The following CAGGNI members have recently lectured on these topics. If you are interested in arranging one of our speakers for your society, contact us at speakers @ caggni.org and let us know the speaker and topic in which you are interested. Speakers may not be able to accommodate all requests, and fees vary by speaker.
WildApricot Getting Started Help - Looking for assistance getting your new WildApricot site up and running? Contact us at speakers @ caggni.org and we will get back to you.
|DNA – Genetic Genealogy|
|Genealogy Research Essentials|
|Optimize Online Genealogy Research|
|The Library Series|
|Comparing the Big Four: Ancestry, FamilySearch, FindMyPast, MyHeritage|
|How I use DNA In My Genealogy Research|
|Family Search.org Primer|
|*NEW*||Looking For European Roots|
|Newspapers as Genealogical Resource|
|What's New on the Internet for Genealogists?|
| || |
Where Did I Put Great Grandpa? Organizing Your Genealogy Files
|Travels with My Sister: Genealogical Journeys|
| Getting Started: Approaching the Past|
|Un-Puzzling Birthing History|
|Using Non-Traditional Sources to Identify the Slave Holder and Reconnect Slave Era Families|
|Seven Proven Strategies for Identifying Slave Ownership and Reconstructing Slave Era Families|
|Creating and Sustaining Your Family Newsletter|
|Loose Women, Policy Queens and Black Ewes|
|Colored Confederate Pension Applications|
|Using the Records of the Freedmen’s Bureau in the Reconstruction and Enhancement of African American Family History|
|Researching the Digital Library on American Slavery|
|Even Gangsters had to Register|
|Putting Some Clothes on Charles|
|USCT Pension Files|
|Going Beyond the Population Count|
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You Can Pick Your Relatives
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The Musical CHICAGO and All That Genealogical Jazz
|Liven Up Your Family History with Images|
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Riding the (Genealogical) Rails in Chicago
|Social Security Death Indexes|
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What’s New in Technology
|*NEW*||New Language? Deciphering Genealogical Documents (including Old German Script)|
|*NEW*||Publishing Your Genealogy Using Windows|
| *NEW* |
|*NEW*||Organizing Genealogy – Less Piles, Better Files|
|A Guide to Overseas Genealogy|
|Central Europe is Easy – Merci Napoleon!|
|Emigration & Immigration – The Story of Your Immigrant Ancestors|
|Genealogy – Where do you look?|
|Top 10 Genea-Tricks and Tips|
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Genetic Genealogy: What it is and Why it Matters to Local Law Enforcement
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Handheld Apps for Family Research
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Preparing to Publish Your Book: Tips and Tricks for the Writer
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Family Tree Maker
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|*NEW*||Everything You Ever Wanted to Know about Genetic Genealogy|
|*NEW*||DNA: The Sublime Segment|
|*NEW*||Using DNA Painter|
|*NEW*||Tracing Genealogy Through the French and Indian Wars|
|Building Northern Illinois: William McConnell's Montelona Farm|
|I Did a DNA Test, Now What?|
|Bio-Parents for Peg and Donna: An Autosomal DNA Case Study|
|*NEW* || |
We're All Related! Searching for our Most Recent Common Ancestor
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PRDH : The Gold Standard for French-Canadian Research
|Effective Use of Ancestry.com|
|Creating a Coffee-Table Style Family History Book|
|Genetic Genealogy: What it is and Why it Matters to Local Law Enforcement|
Detailed descriptions of selected programs
Marty Acks has been researching his family history since 1999 after having caught the bug from his mom and dad. He volunteers at WikiTree where he contributes to the global family tree. Leads a Porterfield surname study (maternal grandmother), assists other members and monitors activity as a WikiTree Ranger.
An Introduction to WikiTree, the Free Global Family Tree
WikiTree is a free community of genealogists dedicated to growing an accurate single family tree using DNA and traditional genealogical sources. In this program, you will learn the key features of WikiTree, be shown how you can easily get started on the site and learn numerous tips and techniques to get the most out of your time on WikiTree.
New 2022! Marty's video, "An Introduction to WikiTree, a Personal Perspective"
Suz Bates has been a family history researcher for over 40 years and a private consultant for 20 years. Starting her study of genealogy in the early 1970s, before computers, Suz spent many hours at the Newberry Library, learning traditional research methods. Since then she has built on those skills, attending numerous classes, workshops and conferences.
Suz earned a B.A. in modern foreign language with a minor in history and an M.S. in education. She taught both adults and children in various educational settings. Suz takes these teaching and lecturing skills, combined with her extensive genealogical research experience, into her genealogy career of speaking, researching and consulting in an easily understood manner with enthusiasm and a wealth of knowledge.
Suz has been a member of various genealogy and history associations including the National Genealogical Society, the New England Historic Genealogical Society, the NSDAR, the Du Page County Genealogical Society, the Fox Valley Genealogical Society and CAGGNI. She is listed in the Genealogical Speakers Guild.
DNA – Genetic Genealogy topics
Optimize Online Genealogy Research
Michelle Bray Wilson has been active in the genealogy community for more than a dozen years. She speaks throughout the Midwest, most frequently on genetic genealogy, French Canada, ancient ancestry, and creating family history books. Michelle’s lectured for Illinois State Genealogy Society, Franco Fete in Minneapolis, for UW’s Early Music Festival in Madison, for MSPCE (Midwest Security and Police Conference) and at numerous area conferences, genealogy groups and libraries, including being a featured speaker for Chicago Public Library, DuPage County and Lake County societies. She is a former president of CAGGNI, the Computer Assisted Genealogy Group of Northern Illinois, and served many years as Registrar at a local DAR chapter. An engineer by training, Michelle consults for the medical device manufacturing industry, and has recently begun accepting a limited number of clients in the genealogy space.
Michelle's Upcoming Lectures for 2023 -
I Did a DNA Test, Now What? - Saturday, January 28, 2023, Huntley Area Public Library, 2:30 pm, Huntley, IL. Learn how to put DNA to work for you to confirm and extend your lineage and breakdown longstanding brick walls in your family history research. Registration.
Everything You Ever Wanted To Know about Genetic Genealogy - Thursday, March 2, 2023, Eli Skinner Chapter NSDAR. Just how is it possible that we share more than 98% of our DNA with the chimps but only 12.5% with our first cousins? How do genetic genealogists solve cases that have stumped law enforcement for years? How was that "King in the Car Park" actually identified? Learn the answers to these questions and many more at this delightful and informative session, ideal for all types of civic groups, not just genealogists.
Bio-Parents for Peg and Donna - Wednesday, April 5, 2023, 2:30 pm, Normal Public Library in Normal, IL via Zoom. See program description below. Register.
Tracing Genealogy Through the French and Indian Wars *NEW* July 8, 2023, 10:30 am, for CAGGNI's Colonial SIG at Schaumburg Library, attendance restricted to CAGGNI members. Description
Using DNA Painter *NEW* August 19, 12:30 pm, for CAGGNI's DNA SIG - CAGGNI members only. Description.
Selected Programs by Michelle Bray Wilson
Bio-Parents for Peg and Donna: an Autosomal DNA Case Study *NEW*
An interactive, real-life autosomal case study to identify the bio-parents of two related adoptees. Learn how the processes of separating maternal and paternal relatives, marshalling support to gain access to locked trees, gathering necessary genealogical records, working up pedigrees, and narrowing down candidates actually works in practice.
Every unknown parentage case involves two separate searches, one for each parent. While the bio-mother in this case was identified routinely, the bio-father was obscured behind an incorrectly attached (wrong) pedigree, mis-attributed parentage of a grandfather, and descendants resulting from a son and his mother who (re-)married siblings, resulting in higher than usual autosomal sharing among their descendants.
Search angel work can be quite an adventure, and anyone serious about genetic genealogy is encouraged to become familiar with the methods required. Solid knowledge of the techniques involved provides firm footing for those wishing to use related methods to extend lineages back in time with the help of DNA.
DNA: The Sublime Segment *NEW*
The DNA segments we inherit from our common ancestors are what make DNA match lists possible. Studying these segments gives us a much more detailed and nuanced window into our inheritance and can even help us begin to re-construct the genomes of long-deceased ancestors. Learn how to use the chromosome browsers to advance your work, and how to think about and organize your own segments using tools such as DNA Painter. This lecture was first presented September 2022 at CAGGNI's GeneaQuest Conference.Structure of DNA and the Commercially Available Kits
Learn the organization of DNA as applicable to the genealogist, how it
varies from person to person, and what the various types of tests actually
examine and report on. We’ll cover everything from the old-style paternity and
“CODIS” tests, to the Y-DNA STR and SNP tests (and how these differ from
haplogroup reporting), mt-DNA tracing back female lines, and the popular
autosomal tests offered at the “big four” Ancestry.com, 23andMe, MyHeritage and
FamilyTreeDNA. Along the way we’ll discuss Best
Practices (part 1) including what tests which company to choose for which
candidate testees, what to expect when your results arrive, and a couple
third-party tools where you can do even more. Combine with DNA Inheritance lecture below to create a half-day workshop.
DNA Inheritance, Our Matchlists and More Best Practices
Inheritance results in only tiny changes to the Y-DNA men get from their fathers and the mt-DNA we all get from our mothers. But the inheritance process makes a scramble of our autosomal DNA. Understanding inheritance is key to making sense of our matchlists, and how our matchlists are the key to both unlocking unknown parentage and to pushing back our ancestral lines. We’ll use actual case studies and explore some third-party tools to apply this knowledge for cases such as unknown parentage and pushing back brick-walled lines to the next generation. In Best Practices (part 2) we’ll explore cases where matches don’t post trees and show how to get the most out of the hints in Ancestry’s ThruLines and MyHeritage’s Theory of Relativity.
We're All Related! Searching for our Most Recent Common Ancestor *NEW*
Are you descended from Charlemagne? The results may surprise you! This captivating talk explores research into the relatedness of all humans. We will discuss mitochondrial Eve (including a simulation), Y-Adam, and the Most Recent Common Ancestor and the Identical Ancestors Point. We will examine the groundbreaking modeling by Rohde, Olson and Chang done in 2004, and investigate how the 2013 DNA studies on Europeans by Ralph and Coop lines up with the earlier simulation work.
DNAPainter.com offers a host of tools for analyzing your DNA and charting your segment analysis. We will demonstrate some of the most commonly used free tools such as the WATO "What are the Odds" tool and the Shared CM tool, and then dive into the mechanics of uploading your identified shared segments from FTDNA, MyHeritage and 23andMe into a Chromosome Map. DNAPainter regularly adds new tools, and we will explore a couple of those as well.
Curious about DNA? Happily, DNA for the genealogist is straightforward to understand. We’ll break down the SNPs from the STRs, the haplogroups from the haplotypes, and learn how these DNA patterns are used to prove inheritance and determine deep ancestry. Learn the secrets of DNA and put this powerful complement to paper-trail research in your tool kit. Michelle presented Genes for the Genealogist at North Suburban Genealogical Society in 2015 and an abbreviated version, "Genomic Genealogy," in fall of 2015 at the Ansel Brainerd Cook chapter of the Daughters of the American Revolution (DAR) in Libertyville. A longer version of the program, focusing on autosomal DNA, including three lectures and a case study, were presented in 2017 at Lake County Genealogy Society's annual genealogy workshop.
Searching for French-Canadians
The French-Canadian record is extraordinarily complete and well-indexed. If you have any French-Canadian ancestors, you are in luck! Learn the tricks that will have you uncovering vast swaths of your pedigree in the space of a single weekend.
The history of the French-Canadians during the Nouvelle France period ending in 1760 provides additional context to this engaging presentation. Variations on this program were presented in 2012 at the Madison Early Music Festival, Franco-Fete in Minneapolis, Lake County Genealogical Society, and Winnebago & Boone Counties Genealogical Society.
Creating a Coffee-Table Style Family History Book
Michelle has created two print-on-demand family history books. The books are in full color, and chock full of photos, documents, newspaper clips, genealogy charts and other family artifacts. Learn how to put together a beautifully formatted book, how to print copies at a very reasonable price, and how to publish and make your book available to others. First presented to the A.B. Cook Chapter of the D.A.R in 2018.
Building Northern Illinois: William McConnell's Montelona Farm
The life of William McConnell (1810-1887) of Richmond, McHenry County's most prominent early settler. We'll touch on how we researched and wrote a book detailing his life, homesteads (still extant), and family history. Presented with co-author Rommy Lopat.
Tracing Genealogy Through the French and Indian Wars *NEW*
The French and Indian Wars (1688-1783), known as the Intercontinental Wars in Quebec, were a series of conflicts across what is today the US/Canadian border involving British, French and Dutch colonials and Native Americans. Of particular interest to American and French-Canadian genealogists are the thousands of persons taken captive from New England frontier villages and force marched or carried to Canada. We will tell the story of the four wars making up these conflicts and how to track the many children and their parents who were caught up as captives, using the Deerfield raid of 1704 as an example.
Now ZOOM or web-enabled! All programs are 1 to 1 ½ hours long and geared to the beginning and intermediate researcher. When in person, an internet connection (preferably wireless) is required along with a projector. Caron brings her own laptop or uses yours. Handouts are available for each program.
Current program offerings:
Comparing the Genealogy Big Four:
Ancestry, FamilySearch, FindMyPast, and MyHeritage
How I Use DNA In My Genealogy Research
In this presentation, I talk about “why” and “how” of DNA testing in genealogy research. Using case studies and examples, I explain how I have incorporated DNA testing into my research. Disclaimer: This is NOT a primer on the science of DNA, although some basic information is included. The audience does not have be knowledgeable about DNA testing to learn from this presentation.
Looking For European Roots *NEW*
If you are ready to "cross the pond" in your research, this presentation will provide ideas of where to find records for European records. Includes the well-known sites like FamilySearch and Find My Past, and also lesser known sites.
Newspapers as Genealogical Resource *NEW*
Travels with My Sister: Genealogical Journeys
This presentation will look at the Ancestry.com site, including the Ancestry Trees, and review what is has to offer beginners as well as more advanced genealogy researchers. It will also discuss what is available through the free site and the paid subscription. Whether you are just starting out and want to host a tree at Ancestry, or have been researching for years but want more information on-line, this is the session for you.
This seminar is an overview of the free FamilySearch.org web site to see what is has to offer genealogy researchers. Will include a review of the research opportunities as well as the newer areas for sharing family trees and pictures. We will also look at the genealogy programs that have been certified to share/interact with FamilySearch.
Genealogy Basics for Beginners
Target audience is folks interested in learning more about genealogy or just getting started. Covers information needed to get started, basic forms and organization tips, overview of top web sites and other resources used by genealogists.
What's New on the Internet for Genealogists?
There are new genealogy sites on the Internet every day. This fast-paced presentation is a review of popular, new, little known, and perhaps unusual genealogy resources on the internet to help you in your research.
Research Your Family History Using the Internet
Ready to start your genealogy research on-line but do not know where to go except Ancestry.com? Caron Primas Brennan will show you the basics as well as some other little known, and perhaps unusual genealogy resources and internet sites to help you in your research.
Where did I Put Great-Grandpa? Organizing for Genealogists
Organizing your genealogy information so that you can find what you want when you want it can be a daunting task. Get tips on how to keep records in digital and print-based formats.
A more in-depth tour focusing on www.Fold3.com. We review of available documents and resources, many military and governmental, digitized from the National Archives, Library of Congress, and other institutions, not previously available on-line. Also includes a tour of the tools available on the site and how to use resources found on the site.
Uff Da! Researching My Norwegian Roots
Caron will share what she has learned through researching her own elusive Norwegian great-grandparents and discovering cousins in Scandinavia. She will discuss things to know, lessons learned, research locations and guides, and other helpful hints.
David Fleer is a retired management consultant in software quality and testing. He has been researching his ancestors, on and off, since 2001. During his last trip to Germany in 2015, he was introduced to the Archion project, to which he has become a regular subscriber.
Finding Your German Ancestors on Archion.de
Archion.de is the product of the Evangelische Kirche Deutschland (EKD) and 11 regional church organizations. Its objective is to preserve the church books of the entire German Evangelical Church. This presentation describes how and when to use Archion and the challenges that it presents the researcher.
Lecturer, Author, Writer, Publisher, Janis is the first place winner of the 2013 ISFHW&E Excellence-in-Writing Competition and other awards and citations. She is a member of several societies, including the Association of Professional Genealogists (APG), the National Genealogical Society (NGS), the International Society of Family History Writers and Editors (ISFHWE), the Illinois State Genealogical Society (ISGS), the Afro-American Historical and Genealogical Society (AAHGS), the Afro-American Genealogical and Historical Society of Chicago (AAGHSC) and others. Her presentation specialties include methodology, skill building techniques and case studies. She is skilled in both on-site and online research.
Getting Started: Approaching the Past
A workshop for beginning genealogy and family history study.
Getting Around Burned Counties: Methods and Strategies
Like a fireman approaches a burning building. This workshop presents techniques to resolve issues of “the burned county syndrome.”
Using 19th century records to verify birthing – a case study.
Using Non-Traditional Sources to Identify the Slave Holder and Reconnect Slave Era Families
Seven Proven Strategies for Identifying Slave Ownership and Reconstructing Slave Era Families
Creating and Sustaining Your Family Newsletter
A lecture designed to address implementation strategies in developing a family newsletter.
Loose Women, Policy Queens and Black Ewes
A lecture to discover the many types and locations of records of women who lived on the “other side of the law.”
Colored Confederate Pension Applications
Valuable economic, social and genealogical primary source information
Using the Records of the Freedmen’s Bureau in the Reconstruction and Enhancement of African American Family History
Heritage Book: Telling Your Story.
Methods and strategies in the development of a heritage book. A project for genealogy societies and family lineage groups.
Researching the Digital Library on American Slavery
Locating pre-emancipation documentation of individuals and community life.
Even Gangsters had to Register
WWI draft registration cards and the companion selective service records produced.
Putting Some Clothes on Charles
Using census supplemental schedules to explore and expand genealogical and social content of family history.
A bounty of pre- and post-emancipation era family information.
Governmental licensing, labeling and marketing of human souls.
Going Beyond the Population Count
An exploration of supplemental census schedules for their genealogical and social content.
New Language? Deciphering Genealogical Documents (including Old German Script) (New!)
Don’t speak the language? This presentation will give you many tips and tricks on deciphering documents in most European languages and includes ideas that help in reading that old German script. Includes hints to both transcribe and translate your documents with many helpful websites and resources.
Publishing Your Genealogy Using Windows (New!)
Publishing your family’s history? Written a rough draft? Considering self-publishing? What’s next? Time to prepare for publishing. Learn about templates, layouts, ideas to add interest to your manuscript, inserting family photos, three ways to source, indexing, and creating a beautiful cover. Details on editing your manuscript and where to find help. Five steps will elevate your original manuscript to be publish-ready. Complete the steps and you will be thrilled with the results.
Crossing the pond is easier than you think. We’ll review the history of immigrant travel into the U.S. and how to find genealogical records in most European countries. Includes a list of books and over 70 American and European websites for genealogical research. This presentation covers five areas of overseas genealogy – emigration, voyage details, immigration, naturalization and genealogical websites, both American and European.
Central Europe is Easy – Merci Napoleon! **Updated**
Explores websites both European and American to locate family in the countries where Napoleon ruled (France, Belgium, Luxembourg, Netherlands, Northern Italy, Germany and surrounding areas). Find church, census, military, maps and civil records. Links to over 40 websites, both U.S. and European and how to use them. (Recently updated with many new overseas websites.)
Emigration & Immigration – The Story of Your Immigrant Ancestors
Your immigrant ancestors are the foundation of your roots in the U.S. Why did they come? The voyage itself. Entering the U.S. ports. How to find emigration and immigration and naturalization records. Learn the interesting details of your ancestors‘ journey to their new life here. List of more than 30 websites and other resources included.
European and U.S. Newspapers and Directories – Good News! **New!**
Newspapers and directories may be the key to finding ancestors. Find stories, BMDs, including children births/deaths between censuses. Directories give occupations, place of birth, deaths and family relationships. They help locate important church records. Emphasis on European records. List of 75 newspaper and directory websites, from both U.S. and Europe.
Explore U.S. Church Records: Find Family
Church records contain surprises, not just baptisms, marriages and deaths. They provide clues to much more, including town of origin and immigration information, how active families were in their church, and their financial situation. Churches predate government and often have information on under-represented people: women, minorities, immigrants and young children. Learn how to identify your ancestor‘s place of worship, access surviving records and solve problems such as maiden names and overseas birthplaces. Find new and exciting information in church records!
Genealogy – Where Do You Look?
Discover your family history and find your ancestors’ stories. Using a list of over 25 free websites, this class will help you start your journey. Tips on using genealogical websites more efficiently and organizing your information will be discussed. Great refresher course too.
Organizing Genealogy – Less Piles, Better Files **New!**
Save time, get organized. Many ideas for organizing paper and computer files including color coding. Multiple file naming ideas. We’ll also cover organizing heirlooms, photos, USB drives and presentation handouts. This presentation will help find the system that works best for you.
A review of the top genealogical websites and how to use them most efficiently. Tricks and tips on websites such as familysearch.org, ancestry.com and even Google. Many use these websites but do not know how to get the most out of them.
Gerald Schmidt is a retired San Francisco Police Officer, Crime Scene Investigator and latent fingerprint examiner. He worked in the biometric identification industry with automated fingerprint identification systems, facial recognition and Livescan fingerprinting technologies. As an independent consultant, he coordinated RapidDNA demonstrations on behalf of the Utah State Crime Lab, Chicago Police Department, Cook and DuPage County Sheriffs Departments as well as the Illinois State Police. He now spends his time assisting others as a Search Angel and helping clients resolve their non-traditional family history questions (https://lifesceneinvestigations.com).
Genetic Genealogy: What it is and Why it Matters to Local Law Enforcement (with co-presenters Gerald Schmidt and Michelle Bray Wilson; description here)
Regina has experience in researching within state courthouses, libraries and archives. She has traveled to and conducted genealogy research in Ireland and has become an expert in locating real estate records. She has published a 500 page family history book on her mother’s family line and is currently working on a second volume, this one focusing on her father’s lineage.
Preparing to Publish Your Book: Tips and Tricks for the Writer
Does publishing your family history book seem like a daunting task? This talk will help you over come your fears of writing and publishing your family book. Discussion will cover how to generate ideas for your book, finding your target audience, setting up the book, finding publishing companies and how to use Microsoft Word to add special features to your book.