San Mateo County Genealogical Society's Blog featuring society events, projects, meeting notes and other items of relevance to genealogists.

Monday, August 27, 2012

Digging for Roots Online

 By Dennis L. Maness, MLS

I love genealogy conferences. But they have two drawbacks: they cost a lot, especially when you add in travel, food, and hotel expenses and secondly they cram so much into a few days that you can get overwhelmed and probably forget some (much?) of what you learn. But I’ve discovered a supplement and sometimes a substitute—the genealogy webinar. defines a webinar this way:
“…a seminar or other presentation that takes place on the Internet, allowing participants in different locations to see and hear the presenter, ask questions, and sometimes answer polls.

The best place to start is to check out the listings on GeneaWebinars, which describes itself as “a calendar and blog devoted exclusively to coordinating online genealogy seminars.”

Here you’ll find a calendar of upcoming webinars;


and a “How It Works” essay.

In this post I’ll talk about some webinars I’ve attended and some that I’ve heard good things about.

The first is my personal favorite, Legacy Family Tree Webinars.

Most of the webinars are at 11 AM on Wednesdays but if you can’t watch them then they are held for free viewing for about 10 days on the Legacy Family Tree Website. After that you can purchase them on CD.

This is a sample of what topics have been covered just this year:

“The 5 C's for Success in Genealogy Today” by Barbara Renick

“Neglected History” by Megan Smolenyak2 (and may I say I paid big bucks to hear this same talk at SCGS Jamboree this year; you could have seen and heard it here for free!)

“The Genealogy Cloud: Which Online Storage Program Is Right For You?” by Thomas MacEntee

“Digital Images for Genealogists and Technologists: scanning, digitizing, editing, and preserving your photos” by Geoff Rasmussen

“Researching Your German Ancestors” by Kory Meyerink

“Obituaries: Clues to Look For. Tips for making sure you get the full benefit from an obituary notice” by Thomas Jay Kemp

“Ten Brick Wall Tips for Beginners” by Marian Pierre-Louis

“Tracing Immigrant Ancestors” by Lisa Alzo.

This is just a small sample of the topics covered. And did you notice the presenters? They are top-of-the-line and nationally known genealogists.

Next are the webinars put on by the Southern California Genealogical Society (SCGS).

As they say on their site: “Jamboree Extension Series presentations will be scheduled on the first Saturday and third Wednesday of each month. Saturday sessions will be held at 10am Pacific time / 1pm Eastern time; Wednesday sessions will be scheduled at 6pm Pacific time / 9pm Eastern time…. The live broadcast of each session is open to the public and FREE to all everyone (space is limited to 1000 attendees). Webinars are recorded, archived, and available for the next twelve months day or night, in the members-only section of the SCGS website.”

Here’s a sample of their past webinars:

“Me and My Laptop: Getting the Most out of your Laptop while Researching Onsite” by Linda Woodward Geiger

“Seeing the Patterns: Organizing Your Information” by Michael John Neill

“Grandma’s Flak Jacket: Why Your Children Need You To Do Family History” by Janet Hovorka

“Butcher, Baker, Candlestick Maker. Researching Your Ancestors’ Occupations” by Denise Spurlock

“The Genealogist as CSI” by George G. Morgan

Family Tree University sponsored by Family Tree Magazine.

These are for-pay webinars and a little too pricey for my poor budget but I’ve heard good things about them.

Here is a list of future webinars:

This site has free webinars on such subjects as:

Instagram for Genealogists featuring Carrie Keele

FAMILY TREE MAKER WEBINARS feature one-on-one training provided by Russ Worthington

Ancestry Trees can Jumpstart Your Genealogy Research

Michael John Neill has a reasonably priced for-pay site

Topics include:

Sections, Townships, Base Lines, etc--Land Descriptions in Federal Land States.

Did Your Ancestor Get a Civil War Pension?

Charts, Charts and More Charts.

The Genealogical Proof Standard for the Non-Professional.

Creating Families from Pre-1850 Census Records

There are still other webinar sites you might enjoy (check out the Geneawebinars site listed above.)

Genealogy webinars started becoming common and popular around 2010 and continue to grow in both number and quality. Try some out today.

Remember, as Legacy Family Tree’s Geoff Rasmussen says,

“Life is short; do genealogy first!”

Thursday, August 2, 2012

San Mateo County Genealogical Society’s
September 2012 Workshops at
Cañada College Library
Workshops are $5 for SMCGS Members - $10 for Non-Members
Workshops are FREE to Cañada College Faculty, Staff & Students
September 4, 2012 – 2:30-4pm
SCOTTISH ROOTS ONLINE – With Cath Trindle, Professional Genealogist
A hands-on opportunity for those with Scottish research to explore some of the great websites devoted to Scottish genealogy. This workshop will highlight government sites, pay for view and subscription sites as well as some of the many free sites that help us further our Scottish research. No Scottish in your family? Come anyway. Other attendees may appreciate an extra pair of computer savvy hands.
September 6 and 13, 2012 – 4:30-6pm
BEGINNING GENEALOGY – With Chris Green and Diane Smelker
Learn how to get started with researching your genealogy. Session One will cover “Looking at Home and Talking to Family” and “Census Basics 1900-1940”. Session Two will cover “Major On-line Resources”, “Vital Records Overview” and “Bay Area Libraries With Genealogy Resources”. Additional classes on request.
Tuesdays September 11, October 9, November 12 and December 11
Drop In Workshops
Lucy will help anyone with Spanish records in the New World: Mexico, the Caribbean, Central and South America. We will search for records, translate those we find, and add information to the person's family tree. Receive one-on-one assistance with your Mexican and Hispanic research.
Planning to attend? - Email