All presentations are suitable for beginning and intermediate level researchers. Each is one hour in length, includes handouts and a Q&A section, and I bring my own projector and laptop to in-person presentations.  All topics are also available as a webinar if the sponsoring organization has the software to make that possible.  (New Topics are listed in Blue.)

Presentation Topics

Be A Good Ancestor – While you may feel there’s nothing important or noteworthy about your life, sometime within the next 100 years, someone who is researching their own history is going to want to know more about you. We’ll look at a few ways to leave them something to find.

DNA & Genealogy Come and learn more about this cutting edge science which can help enhance or confirm your paper based family research. A mix of history, available tests, testing companies, and using your test results, this hour will get you started on adding DNA as a genealogical resource. [recently updated]

Ellis Island – It’s history, other inspection sites, and a history of immigration to our country. The History of Ellis Island 1630-2012. Who was processed at Ellis Island and what did that involve? How did the Legislation of Immigration affect Ellis Island?

Family Search Library – My experience as part of a tour group to the Family Search Library in Salt Lake City, Utah.  Prepare – Enjoy – Learn!

Focusing Your Research – You don’t have to be a professional to work like one. Discover how organization, questions, and knowledge of records can help you become a better genealogist and researcher.

Following the Trail of Shared Matches – DNA test results can be overwhelming. This case study shows how I used the shared matches within my DNA test results to narrow in on my maternal grandfather and fill in many holes in my family tree.

Immigration to the U.S. through 1945 Finding where our immigrant ancestors came from is exciting and important. Reaching that goal often requires an understanding of the conditions and regulations surrounding immigration in a given time period as well as the experience of arrival in various parts of North America.

Internet Research for Genealogy –  Demonstration and discussion of search techniques that should make finding any type of information on the Internet easier. Both subscription and free sites will be discussed.

Julian to Gregorian: When and How our Calendar Changed – Dates are very important to genealogists but how well do you understand the relationship between the dates recorded and the calendar in use at the time? The switch from the Julian to the Gregorian calendar started in 1582, but lasted into the 20th century. Understanding the adoption process may impact your 18th to 20th century research.

Leaving Liverpool – What was it like to assemble in Liverpool before traveling to America or Australia? Millions did it and were subject to specific rules and given many tips for the voyage.  Let’s explore documents about these  voyages together!

Massachusetts Land Records – Massachusetts Land Records are a FREE resource and date back to 1731! Learn how to effectively search for and print documents from After a review of the website, we’ll look at examples from paid and personal research and discuss the clues that lead to learning more about a person’s life.

NARA Boston – Who, Why, When, & How – The National Archives at Boston (Trapelo Rd in Waltham, MA) has an extensive collection of federal documents.  Join me in taking a look at the Why, When, and How of researching at this facility and some of the wonderful details you might uncover as part of your ancestors’ lives.

Non-Population and Special Census Reports – Not everything the census bureau did or does is at the individual level. Let’s look at several ‘special schedules’ created by the census bureau that provide either additional detail about our ancestor’s business or their community!

Research Questions, Plans & Reports – Starting Family History with Good Habits (A 90-120 minute Workshop)This workshop starts by looking at census reports from 1790 through 1950. After the review, we extract data on a local or historical figure. Next step – create the research questions and plans to extend our knowledge of the individual.  We’ll close by looking at a report I wrote based on researching the same individual.

Researching Swedish HeritageAn introduction to Swedish research, culture, and customs. This presentation demonstrates items one should know before going too deep into Swedish research.  The principles apply to research in any foreign country.

Sharing Your Research Results – Today’s technologies give us many ways to share results without writing a full book. Let’s discuss creative ways to share even small discoveries that might interest your living family members.

Shared Matches in Your DNA Results Shared matches are the key to building out your tree and meeting cousins near and far. Learn how to work with them to discover more about your family tree.  Examples are from Ancestry DNA but the concepts apply to all DNA Testing platforms.

Starting Your Family History Research– Topics include basic genealogical forms, where to research,  tracking your research, and  questions to ask living relatives.

The Staff of the US. Census – Just who was creating the documents genealogists typically turn to first? What rules did they follow? How long did they have to complete their job? How big is an enumeration district? These questions and more probably occur to anyone doing extensive research in the U.S. Census reports.  This presentation tries to answer some of these questions, providing context for the data we turn to so often.

Understanding Library Systems & Protocols – Libraries are wonderful places to research. Understanding their systems and protocols will make your research trip more enjoyable and, possibly, more fruitful. Are you familiar with a Call System that uses Pull Slips? Are you bringing things that are not allowed in the facility? Join us for a look at a few New England Libraries, their Systems and Protocols.

Understanding the Naturalization Process in the United States – There are six ways to become a U.S. citizen.  We will review each, concentrating on the court option which produced a paper trail and can help with your family genealogical research. This presentation also covers ways in which citizenship was lost & perhaps regained at a later date.

Upon Receipt of Ancestry DNA Test Results – Receiving your first DNA test results is exciting. And confusing!  This presentation addresses some things you should understand and a few decisions you should make before delving too far into those Ethnicity Estimates and DNA Matches, we all crave upon receipt of test results.

Using a Chromosome Browser Not all DNA testing platforms include a Chromosome Browser. Still it is an effective tool to further your research and answer deeper questions about your matches. It is also needed to understand and the full story told by your DNA.

World War II – Letters To a From a Young Soldier – Over three hundred letters found in my uncle’s attic tell a compelling story of his life as a young WWII soldier, as well as his family’s experiences back home. These letters document his service with the Fifth Army Headquarters, from registering at Fort Devens, training at two separate camps, then travelling overseas to Italy. He describes the work and the leisure, the rules, and the return trip. Letters from his family tell of their life at home during the war. Learn about or re-live the years 1943-45 as we travel through his time using the words of a 19-year-old country boy and his family! 

Working with Census Reports – The purpose of the census, the instructions and methods for the enumerators, and the hidden gems you find when reading the entire page and putting your ancestors’ information into historical context. Each leads to additional sources to be researched for verification and added information.

Writing Your Autobiography – Your words express the emotions of your life. Putting them ‘on paper’ helps paint a picture of you that no camera can duplicate.

Please ask us about the possibility of creating something on a topic of your choice.