Looking for a speaker for your genealogy society meetings? Choose from these topics. Each presentation is about one hour in length, and is supported with a handouts and a PowerPoint presentation.
Click on a topic below to see available lectures.
American Revolution Genealogy
The War of Independence changed history; our history; our families’ history. It’s a story about which we want to know more. Did my ancestor help? …even a little? There’s much to be learned about our ancestors’ roles in this moment in history. In this class, we’ll discover where to start, what the best resources are, and how to tackle the research. So, let’s go in search of answers using the soldiers’ service and pension records and unit narratives.
American Civil War Genealogy
At only one time in our history did our country fracture at the seams as it did in the Civil War. Because of the issues of states’ rights, competing cultures, and the seminal issue of slavery did families, towns, and states turn on each other to the point of death. What role did my family play? Which side of the debate did we support? Did we lose family members? Civil War genealogy takes us back in time to see how our family helped forge this pivotal moment in history – changing the course of our country forever. Discover research tools among the soldiers’ records that will give rich meaning and texture to your family history.
Up Close & Personal: Civil War Women & Their Organizations
We think of women today being politically and socially active as a matter of course. Not so in 1860. Women were given the role of “Women’s Work” in life and in war. This era marks a subtle but significant change, and some would say, the basis for the suffrage movement and the birth of the “Modern Woman.” Through the records, resources, and repositories, we’ll examine their role in anti-slavery organizations, soldier’s aid organizations, lineage societies and more.
The Battle for Bounty Land: War of 1812 and Mexican-American Wars
Land given as a “Bounty” for military service has been an American tradition from the Colonial Era up to the Civil War when the practice saw its ultimate discontinuance. The Spanish-American and Mexican-American Wars and the battle waged by the veterans for their bounty land tell the story of a nation and a military in transition. Lucky for us genealogists, there is a “bounty” of both military pension and land-purchase records left behind to tell the story both nationally and personally.
Colonial Land: Six Types of Colonial Land Acquisition
Colonial immigrants came to America searching for a means support their family, church membership, and citizenship. They found land and in it their future for not only themselves but for future generations.
This lecture explores the ways our Colonial Ancestors acquired land and the documents they created in the process. Specifically, we will discuss Company Grant Land, quit rents, military bounty land, deeded land, headrights, and indenture. With a search plan and the right tools, you’ll be equipped to fi nd “land,” as your ancestors did.
Colonial Immigration: The English Pioneers of Early America
Imagine leaving everything you and your family has known for generations for an unexplored, unfamiliar, possibly hostile “New World.” Who were these people of unbounded courage, faith, and resiliency who ultimately laid the foundation for the America as we know it? What stories they must tell! What do the records reveal of their immigration, voyage and settlements in America? We’ll look at what history has left us in passenger records and alternative sources – both primary and secondary – to peel back this riveting portion of our personal and national history.
Imported to America – Colonists for Sale! (Immigrants as Indentured Servants; Convicts)
It may be surprising that not all Europeans came to America seeking the land of “milk & honey.”
Some were “transported” as the sentence for their crime of stealing, prostitution, or other non-capital offense. Others paid for their passage with years of uncompensated labor. It’s a revealing story, and an eye-opening look at a not often told side of Colonial America. In this class we break open the stories of 50,000 or more immigrants through the history and documents they’ve left behind.
Researching Colonial Pennsylvania Part 1
This discussion begins with an overview of the history, then dives into the framework-building records. We first look at vital records, church records, and census alternatives to place our ancestor in time and place. Then we begin to tap into Colonial and Revolutionary War records.
Researching Colonial Pennsylvania Part 2
We conclude this discussion with an in depth look at land, immigration, probate and secondary sources including compiled genealogies, and local histories. In both sessions we seek to answer the questions: what do you need to know about these records, what records are available, and where do you find them.
Introduction to Public (Federal) Lands
In 1785 Congress passed the Land Ordinance Act and opened the lands beyond the colonies to settlement. Millions of acres were now in the Public Domain ready to be auctioned off to new immigrants to homestead. The good news for genealogists is that there is a bounty of records to be had that point to not only property ownership, but relationships, immigration status, migration routes, level of wealth, military experience, and much more. This class tells the story of the opening of the west and introduces the genealogist to the many, many records that a wait.
Introduction to Genealogy
“I don’t know where to start?” If this is you, great! You’ve come to the right place. Take the first steps to a rich and rewarding passion. We’ll start out easy in this fun-filled look at the best places to start, the best resources to use, and the best questions to ask. Remember, nothing is hard, once you know how.
“If Only I’d Known”: Beginning Mistakes
We all know that awful feeling of “ugh!” when we’ve wasted our time, messed up the tree, or found a better, faster way to the results we wanted. This class outlines – with personal examples – many mistakes that you can now avoid. Laugh, learn, and love the new ideas you’ll come away with knowing how to more effectively build your family tree.
Cool Tools at Midwest Genealogy Center
It’s a big library with lots of materials! Make the most of this valuable repository by attending this class. You’ll learn what’s at the library, where to find it, and how to use it. Plus pick up a few insider tips. Excellent overview for all skill levels.
Secrets of Ten Records Groups
Going just beyond the basics, this class explores ten record groups. This content-rich class reviews in detail census, cemetery, vital records, military, city directories, land, probate, and more records. The audience will learn: 1) what you need to know about the records, 2) what information you’ll find in them, 3) and where to find the records.
Placing Your Ancestors in Historical Context: A Tale of Two Franks
Why did your ancestor settle here? How did he get there? What was life like there? What prompted him to move? At the heart of genealogy – for me – is the answer to all of the decisions that played out to ultimately shape my life. True, many decisions are very personal – moving with family – but our ancestors lived in an ever changing world with forces pushing and pulling on their lives. We’ll look at the wonderful world of background sources, and their cousin, finding aides, to give depth.
Capture History Now
As genealogists we zero in on finding the wonderful treasures of our past – as we should. However, we often neglect capturing the family history being created now, in the 21st Century. We forget that our current events are our children’s family history. Break open the can of “memory catcher” and learn how to save today for tomorrow.
This class introduces the genealogist to tools on www.ancestry.com, they may not be familiar with but will help produce results. From the card catalog to the Wiki to search tools and tricks, the user will come away armed for searching successes.
The Best of Genealogy Book Websites
There are excellent free, published books online to aid your genealogy research. More than just “how to” books or lists of names, these books will add color, history, and context to your ancestor’s life. This class takes a tour of whole libraries and the books you’ll find online. Bring your family tree to life with online books.
Sourcing in the Digital World
It’s so easy to save a document or browse a website only to be stopped in your tracks wondering how to capture in information, site the source, and share it with your family. It’s a problem we’ve all faced. This class offers really easy and creative ideas to document and manage your online research. Check out these practical tips, tricks, and free you can use immediately.
Problem Solving Using FANs – Friends, Associates & Neighbors
Often the answer to climbing a genealogy brick wall is simply to go around it. By broadening our research to include our ancestor’s friends, associates and neighbors, we can find answers that were previously elusive.
Solving Genealogy Problems with Timelines
When you create a personal timeline of an ancestor’s life, it is easy to see facts, relationships, and stories emerge that were never before apparent. This class walks discusses how to create a timeline and the many uses for them in genealogy research and analysis.
The Kansas Emigrant Battle over Slavery
Little did the legislators realize that when they passed the Kansas-Nebraska Act in 1854, they set the stage for an emigrant rush to Kansas. New Englanders flocked to Kansas vote against slavery. Missourians traversed the boarder legally and illegally to protect their slave-holding state from a free-state next door. We dive into local histories, territorial records, slave records, vital records, census records and more to tell the story.
Kansas Settlers: The Pursuit of Land Before 1900
The settling of Kansas is a tale woven with Indian settlements, railroad grants, the Homestead Act, Pre-emption, and agricultural school grants. With this many players and conflicting interests, settlers – and genealogists – have their work cut out to make sense of the process. This class unwraps the fascinating story and records left behind.
With the opening of the Nebraska Territory in 1854, settlers migrated into this vast, open prairie. These pioneers staked claims to the land through the Homestead Act, purchasing it from the railroads, purchasing “school land” from the State, and by taking advantage of Bounty Land opportunities. This class explores how Nebraska was settled and the records available to genealogists.
New Madrid Earthquake – Uprooted Lives
Dateline: 1811. Southeast Missouri. The epicenter of a catastrophic earthquake left residents throughout the Heartland rattled. Learn the history and what records are available.
Where did you come from, Missouri Settlers?
Whether traveling through or settling in Missouri, pioneers came from diverse locations and settled throughout Missouri looking for familiar topography. Understand better how and why these settlers came to Missouri and the records that tell their story.
You were a breath of fresh air to our MoSGA Conference 2012. …comments focused on your understanding of the subject matter and your enthusiasm in presenting. Several attendees mentioned in their evaluations they would like to have you back again in 2013!
— Nancy Thomas, Conference Chairman, Missouri State Genealogical Association
I heard Beth give several presentations at the state conference of the Nebraska State Genealogical Society in 2013. She is knowledgeable, professional and passionate about her topics. She is also full of energy and enthusiasm about genealogy. She explains what might be a difficult concept in an easy to understand way. She interacts well with her audience and understands that learning is a two-way street. I would recommend her for either a one-time talk or a multi-day conference. She keeps the audience involved and interested.
— Susan Petersen