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Lectures and Seminars

Ann is available for consultation, conference/seminar planning, and to speak at meetings and seminars.

C. Ann Staley is a Certified GenealogistSM, Certified Genealogical LecturerSM, and instructor. She has been researching her family since 1980 and for clients since 1998.


For more biographical information, please see the "Credentials" page.


Click here to find a list of some of her recent speaking engagements.

Click here to see her current calendar of speaking engagements.

Lecture Topics


Back to the Basics


Family Research Introduction

Presentation Abstract: There comes a time in our life that we begin to wonder about our "family. It might be because of a medical problem, to establish a sense of heritage (or Where did I come from?) or just plain curiosity. Whatever the reason, Genealogy (or Family Research) is a very fulfilling hobby. This lecture will discuss among other topics:

  • How to begin
  • Using Pedigree Charts and Family Group Sheets
  • Getting started (Attic Archeology, Correspond with relatives and family friends; Conduct Personal Visits and interviews)
  • Four Elements of Genealogical Identification
  • Documentation
  • Available resources (Local Genealogical Societies, Libraries, Books, The Internet)

What Do I Do With All This STUFF? Mission: Organization

Presentation Abstract: We go on a research trip and gather all sorts of information. We come home to other responsibilities and our research gets stacked in piles waiting the moment when we can do something with it. This lecture tries to minimize the damage. The discussion will include:

  • Organizational Approach
  • Research notes - keeping notes and organizing them
  • Office Organization
  • Filing Systems for Research Aids, Compiled Sheets, and Notes and Documents (Paper and electronic)
  • Record keeping tips (paper, forms, and computer resources)
  • An organized approach for the stacks you have now


Methodology


City Directories - A Line-by-line Account of Our Ancestors

Presentation Abstract: Many different types of "directories" have been published that may help the researcher today solve their family history brickwalls. One of those is the City Directory. They can place a person in a particular place at a particular time and can group people by place of residency and/or by association with others. This presentation examines the city directories available to the researcher and how to locate and use them. Among the topics, I will include:

  • City Directories and all of their "parts" (yellow pages, green pages and white pages)
  • Benefits of Directory Research (clues to forward research through census, marriages, land records, etc.)
  • Problems/concerns associated with using city directories
  • Resources for locating City Directories (Family History Library (FHL), Library of Congress, WPA records, PERSI, etc.)
  • Research Strategy illustrated with a Case Study

Claws or Clues - Scratching for the Elusive Ancestor!

Presentation Abstract: If you are at the point in your research that you are encountering "dead ends", you may need to stop, regroup, check where you have been and where you need to go. This lecture is designed to start the thought processes with a systematic research approach. We will discuss evidence criteria, timelines and spreading your research net outwards.

  • Search for Documentation
         Create a Research Plan
          Perform a systematic, methodical & persistent search for the time/locality
  • Criteria for Judging Reliability of Evidence
  • Timelines
  • Spread wide your “net” - Investigate everyone on your group sheets
  • Look Further Afield - More

Overlooked Research Sources: A Gold Mine to be Discovered

Presentation Abstract: We sometimes get caught in a researcher's "rut"; we start looking at the same type of sources and "forget" that there are a lot of different types of sources to be scoured for information and clues to our ancestors. This presentation will take a look at a variety of these sources, what they contain and where they can be acquired. Some sources (on- and off-line) we will discuss are:

  • County Historical & Biographical Publications
  • City Directories
  • Federal Census - Agriculture and Industrial Schedules
  • School Records, Society Records
  • Company Reports, Insurance Records
  • WPA Historical Records Survey (HRS) (Published and Unpublished)
  • Periodicals and PERSI (PERiodical Source Index)
  • Prison Records
  • Estate Records
  • And more

“Shore to Shore” - 20th Century Immigration Research

Presentation Abstract: Between 1607 and 1980 approximately 50 million immigrants arrived, with the peak year being 1907 when approximately 1,285,000 people arrived. How are we to find our ancestor among those millions? This presentation discusses:

  • Immigration History for the 20th Century
  • 4-Step Research Strategy
  • Emigration Records
  • Border Crossings (Mexico and Canada)
  • Alien Registration
  • Repatriation (when they decided not to stay)

So You Can't Read a Foreign Language: Deciphering Vital Records - Tips and Techniques

Presentation Abstract: Sooner or later, a researcher will be facing a vital record in a foreign language. Treating the language as a barrier or "brick wall" will only frustrate them further. This presentation will use vital records in various languages to demonstrate ways to decipher them. Among the topics discussed are:

  • Structure of the Vital Record
  • Record Type and Format
  • Deciphering Handwriting Tips
  • Translation Guides
  • FHL Word Lists and Wikis
  • Case Study using a German Record

What Do I Do With All This STUFF? Mission: Organization

Presentation Abstract: We go on a research trip and gather all sorts of information. We come home to other responsibilities and our research gets stacked in piles waiting the moment when we can do something with it. This lecture tries to minimize the damage. The discussion will include:

  • Organizational Approach
  • Research notes - keeping notes and organizing them
  • Office Organization
  • Filing Systems for Research Aids, Compiled Sheets, and Notes and Documents (Paper and electronic)
  • Record keeping tips (paper, forms, and computer resources)
  • An organized approach for the stacks you have now


Computer Resources


Florida Research: Online Resources

Presentation Abstract: Florida is a state varied in history and culture from its' tip in Key West, through the Everglades to the West Coast, and the Panhandle to the "First" Coast. This lecture is designed to work through that diversity utilizing resources available on the World Wide Web. We will discuss online resources for:

  • Vital Records - What is available and how to get copies
  • Pre-Statehood and State Censuses
  • Historical and Cultural Data
  • Cemetery and Obituary Databases
  • Military Records/Information
  • Florida Photographic Records
  • Maps and Gazetteers
  • Libraries, Archives and Special Collections
  • And various other topics

Genealogical Research: Online Resources - for Free!

Presentation Abstract: In the economically challenged world we are in today, free is good! The World Wide Web holds a host of options for today's genealogist to explore. This lecture will provide insight into what is in store when some of the popular, and some so not well known, free websites are explored. Come join us as we surf the internet to find those choice websites that hold digital images, databases, text files, etc. I will discuss and show examples for each of the following:

  • Articles, Blogs, Newsletters, Podcasts and Webinars
  • US Genealogy Sleuth
  • Linkpendium (Great resource for county information)
  • Joe Beine's Suite of Websites
  • AccessGenealogy
  • RootsWeb - World Connect Project
  • LiveRoots
  • FamilySearch - Librarian Favorites
  • Bureau of Land Management - General Land Office Records
  • DAR Genealogical Research System (GRS)
  • Cyndi's List (good for topical information)
  • USGenWeb Digital Library (USGenWeb Archives) (very good resource for indexed and digital data)

Googling Your Family: Using the Whole Google Website

Presentation Abstract: Google's mission is "to organize the world's information and make it universally accessible and useful" and they do that task very well. Learn how to use the search engine for books, images, newspapers, maps, etc. to enhance your research and the family story you want to tell. This lecture will show what is available in this collection of databases. We will look at:

  • Google Website Overview
  • Google Search Engine and Search Tips
  • Google Books Search (Searches the "full text of some 7 million books")
  • Google Images Search (Search for people, places, and events)
  • Google News Archive (Current news and archival news)
  • Google Maps Search (World maps and satellite imagery)
  • Other "things" on Google (Google Drive, GMail, Specialized Searches and much more)

HeritageQuesttm Online - The Ins and Outs

Presentation Abstract: HeritageQuesttm Online contains much more than just the Federal population census. If you are searching for immigration, naturalization, land grants, monetary claims, pensions, public works projects, military matters, vital records, parents, etc. you should take a look at this collection. This lecture will show what is available in this collection of databases. We will look at:

  • Getting Started
  • Genealogy & Local History Collection (family and local histories)
  • PERiodical Source Index (PERSI) (6,500+ journals and 2+ million article citations)
  • Rev War Era Pension and Bounty-Land Records Collection (81,000+ pension and bounty-land- warrant application files and 138,00+ pensioners & dependents)
  • U.S. Congressional Serial Set (Persons "on whose behalf Congressional action was sought during the period 1789-1969."
  • Freedman's Records (Freedman's Savings & Trust Company records for freed slaves & others - 1865-1874)
  • U.S. Federal Census Collection

Organizing, Analyzing, and Sharing: Using Technology to Your Advantage

Presentation Abstract: As researchers we gather all sorts of information, but once we have it what do we do with it? How can our findings be analyzed to tell us what we need - and where to find it? How can we tell what we don't have and need to find? And now that I have all this family data, how can I share it with other family members?

Put technology to work for you with software applications that can be used to analyze, organize and share your genealogical data. There is technology available today that might help you in answering those questions. The discussion will include how our computer can come to our aid in helping us make sense of the research we have done.

  • Your computer - programs already installed that can assist you
  • Using word processors, spreadsheets and databases to your advantage
  • Organizing your family data into a family tree program
  • Note-keeping systems in the computer age
  • Using computer artificial intelligence to analyze your genealogy data
  • Creating multimedia presentations for sharing

The FamilySearch Website - Demystified

Presentation Abstract: This website is made up of many parts; each one essential to the research of a genealogist. However, many have never heard of the site or have not used it to its' greatest potential. Join us as we explore the wonderful possibilities! Among the topics, I will include:

  • The Library Catalog - an underused and misunderstood piece of greatness
  • Historical Books - tap into the Family History Archives digital collections
  • Historical Records - millions of records (indexes and digital images) going online for free
  • Searching the Research Wiki - free advice for the community
  • Finding Articles, Guidance, and Online Classes
  • Indexing Records - share your time and talents in helping the community

The Twilight Zone...Strange Web Sites for Family History Research

Presentation Abstract: There are many web pages devoted to subjects that we researchers may not even think of as possibilities to help us in our research. This presentation examines a variety of these sites and discusses their merits and relationship to Genealogical Research. Some topics discussed are:

  • Our Ancestor's Weather
  • The Auction
  • Postcards Tell the Story
  • Lost Naval Ancestor?
  • Ancestral Photographs
  • Female Ancestor and Her Home
  • Poorhouse in America
  • What Did Your Ancestor Wear?
  • This Day in History - Placing Your Ancestor in a timeline
  • Where was your Surname in the US and Census Statistical Information
  • American Memories
  • Occupations
  • Court Records
  • and many others


Vital Records and their Sources


Death Record Research Sources: Beyond Death Certificates

Presentation Abstract: Death certificates are often the first thing that comes to mind when thinking about a record created at death; however, statewide death registrations did not start in most states until the first quarter of the 1900s. So what other documents can be used to obtain death information? This lecture presents an overview of a contemporary death certificate and then goes on to examine how some of those same "clues" can be found in a variety of other documents/resources. Some of those covered are:

  • Obituaries, Eulogies, Interments for the Week
  • City Sexton Reports of Burials, Burial Permits, Register of Deaths
  • Cemetery Records, Funeral Home (Mortuary) Records, Memorial Cards
  • Bible Entries, U.S. Social Security Death Benefit Index and SSA Records
  • Probate Records, Deed/Land Records, Census Mortality Schedules (1850-1900), and others

Hatched, Matched and Dispatched: Vital Record Research

Presentation Abstract: The 21st Century poses it own particular problems on the researcher today. With the onslaught of "privacy issues" how is the family researcher going to be able to further their knowledge of their families? This presentation examines the various records available to the researcher searching 21st century vital recordss and how to locate and use them. Among the topics, I will include:

  • History of 20th Century Registration (By time period and Civil Jurisdiction)
  • Possible Problems Encountered (including privacy related issues)
  • Available Records (discussion and examples of earlier records vs later records)
  • Locating Vital Record Sources/Resources
          Federal Records (including Census Mortality Schedules)
          State Records
          Family History Library (FHL)
          County Records (including courthouse records, Board of Health, etc.)
          Other records (including, but not limited to, Family Bibles, Journals/Diaries, Newspapers Cemeteries, Funeral (Mortuary) Homes and Church records)


Research Sources


Blacksheep Ancestors and Their Records

Presentation Abstract: Let's just admit it - we all have them! So, let's use the records they have created to our benefit - and what wonderful records they left. Court, prison, newspaper and census records and all types of other records. I will provide tips starting with what you already know (or at least "think" you know) and follow through with trying to prove the story.

  • Defining the "story"
  • Finding the Records to Prove the "Story" - Make a research plan
  • Court Records
  • Courthouse "Insane" Records
  • Census "Insane" Records
  • Executions and Lynchings
  • Military Records
  • Prison Records
  • Wild West and Notorious Characters
  • Other Resources (not already discussed) for finding records

Courthouses and The Records They Keep

Presentation Abstract: Courthouses are one of those underutilized resources which are not as hard to maneuver in as most people think. Under their roof you will find fabulous records! We will explore this rich resource to discover the fabulous records contained within their walls and examine how the sources/records can aid in our search.

  • What is a Courthouse?
  • Levels of Courts
  • Chancery & Civil Court - what is the difference?
  • Intermediate Courts
  • Supreme Court
  • Records contained within
  • Docket Books, Minute Books, Order Books
  • Probate & Estate Records
  • Land/Deeds
  • Marriage Records
  • Delayed Birth Records
  • Soldier & Sailor Discharges
  • Voter Registrations
  • And more

Down to Earth with Land Records

Presentation Abstract: Land records can provide wonderful family clues to help you in your search. We will discuss, primarily, land records found at the U.S. county level.

  • History of Colonial Lands
  • History of Federal Land
  • Public-domain States
  • State Land States
  • Courthouse research

Florida Research: Online Resources

Presentation Abstract: Florida is a state varied in history and culture from its' tip in Key West, through the Everglades to the West Coast, and the Panhandle to the "First" Coast. This lecture is designed to work through that diversity utilizing resources available on the World Wide Web. We will discuss online resources for:

  • Vital Records - What is available and how to get copies
  • Pre-Statehood and State Censuses
  • Historical and Cultural Data
  • Cemetery and Obituary Databases
  • Military Records/Information
  • Florida Photographic Records
  • Maps and Gazetteers
  • Libraries, Archives and Special Collections
  • And various other topics

Lineage Society Papers: Guidelines for a Successful Application

Presentation Abstract: A Lineage Society is a society of like-minded individuals with the purpose of preserving the history of the particular "pioneers" being honored. Those "pioneers" could be a specific group of people or an individual. The descendants provide the documentation needed to prove their direct descent from the "pioneers". Some societies also allow collateral or "close" relatives.
Most often our first thoughts, when lineage societies are mentioned, are of the National Society Daughters of the American Revolution (DAR), National Society of the Sons of the American Revolution (SAR) , National Society of the Colonial Dames of America, and the General Society of Mayflower Descendants. Oh, but there are so many more! And joining one is not that difficult. Among the topics, I will include:

  • Lineage Societies - What are they and where do I find them?
  • Read the instructions, follow them and then re-read them
  • Getting Started - Do your research. What has already been done and what do you need to do?
  • Preparing the forms.

Overlooked Research Sources: A Gold Mine to be Discovered

Presentation Abstract: We sometimes get caught in a researcher's "rut"; we start looking at the same type of sources and "forget" that there are a lot of different types of sources to be scoured for information and clues to our ancestors. This presentation will take a look at a variety of these sources, what they contain and where they can be acquired. Some sources (on- and off-line) we will discuss are:

  • County Historical & Biographical Publications
  • City Directories
  • Federal Census - Agriculture and Industrial Schedules
  • School Records, Society Records
  • Company Reports, Insurance Records
  • WPA Historical Records Survey (HRS) (Published and Unpublished)
  • Periodicals and PERSI (PERiodical Source Index)
  • Prison Records
  • Estate Records
  • And more

"Read all about it!" Newspaper Research: Reading Past the Headlines

Presentation Abstract: Newspapers have been published in this country for almost 300 years. These day-to-day diaries of our ancestors' lives can make them "come to life for us" if we but use the rich daily life information that can be garnered from within the pages of newspapers. This lecture will start with a brief history of the newspaper's rise in American history and then examine various components found in a variety of types of newspapers and how they can be used to further the research for your ancestor. We will end with information on how/where to find older newspapers. Some items we will discuss are:

  • Vital Records (Birth, marriage, divorce, death)
  • Legal Notices, Marine Intelligence, Stopped Mail
  • Personals, Local News and Advertisements
  • Politics, Religious News and Community Projects

The Everyday Life of our Ancestors

Presentation Abstract: We sometimes forget that our ancestors had flesh & bones & stories to tell. Our ancestors led lives, just like us - only different. Using our life as an example, how can we parallel it to theirs? They ate and drank, married and had families, dressed, had trades and occupations, practiced a religion, dabbled in the arts and sciences, participated in politics and economics, etc. Placing our ancestors into their historical context & adding the personal details takes time, but it can be done.

  • Placing our ancestor in a timeline.
  • Finding Historical Context
  • Homelife, Weather and the Farmer's Almanac
  • Ancestral Photographs, Postcards, etc
  • What Did Your Ancestor Wear?
  • Court Records
  • Occupations
  • Events of the day and the times
  • And much more.

"Will" They be There? Using Probate Records

Presentation Abstract: Probate records can be a rich source for finding that elusive piece of information concerning birth, death and relationships. They could also put some "meat on the bones" of your ancestors depending on the records found within the probate package. This lecture examines the many records created in the Probate proceedings. We will start with what Probate Records are, the types of records that might be found (utilizing many examples from various counties/states), problems associated with the records and sources for finding the records. Some items that will be discussed are:

  • Will and Testament, Guardianship
  • Admission of Will to Probate
  • Petitions/Letters of Administration
  • Estate Inventory, Estate Sale, Petition to sell property
  • Publication of Estate Settlement; Proof of Heirship


Society Management


Starting and Maintaining a Pioneer Descendants Program

Presentation Abstract: Has your society thought about starting a First Family, Pioneer Family or Pioneer Descendants Program and didn't know where to start? Then this presentation is for you. A pioneer program can be fun and beneficial to the society and community. I have been involved in a pioneer program as a co-chair of the Florida State Genealogical Society's pioneer program. Among the topics I will discuss are:

  • Selecting the scope of the program - Territorial, State, County, City/Town, other
  • Fees and membership dues
  • Application form(s)
  • What documentation will be required of descendants?
  • Review team responsibilities and forms
  • Database requirements and record keeping
  • Advertising the program
  • Preservation of the resulting records and applications

Organizing a Society Seminar or Conference

Presentation Abstract: Has your society talked about having a seminar or conference but they just are not sure it is worth the trouble? Join the societies that are finding that this educational opportunity for their society and community is fun and beneficial. I have been involved in providing seminars and conferences since 2000 at the national, state and local levels. I have the experience as National Registration and Vendor Chairs, State Conference Chair for 9 years, and a local society seminar chair for 5 years. Among the topics I will discuss are:

  • Submitting the proposal to the society
  • Selecting the place to hold the program
  • Who will be the speaker(s)? How will we contact them? Individually? Call for Proposals? Etc.
  • Will refreshments be served? Or a meal?
  • Syllabus or handout options
  • Door prizes and/or freebies
  • Vendors
  • Publicity - and lots of it
  • Registration fees and due dates
  • Committees and the division of work

Organizing and Carrying Out a Society Project

Presentation Abstract: Whether big or small, a society project can be a daunting task. This presentation is designed to help the society officers and volunteers manage a society-wide project from start to completion. Among the topics to be discussed, I will include:

  • How many members does you society have? How many will actually participate?
  • What are the skills of the members? Have you done a skills survey?
  • Selection of the project
  • Budgeting the finances - What will it cost? How will it be paid for?
  • Break the project down into "bite" size entities. The smaller each "bite" is, the better chance you will have of succeeding.
  • Timelines and due dates
  • Committee or individual responsibilities relating to the project
  • Database requirements and record keeping
  • How will the end product be distributed? Print-on-demand, paper product, CD/DVD, flash drive, etc.?
  • Advertising the product
  • Preservation of the resulting records and product

The Policy and Procedure Manual: Preventing "I Didn't Know That."

Presentation Abstract: How was the seminar run? What process was used to present the budget? What does the Vice-President do? Looking for a great training tool? Looking for a management tool? Look no further then the Policy and Procedure Manual. The Policy and Procedure Manual can be a life saver for a society. Since it should contain how a society runs its day-to-day business, it can be referred to when someone is ill or a position is vacant. It can prevent the "I didn't know that" statement for a missed date or a missed step in a process. The following topics will be discussed:

  • What is a Policy and Procedure Manual? Why is it important?
  • How is one developed? For each job/position:
  • What is contained in the bylaws?
  • What policies have been established?
  • What procedures are being followed now?
  • What forms are being used?
  • Arrangement and Format
  • How can it be used to combine or streamline jobs?


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