Lecture Topics

Presentation title:  Genealogy and the Changing Map of Eastern Europe

Brief summary: This presentation will help attendees understand how the changes in borders, nationalities, and languages affect genealogical research in Central and Eastern Europe.

Audience level: Intermediate

Format: PowerPoint presentation using speaker’s computer and digital projector.

Detailed description: Finding the place of origin of an immigrant is crucial to finding historic records for that immigrant’s ancestors.  Complicating matters are the changing borders in Europe during the past two centuries as the territorial acquisitions obliterated some nations from the map.  Border changes in Europe affected not only the map of Europe, but also the records on which genealogists depend to document their ancestors’ lives.

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Presentation title:  A New Look at Immigrant Passenger Manifests

Brief summary: This presentation will survey the available US passenger manifests focusing on annotations and markings on the manifests that lead to additional information.

Audience level: Intermediate

Format: PowerPoint presentation using speaker’s computer and digital projector.

Detailed description: Immigrant passenger manifests provide family historians with important information about the origin, immigration, and destination of their immigrant ancestors.  Passenger manifests after 1892 frequently include marks and annotations that can provide additional information about the experiences and activities of the immigrant. Some of these notations were made at the time of immigration; others were made years or decades later.  Some describe corrections to the manifest, but other annotations can lead to other records that document the lives of the immigrant.

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Presentation title:  The ABCs of DNA

Brief summary: This presentation will help attendees understand how DNA testing can support the genealogical paper trail and help solve problems in genealogical research.

Audience level: Beginning, Intermediate, Advanced

Format: PowerPoint presentation using speaker’s computer and digital projector.

Detailed description: Genetic Genealogy uses DNA to help answer genealogical questions.  DNA is the chemical blueprint for life that is found in all of our cells.  We inherit our DNA from our ancestors and, because of that fact, DNA can be used to identify individuals who are related to each other.  The most common DNA tests are the Y-DNA test that traces paternal ancestors, the mitochondrial-DNA test that traces maternal ancestors, and the autosomal DNA test that traces all ancestors.  In this talk, you will learn the basics of what DNA is and how it can be used in genealogy.  You will learn what your DNA can tell you about both your ancient ancestors and your close cousins.  You will learn what companies offer DNA tests for genealogists and how to choose the DNA tests that are right for you.  Finally, you will hear true-life stories about the discoveries that genealogists have made using DNA testing:  how DNA has helped to prove relationships, discover lost cousins, and identify the birth parents of adoptees.

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Presentation title:  Using DNA and Indirect Evidence to Establish Family Relationships

Brief summary: This presentation will discuss strategies using indirect evidence and DNA analysis for genealogical research when the paper trail is lacking.

Audience level: Advanced

Format: PowerPoint presentation using speaker’s computer and digital projector.

Detailed description: In the course of genealogical research, it is not uncommon to encounter situations where the paper trail disappears.  In the absence of direct evidence for ancestral relationships, genealogists must turn to indirect evidence, relying on non-traditional sources for clues in order to prove a family’s ancestry.  By using less-tried sources, collateral relationships, and DNA evidence, researchers can establish relationships with sufficient confidence to satisfy the Genealogical Proof Standard.

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Presentation title:  Applying The Scientific Method to Genealogical Research

Brief summary: This presentation will show how The Scientific Method, a process usually applied to laboratory experimentation, can be used to solve genealogical problems.

Audience level: Intermediate

Format: PowerPoint presentation using speaker’s computer and digital projector.

Detailed description: The Scientific Method is a well-established process in the scientific disciplines and is used routinely to design experiments and evaluate the results.  Even though The Scientific Method was not developed with genealogical research in mind, it can still be used to help solve genealogical problems in a logical, stepwise manner.  To apply the The Scientific Method, the genealogist must define the question he or she wishes to answer, gather information and resources, form a hypothesis, collect data, analyze the data, interpret the data, draw conclusions, publish the results, and retest the hypothesis.  In this presentation, participants will learn how to apply The Scientific method to real genealogical problems.

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Presentation title:  Polish Court Records

Brief summary: This presentation will discuss using Court Records to research members of the nobility in Poland.

Audience level: Advanced

Format: PowerPoint presentation using speaker’s computer and digital projector.

Detailed description: For those with ancestors who were members of the Nobility, Polish Court Records provide a wealth of information not available elsewhere.  Polish Court Records document loans and repayments, disputes and complaints, dowries, and dowry liens.  Polish Court Records predate birth, marriage, and death records, sometimes by centuries, and can provide genealogical information on generations of ancestors beyond that available in church records and vital records.

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Presentation title:  Genealogy Blogs:  A Social Medium for Your Family, Your Genealogy Society, and Yourself

Brief summary: This presentation will discuss how genealogy blogs can help genealogists share their discoveries about their families, keep in touch with what’s happening in their genealogy society, and meet new friends.

Audience level: Intermediate

Format: PowerPoint presentation using speaker’s computer and digital projector.

Detailed description:  An increasingly popular way to publish genealogical information on the Internet is by the use of weblogs, commonly called blogs.  Genealogy blogs include a wide range of subjects, including personal family history, genealogical education, genealogy news, local history, and personal diaries.  Setting up and maintaining a blog is surprisingly easy and can provide benefits for your research in ways that other methods of disseminating genealogical information may fall short.

Copyright © 2011-2012 by Stephen J. Danko

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