CLASSES

The following topics will be offered as classes for the 2020 conference. The schedule will be determined at a later date, and more topics may be added.

Adoption and Other Resources for Children in the 19th Century

Early adoption records in New York State are not sealed and can be accessed if you know which indexes to use in the County Clerk’s office. Records pertaining to the placement of children can also be found in the county’s Board of Supervisors annual reports, and in the records of the county poor farm. Michelle will describe the information that is available in a variety of sources, and where the sources can be accessed. Presented by Michelle Henry, Chautauqua County Historian.

Ancestry.com for Beginners

The Ancestry.com website contains exhaustive records valuable to family history researchers and is a subscription based service but is available to use free at many libraries. This class is an introduction to some of the many features of that website. Presented by Tina Scott, Executive Director of the James Prendergast Library and Director of the Library’s Genealogy Lab.

Ancestry.com for Intermediates

If you have been using Ancestry.com for a while now and want to take your researching to the next level and get more out of your subscription, this course is for you! In this course, we will expand more on some topics covered in the “Beginning Ancestry” course as well as narrow our focus in on specific topics, including but not limited to learning how to verify family members before “adding” them to your trees, learning tricks when it comes to researching our immigrant relatives with those trickier last names, as well as learning that there are indeed times Ancestry isn’t always correct! Presented by Ashley Senske.

Caring for Photos and Documents

Join a local archivist to learn how to take care of those old family photographs and documents you’ve had tucked away in that hutch for the last 20 years! You’ll learn not only how to take care of your family records, but also why you’re doing it in that particular way. We’ll also discuss “myths” that we’ve all heard that we’re supposed to do, and why those are outdated or incorrect. Presented by Ashley Senske.

Cemetery Records

In this class, Jack will talk about cemeteries in Chautauqua County: how to find them, how to find those that have been transcribed, and where these transcriptions can be found. Rick Roll will talk about Find A Grave website and will walk the group through how to use it. Presented by Jack Ericson and Rick Roll.

Citing Your Sources

Citing your sources is very important – even if you are only a casual genealogist.  A source is the record from which we get information.  A citation is how we connect a source (evidence) to our conclusion (verdict).  Citing sources also allows other researchers to confidently use the information we’ve collected.  And lets face it, after you gather 500 ancestors in your tree it is impossible to remember how you determined that Great Great Aunt Ruby’s middle name was, in fact, Arabella, if you didn’t site the source of that information.  This class will discuss what you need to know about citing your sources. Presented by Cindy Rodgers, who has been a hobby genealogist for over 20 years and is a volunteer and past president of The Fenton History Center.

DNA 101: Introduction

DNA is in all of us and is becoming a popular way to enhance family history. DNA testing offers an amazing opportunity to confirm our family history research, to help us break through brickwalls, and enable us to find lost family members. This class is focused on introducing autosomal DNA, including testing companies such as AncestryDNA, FamilyTree DNA, and 23andme. Presented by Andrew Kolstee.

DNA 201: Using DNA Results in Research

DNA is in all of us and is becoming a popular way to enhance family history. DNA testing offers an amazing opportunity to confirm our family history research, to help us break through brickwalls, and enable us to find lost family members. This class is focused on how to use your DNA results for genealogical research, including using chromosome browsers such as GEDmatch and chromosome mapping with DNA Painter. Presented by Andrew Kolstee.

Local Genealogy Records in New York State

This presentation will focus on records held by local governments in New York State. The County Archives is the largest repository of archival records in the county, and includes many different types of records that may be of value to genealogists. The County Historian will share information about the records in the Archives and the genealogical information that you may find in the records. She will also discuss records held at other levels of local government, and how they may be accessed. Presented by Michelle Henry, Chautauqua County Historian.

Family Search: A Vastly Underutilized Resource

This class will provide a general review of the Family Search website. The next portion will be an in-depth look at using the catalogue and general record search. The third section of the class will focus on the Research Wiki, a powerful tool that will enable you to access classes, How To tools, records and on-line web sites pertinent to whatever country or topic that you type in. Presented by Janet Wahlberg.

Finding Your Female Ancestors

Women are often hard to research due to the laws, social norms, and record keeping practices of times past.  In this class you will learn about sources and strategies to find your female ancestors. Presented by Rhonda Hoffman.

Genealogy for Beginners

Want to know how to get started with your genealogy quest? This class will teach you what to look for and what questions to ask. Presented by Tina Scott, Executive Director of the James Prendergast Library and Director of the Library’s Genealogy Lab.

Organization

In this class you will discover ways to not only organize your research, but also your paper documents, photos, and your on-line records and documents. Presented by Janet Wahlberg.

Research Using Newspaper Websites

Newspapers can be a valuable resource in genealogical research. This class focuses primarily on Fulton History, although other resources will be covered. There are several different strategies to make searching on Fulton History very effective, especially as the website contains the bulk of Jamestown newspapers as well as other area newspapers.Presented by Norman Carlson, Collections Manager at the Fenton Historical Society.

School Records

School records can be a great wealth of information for your genealogy research. Resources like school yearbooks, report cards, school census information, local newspapers (just to name a few) may provide that piece of information you’ve been seeking. Pam will offer advice on how to find and use different types of school records available to the public for family history research. Presented by Pam Brown.

Using Archives to Do Research

In this class, you will learn about information located in Repositories and Archives and how to access this information. You will also learn how to organize your own family history in order to potentially donate them to a repository. Finally you will be treated to actual examples of locally held archival information. Presented by Jon Schmitz and Emily Carpenter.

Breaking Old World

The key to breaking your genealogy research into the “Old World” is knowing your immigrant ancestors’ origins. Learn about American records which may tell you your ancestors’ birth towns or regions. Presented by Buffalo Public Library Genealogy Specialist Rhoda Hoffman.

D.A.R. Research

The DAR library in Washington DC is reportedly the 3rd largest repository of genealogical materials, after Salt Lake City and Allen County in Indiana. I hope to describe how one can navigate their website and find materials online. Presented by Sharon Terwilleger, 18-year member of the D.A.R.

 

Local Government Records in NY State

This presentation will focus on records held by local governments in New York State. The County Archives is the largest repository of archival records in the county, and includes many different types of records that may be of value to genealogists. The County Historian will share information about the records in the Archives and the genealogical information that you may find in the records. She will also discuss records held at other levels of local government, and how they may be accessed. Presented by County Historian Michelle Henry.

German Research

The First hour of German research will focus on helping you to find your family hometown in Germany. There will be information on what documents may help you to find that as well as a look at how spelling changes that impact your search In addition you will learn the difference between a diocese and a town.

The Second hour of German research will provide you with assistance in reading the records and deciphering the “script”. You will learn where to find the records that you need and what is the availability of the various records used in the research.

Both are presented by Greg Wadsworth (holds a PhD in Biology, Associate Professor at Buffalo State University) and Steve Cornelius (PhD in Linguistics, genealogist focused on German ancestry).

Military Records

As Project Coordinator for the Fenton program Vets Finding Vets, Barb Cessna will present some tried and true resources to help flush out the military history of your family Veterans.

Research in Ireland

Irish ancestry plays a large part in the ethnic makeup of the United States and in recent years has become a very popular topic of research. Many stories have been circulated about the “lost “records in Ireland. While many have been lost, MANY remain and can be accessed allowing you to find your ancestors. Presented by Janet Wahlberg, Fenton History Center Trustee.

Research in Scotland

The Scots have been coming to America since Colonial times enriching our music, culture and lives. The driving forces that bought them here are varied there are records to help you find your people in Scotland. Presented by Janet Wahlberg, Fenton History Center Trustee.

Resources at the Fenton

The Fenton History Center’s Hall House library contains numerous items valuable for genealogists, from books, family files, databases, and other valuable resources. Presented by Norman Carlson, Collections Manager.

Swedish Research

Learn about the valuable resources available to research your Swedish ancestors.