Presentation Topics List

Placeholder ImageAnalyzing Your Research

The gates to many research “brick walls” may often be opened by a thorough analysis of the records.  Using examples of typical research documents, this presentation will demonstrate how clues for further research are often found “between the lines”.

The Family History Research “Circle”:  The Internet, LDS Family History Centers, Libraries, and On-Site Research
Today’s family history researcher has access to a wide variety of resources, including the Internet, libraries, and local repositories – the Family History “Circle”.  Using “real life” research examples, Maureen Brady will demonstrate how a successful research strategy can be developed by building on the strengths of each part of the “circle”.

 Family History Research in Illinois & Wisconsin

The families which came to Illinois and Wisconsin came from varied ethnic backgrounds and created a varied landscape of urban and rural environments.  The records which were created by, and about, them reflect that variety, both in type and availability.  This presentation will first examine the similarities between Illinois and Wisconsin family history resources, and then look at the unique records of each state, including ethnic, religious and governmental archives and repositories.  The discussion will also include a brief review of the history of this part of the “Old Northwest”, and how that history has impacted the records which were created.

Family History Research in the British Isles

The British Isles can be considered as the “mother” country of the United States.  Since the founding of Massachusetts Bay and Jamestown, millions of English, Welsh, Scottish and Irish have come to the American shores to hopefully find a better life.  This presentation will review the history of British migration to North America and then examine online resources for researching British family history.

Fill in Your Family Tree – Family History Research for Beginners

Have you been bitten by the genealogy “bug”?  Do you wonder how to get yourself started on the trail of your ancestors?  If so, come learn the basics of family history research.  This presentation will outline the 5 steps of genealogy research, look at accepted record keeping formats and review some of the more popular websites.  All genealogy researchers, from beginner to experienced, will benefit from this program.

The First Frontiersmen:  The Scots-Irish

Some refer to them as Ulster Scots, others as Scots-Irish.  Whatever their name, they are the U. S. descendants of those who were “planted” in the Ulster province of Ireland in the 17th century and subsequently immigrated to the American frontier.  Their famous sons include Daniel Boone and Andrew Jackson, and we see their cultural influence in square dancing and country music.  This presentation will review the history of the Scots-Irish and suggest resources for researching their family histories.

Irish Family History Research

Learn to be successful with your Irish family history research.  This presentation will discuss how Ireland’s history affects the records and their availability, help for deciphering the layers of Ireland’s land divisions and place names and the best websites for locating the records.

Optimizing Your Searches on the Internet – It’s More Than FamilySearch® and Ancestry

Learn how your online research can be “jump started”, or significantly expanded, by utilizing Cyndi’s List, Find My Past, Fold3, USGenWeb and other “broad coverage” websites.

 Preserving Your Family History on Family Tree

FamilySearch®, a free website sponsored by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, provides many resources to help you discover your family history, but it also provides a way for you to preserve your family history.  Family Tree is designed as a collaborative record of your family, including photos, documents and audio memories.  Using both the website and mobile apps, Family Tree provides a system to record your family events, preserve precious photos & documents and provide a record of your family today for future generations.  Using her own family data and photos, Maureen Brady will provide an overview of Family Tree, and its mobile apps, including making additions and corrections to Family Tree and using the mobile apps to record today’s memories.

Quaker Family History Research

Members of the Society of Friends (Quakers) began immigrating from England, Wales and Germany in the late 1600s.  By 1700, the Society had gained considerable influence in most of the New England and Middle-Atlantic colonies.  During the 18th century, many Quakers followed other frontier groups, migrating to the southern colonies.  Following the Revolution, many Quakers left the southern states and migrated primarily to Ohio, Indiana, Illinois and Canada.  This presentation will focus on the types of records kept by the Society of Friends and how to access those records online, through the Family History Centers and various other libraries and archives.

 The Québécois – French-Canadian Research

The French explorers began arriving in North America in the early 17th century and the record keepers were not far behind.  This presentation will include a brief review of the settlement of French North America and discuss the record sources, their availability and the major websites for researching the Québécois.

Quhat’s In a Nayme?

The spelling of individual and family names was often “in the ear of the listener” and was not standardized until well into the 20th century.  This presentation will look at the history of names, various naming patterns and research strategies for locating the “right” spelling of a name in various types of records.

 Researching Canadian Records

Our neighbor to the north was often the “gateway” for U. S. bound immigrants.  Some families may have lived in Canada for a generation or two before continuing on to the U. S.  This presentation will include a brief overview of Canadian history and immigration, and a review of the major record sources for Canada and the best websites to locate those records.

Researching Religious Records

Since the founding of Penn’s Woods (Pennsylvania), the American Colonies and the U. S. have attracted those who sought religious freedom.  This presentation presents strategies for researching religious records in the U. S., identifies the major repositories and archives and reviews various websites which provide access to religious records.

Rules I Learned Along The Way:  A Case Study

Using her own research as examples, Maureen Brady will present strategies for tackling those “brick wall” problems all family history researchers face at one time or another.  Starting with family stories, the census, church and civil records, Maureen will demonstrate how her “Rules of Research” helped to solve the puzzle of her Chicago Irish family.

 Scottish Family History Research:  Beyond the Basics

Scotland offers a rich variety of records which are closely tied to the history, geography and culture of the country.  This presentation will examine these elements, the wealth of records which were created and how the resources can be accessed, including the Internet.  Emphasis will be “beyond” the usual church, civil and census records.

 Scottish Family History Research:  Historical and Geographical Background

Family history research is more successful when it is based on an understanding of the history and geography of the places our families lived.  With an emphasis on the effect on Scottish records, this presentation will present an outline of Scottish history since 1500 and the geographic factors which governed our ancestor’s lives.

 Scottish Family History Research:  In Your Own Backyard

Learn the strategies of Scottish family history research, including the historical and geographical background of Scotland, language and naming patterns, record types and the comprehensive collection of records available through the Family History Library in Salt Lake City and the Scotland’s People website.  Discover that much of Scottish family history research can be accomplished “in your own backyard”.

Swedish Family History Research

Swedish church records provide a rich resource for identifying your Swedish ancestors.  This presentation will provide an overview of research strategies for Sweden including a brief historical overview, naming patterns and customs, finding the Swedish parish and online resources.

Tapping the Power of FamilySearch®

FamilySearch®, a free website sponsored by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, provides family history researchers with access to original historical records from around the world, indexes linked directly to many of those records, an ever-growing genealogical “encyclopedia”, instructional videos and much more.  Even experienced researchers often do not know how to tap the power of FamilySearch®’s many databases and articles.  This presentation will provide a “tour” of the website and suggest search strategies for locating the historical records.

 Tennessee Family History Research

Tennessee was one of the first states established after the American Revolution, and it provides a rich body of historical records.  This presentation will offer a brief overview of Tennessee history and how that affects the availability of the records, online resources for Tennessee research and an overview of repositories and archives.

Tracing a Chicago Family’s Roots:  A Case Study

Chicago area family history research can be a challenge due to historical events and the physical size of the area and population.  Using examples from Chicago area research, this presentation will demonstrate strategies for tackling these problems and review record availability, repositories and online resources.

 The U. S. Census:  What It Can Tell You About Your Family

The United States Federal government has taken a census of its population every ten years since 1790.  These census records are a “goldmine” of information about our families and can provide vital clues to our family history research.  Learn what records were produced, which still exist and how to access them.  This presentation will include examples of census records, search strategies for locating them and analysis techniques for “gleaning” the most from these records.

Using Newspapers to Fill in the Gaps in a Family Story

Local newspapers provided our ancestors with “all the news that’s fit to print”.  This presentation will review the major websites offering access to historical newspapers and search strategies for finding those nuggets of information which can break down brick walls or add color to our ancestors’ lives.

Using the Find My Past Website

For those with roots in Great Britain and Ireland, the Find My Past website ( offers a “gold mine” of original records and indices.  Included in the resources are a large number of military databases, the census returns of England & Wales and many Church of England parish records.  This presentation will examine the main databases and offer suggestions for navigating the website.

 You, Too, Can Read Old Handwriting

While today’s family records are most often printed or computer generated, records of the past were handwritten.  As handwriting styles have changed over time, and also differ from region to region, reading these records can be a challenge.  This presentation will offer ideas for “breaking through” the handwriting barrier, including online and printed resources.