Two Weeks to the 2015 OGS Conference!

That’s right, just two weeks from today, the 2015 Ohio Genealogical Society Conference, “Ohio: Your Genealogical Cornerstone” will be underway! Attendees will be eagerly awaiting Judy G. Russell’s keynote, “The Territorial State: Ohio Law from the Northwest Ordinance.” After the keynote session, the first full day of the conference offers 30 sessions in six different tracks: Organization and Productivity, Records and Resources, Problem Solving Strategies, Across the Ocean, Sharing Family History, and Forensic Genealogy.
Below is a complete list of Thursday’s sessions and presenters. For complete conference info, visit Which sessions will you attend?

8:15 am

“The Territorial State: Ohio Law from the Northwest Ordinance,” Judy G. Russell, JD, CG, CGL

10:00 am

T-102: “Evernote for Every Genealogist,” Cyndi Ingle
T-103: “Tips for Using Family Search,” James Ison, AG, CG
T-104: “Obscure and Neglected Sources:New Paths to Success,” Diane F. Gravel, CG
T-105: “Finding Your Ancestor’s Pre-Immigration Origins,” J. H. Fonkert, CG
T-106: “Getting Started with Scrivener,” Lisa A. Alzo
T-107: “Introduction to Forensic Genealogy,” Kelvin L. Meyers

11:30 am

T-109: “The Paper-less Genealogist: Organize with Digital Files,” Denise May Levenick
T-110: “Divorce Records in Genealogical Research,” Pam Stone Eagleson, CG
T-111: “Putting the Flesh on the Bones,” Ron Arons
T-112: “Misconceptions and Pitfalls to Avoid in Irish Records,” Richard M. Doherty
T-113: “Build Family Relationships With,” Sunny McClellan Morton
T-114: “20th and 21st Century Research,” Debra Mieszala, CG

2:00 pm

T-115: “Creating Effective Research Logs and Plans,” Lisa A. Alzo
T-116: “School Daze: Finding and Using School Records,” Peggy Clemens Lauritzen, AG
T-117: “Tackling the “Born in Pennsylvania” Problem,” James M. Beidler
T-118: “Finding French Ancestors,” Luana Darby, MLIS
T-119: “How to Write a Family History Everyone Wants to Read,” Eric F. James
T-120: “The Genealogist as CSI,” George G. Morgan

3:15 pm

T-121: “Organizing Online Searches,” Michael John Neill
T-122: “Front Page News (and Beyond): Finding Archived Newspapers,” Drew Smith, MLS
T-123:”Building a Family from Circumstantial Evidence,” Judy G. Russell, JD, CG, CGL
T-124: “Exciting Developments in Irish Online Research,” Richard M. Doherty
T-125: “How to Publish & Sell a Family History Everyone Wants to Read,” Eric F. James
T-126: “Whose Estate Is It Anyway?” Kelvin L. Meyers

5:00 pm

T-127: “Organizing Your DNA Matches,” Diahan Southard
T-128: “The Farmer in the Dell…and in Many U.S. Records,” Paula Stuart-Warren, CG
T-129: “Timelines: The Swiss Army Knife of Genealogical Research,” Amy Johnson Crow, CG
T-130: “The Journey to America: Federal Passenger Ship Records,” Jeanne Larzalere Bloom, CG
T-131: “No More Eye “Rolls: Exciting Ways to Share Your Genealogy,” Christina Lyons
T-132: “Options in Post-Adoption Research,” Debra Mieszala, CG



26 Mar 2015

2015 Ohio Genealogical Society Conference Features Beginner Workshop


Peggy Clemens Lauritzen

The 2015 Ohio Genealogical Society Conference’s Beginning Genealogy Seminar is a flexible option for beginners to stick their toe in the family history waters, play in the wading pool, or jump in with both feet. On Saturday, April 11 from 9:00-12:30, Peggy Clemens Lauritzen, AG will show how to gather, read, organize, and search for information about your ancestors. If you are already registered for the conference, the cost of the seminar is just $10. Interested in starting your genealogical education, but not ready to commit to a full conference? You can register for just the beginner session for $40– conference registration is not required.

Complete information on the Beginning Genealogy Seminar, as well as the schedule of the day’s presentations can be found on pages 8 and 9 of the Conference Registration Booklet. Click the link to download the Registration Booklet, or go to for more conference info.


14 Mar 2015

Wednesday Workshop Spotlight: “Oral Tradition: Seeking, Analyzing, and Proving!”

Dick_Doherty_HeadshotThe following post was contributed by Ohio Genealogy News editor, Sunny Morton. Each Wednesday will feature a post highlighting one of the workshops and speakers that are being offered at the Ohio Genealogical Society conference on Wednesday, April 8. For a complete list, see page 3 of the Conference Registration Booklet. Be sure to also check out the special Research Rendezvous sessions at the Ohio History Connection, Columbus Metropolitan Library, and a tour of the Ohio Statehouse. For complete conference info, visit



We’ve all been handed-down family stories that seem a little larger than life, or maybe downright implausible. But they’re so tempting to include in our family histories! So how can you go about proving (or disproving) those stories?

Don’t miss OGS’ Wednesday Workshop on this topic by professional genealogist Richard M. Doherty. Dick specializes in Irish research: he’s got over 40 years of experience and 33 research trips to Ireland under his belt. He’s active in major genealogical society circles in the U.S. and is the Director of Celtic Quest, which organizes research trips to Ireland.

His 2-hour workshop on family stories—Irish or not—is only $15 (reserve your spot in advance). Here’s the course description:

Oral Tradition: Seeking, Analyzing, and Proving!

Explore oral tradition sources, interview techniques, and methodology to analyze and either prove or disprove what you’ve been told about your ancestors. Case studies using records from the United States, England, and Ireland will show you how to sort fact from fiction. (ALL) $15 fee.

In addition, Dick will be teaching these classes on Irish research. How often do you get a chance to learn Irish genealogy from someone who owns over 750 books on Irish topics?

T-111 Misconceptions and Pitfalls to Avoid in Irish Records

Dispel misconceptions about Irish genealogy and learn about the pitfalls of ten Irish record types to enhance your opportunities for success. (Beginner/Intermediate audiences)

T-124 Exciting Developments in Irish Online Research

Explore the most recent Ireland and Northern Ireland genealogy websites, especially those with searchable databases and/or images of original records. (All audiences)


11 Mar 2015

Wednesday Workshop Spotlight: Caring for Keepsakes


Denise Levenick

The following post was contributed by Ohio Genealogy News editor, Sunny Morton. Each Wednesday will feature a post highlighting one of the workshops and speakers that are being offered at the Ohio Genealogical Society conference on Wednesday, April 8. For a complete list, see page 3 of the Conference Registration Booklet. Be sure to also check out the special Research Rendezvous sessions at the Ohio History Connection, Columbus Metropolitan Library, and a tour of the Ohio Statehouse. For complete conference info, visit


Denise Levenick is popularly known as The Family Curator, after her blog of the same title at “In every family, someone ends up with ‘the stuff,’” she says on her home page. “It’s the goal of The Family Curator to inspire and encourage other family curators to preserve and share their own family treasures.”

In addition to her blog, Denise has written How to Archive Family Keepsakes (Family Tree Books) and is the Family Archivist columnist for Family Tree Magazine. She travels widely, teaching genealogists and others how to take care of all the great (and not-so-great) “family stuff” they inherit.

Denise will be teaching a two-hour workshop for all audiences on Wednesday, April 8 at 12:45pm. It’s well worth the $15 workshop fee (advance registration required)! Here’s the description:

Caring for Keepsakes: Preserving the Top 10 Family Treasures

Inheriting family keepsakes can be a burden and a blessing. How do you care for priceless documents? What storage containers should you select? Discover preservation tactics for heirlooms from photographs to furniture, love letters to lockets, clocks and Bibles. Identify hazards and learn to create a Home Archive.

In addition, Denise will be teaching these classes during the OGS conference:


T-108 The Paper-less Genealogist: Organize with Digital Files

Explore simple strategies to break the paper habit. Learn what scanner to use, settings for genealogists, file naming for easy retrieval, and steps for less paper. (Great for all audiences)


F-121 How to Scan an Elephant: Digitize Your Family History

Go beyond the flatbed scanner to digitize awkward, oversize items. Discover apps, accessories, and tips to get better results from scanners, cameras, and mobile devices. (beginner/intermediate audiences)


04 Mar 2015

Fast-Forward Friday: Six Weeks to the 2015 Conference!

logo_blueblackThat’s right—just six short weeks from now, the 2015 Ohio Genealogical Society’s 2015 Conference, “Ohio: Your Genealogical Cornerstone,” will be in full swing. Friday’s lineup includes thirty more presentations in six different tracks: Skillbuilding, Technology Tools, Methods For Success, German Ancestors, Military Research, and African-American and Southern Research

In addition to a terrific selection of presentations, be sure to take advantage of the day’s special offerings:

Come celebrate your early Ohio ancestors at one of the lineage society events. At 12:45, join us for a combined Settlers and Builders of Ohio/Century Families of Ohio luncheon.  The First Families of Ohio and Society of Civil War Families of Ohio Banquet will be held at 7:00pm. Both events feature a great menu and good company.

Two roundtable discussions are also scheduled for Friday: F-132 African-American Roundtable, moderated by Dr. Deborah Abbott; and F-133 DNA/Genetic Genealogy Roundtable, moderated by Sunda Peters.  Both roundtables feature a panel of experts to help answer your questions.  Group sessions not only help answer your specific questions, but others may ask a question you hadn’t yet thought of. Be part of the experience.

Speaking of experts, the Great Lakes Chapter of the Association of Professional Genealogists is offering free, 15-minute consultations during lunch on Thursday and Friday. Come Thursday between  1:00-2:00pm, or Friday between 12:45-1:45.

Which presentations and events will you be attending on Friday, April 10?

Complete information on these events, as well as the schedule of the day’s presentations can be found on pages 6 and 7 of the Conference Registration Booklet. Click the link to download the Registration Booklet, or go to for more conference info.


27 Feb 2015

Spring Forward to the 2015 Ohio Genealogical Society Conference!

conf2015It’s a frigid Thursday in late February here in Ohio, which will be followed by an even more frigid Friday. “Thinking spring” can be a little challenging. However, looking through the 2015 OGS Conference registration booklet is a great way to get those warm-weather thoughts working!

Exactly seven weeks from today, Thursday April 9, the first full day of the 2015 conference’s sessions and special events will be upon us! Pick up your copy of the registration booklet and start planning. Don’t have a copy? Download one by clicking here, or visit the conference homepage.

Judy G. Russell, CG, CGL, JD kicks Thursday off with her keynote, “The Territorial State: Ohio Law From the Northwest Ordinance.” After the keynote, choose from 30 different presentations in six different tracks. In addition, Thursday features two special events.

At 12:30, Michael Lacopo will be the speaker at a casual luncheon, sharing with attendees his “Top Ten Things I Have Learned In Over Three Decades of Genealogical Research.” Join Michael for good food and good fun! Details can be found on page 4 of the registration booklet.

After a full day of learning, kick back and relax while still keeping your genealogy on at “SocialSource: A Brickwall Busting Good Time.” This a great opportunity to share your problem ancestors with other attendees, gather research ideas, and re-energize those stalled searches. Of course, there will be food, too. Choose from a fabulous fajita station or amazing antipasto display.  Music and a cash bar round out the evening. Details on page 5 of the registration booklet.

So get out that registration booklet, make your plans, and dream of spring!

19 Feb 2015

Exhibitor Opportunities at the 2015 Ohio Genealogical Society Conference

conf2015Are you considering being an exhibitor or vendor at the 2015 Ohio Genealogical Society Conference? The exhibitor information booklet is available on the OGS website (, or click the link to access it directly.

If you are unable to be there in person this April, Elissa Scalise Powell, CG, CGL, this year’s Conference Exhibitor Chair, advises, “… consider taking out an ad in the conference syllabus or donating a door prize. Information on these opportunities are also in the exhibit booklet. Both are good ways to get your name and information in front of the attendees.”

The 2015 OGS Conference, Ohio: Your Genealogical Cornerstone will be held April 9-11 at the Sheraton Columbus Hotel at Capitol Square in Columbus, Ohio. Exhibit areas are open to the public free of charge and a great way to get your product, service, or organization in front of attendees.

12 Jan 2015

Time to Start Planning For the 2015 Ohio Genealogical Society Conference!

The 2015 Conference registration booklet is out, registration is open, and man, oh man are there some tough choices to make!

Wednesday features a number of workshops, special research opportunities at the Ohio Historical Society and Columbus Metropolitan Library, as well as tours of the Ohio Statehouse.

Thursday through Saturday feature a number of different tracks and a bevy of top-notch speakers.Tracks include

  • Organizing & Productivity
  • Problem-Solving Strategies
  • Records & Resources
  • Across the Ocean
  • Sharing Family History
  • Forensic Genealogy
  • Skillbuilding
  • Technology Tools
  • German Ancestors
  • Methods for Success
  • Military Research
  • African American & Southern
  • Getting Started
  • Records & Resources
  • DNA/Genetic Genealogy
  • Ohio Ancestors
  • Research Challenges
  • Preserving Your Heritage

Which tracks will you follow? Which speakers are on your “can’t miss” list? What workshops, luncheons, and other events are on your radar? So many choices, and we think that’s a good thing!
To download the complete conference registration booklet, register online, and book your hotel room, simply visit We hope to see you there!

26 Dec 2014

2015 Ohio Genealogical Society Conference: A Chance to Experience Judy G. Russell, JD, CG, CGL

JGRWhat’s a great way to ensure an award-winning genealogy conference? By kicking things off with a keynote presentation by the 2014 Gold-Medal winning Genealogy Rockstar1, Judy G. Russell, JD, CG, CGL, of course!

Judy is one of the most sought-after speakers in the genealogy world, and with good reason. She has a background in law, a passion for genealogy, and a gift for helping people understand how those two fields interact– not to mention a captivating presentation style. Like a true rock star, Judy’s presentations will leave you standing on your feet, waving your lighter in the air, and screaming for an encore.2


The 2015 Ohio Genealogical Society Conference will be held in Columbus, Ohio on April 9-11, and features five opportunities to see the Judy G. Russell Experience3 live and in-person:

KEYNOTE: The Territorial State: Ohio Law from the Northwest Ordinance
Ohio history is American legal history, from the Northwest Ordinance to modern statutes. Understanding the laws that applied as Ohio was settled and grew helps us understand our ancestors—and track them down!

Building a Family Through Circumstantial Evidence
No vital records? No problem! It’s a rare family where direct evidence supplies all the proof needed to connect family members. Learn more about how to build the case for family relationships from pieces, hints and clues gathered from a variety of sources.

FRIDAY, APRIL 10, 2015
Finding the Law
Time and time again, we’re told as genealogists that we need to look at records in the context of the law at the time and in the place where the records were created. Easier said than done! With 50 states and the federal government all passing laws, how do we find the laws we need?

The ABCs of DNA
New to the idea that DNA can help with genealogy? Learn about the three major test types—YDNA, mitochondria (mtDNA) and autosomal—and see what each type offers to the genealogist.

After the Courthouse Burns: Rekindling Family History Through DNA
It’s really possible: we can overcome catastrophic record losses and rekindle our ancestral roots with DNA evidence. Learn how, using all major DNA test types.

Judy G. Russell’s Bio:

A genealogist with a law degree, Judy G. Russell is a lecturer, educator and writer who enjoys helping others understand a wide variety of genealogical issues, including the interplay between genealogy and the law. She has a bachelor’s degree in journalism with a minor in political science from George Washington University in Washington, D.C. and a law degree from Rutgers School of Law-Newark, and holds Certified Genealogist and Certified Genealogical Lecturer credentials from the Board for Certification of Genealogists where she serves as a member of the Board of Trustees. She has worked as a newspaper reporter, trade association writer, legal investigator, defense attorney, federal prosecutor, law editor and, for more than 20 years, Judy has been an adjunct member of the faculty at Rutgers Law School. Visit her website at


1    John D. Reid, “Rockstar Genealogists: Gold Medalists,” Canada’s Anglo-Celtic Connections, posted 16 Sep 2014, ( accessed 25 Oct 2014)

2    For a history of proper concert etiquette, see Wikipedia contributors, “Concert Etiquette,” Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia, ( : accessed October 25, 2014).

3   Shout out to Jimi Hendrix. Sadly, he didn’t get to experience Judy Russell, but you will. 


25 Oct 2014

The 2015 OGS Conference Provides A Cure for NGSS: Non-Genealogical Spouse Syndrome

NGSS is a terrible thing. You’re an avid genealogist. Your significant other isn’t. Just the mention of genealogy causes their eyes to glass over, rapid breathing, hives…  What’s worse? The guilt. How can you justify heading off for a three-day genealogy getaway and leave your poor, afflicted spouse behind?

Fortunately, the 2015 Ohio Genealogical Society Conference provides a cure. While you’re off attending all of the great presentations that the conference has to offer (more about that in later posts), your significant other can relax in the comfort of your room at the Sheraton Columbus Hotel at Capitol Square or use the free CBUS service to explore some of Columbus’ terrific downtown areas: German Village, the Brewery District, Short North, Italian Village and more.

Once the day is done, you can hop back on the CBUS together to enjoy a great dinner while you try and get your spouse interested in all the great things you learned that day.

Stay tuned in the upcoming weeks and months for other great things the 2015 OGS Conference offers genealogists, and yes, their non-genealogical spouses.

16 Sep 2014