Wisconsin State Genealogical Society
Wisconsin State Genealogical Society
2018 Gene-A-Rama
Rediscovering Your Love of Genealogy:
Moving from Overwhelmed to Organized
Family Tree Logo
April 13-14, 2018
Best Western Premier Waterfront
Hotel & Convention Center
1 North Main Street • Oshkosh, Wisconsin
Hosted by:
Winnebagoland Genealogical Society

As genealogists we are always on the hunt for more stuff. But what do you do with once you've got it? And how do you unclutter the mounds, bookshelves, file cabinets, and boxes that patiently wait for you? Join us -- we'll help you find a way to move from overwhelmed to organized.

Featured Speaker:
Tony Burroughs
Tony Burroughs, FUGA
Internationally known genealogist, author and lecturer, Tony Burroughs has been recognized as a Fellow of the Utah Genealogical Association (FUGA) for his contributions and ongoing commitment to the field of genealogy. He is founder and CEO of the Center for Black Genealogy.
An educator, Tony has taught genealogy at Chicago State University, as well as worked for public schools in Chicago and New York. In addition to consulting for Ancestry.com, he has appeared as a guest genealogy expert on numerous national and international broadcasts.

Lori Bessler
Lori Bessler
Reference Librarian/Outreach Coordinator
Wisconsin Historical Society
A sought-after lecturer throughout the Midwest, Lori has been researching family history for over 40 years. She specializes in breaking down brick walls and locating hard-to-find resources.
Susan Fassbender
Susan Fassbender
Outagamie and Beyond
As the owner of a home renovation company, Susan is introduced to many homes, and loves to listen and learn the history of each one.
Dr. Bill Hopkins
Bill Hopkins, MD (Retired)
Wisconsin State Society Governor
Society of Mayflower Descendants in Wisconsin
A Mayflower Society member since 2005, Bill also serves in the role of assistant historian. His ancestral surnames include Hopkins, Brewster, Chilton and Cooke.
Russell Horton
Russell Horton
Reference Archivist
Wisconsin Veterans Museum
As the Reference Archivist at the Wisconsin Veterans Museum, Russell has spent the past 17 years helping genealogists find out about their military ancestors.
Joshua Ranger
Joshua Ranger
University Archivist and Communications Librarian
Polk Library, UW-Oshkosh
Joshua has been the Archivist at the UW-Oshkosh Area Research Center for 20 years. He holds a Master's degree in Library and Information Studies.
Tracy Reinhardt
Tracy Reinhardt
Library Director
Fond du Lac County Historical Society
A genealogist, historian, speaker and writer, Tracy is a Marathon County Genealogical Society charter member, Fond du Lac County Genealogical Society Past President, and past WSGS Newsletter Editor.
Mary Rieder
Mary Rieder
Webmaster and East Central District Representative
Wisconsin State Genealogical Society
Mary is a librarian at Marquette University, East Central District Representative, Webmaster and a Facebook contributor for the Wisconsin State Genealogical Society. She is the immediate Past President of WSGS.
Friday, April 13 Saturday, April 14
8:00 AM Registration; Vendors Open 8:00 AM Registration; Vendors Open
10:00 AM WSGS Annual Membership Meeting 9:00 AM
Tracy Reinhardt: Genealogists Never Die, They Just Lose Their Census
Bill Hopkins, MD: Mayflower 101 - Lineage Societies
10:30 AM
Tony Burroughs: The Nature of Genealogy 10:00 AM Break; Vendors Open
11:30 AM Lunch; Vendors Open 10:30 AM Tony Burroughs: Processing Family Papers
1:00 PM
Joshua Ranger: The ABCs of ARCs: Wisconsin's Area Research Centers, Partners in Family History Research
Tracy Reinhardt: It's Christmas in the Museum
11:30 AM Lunch; Vendors Open
2:00 PM Break; Vendors Open 1:00 PM
Russell Horton: Putting the Pieces Together: A Case Study in Researching a Civil War Veteran from Birth to Death
Susan Fassbender: Every House Has a History: The Genealogy of Your House
2:30 PM Tony Burroughs: Why the Basics Are Important 2:00 PM Break; Vendors Open
3:30 PM
Break; Vendors Open 2:30 PM Tony Burroughs: Creating Order Out of Chaos
4:00 PM
Lori Bessler: Meet Mrs. George H. James: How to Write a Biographical Sketch
Mary Rieder: Creating a Family Tree From All of Your Stuff: Genealogy Software for the Beginner
5:15 PM Cash Bar    
6:00 PM
Tony Burroughs: Unsung Heroes
Session Descriptions
The Nature of Genealogy
A successful genealogist is not one who knows all the records.  The Nature of Genealogy dictates researchers must be adept at why records are created, what they were created for, how and when to use them, how they interrelate to the circumstances of their ancestors, and how to execute a successful strategy.  This presentation will cover understanding history, research, repositories, records, theory development, results analysis and publishing findings.  It is woven around a case study discovering a new ancestor by an experienced genealogist.
The ABCs of ARCs: Wisconsin's Area Research Centers, Partners in Family History Research
Learn about the unique partnership between Wisconsin's Area Research Centers, the Wisconsin Historical Society and UW System to distribute local history and genealogical materials across the state.
It's Christmas in the Museum
Did your grandmother write her biography for 8th grade English class? Was your grandfather recognized in his employer's newsletter for his bowling championship? Did your ancestor bring his home-made mousetrap back from Andersonville prison? Discover the unusual treasures that await you in local museums and archives that can be used to tell the story of your family.
Why the Basics are Important
Genealogists often get ahead of themselves. Genealogy is very exciting and enthusiasm can often catapult us beyond our skills. We need to return to the basics like professional ball players do every year in Spring Training. The basics build strong foundations for research. But what are the Basics? There are basic sources and basic methodology. They both are important but too often we concentrate on sources as if methodology is not important or non-existent. How you research may be more important that what you research.
Meet Mrs. George H. James: How to Write a Biographical Sketch
There are ancestors who already come with a biographical sketch. Most of our relatives need someone who will write their story. A biographical sketch is a manageale and brief story that can put these ancestors into the light. Lori Bessler will provide guidance on how to uncover the information and then put it into a biographical sketch.
Creating a Family Tree From All of Your Stuff: Genealogy Software for the Beginner
You’ve been researching your family history for a while now and have started accumulating lots of pictures and information from relatives, websites, and research. Now that you have all of this stuff, you’re ready to start creating your family tree so that you can share what you’ve learned with others. We’ll talk about a few of the more popular genealogy software programs, and give you ideas on how to find the one that’s perfect for your needs.
Genealogists Never Die, They Just Lose Their Census
Tracy will teach you how to use the census to your best advantage to uncover hidden clues on your family. Learn how to enhance your family tree using pre-1850 census data, as well as how to analyze the data on an agricultural census, and why you should never forget to check mortality schedules.
Mayflower 101 - Lineage Societies
Your tour of the Mayflower includes a discussion of the General Society of Mayflower Descendants and its Wisconsin chapter, along with the lineage society application process.
Processing Family Papers
You inherited old letters, documents and photographs that were passed down through your family. What steps should you take to insure your family papers survive your life? What preservation techniques can you apply at home? What supplies do you need? How should these documents be organized and catalogued? This presentation will cover these issues for the genealogist.
Putting the Pieces Together: A Case Study in Researching a Civil War Veteran from Birth to Death
Starting with an unidentified poem and some photos, Horton will show how a variety of sources fleshed out the Civil War veteran behind them.
Every House Has a History: The Genealogy of Your House
"If these walls could talk." Our walls may not talk, but we can get them to whisper a few of their stories in our ears.
Creating Order Out of Chaos
Have you searched in every courthouse, every library, and every archive and still haven't solved your riddle?  One of the keys to success in genealogy is doing more with what you have.  Sometimes the pieces are there, we just need to look at them in different ways. Reorganizing and analyzing may solve your riddle.
All meals are prepaid ticketed events that must be purchased either online or included with your mailed registration by March 14, 2018.
Friday Lunch: Deli Buffet                                      $12.50
Build your own sandwich with turkey, ham, roast beef, and cheese on fresh breads and rolls. Includes coleslaw, potato chips, assorted relishes and condiments, cookies, coffee and iced tea.
Friday Night Banquet: Home-style Buffet         $21.25‚Äč
Enjoy oven-roasted chicken and baked cod, with coleslaw, potato salad, green beans, mashed potatoes and gravy. Includes rolls and butter, dessert bars, coffee, iced tea, and milk.
Saturday Lunch: Soup and Sandwich Buffet   $12.50
Choose from assorted ham, turkey, and roast beef sandwiches with cheese, relish platter, soup of the day, potato chips, cookies, coffee and iced tea.
(Please note that the Registration Brochure is intended to be printed on 8 1/2" x 14" paper and will not print out correctly on standard 8 1/2" x 11" paper. The file is provided here for downloading only.)
Hotel Accommodations
1 North Main Street, Oshkosh, WI
Reservations: 920-230-1900
To receive the discounted base room rate of $90/night for a single king or two queen beds, mention that you are with the Wisconsin State Genealogical Society. Reservations must be made by March 13, 2018 to ensure the conference rate. Reserve early as accommodations are based on availability.
The early-bird conference rate is available through March 14, 2018. Your WSGS membership must be current at the time of registration to receive the reduced member rate.
Membership in an Affiliate society does not qualify as WSGS membership. Should you want to take advantage of the reduced conference rates, include your WSGS membership fee with your registration payment.
If you would like to vend at Gene-A-Rama, please fill out the attached Vendor Table Application and mail it to the WSGS Office.
Deadline for applications is March 15, 2018. NO LATE REGISTRATIONS WILL BE ACCEPTED!