Previous WSGS Webinars
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Steamers, Tugs and Schooners: Shipping and Commerce on the Great Lakes
- Presenter: Cari Taplin, CG
- Date: November 19, 2019
- Webinar Description: The Great Lakes waterways were instrumental in the growth of the region, for both Canada and the United States. The history of shipping in the region parallels the population expansion and settlement of the Great Lakes. This class will examine the major shipping routes and ports on the Great Lakes, including information on passenger lists, shipwrecks, military defense, and population expansion. There will also be a discussion of major businesses that boomed in the area especially those that depended on shipping for transportation of goods.
Your Immigrants' Germany: Microstates and Microbreweries
- Presenter: James M. Beidler
- Date: October 15, 2019
- Webinar Description: A concise history of Germany followed by details on some types of records affected by disunity, major state by major state. Presentation concludes with a number of case studies using some microstates as examples.
Following the Tracks: Your Ancestors on the Railroad
- Presenter: Michael Strauss
- Date: September 17, 2019
- Webinar Description: Railroads for nearly two centuries have been the preferred mode of transportation for many of our ancestors. Their rich history includes details on when lines started, ceased, merged, or filed bankruptcy. Records including employee, manuscripts, directories, pensions, social security, and other organizations including the Pullman Porters and Harvey Girls are examined.
The 1849 Wisconsin Asiatic Cholera Epidemic and Its Implications for Genealogical Resesarch
- Presenter: Jean Wilcox Hibben
- Date: August 20, 2019
- Webinar Description: Americans took a while to get familiar with how diseases were spread, what precautions could be taken to minimize exposure, and why vaccinations were so important. While the medical community promoted sanitation and healthy lifestyles and the U.S. government got involved in encouraging the eradication of dieseases, in 1849 and lasting about two years, Wisconsin was overtaken by a cholera epidemic that was quickly at pandemic level. Did your ancestor die of the disease? So many did that a lot of deaths escaped being recorded. Many statistics were disguised so that public panic would be minimized. Learn the facts surrounding the outbreak as well as the effect politics and economics had on how the pandemic was handled; it just might solve one of your family history dilemmas.
Reconstructing the Lives of Our Farming Ancestors
- Presenter: Annette Burke Lyttle
- Date: July 16, 2019
- Webinar Description: It's a rare family tree that doesn't contain at least some farm families. What was daily life like for our farming ancestors? Learn how genealogical records and social history resources can help us answer that question in four different centuries of American history.
What's New in DNA Testing and Tools
- Presenter: Mary Eberle, JD
- Date: June 18, 2019
- Webinar Description: DNA testing companies and tools change rapidly. This talk offers something for everyone--whether you're trying to decide which DNA test to take, you've tested yourself but aren't sure what your DNA results mean, you've tested your entire family and are overwhelmed, or simply want additional tools for analyzing DNA results.
Learn about the new DNA tesing companies and how to pick the best company for your family research goals.
Also learn about tools for analyzing your DNA test results: DNA Painter's tools, Leeds method for sorting DNA matches, Gedmatch, and DNA Client from DNAGedcom.com for downloading DNA match information into spreadsheets. These tools provide new ways of analyzing DNA test results to maximize your DNA test results.
Southerners in the Northern Midwest
- Presenter: Peggy Clemens Lauritzen, AG, FOGS
- Date: May 21, 2019
- Webinar Description: There were several young southern men, and even families who migrated to the north woods of Michigan, Wisconsin and Minnesota. What was the draw for these families who had lived in the south for generations?
This Webinar was Supported by Debra Batt in Memory of her Aunt,
Ardis Jean McKee
Picture This: Cataloging Digital Family Photographs
- Presenter: Nancy E. Loe
- Date: April 16, 2019
- Webinar Description: Family photographs may seem so complex that they defy organizing. Tame your digital family photographs by learning how to insert names, dates, and other information inside images to make them searchable. This webinar outlines a simple and effective workflow, beginning with scanning and adding information for retrieval, followed by linking photos to digital images, and then filing and backing up your family photographs.
Is Great-Grandmother Really Native American? An Introduction to Native American Genealogical Research
- Presenter: Janice Lovelace
- Date: March 19, 2019
- Webinar Description: Many families have the oral history that an ancestor was Native American. How does a family researcher begin to discover if this is true? What federal, state and tribal records are available?
Introduction to a Surname Study
- Presenter: Julie Goucher
- Date: February 19, 2019
- Webinar Description: In this presentation we will explore what a surname study is and then look at the approaches to begin and construct a study. Identifying the likely size of such a study, geographical distribution of the surname and where to look to understand the history of surnames. We then move onto the practical elements of a study, where to keep data, how to gather it and feature some of the "quick wins." We then explore analysing and synthising the data gathered. We discuss sharing, advertising and promoting the study so that you can hopefully connect with others and then focus on incorporating DNA projects into a surname project as another research tool.
Spirit of St. Louis: Military and Civilian Records at the National Personnel Records Center
- Presenter: Tina Beaird
- Date: January 15, 2019
- Webinar Description: The National Personnel Records Center in St. Louis has many records pertinent to your soldier's service. OMPFs, Official Military Personnel Files, monthly regimental rolls, hospital records, military court-martials and graves registration service files all offer clues into your veteran's military experience. NPRC also houses civilian and government employment files as well. Was your grandfather in the Civilian Conservation Corps? Was your mother Postmaster? These records are available as well! Tina will describe the types of information to be found in these records and how you can access them in person.
Secret Societies: Finding Your Ancestors in Fraternal Organizations
- Presenter: Michael Strauss
- Date: December 20, 2018
- Webinar Description: Were your ancestors Freemasons? Did you family have a connection with the I.O.O.F. or Daughters of Rebekah? Discover the rich history and genealogical material that await you with membership records, historical research, and photographs of your family who may have belonged to one or more of these secret societies or female auxiliaries.
More than Just the Census: Federal Government Publications for Genealogical Research
- Presenter: Anne Kasuboski
- Date: November 20, 2018
- Webinar Description: Most researchers know that the National Archives holds a wealth of original records valuable for family history. But the U.S. Government Printing Office is the largest publisher in the world, giving federal depository libraries in each Congressional District government published books full of personal information and history on our ancestors. This session will demonstrate the types of information to be found in books and databases as close as the nearest federal depository library in your Congressional District.
Unpuzzling the Past: Tips and Techniques for French Records
- Presenter: Bryna O'Sullivan
- Date: October 16, 2018
- Webinar Description: What do you do when you want to research your French-Canadian ancestors - and don't speak or read French? This presenation will cover techniques for working through French language records, including typical formats, when to use a word list or dictionary, and when to spend the money on a translator.
On, Wisconsin! The 24th Infantry, 1862-1865, Brothers Forever
- Presenter: Jean Wilcox Hibben
- Date: September 18, 2018
- Webinar Description: In 1862, Wisconsin got the 2nd call for volunteers for the Union Army in the Civil War. The 24th was comprised of many Germans, along with many long-time Milwaukee residents, including the commanding officer, Arthur MacArthur. The life of this unit is seen through records of a Milwaukee pioneer and private in Company I, focusing on what records are available (and where) for others searching Wisconsin Civil War soldiers. The soldiers from this and other units made up part of the population of the state, contributing to it long after the War. But the veterans were forever connected because of their shared experience; find out why and how. Drawing some from the book by W.J.K. Beaudot, historical records, newspapers, military, and GAR documents, the regiment's history will come to light for family, Civil War, and Wisconsin historians.
Citing Sources and Evaluating Evidence
- Presenter: Thomas MacEntee
- Date: August 21, 2018
- Webinar Description: You’ll learn how to use the source citation templates, evidence evaluation features, as well as how to add/remove features to create a customized research log of your own. A good deal of time will be spent on citing sources and resources to make the process easier. In addition, we’ll cover how to look at a record and evaluate the evidence to determine if it proves or disproves the proof point. Finally, you’ll see how you can add new source citation templates, add new columns and more.
"The Marriage of the Waters": The Erie Canal and the Opening of the Midwest
- Presenter: Annette Burke Lyttle
- Date: July 17, 2018
- Webinar Description: The Erie Canal--a project many labeled hopeless and impossible--opened the Midwest to settlement and prosperity. It provided a far easier migration route to the Midwest than any of the land routes available, and it also gave settlers on the Midwestern frontier a less expensive way to get their goods and produce to Eastern markets. Learn about the building of this engineering marvel and how it affected the lives of our ancestors.
50+ Online & Offline Sources for Finding Photos of Your Ancestors
- Presenter: Katherine R. Willson
- Date: June 19, 2018
- Webinar Description: If you haven't inherited photos of your ancestors, learn about the 50+ potential sources that you may have overlooked, including printed media, organizations, digital sources and even distant relatives that you may not know about (with tips on initiating contact that ensures a response).
Online Tools to Organize and Collaborate with Your Cousins
- Presenter: Kelli Jo Bergheimer
- Date: May 15, 2018
- Webinar Description: Learn tips and techniques of online wikis, blogs, and collaborating tools to share your family history with your cousins, friends, and family. Topics covered include: The Hows and Whys of Collaboration, Blogs for Communication, Google Docs™, Shared Calendar (Google Calendar™, Outlook™) to Keep on Task, Wikis for Collaboration, Dropbox™, Mosey™, and Others for Backup and Sharing.
On A Mission: Religion in the Great Lakes Region
- Presenter: Cari Taplin
- Date: April 17, 2018
- Webinar Description: Some of the first settlers in any region were missionaries who wanted to convert native tribes already in the region. The area around the Great Lakes was explored by Jesuits, Methodists, Moravians, Baptists, Anglicans, Quakers, Presbyterians and others. These groups built early churches and religious meeting places that served settlers and native people alike. This class will focus on major religions in the Great Lakes region, a history and timeline of their arrival and expansion in specific areas, and will include a discussion on the main denominational repositories for research.
Oy Vay! You Want to Research Jewish Ancestors?
- Presenter: Jennifer Alford
- Date: March 20, 2018
- Webinar Description: Whether you have a Jewish ancestor or are looking to assist others, this session will introduce you to the history of the Jewish people, immigration to the United States, and aspects of their lives. Using this information we can get to know our Jewish ancestors in depth and find records that can take us back to the homeland.
How Understanding & Researching European Surnames Can Help Your Genealogical Research
- Presenter: Julie Goucher
- Date: February 20, 2018
- Webinar Description: We begin with an explanation of what a surname study is before covering what might be the catalyst for a study and why such a study might be a resourceful way to research. We then explore the key research methods for exploring European surnames and how they can help when researching in Europe and breaking down brick walls. We explore how to collaborate and undertake analysis of the data and look at surname variants and deviants and if they are an important part of European surname research. We then focus on surname distribution maps and the part they play in understanding surnames in Europe. In the last segments of the presentation we explore promotion of our European surnames so connection can be made with others, the use of social media and DNA surname projects.
FamilySearch: The Other 70%
- Presenter: Jill Morelli
- Date: January 16, 2018
- Webinar Description: Did you know--if you do a surname search at FamilySearch.org you are only reaching 30% of the online documents that are available at that site? Maximize your "search power" by understanding how the image-only documents are arranged to find your ancestor's record easier. We will cover why these image-only records exist, why surname searches will continue to access only a fraction of the online records, and the impact of the discontinuation of the FamilySearch film distribution activity. We will cover three methods for accessing these image-only documents and describe the limitations of each. Finally, the organization of the image-only records will be covered and how to use that organization to your advantage, reducing the amount of "scrolling time." With FamilySearch digitizing their records and eliminating the film distribution program in 2017, this topic is very timely. Discoveries await!
- Presenter: Michelle D. Novak
- Date: December 19, 2017
- Webinar Description: Transcribing from original documents can unlock events, actions and sentiments that haven't been expressed since they were first written--and that may shed entirely new light on your ancestors' lives. But learning a manageable system for your transcription work can make the difference between enjoyment and chaos. In this session, Michelle D. Novak will share a large transcription project currently underway, one that started with one New Jersey Supreme Court case involving an ancestor and has now grown to dozens of individual and related case files (still with no end in sight). Using only scans saved to PDFs of the documents and MS Word, she has devised a three-step process to staying organized through rounds of transcription and proofreading.
Midwest Historical Genealogy for Genealogists
- Presenter: J. H. Fonkert
- Date: November 21, 2017
- Webinar Description: Our ancestors crossed time and space - history and geography. An understanding of how geography and technology drove a region's history creates context for your ancestors' migrations. Cincinnati was Porkopolis. Chicago out-dueled St. Louis. Minneapolis milled grain from the Dakota bonanza farms. The Upper Midwest farmlands, forests and mines fed the cities' hunger for food and lumber and steel. Railroads made it possible, bringing raw materials to the city and sending consumer goods back to the hinterland. The Cut-over region of Wisconsin and Minnesota was devastated by wild fires. Copper and iron ore drew immigrants to the lands around Lake Superior. Learn about how the development of the Midwest created opportunity and hardship for your ancestors.
The Aliens Are Coming: USCIS Record Sets
- Presenter: Rich Venezia
- Date: October 17, 2017
- Webinar Description: A-Files? AR-2 Forms? C-Files? Oh my! Wade through the alphabet soup of the record sets the US Citizenship & Immigration Services holds to find where your immigrant ancestor may be hiding. In addition to handling current immigration into the USA, the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) holds indispensable genealogical records for anyone with post-1906 immigrant ancestors. This lecture explores a bit about how USCIS came to be, but more importantly, the valuable records it holds. Participants will learn who is likely to show up in which USCIS file set, how the index searching and ordering process works, and see examples of each record set held by USCIS. The files that will be discussed are:
- A-Files (Alien Files) (including which files are held at HARA and which are held by USCIS)
- AR-2s (Alien Registration Forms)
- C-Files (Naturalization Certificate Files)
- Registry Files
- Visa Files
Third Coast: How the Great Lakes Shaped America
- Presenter: Cari Taplin
- Date: September 19, 2017
- Webinar Description: This program will examine the rich history of the Great Lakes region, particularly its role in U.S. expansion, through transportation, economic growth and defense. We will look at the geography of the Great Lakes through early explorers' reports, maps and tales. There will be an examination of inﬂuences throughout the regions such as Native Americans in the area, commerce, and shipping routes. The program will examine routes into and out of the Great Lakes such as the Erie Canal, railroad lines, and others. The roles that the lakes played in war and defense during the “Sixty Years’ War” will be discussed. An examination of major ethnic groups that traveled through the region including immigrants from the British Isles, Germany, Scandinavia, Eastern Europe, and others. The session concludes with a survey of records useful for tracing Great Lakes ancestors from census, naturalization, homestead, passenger lists, border crossings, and other records.
How Advertising Brought Our Ancestors to the Midwest
- Presenter: Annette Burke Lyttle
- Date: August 15, 2017
- Webinar Description: Motivation is one of the hardest factors to identify when we're trying to reconstruct our ancestors' stories. Business owners, land speculators, and communities wishing to grow all turned to various forms of advertising to entice people to migrate to the Midwestern territories and states. Examining some of the messages aimed at getting people to settle in sparsely-populated places can give us a window into what may have motivated our ancestors to move west.
Finding Online Resources from Lineage Societies
- Presenter: Elizabeth O'Neal
- Date: July 18, 2017
- Webinar Description: Many of us know that lineage societies have been collecting and preserving family histories for over 125 years, but did you know that some of these treasures can be found for free online? And you don't even have to be a member to take advantage of them! Thousands of applications and supporting documents have been submitted to lineage societies over the years, and your brick wall ancestor could be hiding in the file of one of their members. From the databases and downloadable documents of the DAR, to simple lists of pioneers and soldiers, this class will show you what gems are available online and where to find them. By the time we are finished, you just might be inspired to join!
100 Years Later: World War I Genealogy
- Presenter: Russell Horton
- Date: June 20, 2017
- Webinar Description: Russell Horton, the Reference Archivist at the Wisconsin Veterans Museum, will introduce the museum’s online World War I Database to help genealogists find their Wisconsin veterans to help commemorate the 100th anniversary of America’s entry into World War I. He will also discuss other resources to help you dig for the doughboy in your family tree.
Misbegotten Children: Tracing the Family Lines of the Illegitimate
- Presenter: Peggy Clemens Lauritzen
- Date: May 16, 2017
- Webinar Description: Illegitimacy can be both a surprise and an embarrassment as we discover more and more about our family’s history. Treated with care and sensitivity, we can use many available resources to help us in our research.
Postmasters, Carriers and Railway Clerks: Genealogy Records of the USPS
- Presenter: Michael Strauss
- Date: April 18, 2017
- Webinar Description: Was your ancestor a mail carrier? Did they serve as postmaster? The Postal Service can trace its roots to 1775 during the Second Continental Congress, where Benjamin Franklin was appointed the first Postmaster General. The Postal Service was officially created in 1792, elevated to a cabinet department in 1872, and finally transformed in 1971 to an official government agency. Records of the United States Post Office are an overlooked genealogical pathway worth the effort to search. Many details about family members who may have worked with the postal system from the earliest listings in federal records are available to researchers nationwide. Learn to conduct primary research at the National Archives where most of these records are stored.
I Found My Family on the Internet! Now What Do I Do?
- Presenter: Jill Morelli
- Date: March 21, 2017
- Webinar Description: When you find that "fluttering leaf" attached to a possible ancestor, what do you do? When you are ready to post genealogical information on a website, how do you decide where to post your family information? Do you accept the answer given to you by the leaf? What is your decision process for where to post? We will review three levels of analysis so that you can make an informed decision on whether that fluttering leaf is one you ought to accept, or whether that website is where you want to post. We will start by reviewing the clues given us by the web address, and then analyze the platform, the contents and, finally, the evidence. Examples illustrate the risks and the rewards of use of information we find online.
- Presenter: Denise Levenick
- Date: February 21, 2017
- Webinar Description: This presentation will highlight heirloom preservation tactics for anyone caring for family keepsakes, from digitizing to basic archival care for common family treasures such as photo albums, loose photographs, Bibles, clocks, jewelry, and more. Dozens of photos illustrate best practices for digitizing artifacts, proper storage, and avoiding damage from poor storage and common hazards such as silverfish, mold, and acid migration. Discover what to save when you inherit a houseful of "treasures," how and where to store your keepsakes, and how to set up a home archive so you can easily access items for research and sharing.
Seven Ways to Use the Cloud
- Presenter: Jennifer Alford
- Date: January 17, 2017
- Webinar Description: This presentation will include explanations of what the cloud can do for you and ways to protect your privacy. Jennifer will share the seven ways that you can use the cloud to make your research more effective and easier to share with other generations of your family. The cloud can also be a great resource for "crowd sourcing." Volunteers all around the world can access scans of documents and provide invaluable transcribing and indexing efforts.
Eight Common Mistakes That Genealogists Make and How to Avoid Them
- Presenter: Donald Schnitzler
- Date: December 20, 2016
- Webinar Description: This program highlights some of the common mistakes made by genealogists researching their family history as well as strategies that help overcome them. Discussion topics include basic research methodologies (alternate records selection tables), documenting and citing sources, use of research logs, and planning for the future.
At the end of this presentation, attendees will be able to:
- Recognize and Avoid common mistakes made in genealogical research
- Strategize for the best approach to finding the missing pieces of genealogical information
- Discuss and Apply elements of the Genealogical Proof Standard
- Acknowledge and Analyze inevitable contradictions in and between family records
- Consider possible approaches to “passing on” genealogical work
Passenger List Research: Castle Garden, Ellis Island and other Ports of Entry
- Presenter: Bob Heck
- Date: November 15, 2016
- Webinar Description: During this presentation we will learn about the history of passenger lists, where to find them and what information may be available in the records. Using real life examples we will discuss search techniques that can help you find those hidden ancestors. We will also learn about the "To America" series, which can be a great help in finding your immigrant ancestors. We will learn what those cryptic numbers mean on a passenger list and how they can lead you to naturalization documents of your ancestors.
Roosevelt's Tree Army: Genealogy Resources in the Civilian Conservation Corps
- Presenter: Michael Strauss, AG
- Date: October 18, 2016
- Webinar Description: Tens of thousands of young men came together to serve in the vanguard of President Franklin D. Roosevelt’s New Deal program. Discover some of your ancestors who may have worked and served with the Civilian Conservation Corps from 1933 to 1942. The New Deal era in American History has many great resources that have been untapped for years, and seldom used by genealogists and family historians.
The ABC's and 123's of Researching Your Ancestor's School Records
- Presenter: Melissa Barker
- Date: September 20, 2016
- Webinar Description: School records should be an important part of any genealogists research. This presentation will help you to know what school records could be available and where you can find them. Even if your ancestor didn’t go to school, this presentation will reveal school records where your ancestor just might be mentioned.
Using Word to Write Your Family History
- Presenter: Seema Kenney
- Date: August 16, 2016
- Webinar Description: This class focuses on features of Word that make the creation of your family history quicker & easier. Explore the use of AutoCorrect, AutoText, Footnotes, Indexing and Sections within Microsoft Word-
- AutoCorrect: Word can recognize your shorthand, allowing you to type fewer keystrokes.
- AutoText: Save phrases, sentences or paragraphs that you use frequently and insert them into your document with as few as three clicks of your mouse.
- Footnotes/Endnotes: Word will number and place your footnotes or endnotes at your request and then re-number and re-arrange as you edit your document. Combine this with autotext to save lots of time and increase the consistency of your citations.
- Index: Create an index to your document as you proofread by highlighting each name. Word will update the index at your request, while alphabetizing and tracking page numbers.
- Sections: Dividing your document into sections allows for additional customization as headers, footers, and other formatting can be unique to each section of your document.
Using Evernote as Your Primary Tool for Capturing Notes and Ideas
- Presenter: Drew Smith
- Date: July 19, 2016
- Webinar Description: Learn to use Evernote, a tool that allows genealogists to capture, organize, preserve, and synchronize (across multiple devices) small pieces of information, including ideas, notes (typed, handwritten, and audio), photos, online articles, web pages, and URLs.
Principles of Effective Evidence Analysis
- Presenter: George G. Morgan
- Date: June 21, 2016
- Webinar Description: Evidence comes in many forms and with varying amounts of content. This lecture focuses on analyzing evidence for reliable and less-than-reliable information. It begins with a discussion of types of source materials - original vs. derivative - and the differences between primary and secondary information., and goes on to address mixed content on sources. Print. vs. electronic media are considered throughout, and evaluation of source citations to help determine evidence weight and reliability is stressed.
Using Social Media to Break through Genealogy Brick Walls
- Presenter: Amie Bowser Tennant
- Date: May 17, 2016
- Webinar Description: Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and Pinterest aren’t just for the teenagers anymore. These are just some of the many social media apps and websites that you need to utilize for your family history. Answers to brick walls are waiting! Using social media as a type of crowdsourcing will amaze you, so join us for this fun and informative topic.
A Path to Your Next Research Steps: Using Timelines to Organize, Analyze and Evaluate Evidence
- Presenter: Annette Burke Lyttle
- Date: April 19, 2016
- Webinar Description: So you’ve done all this research – now what? How do you figure out what you have and what to look for next? This presentation will show you how to organize timelines that will enable you to evaluate your evidence, analyze your research for accuracy, and identify next steps.
Basics of Genetic Genealogy
- Presenter: Andrew J. Hochreiter
- Date: March 15, 2016
- Webinar Description: This course is an introduction to Genetic Genealogy and how DNA can help genealogists to resolve or find family relationships. It is designed to educate potential consumers on the types of DNA tests available, what DNA tests can do, and avoid misconceptions about test capabilities. Family research using DNA results now stands together with traditional documentation in defining family relationships and history.
The Value of Working with a Professional Genealogist
- Presenter: Paula Stuart-Warren, CG, FMGS, FUGA
- Date: February 16, 2016
- Webinar Description: Whether doing targeted research, consulting on your brick wall, or working along with you in a archive, historical society, or library, it’s a sensible step to hire a family history professional. We can't always make it to all the locations that hold records we need to research our family history.
Learn about services, finding the right one, costs, and what to expect as far as a reports, copies of records, timeliness, and more. This session is directed at both the consumer and somewhat for the professional.
Turning Genealogy into Family History: Creating Stories from Stats
- Presenter: Jean Wilcox Hibben
- Date: January 19, 2016
- Webinar Description: Intergenerational stories are links to the past, but many people (especially the younger generations) become “turned off” by the lists of names, dates, and places. How can we make genealogy “come alive” for our descendants? This program explores turning statistics into stories and facts into fascination by using the story of a Milwaukee businessman (1843-1922) as the example case study.
Railroad Records Across America
- Presenter: Patricia Walls Stamm
- Date: December 15, 2015
- Webinar Description: During the 1800s, railroads quickly grew. The railroad network was plentiful in Wisconsin. Besides lines like Union Pacific Railroad, Wisconsin Northern Railroad, and Wisconsin & Southern Railroad, other defunct lines were Northern Pacific, Chicago & North Western Railway, and Green Bay & Western Railroad, crisscrossed Wisconsin.
As the railroads expanded, they transported people, raw materials, and manufactured products from city to city. The railroads created jobs, spurred area growth, and produced records. This session will discuss the various records, railroad libraries, and the methods to access their information.
World War I Military Records
- Presenter: Russell Horton
- Date: November 17, 2015
- Webinar Description: We are in the midst of the 100th anniversary of World War I, and the centennial of America’s entry into the Great War is just around the corner. Roughly 4 million Americans—often referred to as Doughboys—served in the military during the war, including 120,000 men and women from Wisconsin. In this session, Horton will walk you through the steps to researching the World War I veteran in your family tree, from draft registration to service records to unit histories. He will discuss records specific to individual veterans as well as broader sources that can be used to provide perspective on the veteran’s experiences. Learn how to properly research and honor your ancestor’s World War I service!
National Archives Resources at the Chicago Branch
- Presenter: Jane Haldeman
- Date: October 20, 2015
- Webinar Description: “The National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) is the nation's record keeper.” The National Archives at Chicago holds Federal records from agencies in Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Minnesota, Ohio, and Wisconsin dating from the 1800’s. There are Territorial Papers, Farming and Agriculture, Naturalization, Military, Taxes, Postal Service, Court Cases and many more records that can be invaluable when researching your family history. Learn what’s available and how to access these rich resources.
Black Sheep Ancestors and their Records
- Presenter: C. Ann Staley
- Date: September 15, 2015
- Webinar Description: Let's just admit it - we all have them! So, let's use the records they have created to our benefit - and what wonderful records they left. Court, prison, newspaper and census records and all types of other records. I will provide tips starting with what you already know (or at least "think" you know) and follow through with trying to prove the story.
Church Denomination Archives
- Presenter: Valerie Eichler Lair
- Date: August 18, 2015
- Webinar Description: Are you still not finding that particular church record that will hopefully provide a date, a name, and a place for your ancestor? It might be a matter of not simply finding a church and its records; but the need to go beyond. Most of the church denominations have archives where records have been placed. This presentation should take the mystery out of this under-used source. Explanation into the location of select church denomination archives will be given and what you need to know about them.
Researching Your Wisconsin Polish - American Ancestors
- Presenter: Anne Kasuboski
- Date: July 21, 2015
- Webinar Description: Immigrants of Polish ancestry were one of the major groups making their way into Wisconsin in the second half of the 19 th century. Learn what’s unique about Wisconsin’s Poles, how history shaped their migration, and tips and techniques for tracing your Wisconsin Polish ancestors back to their place of origin.
Lost Children: Orphans, Vagrants, Delinquents, Half-Orphans, Dependents, Surrendered, Adopted
- Presenter: Jeanne L. Bloom
- Date: June 16, 2015
- Webinar Description: As the views of society toward children evolved, the types of records and where these records might be located changed.
Complete Photo Restoration in 4 Easy Steps
- Presenter: Eric Basir
- Date: May 19, 2015
- Webinar Description: Eric Basir of Photo Grafix will walk everyone step by step through the basics... scan, restore and print a photo like the pros from beginning to end. In addition to sharing important tips and techniques about photo restoration, he will also be addressing problems found in many family photos relevant to genealogists.
Genealogy Do-Over: A Year of Learning From Mistakes
- Presenter: Thomas MacEntee
- Date: April 21, 2015
- Webinar Description: It isn’t often that we get a “do-over” when it comes to stuff that matters in life. When you first got started researching your family history, did you do some things that now are just plain “embarrassing” such as name collecting, not citing sources and more? Well now there’s hope since genealogists from beginner to advanced are employing new research methodologis and documentation practices. Follow genealogist Thomas MacEntee as he basically starts his genealogy research from scratch but includes sound research practices and methodologies as well as new templates, tools and the latest technology to create a better body of family history research.
The New and Improved Wisconsin Historical Society Website
- Presenter: Lori Bessler
- Date: March 17, 2015
- Webinar Description: WisconsinHistory.org has changed tremendously in the last 11 months. There are many more ways to find out what resources we have for researching your family history. Attend this webinar and you will learn how to navigate this new website and the many enhancements that have been added to the site. WHS staff has been listening to the feedback from the public since the rollout of the new site in May 2014. Many ideas have been implemented and some search strategies have returned to the site that had been removed. Lori Bessler, Reference Librarian will show you how to use the site and what the site can do for your research.
Grandmothers, Mothers & Daughters: Researching Your Female Lines
- Presenter: Lisa Alzo
- Date: February 17, 2015
- Webinar Description: Most historical records have been created for and/or about men, making it more challenging to research and write about female ancestors. This session will demonstrate effective ways to discover the females in your family tree. Learn about the key sources for determining maiden names, how to overcome the most common obstacles for researching female lines, and the best methods for documenting and sharing “her” story. A sample case study will be provided.
Researching Your Swedish Heritage in Living Color Using ArkivDigital
- Presenter: Kathy Meade
- Date: January 20, 2015
- Webinar Description: Learn how to research your Swedish Hertiage using ArkivDigital Online, an online service that provides access to newly photographed color images of Swedish historical records. This product demo will familarize you with the types of records that you will find on ArkivDigital including the Swedish church books, estate inventories, military records, tax registers, passenger ship manifests, prison records and other types of records.
Lost in Your Cemetery Research? FindAGrave Can Help Unearth Your Answers
- Presenter: Vickie Schnitzler
- Date: December 16, 2014
- Webinar Description: “Find-a-Grave” may be an overlooked and under appreciated resource for basic on-line genealogical research. Find-a-grave volunteer, and WSGS president, Vickie Schnitzler, will share information about the organization, website and how to search the more than 111 million graves already posted. She will also share how Find-a-Grave can possibly help you with your genealogical research.
Time Travel with Google Earth
- Presenter: Lisa Louise Cooke
- Presenter Website: www.GenealogyGems.com
- Date: November 18, 2014
- Webinar Description: Get ready to experience old historic maps, genealogical records, images, and videos coming together to create stunning time travel experiences in the free Google Earth program. We'll incorporate automated changing boundaries, and uncover historic maps that are built right into Google Earth. Tell time travel stories that will truly excite your non-genealogist relatives! You’ve never seen anything like this class!
- Presenter: Peggy Lauritzen
- Date: October 21, 2014
- Webinar Description: Those pesky tic marks seem to get in our way as we work to extend our pedigrees. Just what do they mean, and how can they help me?
Norwegian Genealogy: A Ten Step Program to Get You Started and Addicted
- Presenter: Jerry Paulson
- Date: September 16, 2014
- Webinar Description: Confused by the naming patterns in Norwegian genealogy? This class will help to clear up some of the mysteries associated with this ethnic group. Topics to be discussed include naming patterns, using Norwegian and Norwegian American church records, relationship of church and state in Norway, websites of value for doing Norwegian and Norwegian American research and migration patterns.
The Hidden Web: Digging Deeper
- Presenter: Cyndi Ingle
- Date: August 19, 2014
- Webinar Description: When Google and traditional search engines don't return useful information, don't stop there. We will explore resources that are invisible to Google and hidden deep within web sites and proprietary databases. The "hidden web" lies buried within the collections for commercial web sites, libraries, archives, and museums. We will also talk about the importance of indexes that deep-link into web sites online, thus uncovering hidden gems of information that may not be found easily through a search engine query.
World War I Draft Cards
- Presenter: Tim Pinnick
- Date: July 15, 2014
- Webinar Description: World War I draft registration cards contain valuable imbedded pieces of information that can become leads in solving some genealogical roadblocks for researchers. Identify relatives and potential friends, establish familial relationships, locate previously unknown migration locations, and more!
Applying for Your Irish Passport: An Introduction to Irish Research
- Presenter: Donna Moughty
- Date: June 17, 2014
- Webinar Description: Before you buy your ticket to Ireland you need to look at the roots your ancestor planted in America. Focusing on U.S. resources can give you a real passport to finding your way to the right place and time in Ireland.
Genealogy Research in BadgerLink
- Presenter: Kara Ripley
- Date: May 20, 2014
- Webinar Description: BadgerLink is Wisconsin’s online library which provides access to licensed content such as magazines, newspapers, census records, full text family histories, videos, and images. These resources are provided exclusively for use by all Wisconsin residents and are materials that are not available through regular search engines such as Google. In this session, learn the basics about using BadgerLink to conduct genealogical research!
German-American Resources for Genealogists
- Presenter: Antje Petty
- Date: April 15, 2014
- Webinar Description: Researching one’s ancestors from German-speaking Europe comes with many challenges. The quality and availability of resources may differ greatly, depending on an immigrant’s place of origin, time of departure, and more. The investigation is further complicated by the fact that documents—including many created in America—were not only written in German, but also in a script that even native speakers cannot easily read today. This webinar will offer suggestions on how to use German-American resources in genealogy, including those available at the Max Kade Institute.
DNA and Genealogy
- Presenter: Colleen Fitzpatrick
- Date: March 18, 2014
- Webinar Description: DNA is not as difficult to understand as you might think! Whether you are having trouble spelling DNA or you are an old hand at genetic genealogy, this talk is for you! Understanding your DNA results, connecting with long lost cousins, and gaining insight into family history through DNA has become easier than ever. And what if your DNA is different from the rest of the members of your family? Should you hide under the bed? Refuse all incoming phone calls? No! You have a terrific opportunity to discover the interesting family history if your DNA doesn't match anyone else's. In this talk, you will learn the basics of DNA, how to ‘do’ genetic genealogy, and what you can derive from your DNA results. Colleen explains how DNA can be combined with paper genealogy to provide a more powerful toolbox for solving genealogical mysteries. Colleen also gives success stories in tracing otherwise lost family history-unexpectedly connecting a group to a geographical region and to historical evebnts occurring there. This talk on DNA is very different from others you might have heard. No matter what level of understanding you have about genetic genealogy, this talk is for you!
Probate Will Not Be the Death of You
- Presenter: Harold Henderson
- Date: February 18, 2014
- Webinar Description: Everybody dies. Many have probates. Few write wills. Fortunately, probate records are not as scary as they sound, and they offer all kinds of wonderful opportunities for the well-prepared genealogist.
Building a Research Toolbox
- Presenter: Thomas MacEntee
- Date: January 21, 2014
- Webinar Description: Are you overwhelmed with the number of online resources for genealogical research? Are you constantly working with unorganized bookmarks or favorites? Printing out lists of websites you use most? Learn how to build a research toolbox that is organized, easy-to-use, and can be accessed from almost anywhere.
Land Entry Records; Providing Details of a Pioneer's Life
- Presenter: Donald Schnitzler
- Date: December 17, 2013
- Webinar Description: This webinar will provide a general overview on how Homestead Records, also known as Land Entry Case Files, can be of assistance to family historians. Each record used to prove the homesteaders claim to government land will be reviewed and instruction provided about where to find and how to use them effectively in your family history research.
Tho' They Were Poor, They May Have Been Rich in Records
- Presenter: Paula Stuart-Warren
- Date: November 19, 2013
- Webinar Description: So many researchers put up artificial brick walls because their ancestors weren't land owners, were perennial renters staying one step ahead of the bill collector, or didn't leave behind a ten page will listing all the children. Various records and sources for tracking these ancestors down will be discussed. Visuals will demonstrate the extensive information which may be found. Examples span many states and time periods and both private organizations and goverment agencies at many levels.
Finding Those Who Served: Genealogy Resources at the Wisconsin Veterans Museum
- Presenter: Russell Horton, Reference & Outreach Archivist, Wisconsin Veterans Museum & Archives
- Date: October 15, 2013
- Webinar Description: Do you have military ancestors in your family anbd don't know where to begin to look for information on them? The Wisconsin Veteran's Museum and Archives has many resources that can help point you in the right direction, including much on the Civil War, World War I and II, and more. Come listen to Russ as he shares all of the jewels and gems of their colleciton and how it might be able to help you with your genealogical research.
Bring 'Em Back to Life: Developing an Ancestor Profile
- Presenter: George Morgan
- Date: September 17, 2013
- Webinar Description: In the course of our genealogical research, we often become engrossed in the collection of information snippets, failing to put them into a logical perspective. We lose sight of the fact that the people we're tracing participated in the life of their historical times, led complex lives, and interacted with one another.
Organizing the information we collect into a biographical profile can help you begin to recognize character traits and decision patterns. And the profile also provides an invaluable, portable research tool that avoids your taking voluminous amounts of notes with you on research trips.
This seminar presents a methodology and a structured model for taking the details you collect about your ancestor and creating a biographical profile. We will discuss:
This approach will not only help you organize your research, it can become the basis for writing detailed biographical sketches or novels about the people whose lives you have been researching.
Beginning German Genealogy Research
- Presenter: Kathy Wurth
- Date: August 20, 2013
- Webinar Description: Identify German immigrants' origins through US Resources and strategies including family records, passenger lists, naturalizations, church records, censuses, newspapers, obituaries and local histories. Learn what you can find using FamilySearch.org and other online sources.
Genealogy Orienteering: Using Maps to Find the Right Place
- Presenter: George Morgan
- Date: Tuesday, July 16, 2013
- Webinar Description: Maps are an essential part of our everyday life. We consult them to plot travel routes as we move from place to place, check them to determine correct postal codes, verify boundaries, and use them in a many other ways. Throughout history, maps have changed again and again. Country and county boundaries moved, towns came under different jurisdictions, and place names changed. As we use maps in our genealogical research, it is essential to understand the geographical history of an area and how boundaries and jurisdictions have changed. These changes are important for determining who created what documents and where these materials can now be found. Many genealogists hit "dead ends" and waste inordinate amounts of time because they either fail to understand the importance of properly using maps in their research or they don't possess the skills.This seminar presents and discusses a simple yet efficient methodology and some resources to help you use maps to quickly and effectively locate the right place to conduct your research.
The Area Research Network
- Presenter: Josh Ranger
- Date: June 18, 2013
- Webinar Description: This webinar discusses how the Area Research Centers in Wisconsin work and what a researcher can find there to help them with their research.
Crossing the Pond: Successful Strategies for Researching Eastern European Ancestors
- Presenter: Lisa Ann Alzo
- Date: May 21, 2013
- Description: A vast number of immigrants came to America from Eastern Europe in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. Border changes, language differences, political considerations, and exotic-sounding surnames often complicate the search for Austrian, Czech, Hungarian, Polish, Rusyn, Slovak, Ukrainian, and other Eastern European ancestors. Traditional methods and online resources for tracking ancestors both in the U.S. and the old country will be discussed, as well as techniques for overcoming some of the most common obstacles and problems faced during the research process.
Wooden Shoe Genealogy: Methods for Tracing North American Immigrant Families Back to The Netherlands
- Presenter: J.H. ("Jay") Fonkert
- Date: April 16, 2013
- Description: Use a three-step strategy to match families across North American and Dutch records and then work your way back in The Netherlands.
Planning Your Way to Research Success
- Presenter: Marian Pierre-Louis
- Date: March 19, 2013
- Description: You may be getting good results in your genealogical research but you could get even better results by using a research plan. A research plan will help you focus your time and energy and save you from researching something twice. Marian will show you how to create and use research plans to fine tune your research and get you back on track.
The Winter Of Our Discontent: 3 Months to Better Organization
- Presenter: DearMYRTLE
- Date: February 19, 2013
- Description: You’ve heard about marathon runners? How about a marathon to finally get organized? DearMYRTLE quickens the pace of her 12-month program, and asks you to devote a mere 12 weeks to the process. You can do this! Includes sorting, filing, data input, scanning photos, documenting artifacts, & creating family history experiences for the non-genealogists in the family.
The Wisconsin Historical Society Library & Archives Collections and Services
- Presenter: Lori Bessler
- Date: January 15, 2013
- Description: This webinar describes the extensive North American collections found in the Society’s library and archives, as well as the services that make these collections so accessible. This is one of the top five genealogical collections in the country!