Sunday, October 4, 2015

Happy Family History Month!

In 2001, the U.S. Senate unanimously approved legislation to designate October as "Family History Month." The bill, sponsored by Utah Senators Orrin Hatch and Robert Bennett, encouraged President Bush to "issue a proclamation calling upon Americans to observe it with appropriate ceremonies and activities." 1 Genealogists across the country have hearkened to our president's proclamation ever since. Social media has been inundated with Family History Month articles, tips, conferences, and suggestions for family activities since Thursday.

There are several events happening in and around Tucson in celebration of Family History Month 2015. Visit the Pima County Genealogy Society website for some of them. Check out yesterday's blog post Bringing Genealogy Education into Your Home for some others. Whatever you choose to do this month, celebrate Family History Month by finding out a little bit more about where you came from.

1. Lee Davidson, "Family history accorded its own month," The Deseret News, Sep. 27, 2001, p. B4; digital images, Google News ( : accessed 4 Oct 2015), Archives Search.

Saturday, October 3, 2015

Bringing Genealogy Education into Your Home

Every year around this time, we start thinking about furthering our education. And every year we are given many opportunities to increase our knowledge and research skills for free, or nearly so. Here are some ways you can bring the classroom into your own home. Most of these webinars have a chat box available during the live broadcast for attendees to ask questions, making it seem almost like being in the room with the presenter.

Note: Times given below are in the hosting organization's time zone. To determine local time, visit the Time Zone Converter, enter the date and time of the broadcast, select the From Time Zone (for example, US/Central), select the To Time Zone (for example, US/Arizona), and click on the green "Convert Time Now" button.

Family History Library Webinars
Each month, the Family History Library hosts a number of free online family history webinars. The list of upcoming webinars are on the Family History Library Classes and Webinars wiki page. I counted 23 webinars scheduled for October and 6 for November. Topics range from researching in US church, cemetery and vital records to improving skills in citing sources, organizing your research, and solving tough research problems to international research techniques in England, Germany, Italy, and Portugal and much, much more. Most of the Latin America webinars are taught in Spanish. And that is only in the months of October and November!  Registration for these webinars is not necessary—simply go to the webinars wiki page 15 minutes before the webinar begins and click on the link next to the group teaching the webinar (US/Canada, British Isles, International/Scandinavian, or Latin America). You can also find recordings of past webinars on pretty much every country that same wiki page. Handouts for all upcoming and past webinars are at the Family History Library Class Handouts wiki page.

Legacy Family Tree Webinars
Every Wednesday is Webinar Wednesday at Legacy Family Tree Webinars. Prominent Genealogists give a free hour-long presentation every Wednesday at 12pm Mountain, except the second Wednesday which is at 7pm Mountain time. Once a month an additional webinar is offered on Friday, also at 12pm Mountain. The webinars are free, but pre-registration is required to attend the live session. Following the live webinar, the recording will be available to view for free for about a week. After that, you must be a paid member to view the recording. You also must be a member to download the handouts. Visit their website to see the schedule for the rest of this year and to register for webinars you wish to attend live.

Illinois State Genealogical Society (ISGS) Webinars
ISGS offers a webinar on the 2nd Tuesday of each month at 8pm Central time. These webinars cover topics on a wide range of research methodology and strategies relevant to all genealogists, not just Illinois and the Midwest. And the presenters are some of the best-known genealogy speakers. The live broadcasts are free and open to the public. After the live broadcast, the recording is available to ISGS members only. Visit their Upcoming Webinars page for the schedule for the rest of this year and to register for the live broadcast.

Southern California Genealogical Society (SCGS) Webinars
Live SCGS webinars are broadcast the first Saturday and third Wednesday of each month. Saturday sessions are held at 10am Pacific time and Wednesday sessions are held at 6pm Pacific time. The webinars are presented by professional genealogists and lecturers. The live broadcasts are free to the general public; the recordings are available only to SCGS members. To view the schedule for the rest of this year and to register for the webinars, visit the SCGS Webinar Series website.

BCG Webinars
The Board for Certification of Genealogists present occasional free webinars. There doesn't appear to be a schedule of those webinars, but they announce the a few days in advance on their blog SpringBoard News and Notes. To receive email notification of upcoming webinars, visit their blog and scroll down to the Email Notification area, enter your email address where indicated and click the Subscribe button. Pre-registration is required to attend the live viewing. BCG offers recordings of some of their past webinars, some are free but most are available for a fee. Previews and links to all videos are available on the BCG Webinars page.

New England Historic Genealogical Society (NEHGS) Online Classes
NEHGS offers online educational programs in the form of webinars, videos, and online classes. Most webinars are available for NEHGS members and Guests. Registration is required. Visit their Online Classes webpage for the schedule and to register. Archived webinars are available from their Learning Resources webpage and from the AmericanAncestors YouTube channel. Most of the webinars are about using the resources available at NEHGS and, but also give instruction on how to do research in the New England states and Canada. AmericanAncestors databases are free to patrons of the Tucson Family History Center.

As you can see, there are many options for furthering our education in genealogy. Take a look at what is offered between now and the end of the year and go for it! I promise that you won't be disappointed.

Do you know of any other options? Tell us about them in the comments below.


Image: Written by Meg, ePortfolio (Megan E. Ford) / CC BY-NC-ND 3.0