Schedule coming soon!

2020 presentation topics include:

Researching Irish, Scottish and Welsh Ancestors
Reviews of Genealogy Websites
Irish Emigration and Immigration Patterns
Scottish Research Resources

Two Pre-Conference sessions on DNA topics are scheduled for Thursday, July 30.  Click here for more information.

Tracing Your Presbyterian Ancestors

with Tina Beaird

The Presbyterian Church has been the center of the Scottish community for centuries; from birth to death, the Church oversaw private and public life, including moral character, sacramental records, alms, subscriptions, and transfers between churches. This level of records retention carried down through the American centuries to benefit researchers today.

Correlation of Direct Line Test Results with Irish Heritage

with Angie Bush

Due to record loss in Ireland, Irish genealogists have embraced DNA testing to help them answer questions about their heritage. Learn about specific Irish focused DNA projects and how they may help you in your research.

My DNA Toolkit

with Angie Bush

There are always new, exciting tools being developed to help users make sense of their DNA matches. Learn which tried and true tools the presenter uses in conjunction with the latest and greatest in new tools for DNA.

Strategies for Effectively Organizing and Using Your DNA Matches

with Angie Bush

The results of a DNA test often present so much information that it is difficult to know how they might be helpful with your genealogy. Learn strategies for quickly assessing what information will be most useful and how to apply it to your research.

Chicago Genealogy 101

with Grace Dumelle

Learn the challenges of searching for your Windy City relations, such as address and street name changes and newspapers galore. Discover geographic and government sources -- fire insurance maps, probate cases, and inquest records -- that can open a window into your ancestors' world. Area resources discussed include Newberry Library, Cook County Circuit Court Archives, and Illinois Regional Archives Depository (IRAD).

Digital Resources for Welsh Research

with Beryl Evans

Discover what resources are available online - indexes, transcripts and digital images. Learn how to access them and what information you can expect to find.

Discovering Your Welsh Roots – a Beginners Guide

with Beryl Evans

Getting to know the collections held at The National Library of Wales, Welsh Archive Offices and beyond. What you can expect to discover and how to use the information to go back further, including hints and tips on how to deal with common names.

Tracing Your Welsh Ancestors – the Next Steps

with Beryl Evans

Discovering other collections beyond the parish registers and census returns that can uncover more information relating to Welsh ancestors – including Court of Great Session records, probate records and much more.

To Find My Soul a Home: Evidence in Marriage for Irish Family History

with Fiona Fitzsimons

This talk explores how marriages were made in Ireland, from courtship, to reading the banns, negotiating the dowry, the marriage ceremony and consummation. If any step was omitted, it undermined the legal basis of the marriage. What evidence survives, and what does it tell us about love and marriage in the past? Focus on Irish and Ulster-Scots.

Land Tax Records, the ‘Ultimate’ Census Substitute for Irish Research 1830 -1980s

with Fiona Fitzsimons

Irish archival disasters compel family historians to use census substitutes. The records of the Valuation Office, 1830 to 1980. are the backbone of Irish family history research. In this talk, we look at the different complementary records sets made by this agency over 150 years. We show how to interpret the evidence to trace ancestors and living family descended from those that remained in Ireland. Focus on Irish and Ulster-Scots.

Evidence in Death for Irish Family History

with Fiona Fitzsimons

In our lifetime, most of us leave a very light ‘paper trail.’ Ironically, we probably leave the greatest amount of evidence in death. In 19th and 20th Century Ireland, death was one of the busiest times of life, with its own ceremonies and rituals, involving the deceased person’s family and community. All these activities created a record or artefacts that may survive today. The amount of records made in death indicates it was one of the busiest times in life. Focus on Irish and Ulster-Scots.

Irish Ancestors at The Inside Skinny

with John Grenham is a popular jumping-off point for Irish genealogical research. It has been 25 years in the making. This talk lays out its development and structure and in the process provides a guide to its nooks and crannies and a repertoire of tips and tricks to get the best out of the site. (A 50% discount off a subscription to the site will be available to all conference attendees.)

A Long, Hard Road: A Step-by-Step Look at the Famine Migration Process and Its Records

with John Grenham

Escaping from Ireland in the 1840s was not a simple process. At every stage of the journey from townland to the US - the Irish port, the port of Liverpool, the ticketing and porivsioning of ships, the arrival in the US - government and private agencies sought to control and profit from the desperation of those fleeing. This talk takes the story of a single family leaving Kerry in 1847 for the U.S. and looks at the records that survive for each stage of their journey.

Records of the Anglo-Irish

with John Grenham

The Anglo-Irish ruled Ireland for more than two centuries and, proportionally, migrated more than any other group. Despite the disaster of the destruction of so many of their documents in 1922, there are still plenty of records. The talk focuses on three areas: the records of Ulster Office of Arms, the Registry of Deeds, and surviving papers of the great landed estates.

Mapping Celtic Locations -- Tools and Research Aids

with Pamela Guye Holland

Discover mapping tools for Ireland, Northern Ireland, Scotland, and Wales. Learn about their different jurisdictions, the records created in them and how to access them. Research aids, historic maps and surname maps will also be covered.

Adding DNA to Your Genealogy Toolbox

with Lois Mackin

DNA is a new kind of evidence that you can use in solving genealogical problems. This basic session covers the three kinds of DNA you can test (autosomal, Y, and mitochondrial DNA), how you might use the results, and what the big four testing companies (AncestryDNA, 23andMe, MyHeritage, and Family Tree DNA) offer. The session will be most suitable for those who have not yet tested.

New Tools for Working with DNA Results

with Lois Mackin

Have you taken a DNA test? Are you hearing the buzz about DNA painting and clustering but don’t quite know what it means? Come learn about these tools, and how you can use them to solve your genealogical problems. This session will be most useful for those who have taken an autosomal DNA test and are becoming familiar with their results and match lists.

Ancestors of the Cloth: Researching Members of the Clergy in Your Family Tree

with Melanie McComb

The church was a central part of our ancestors' lives. Those that were called to serve as priests, nuns, ministers, rabbis, etc. leave a legacy behind. This session will explore how to use religious records as well as other record types (including military, land, probate and school) to rediscover their stories.

Across the Border: Irish Immigration from Canada to the U.S., 18th - 20th Century

with Melanie McComb

This session will explore several waves of migrations from Canada to the U.S. including the expulsion of the Acadians, the Irish fleeing the famine, and our homesteading ancestors who settled the American Midwest.

Effective Use of England’s National Archives

with Paul Milner

Learn how to effectively use the research tools, indexes, catalogs and download original records on this large website to find your ancestors and to put them into their correct historical context.

Effective Use of ScotslandsPeople Website

with Paul Milner

Learn tips and see case studies on how to navigate and economically use this pay per view commercial website used for Scottish civil registration, census, church records, valuation records, wills and testaments.

From Rubble and Ruin: Finding your Family in Land & Tax Records

with Donna Moughty

The fire at Four Courts in 1922, as well as the government’s destruction of early census records has left a major void for Irish researchers. Although never intended as a census substitute, The Primary Valuation of Ireland, managed by Richard Griffith between 1848 and 1864, has become a key resource for locating ancestors, or the family of ancestors who might have emigrated during the famine.

Irish Civil Registration and Church Records: It’s a New World!

with Donna Moughty

The landscape of Irish research has changed drastically over the past few years with the digitization of the Roman Catholic Church records by the National Library followed the release of the images of birth, deaths and marriage (with restrictions) by It truly is a new world for Irish researchers!

The Godly Commonwealth: Discover Scottish Church Records

with Chris Paton

The Scottish Reformation of 1560 dramatically changed Scotland from a Roman Catholic to a Protestant nation, creating an institution that soon became one of the main arms of state, responsible for discipline, education and the moral well being of its flock. With the Church of Scotland’s obsession with antenuptial fornication, its constant splits and the hellfire damnation of John Knox himself, understanding the Kirk’s role and history in Scottish society is crucial for those wishing to research family history prior to the advent of civil registration in 1855.

Scottish Research Resources Before 1800

with Chris Paton

Whilst most people with Scottish ancestry can trace their lines back with relative ease to the 1800s, prior to this the situation becomes more difficult. In this session, Chris Paton looks at some of the many records to be found both online and within Scotland's archives which can help the genealogist to push back further, including estate papers, land records, inheritance records, burgh records, and more.

Using PRONI for Northern Ireland Research

with Chris Paton

Forget the gloom of the past that used to accompany the discovery of a Northern Irish ancestral connection, for the glass is considerably more full than empty when it comes to locating materials to help with Ulster based research. In this talk, Chris Paton explores the many useful resources available in the Belfast based Public Records Office of Northern Ireland (PRONI), the north's national archive.

Autosomal DNA Identifies a Charming Scoundrel, Irish Immigrants Help to Prove the Conclusion

with Karen Stanbary

Karen describes the methodology used to identify the biological father of her adopted great-grandmother. The bio father turns out to be quite the charming scoundrel. The methodology integrates evidence from both documentary and genetic sources. Identification of genetic kin—Irish immigrants form part of the body of evidence contributing to the conclusion.

It's All About Respect -- Clinical Tips for the Management of Unexpected Results

with Karen Stanbary

Karen, trained in advanced psychotherapy techniques with 30 years of clinical practice, helps people manage negative emotions upon receiving unexpected news. Karen offers tips to reduce stress and change the outcome of difficult conversations about unexpected DNA results. The tips are designed to change the cognitive frame from a discussion of rights to a discussion of respect and resiliency.