Category Archives: Tracks

Build Your Research Skills at FGS 2014 Conference

Build your research skills at FGS 2014 Conference.

Build your genealogical research skills at FGS 2014 Conference in San Antonio, August 27-30.

Methodology – that’s one skill in genealogical research that crosses all boundaries. Regardless of where your research takes you geographically or online, there are steps that will help you achieve your goals more efficiently, document what you’ve found, and share that information with family and friends. One of the benefits of attending a genealogical conference is that you have a chance to learn from the experts. At the FGS 2014 Conference in San Antonio, the Methodology Track offers nine chances to improve your methodology skills with help from such speakers as Thomas W. Jones, Elizabeth Shown Mills, Lisa Louise Cooke and others. Whether your ancestors settled in Texas, another state or country, here are a few topics you should find useful in your research.

 Thursday, August 28, 2014

  • Making Sense of It All: Critical Thinking for Genealogists, by Amy Johnson Crow, CG, MLIS, FOGS
  • Utilizing AncestryDNA Matching to Break Through Brick Walls in Your Research, by Anna Swayne
  • Why Genealogists Should Care About Carvers, by Marian Pierre-Louis
  • Inferential Genealogy, by Thomas Jones, PhD, CG, CGL, FASG, FUGA, FNGS

Saturday, August 30, 2014

  • Okay I ‘Got the Neighbors’ – Now What Do I Do with Them? by Elizabeth Shown Mills, CG, CGL, FASG
  • Timelines: The Swiss Army Knife of Genealogical Tools, by Amy Johnson Crow, CG, MLIS, FOGS
  • No Vital Records? Identifying Birth & Death Substitutes, by Teri E. Flack, MA, MBA
  • Tap Into Your Inner Private Eye: 8 Strategies You Need to Find Living Relatives, by Lisa Louise Cooke
  • Genealogical Documentation: The What, Why, Where, and How, by Thomas W. Jones, PhD, CG, CGL, FASG, FUGA, FNGS

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Research in Texas and Neighboring States

Track your ancestors through Texas & Neighboring States at FGS 2014.

Track your ancestors toTexas & Neighboring States at FGS 2014.

The Texas & Neighboring States track in the FGS 2014 conference program offers a range of sessions and speakers focused on helping fill in the gaps in your research. Choose one or all of these sessions to discover ways you can locate your ancestors in Texas.

F-303 8:30-9:30 a.m.
Trails In, Trails Out: To Texas, From Texas
by David McDonald, CG
Migration paths to and through the Lone Star State in the 19th century, and the groups that used them.

F-314 10:15-11:15 a.m.
Finding Your Ancestors in the Republic of Texas
by Teri E. Flack, MA, MBA
Researching your Republic of Texas ancestors takes creative thinking and ingenuity. Discover all of the ways you can locate your pre-1846 Texas ancestors.

F-329 1:15-2:15 p.m.
That Soundrel George: Tracking a Black Sheep Texas Ancestor
by Judy G. Russell, JD, CG, CGL
A romp through records of the Republic and State of Texas on the trail of a scoundrel from his marriage and bigamy charge in Colorado County to his death in Iowa Park.

F-338 3:00-4:00 p.m.
Texas Resource Gems
by Debbie Parker Wayne, CG
Learn to use “hidden gem” resources for Texas research that provide color and historical context on the lives of our ancestors.

F-347 4:30-5:30 p.m.
Paper Trails in Texas in Search of the Orphan Trains
by Alison Moore and Philip Lancaster
In-depth follow-up to the keynote “Riders on the Orphan Train.” Presenters will give examples of Texans who braved red tape and closed doors to complete family trees.

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Chuck Knuthson Memorial Lecture

Rev. Dr. David McDonald presents "Germans to Texas" at FGS 2014 Conference.

Rev. Dr. David McDonald presents “Germans to Texas” at FGS 2014 Conference.

Rev. Dr. David McDonald, CG, will present the Chuck Knuthson Memorial Lecture at this year’s FGS 2014 conference in San Antonio. “I am honored to be presenting the Knuthson Memorial Lecture at FGS in San Antonio,” said McDonald. “Chuck’s interest in Germanic genealogy is shared by so many researchers and I am pleased to be able to extend Chuck’s commitment to the field in this manner.”

Mr. McDonald discusses why settlers came from Germanic Europe to Texas in Germans to Texas. He is a trustee and past president of Board for Certification of Genealogists (BCG); former director of the National Genealogical Society (NGS) and the International Society for British Genealogy and Family History (ISBGFH). He specializes in church records, migration paths and patterns, the Midwest and English research.  He has published articles in genealogical journals and magazines since the 1980s. With nearly 40 years’ research experience and more than 30 years as a genealogical lecturer throughout the United States and England, Mr. McDonald brings a wealth of experience to his presentations.  Germans to Texas will also focus on how and where German immigrants settled and resources for researching these pioneer families including church records and resources.

The Chuck Knuthson Memorial Lecture honors Chuck Knuthson who served the FGS Board of Trustees as a member, Vice-President of Administration and Treasurer. He was a friend to everyone he met in the genealogical community. A police captain by profession, Chuck also was a professional genealogist who researched for more than thirty years. After a courageous three-year battle with cancer, Chuck passed away in 2008. Chuck’s primary genealogical interests included German research and involving young people in family history.

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James Dent Walker Memorial Lecture

Janis Minor Forte presents James Walker Dent Memorial Lecture at FGS 2014 Conference in San Antonio.

Janis Minor Forte presents James Walker Dent Memorial Lecture at FGS 2014 Conference in San Antonio.

Janis Minor Fortė has been selected to present the James Dent Walker Memorial Lecture at FGS 2014 Conference.

The James Dent Walker Memorial Lecture is presented annually at the FGS conference and honors the late Jimmie Walker, one of the most popular and respected lecturers and archivists in the field of family history.

In accepting this honor, Ms. Fortė said, “James Dent Walker is an icon in the study of genealogy in general and African American Genealogy in particular. I will be forever grateful for the value he placed on documentation and citing sources. I proudly present this lecture in his memory and all the important research techniques learned from his teachings.”

Her lecture will be presented on Thursday, August 27, and is entitled Researching the Digital Library on American Slavery. She will discuss accessing Southern court petitions that identify slaves, their owners and free people of color between 1767-1890 using methodologies and strategies for on-line and on-site research.

Janis Minor Forté is a genealogist, writer and lecturer who has received awards and citations for her research achievements. 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. She is also a member of the Midwest African American Genealogy Institute (MAAGI) Planning Committee and one of its Track Coordinators.

She has written articles for Family Chronicle magazine, the Illinois State Genealogical Society Journal, The Tennessee State Genealogical Magazine, and Missouri State Genealogical Association Journal, the Chicago State Society Quartely, and many more. The granddaughter of a slave, Janis Minor Forté, has been researching the history of her family since the late 1970s. Using a compilation of traditional and non-traditional sources, she has successfully traced her maternal ancestors to 1754; and her paternal ancestors to 1810 and has documented one line of her family to the African Island of Madagascar.

She is a graduate of the University of Chicago with a Masters Degree in Social Service Administration

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DNA and Genealogy

Should you have a DNA test to help trace your roots? What tests are available? What do the results show?


Debbie Parker Wayne talks about DNA as part of family history research at FGS 2014 Conference

Every year, new DNA tests are developed that go beyond the traditional Y-DNA and mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) results. These new tests can be used to study relationships between individuals who are not part of the direct paternal or maternal line.

Debbie Parker Wayne presents two sessions at the FGS 2014 Conference to help you understand these tests:  what are they, what steps are required to take the test, and how can you analyze the results. If you’ve been thinking about using a DNA test as part of your family research, these sessions are a great way to learn more about what’s involved.

S-412 DNA Case Studies: Analyzing Test Results
Case studies illustrate analysis of Y-DNA, mitochondrial DNA, and autosomal DNA test results to contribute to genealogical research goals.

S-443 Mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) and XDNA
Understand mitochondrial DNA and X-DNA testing and how to analyze test results in a case study.

Debbie has presented DNA topics at the National Genealogical Society and Federation of Genealogical Society conferences, Family Tree DNA Project Administrator’s Conference, Southern California Jamboree DNA Day, “Genealogy as a Profession” course at IGHR, many local genealogical societies in Texas, and all-day workshops on genetic genealogy in Texas and Arkansas.  She is the DNA instructor for the Forensic Genealogy Institute run by the Council for the Advancement of Forensic Genealogy. Debbie’s DNA research focuses on client projects and on research into her own family project which includes Y‑DNA, mtDNA, X‑DNA, and autosomal DNA studies.

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Conference brochure
Debbie Parker Wayne, CG, CGL


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Military Track at FGS 2014

Remembering Those Who Served

Remembering Those Who Served

As we celebrate Memorial Day and remember with gratitude those who served and continue to serve the USA through the years, we also recognize the value of the records they left behind.

About Memorial Day – Commander in Chief John A. Logan of the grand Army of the Republic issued what was called General Order Number 11 in 1868 designating May 30 as a memorial day “for the purpose of strewing with flowers or otherwise decorating the graves of comrades who died in defense of their country during the late rebellion, and whose bodies now lie in almost every city, village, and hamlet churchyard in the land.” The first celebration took place at the Arlington National Cemetery on that date. In 1971, federal law changed the observanceof the holiday to the last Monday in May and extended it to honor all those who died in American wars. (Source: Library of Congress)

Military records can be a valuable source of information about more than just the individual seving. Not only do they identify individuals who served in the various branches of service but they also identify who was eligible for service.  Military records can help you discover:

  • Evidence of military service
  • Residence at the time of military service or pension
  • Evidence of family relationships, including ancestors or descendants

The FGS 2014 Conference offers a Military Track by some of the leading experts in this field. Whether you are research ing an ancestor from the Mexican War or Civil War or someone who fought at the Alamo, you’ll be sure to learn new resources and techniques to help you track down ancestors who served our country during times of conflict as well as peace.

Topics in this track include:

  • Researching Your Mexican War Ancestor, Craig Roberts Scott, MA, CG
  • After Mustering Out: Researching Civil War Veterans, Amy Johnson Crow, MLIS, CG
  • Thirteen Days Insired by War of 1812 Veterans: The Alamo, Michael Jeffrey Hall
  • Researching the Hessian Soldier, Craig Roberts Scott, MA, CG
  • Home Guards, Confederate Soldiers, and Galvanized Yankees, J. Mark Lowe, CG, FUGA

See complete descriptions of these sessions in the FGS Conference Brochure.

Register online



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Technology Track – Writing & Publishing

Technology makes telling your family stories easier

Technology makes telling your family stories easier

Everybody has at least one family history story to tell!  Today it is easier than ever to share those stories.

Several sessions on the Technology Track at the FGS 2014 Conference focus on Writing and Publishing, including using the latest technology to make your story interesting. Take some time to learn how to bring your ancestors to life.


T-221 Publish! Bringing it All Together on a Mac, Laura G. Prescott
Genealogists are using Macs to publish. The possibilities are boundless as technology makes it easier, more interesting, and more affordable than ever to turn publishing dreams into realities. A Mac makes it intuitive and fun!

T-237 Publish Your Genealogy Online, Laura G. Prescott
Discover the options for publishing your genealogy online. Explore choices you can make for appearance, access, costs, and privacy. Learn simple, attractive solutions to show off your research.

S-405 To Blog or Not to Blog: Sharing Your Research, Linda Woodward Geiger, CG, CGL
Explore using a blog as a research log and sharing your genealogical research with others.

S-415 Can I Use That in My Genealogy? What You Should Know About Copyright, Thomas MacEntee
Learn the basics of US copyright law and how you can still use copyrighted items such as documents, articles and photographs as part of your genealogy research.

S-431 Elements Essential for a Polished Family History, Thomas W. Jones, PhD, CG, CGL, FASG, FUGA, FNGS
Attendees will learn about clear and structured writing, genealogical organization and format, and other aspects giving family histories meaning, respectability, and lasting value.

S-439 DIgital Storytelling for Genealogists, Sandra J. Crowley
Telling your family story requires more than “just the facts” or a few photos. Learn how to plan your message and use the tools and technology available to help you tell it effectively and share it with friends and family.

S-446 Social History and Genealogy: Writing Family Narrative, Diane Van Skiver Gagel, MA
This lecture gives an overview of using social history to fill in the gaps in a family narrative when all we have are dates and places.

Register Online for FGS 2014

About the Speakers



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