Presentation Topics and Descriptions


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General Topics:


Beginning Your Genealogy Journey: 8 Steps to Getting Started

This presentation will give beginners the knowledge and confidence they need to begin and move forward with building a correct family tree.


Mistakes I Have Made: Confessions of a Repentant Genealogist

We all make mistakes as we build our family tree. Discover how to avoid them from a repentant genealogist. She made mistakes, but you don’t have to!


Back to School: Build Your Skills with Genealogy Education

Continuing education is an important part of becoming a competent researcher. In this session, attendees will learn the types of Genealogy Education available and how to choose which is right for them.


Reeling ‘Em in with Cousin Bait-10 Ways to Connect with Family

Creating Cousin Bait helps connect with those who may have information about your family. Learn 10 strategies to help you connect and collaborate with family members.


From Searching to Researching: Organize Your Family History

Do you have more things in piles than files? Learn some practical ways to organize your family history documents, photos, books, ephemera, and more. With everything in its place, you can go from searching for them to using them for clues to further research.



Record Methodology:


In Other News…Finding Family in the Paper

Newspapers can be an excellent source for obituaries. But did you know there is so much more? Scandals, events, stories, and gossip are among the things you may find to put flesh on the bones of your ancestors. Tips on searching both online and off will help you to discover what your family may have been doing between their dashes! Warning! You never know what you may find!


Analyzing Probate Records: Following the Clues Left After Death 

Probate Records can shed light on your ancestors even when there's no will. Learn how to use these records, find clues, and help answer your research questions.



 Claiming Loyalty to the Union Cause:  Finding Ancestors in the Records of the Southern Claims Commission 

Full of information, including answers to application questions and witness testimony, these records can add details of our southern ancestors' lives- both white and black-not found anywhere else.

Researching in the 1950 Census

The release of the 1950 Census has been a great help to our family history research. Learn how to get the most out of the newest census to be released. Attendees will understand where to locate the records, the importance of the enumerators’ instructions, and how to gather clues from the answers to the questions asked. 

Diving into Directories: Ways to Find Family and Clues Between the Pages

City Directories once were where people went to look for information on people, businesses, and locations, but they are more than just simple listings. Learn how reading from cover to cover may produce clues to family and additional records.


What Does That Say? Strategies for Reading Old Handwriting

Reading old handwriting in documents can often be a challenge. If we can’t understand what a record says, how can we glean facts, clues, and other information to help us build our family trees? This session will show some of the best strategies to decipher old handwriting so you don’t miss or misunderstand a thing!

Stories Among the Headstones-Researching in the Cemetery

Cemeteries provide more than birth and death dates. We may find clues that lead to more details about the lives of our ancestors. Learn tips for researching in the cemetery and how to gather the stories among the headstones.


Someone to Watch Over Me: Guardianship Records

An often-overlooked record within a probate package, guardianship records for underage children-even when their mother was still living-and for those deemed unable to care for themselves, can contain important clues to family, living conditions, and so much more!


I Got it on eBay! Shopping for Family History

Family photos, postcards, memorabilia, and more can be found on eBay!
Learn how to search, buy and set up notifications for items and places of interest. Don't overlook this unique way to find treasures to add to your family story!


Research Methodology 

5 Elements for Sound Research: A Guide to Applying the Genealogical Proof Standard

Intimidated by the GPS? This session will help you understand each of the 5 elements and create a solid foundation for your research.




Evidence: Direct, Indirect, or Negative? It Depends!

Do you know the difference between Direct, Indirect, and Negative evidence? Are you confused about why it matters? In this session, examples of each of the three types of genealogy evidence will be presented, along with explanations on how to recognize and use each to climb your family tree.


Finding the Living: Genealogy in Reverse

Locating Cousins, Heirs, Next of Kin, and DNA Matches are just some of the reasons to find living people. Discover the tools and techniques used to find and make the connections you are looking for.


Beyond Dry Facts: How to Examine Records for Information that Leads to Great Stories Note:  This is a joint-presentation proposal with Laura Hedgecock and Cheri Hudson Passey as co-lecturers

Go beyond vital statistics! Discover how to maximize the information gleaned from records and how to convert those facts into a compelling narrative.


From Shock to Understanding: How to Examine, Process, and Write About Uncomfortable Family Discoveries    Note:  This is a joint-presentation proposal with Laura Hedgecock and Cheri Hudson Passey as co-lecturers

Uncomfortable discovery? Learn how to interpret and share records, as well as how to write about ancestors in a way that increases understanding and accuracy.


Collateral Research—The Secret Sauce to Finding Family Records

Your ancestors didn’t live and have experiences alone. Researching collateral lines may be the secret sauce you need to find clues that will answer genealogy questions. What is Collateral Research? Research of family members you are not a descendant of.


 Plan Your Work and Work Your Plan: The Key to Thorough Research

Thorough research is one of the elements of the Genealogical Proof Standards. How do you know if you've done enough? A research plan is the key. From creating to working through your plan, learn how to use this tool to keep you on track and be as thorough as possible.


Where in the World? How to Tackle a New Research Location

Finding a branch from our tree that lived in a place we have never researched can leave us clueless about where to begin. Learn methods and strategies for understanding the records, history, and best practices for tackling a new research location.


 Beginning Strategies for Searching Online Records & Resources

Searching records and resources is more than just filling out the form on a site and hitting search. Build your skills by learning the best practices for filling out a search form, locating the record collections you are looking for, and useful tips and tricks to help you as you begin researching online. From the big record repository websites to free resources like the FamilySearch Wiki, you will learn to use your time wisely, stop searching, and begin researching!


Beyond the Basics Online Research Techniques 

Build your skills and move beyond the beginner level of search strategies. Learn to target your queries in search engines and search boxes to help return the best results. Use the power of the internet to help locate various types of records. The session will look at the large online record repositories, newspapers, and other collections to show the best methods of producing results that can lead you to more discoveries about your family history.


Off to America: Finding Living American Cousins

Do you have family in your tree who left to find their fortunes in America?

Looking for their descendants?

Discover the tools and techniques that can help you make cousin connections.


Somewhere in Time-Placing Ancestors in Historical Context

Our ancestors were influenced by events happening around them.

Discover ways to learn about what may have shaped the lives of those on your family tree.


From Name Collection to Name Confirmation: Adding Leaves to the Right Branch

In our desire to find family and build our tree, we may be guilty of name collection instead of name confirmation. Learn steps to help slow down, take a good look, and verify to add leaves to the right branch.


Discovering Hidden Treasure: Miscellaneous Papers and Mixed Provenance Records

Libraries and Archives often receive documents and other items that are difficult to catalog. They end up being placed in files or boxes labeled Miscellaneous or Mixed Provenance, so they are often overlooked. These records can hold hidden treasures that answer genealogy questions!

Business Helps:


Becoming a Professional Genealogist: From Passion to Profit

Are you thinking of becoming a professional genealogist or looking for ways to grow your existing business? From education to marketing to getting that first paid gig, discover some of the things to consider and steps to take before you decide to hang out your shingle.


Blogging for Clients: Bringing in Customers a Post at a Time

Although some have declared blogging dead, it is still alive and well and can be a successful avenue to drive traffic to you and your business. In Blogging for Clients: Bringing in Customers a Post at a Time, learn how and why a blog can be a great way to showcase your knowledge and skills to potential clients.


Becoming a Genealogy Speaker-From Preparation to Presentation

Thinking about becoming a Genealogy Speaker?  Learn tips on finding topics, creating a presentation, filling out the calls for presentations, and more!





Carolina On My Mind: Researching in the Palmetto State

South Carolina is rich in history but poor in records. Learn strategies for those that are extant and how to use indirect evidence when not.


From South to West: The Southern Diaspora in The United States

Southerners have been migrating west for centuries.

Learn to track your family across the country as they search for a new place to call home.


Ethnic Groups


Enslavers in Your Family Tree? Moving Past the Emotions to Help Families Connect.

Have you found a record of your ancestor showing the ownership of the enslaved? What do you do with the information? Learn how to extract the names of the enslaved and where to share them so that they may be remembered, found, and connected.


Descendants of the Enslaved and Enslavers -Working Together to Discover Family

Sharon Batiste Gillins, a descendant of enslaved ancestors, and Cheri Hudson Passey, a descendant of enslavers, share how to overcome emotions and other obstacles to work together to connect families.




How to Use the FamilySearch Catalog

The FamilySearch Catalog is an underused resource by many genealogists.

Learn tricks and tips on using this tool to its full potential for finding records within the collection.


FamilySearch Tips and Tricks

 The FamilySearch website is one of the best tools for locating information to build your family tree. Shockingly, some have not heard of it or do not use it. This presentation will explain why it should be in every genealogist toolbox and share tips for using it better and smarter.



Family History-Are You Doing It? Cue the Eye Rolls and Heavy Sighs

Getting eye rolls and heavy sighs when you talk to youth about Family History? Learn tips for helping them get involved and enjoy the journey!


 Society Helps


Online Meetings: Helping Your Society Move into a Virtual World

Today, virtual programming is more important than ever. Learn how to meet online and convince reluctant members to embrace new technology.


 Society Growth -5 Ways to Offer Your Membership Quality Programming

From assessing the needs of your society to finding and working with a speaker. Learn five ways to build and support membership with quality programming.

 Society Support: Hybrid Meetings

Hybrid meetings are a choice as we return to a new normal for our Society meetings. How to know if it's time to go or stay hybrid and best practices for success!


After the Merge: Society Support Under NGS Leadership

How have things changed since the merger of FGS and NGS?

What can your organization expect moving forward?

More Topics on Request



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