Thursday, November 6, 2014

WVGS Annual Seminar featuring Dr. John Colletta

WVGS Annual Seminar

Full Day Seminar - Saturday, February 21, 2015

Registration 8:30 - 9:00 am, Seminar 9:00 am-3:30 pm

Lakeview United Methodist Church - Smoot Hall

10298 West Thunderbird Road, Sun City, AZ.

Our speaker this year will be Dr. John Colletta. Those who have enjoyed one of Dr. Colletta’s lectures always are anxious to hear him again. Using engaging case studies and real-life examples, he combines his years of research experience and his proficiency in European languages and history with a sense of humor and the ability to make our ancestors come alive.

The topics he will be speaking about, are the following:

Passenger Arrival Records, Colonial Times to Mid-20th Century

This lecture begins with a discussion of sources for discovering the arrival time and place—and perhaps the ship—of an immigrant to colonial America. It then explores U.S. passenger arrival records, especially 1820-1957, available on microfilm and the Internet. It suggests what facts you need to begin your search and explains step-by-step how to conduct that search. Specific examples illustrate how to use Web sites, National Archives microfilmed indexes, book indexes, and other research tools.

Naturalization Records, Colonial Times to Mid-20th Century

This lecture addresses the legal means by which non-British settlers in colonial America could become naturalized citizens of Great Britain. It then explains U.S. naturalization laws and processes, which began in 1790, and describes the records that resulted from them. It considers the naturalization of both alien classes and individuals, and provides guidance on how to find an ancestor’s records, whether the naturalization occurred in a municipal, state or federal court. Pertinent research tools such as Internet sites, manuals and indexes are all demonstrated.

Lesser-Used Federal Records: Sources of Rich Detail about Ancestors’ Lives

Whenever the path of an ancestor’s life intersected with a federal government agency, paperwork was created. That paperwork fills our National Archives. Most of it has not been indexed, published, microfilmed or digitized, but some of it has. This lecture explores some of the more easily accessible paperwork that provides rich biographical detail about our ancestors. Discussion includes a selection from the following: 1) passport applications, 1791-1925; 2) homestead files, beginning 1863; 3) Civil War Income Tax records, 1862-72; 4) The Journals of Congress, 1789-1873; 5) Appointments of Postmasters, 1789-1971; 6) Federal Court records, 1789-1911; and 7) Civil War draft registrations, 1863-65.

Our Immigrant Ancestors: Pulling Together Each One’s Unique Personal Story

The immigrant experience was not the same for every one of the millions of English, Irish, Italians, Germans, Jews, and others who came to America. Each immigrant’s story is unique. Using three 19th-century case studies, this lecture describes the original records and published materials available to discover the particular facts of your own ancestor’s story. It discusses how to evaluate those facts and assemble them into a story that conveys both the drama and individuality of your ancestor’s emigration/immigration experience.

For more information about Dr. Colletta, check out his website,

Registration fee of $40 before 12/31/14; $45 effective 1/1/15
includes: Program, Contint'l Breakfast, Box Lunch, Beverages and Prizes.

Click here for the seminar flyer which has all the details about the seminar and can be printed for convenience to register for the seminar.

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