Presentation Topics

The GPS, Document Analysis, and Citations, Oh My! This presentation discusses the Genealogical Proof Standard, document analysis and evaluation, and citation standards, and how to make them second nature in our genealogical research. Making them second nature and learning these “best practices” can save us time, energy, and money throughout our genealogical endeavors.

She Did What? With Whom? And Why? Putting Your Ancestor into Historic Context
History is looking at the big picture. Genealogy is micro-history, looking at individual people during historic events to place them within the larger context. Why do people do the things they do? Think about your ancestors’ lives from multiple perspectives: social history, community networks, architectural history, occupational history, and economics. Even if you can’t find records that specifically address your ancestor, can you use the records that do exist to make reasonable hypotheses about the life of an ancestor?

Recreating a Frontier Community
Using a case study of a particular family in western New York, this presentation shows how to reconstruct a frontier community using the limited available records and discusses the impact the War of 1812 had on the small community. This methodology can be used to document other families and communities that may have left behind few records. 

FAN Out: Documenting a War of 1812 Family and Community Through Cluster Genealogy
This presentation discusses a case study of using War of 1812 records at the federal level (compiled military service records, bounty land records, and pension records) to prove relationships between a family in western New York and a man who moved to Michigan in the 1830s. It gives a general overview of the war and its causes, as well as putting ancestors in historic and geographic context.

I've given this presentation at multiple local genealogical society meetings and the Texas State Genealogical Society's 2013 State Conference and in 2014 at the Computer Club of Austin's monthly meeting.

Applying FAN Methodology to a Community: Snowville, VA

The FAN methodology uncovers clues about individual people in Snowville, Virginia, that challenges accepted history and puts a new spin on how historians and genealogists can work together to solve research problems. Given in 2015 at the Southern California Genealogical Jamboree.

Using Reunion for Mac to Document Beyond the Individual

Reunion for Mac is a great piece of software. This presentation goes over some tips and tricks to make the most of it in order to document beyond individuals for advanced research methodology. This presentation was given at the 2015 Southern California Genealogy Society's Jamboree conference.

Digital Piles and Files: Organizing Your Digital Genealogy
This presentation discusses why a person might want to work with more digital research, and gives suggestions as to how to organize and think about your digital genealogy within the wider range of your genealogy paperwork and research. It discusses the pros and cons of making suggestions as to how organization can help move research forward, particularly for brickwall problems.

I've given this presentation for many different audiences, including local genealogical societies with attendance from 20 to 80 people for their monthly meeting, one-day seminars with multiple 1-hour speakers, and the Texas State Genealogical Society's 2013 State Conference.

Beyond House History: What Can Old Buildings Do For Genealogists?
This presentation explains what historic preservation is, what it does, what records it creates, and how to access those records as a private researcher. It also discusses why a genealogist would look at old buildings in order to put their ancestors in historic, architectural, and geographic contexts. It includes case studies on how weave history, architectural history, and genealogy together to create a larger picture of family history. I've given this presentation in 2013 at the Williamson County Genealogical Society's monthly meeting, as well as Austin's Genealogical SIG (Special Interest Group).

Using Reunion 11: Making Your Software Work For You
This presentation discusses different methods of using Reunion 10, a genealogical software for the Mac. It covers beginning strategies to more advanced tips. Also covers outside resources and how to share your research with others, no matter their software.

21st Century Genealogy: The DNA Frontier
This presentation explains, from the beginning, why a genealogist might want to use DNA and what the best methods would be. Goes through the various DNA tests and testing companies and discusses the results you get from each. I've given this presentation to multiple audiences, from a 1-hour lecture with Q&A to a 3-hour class.

After Getting Your DNA Results, What To Do Next?
DNA is a powerful genealogical tool - keyword being tool! Just like any other genealogy resource, we have to learn how to best use it. DNA has to be used in conjunction with our paper genealogical research. After taking a DNA test, the next moves can be overwhelming. This talk will breaks down those steps.

What is Cluster Genealogy?
Cluster genealogy is part of your toolkit for those difficult ancestors! Otherwise known as “brick walls,” sometimes we have to go beyond our specific ancestor in order to find the answer to our genealogical questions. Learn how to expand your genealogical viewpoint to solve these difficult problems.

Think Like a Historian: Putting Your Ancestor in Historic Context
What does it mean to put your ancestors in historic context, and what can you get out of it? This presentation discusses putting your ancestor in social, community, architectural, and economic history in order to reconstruct their lives and see them as living human beings (at least as much as possible). Also touches on how you can go about finding this history methodologically.

What I Wish I Knew: Tips for Beginning Genealogists (and How to Correct Those Early Mistakes Without Feeling Guilty)
This presentation discusses many of the steps and pieces of knowledge that genealogists would find useful as their hunt for ancestors begins. It also enumerates ways to make up for not following beginners tips “in the beginning.” For example, did you interview your oldest relatives before they passed away? I didn’t! Learn methods to mitigate that oversight and similar ones.

Social Media for Genealogists: Research, Collaboration, and Learning
This presentation focuses on the ways genealogists can utilize social media outlets such as FaceBook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Google+, as well as other, less known sites that may have the genealogical gold we seek. Overcome brick walls using non-traditional methods and research avenues. Also includes discussion of the pros and cons of specific genealogy sharing sites, including, Worldconnect,, and WikiTree, as a few examples.
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