITY, 15 September 2015—FamilySearch announced today that registration for RootsTech 2016 is now open. RootsTech is a highly popular and growing global conference where people of all ages celebrate family and are inspired to share their memories and connections. The annual event attracts tens of thousands of participants worldwide. RootsTech 2016 will be held February 3–6 in Salt Lake City, Utah. The website for registration is

Attendees can expect a full lineup of inspirational keynote speakers, over 200 educational classes, exciting hands-on activities in the expo hall, and entertaining evening events, all designed to help celebrate families across generations! Exclusive early bird discount pricing is available now for full passes starting at just $149 and $169 for the RootsTech plus Innovator Summit pass.  Passes for the Getting Started track start at $19 for a limited single day and $39 for a limited 3-day.   

An exciting change comes to the class schedule for RootsTech 2016. Classes will now start earlier in the week, on Wednesday February 3, with the first class beginning at 1:30 p.m.

For RootsTech 2016, attendees can now use a new scheduling tool to build, edit, and print their class schedule at All RootsTech and Innovator Summit classes, including speakers, class titles, and descriptions, are now available within the scheduling tool. Attendees can begin to create and edit their schedules, and continue to edit them after registration. The online tool will sync with the mobile app available later this year.

As part of RootsTech, the Innovator Summit returns to offer developers, business leaders, and entrepreneurs access to the latest content and resources that provide insight on family history data, services, and inspiration for current and future projects. 

Along with the Innovator Summit, the Innovator Showdown also returns to RootsTech 2016 and is even bigger than before. Innovators of all kinds in any industry are invited to compete with their latest hardware and software apps and services. The top six finalists will be invited to demo live onstage for over 23,000 people. The audience and a panel of renowned judges will decide the winners!

Registration for Family Discovery Day is also now open. The event takes place on Saturday, February 6, 2016, and is designed for families and members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Members of the LDS Church are invited to register as families and  groups up to 10 at a time. . This free one-day event includes devotionals, classes, interactive activities, and entertainment to help families and members discover, preserve, and share their family connections. Event details, including speakers and classes, will be made available soon at 

About RootsTech
RootsTech, hosted by FamilySearch, is a global conference celebrating families across generations, where people of all ages are inspired to discover and share their memories and connections. This annual event has become the largest of its kind in the world, attracting tens of thousands of participants worldwide.

Sunday, August 30, 2015

New Course on Federal Land Records

I  am very excited to be teaching a course on “Digging in Federal Land Records” for the Virtual Institute of Genealogical Research. This course will be held on two consecutive Saturdays: September 19th and 26th. There will be four 90 minute sessions that will allow us to dig further into these records than the typical lectures on the subject. 

Millions of Americans obtained land from the federal government either by purchase, donation, military bounty, or homesteading. The records created by these land transactions can be valuable for locating an ancestor in a particular time and place, and may also contain useful family information. Some land files include a detailed description of improvements made to the land, evidence of military service, proof of naturalization, and/or testimony from neighbors. 
This course will cover the distribution of land in the thirty public land states to individuals from 1798 to 1976. The sessions will take an in-depth look at the process for obtaining land, the records created, and the genealogical value they contain. Students will learn about the surveying process and legal land descriptions, the Acts of Congress authorizing different types of transactions, the process for applying for land, and what can be found online and only onsite at NARA. 
The unique format of four 90 minute sessions will allow time to dig deeper into these records and look at not only typical files for each type of transaction, but unique circumstances as well. The “plus” version of the course will also include feedback on the homework assignments and an extra session for asking individual questions about federal land records. 
Saturday, September 19th
Session 1: Background: History, Land Descriptions, Laws and Records
Session 2: Locating Records: BLM Website, Tract Books and Finding Aids
Homework assignment given

Saturday, September 26th
Session 3: Homesteads, Land Entry Papers and Military Bounty Land
Session 4: Case Studies Using Federal Land Records

To register for the course visit
The cost is $69.99 for all four sessions, or $99.99 for all four sessions plus feedback on the homework and an additional sessions where you can ask any questions you may have on the course content or on federal land records. 

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Family History Library Hosts Free Classes

The Family History Library Announces Free Classes for September 2015

These classes and workshops are designed to help individuals and families find their ancestors and teach others family history techniques. 

Sep 3              11:00 A.M. British Resources on findmypast
                         1:00 P.M. British Resources on
Sep 5                1:00 P.M. Recursos en línea además de
Sep 10              1:00 P.M. United States Civil War Records
                          6:00 P.M. Descendancy Research Webinar
Sep 17            11:00 A.M. British Resources on
                       11:00 A.M. Czech Online Church Records Webinar
                         1:00 P.M. Key Websites for British Research (Besides the “Big 3”)
Sep 19             10:00 A.M. Boy Scout Genealogy Merit Badge (1½ hours)
                         1:00 P.M. Conozca el sitio PARES
                         2:00 P.M. Protocolos notariales
                         3:00 P.M. ¿No hay otros registros?
 Sep 22             1:00 P.M. Newspaper Research
 Sep 24             6:00 P.M. United States City Directories Webinar

Click on this link to access the Live Online Classes.  Or go to; click on Search; select Wiki. Type Family History Library andchoose the top entry. Click on 2.2 Live Online Classes for details; scroll to find the desired class.

FamilySearch International is the largest genealogy organization in the world. Millions of people use FamilySearch records, resources, and services to learn more about their family history. To help in this great pursuit, FamilySearch and its predecessors have been actively gathering, preserving, and sharing genealogical records worldwide for over 100 years. FamilySearch is a nonprofit organization sponsored by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Guests may access FamilySearch services and resources free online at or through over 4,600 family history centers in 132 countries, including the renowned Family History Library in Salt Lake City, Utah.

Saturday, August 15, 2015

Research Plan Template

While speaking at the Northwest Genealogy Conference in Arlington, Washington I promised to post a link to my Research Plan Template. All the details on using the template are in the syllabus material shared at the conference. This is the link to the template in Word. Feel free to download it and us it on your own computer.


Monday, July 20, 2015

Two Gen Proof Study Groups to Begin in August

The Gen Proof study groups are organized to study the book Mastering Genealogical Proof, byThomas W. Jones. This is an exceptional textbook detailing the application of the Genealogical Proof Standard (GPS). The exercises will help you develop the skills you need to be comfortable applying the GPS to your genealogy work. This study program will consist of small groups of approximately 15-20 members and a mentor who will guide the discussions and answer questions. 

Registration is now open for two groups beginning in August:

Group 42 with Melanie Holtz, CG as mentor begins August 3rd. This is an ADVANCED group.

Group 43 with Cafi Cohen as mentor begins on August 17th. This is a Beginner/intermediate group.

Thanks to an arrangement with ProGen, the Gen Proof Study Groups now have the opportunity to use Basecamp as a platform. Basecamp is a project management platform that allows students to pose questions, participate in discussions and upload assignments. The group will not meet at a designated time but have ongoing discussions throughout the week. The mentor will log on each day to answer questions and highlight certain concepts, and participants should check in daily also. Basecamp is the same platform used for the ProGen Study Groups so some of you are already familiar with it.
There will be no expense involved to participate (other than the cost of the book). Each Gen Proof Study Group has their own private Basecamp group where they can ask and answer questions, submit assignments and examples and discuss the book content and assignments.

Commitments -- Please take into account any travel plans or large time commitments before registering for a study group. You should plan to fully participate in all of the group discussions and so should wait for a future group if you have a vacation coming up or large projects you are working on.

Completion Certificates – In order to encourage full participation throughout the course, we are now offering completion certificates to those who fully participate and complete the mentoring program. In order to qualify you must participate in each of the discussions and complete the exercises. In order for the group to be successful we need full participation from each group member. 

IF you are prepared to make a commitment to the study group, then please copy and paste the following into a new email (not a reply) to with the subject heading “Registration.”
Placement in discussion groups is on a first come first serve basis.
Gorup mentored by:
City, State:
Preferred Email Address:

Once you have been assigned to a group you will receive a confirmation email. After your group fills, you will be contacted and given access to the private Basecamp community for your group discussions.

BEFORE the start date of you group you should do the following:
1.     Begin reading Mastering Genealogical Proof. In particular read the preface, chapters 1 and 2.
2.     Read the two articles in Appendixes A and B. These articles will require multiple readings in order to absorb the information and do the exercises related to these articles. While the exercises don’t begin until chapter 2, you will need the extra time to digest these articles.
3.     If you are not familiar with the short article by William M. Litchman, CG, for learning how to read a National Genealogical Society Quarterly article, you will find his method helpful. The articles in Appendix A and B originally appeared in the NGSQ. The link to the Litchman article is 

The discussions begin on the date designated. The first week / discussion will begin right off discussing the preface and chapter one. The second week / discussion will cover chapter 2 including the reading and exercises, and will continue with one chapter per week, according the schedule set by the mentor.

Each group will discuss key points in the reading and there will be opportunities to ask questions on the reading material, exercises, and answers to the exercises. Each mentor will highlight points they think are important and guide discussions on the Genealogical Proof Standard and other content in each chapter.

If you have any questions please feel free to ask your mentor, or email Michelle Goodrum at

Michelle Goodrum
Gen Proof Study Groups Administrator