Previous Webinars

ISGS members have access to handouts and recordings of past ISGS Webinars.  Below is a listing of our previous webinars.  If you would like more information about joining ISGS to take advantage of this member benefit, please visit our Join ISGS! page.
March 2015
Finding Your Femme Fatales: Exploring the Dark Side of Female Ancestors
  • Presenter:  Lisa A. Alzo, M.F.A.
  • Date: March 10, 2015Click for Options
  • Description: Male ancestors weren’t the only ones who had secrets, or got caught behaving badly. Whether we like it or not, the black sheep of our family may have been the women, and they leave fabulous records!  Through sample case studies, this session will show how to use court, census, newspaper, and other key records, and study social history to explore the law breakers, vigilantes, and other scandalous female ancestors. 
February 2015
Basic Scandinavian Research
  • Presenter:  Diana Smith
  • Date: February 3, 2015
  • Description: Researching the Scandinavian countries (Norway, Denmark, and Sweden) is very different from researching in the US. Learn about the patronymics, language, and more.
    • Overview of the influence of history and geography
    • Patronymics
    • Alphabets of each language - extra letters and search techniques
    • Use of dates and calendar basics
    • Hints for keeping track and searching efficiently
    • Resources for each country
January 2015
Using Google Earth for Genealogy
  • Presenter:  Lisa Louise Cooke
  • Date: January 13, 2015
  • Description: In this extremely popular class Google Earth Guru Lisa Louise Cooke will teach you how to unlock mysteries in your research: from unidentified photographs, to how an ancestral location looked a hundred years ago or more, to plotting homesteads precisely using land patent legal descriptions. You'll learn how to interpret the genealogical records you already have in new and exciting ways, and be amazed to discover that Google Earth is one of the best free genealogical tools available!
December 2014
HeritageQuest Online - The Ins and Outs
  • Presenter:  C. Ann Staley, CG, CGL
  • Date: December 9, 2014,
  • Description: HeritageQuest 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.
November 2014
Evaluating What You Have Found: The Third Stage of Research
  • Presenter:  Barbara Renick
  • Date: November 11, 2014
  • Description: Just because it is in print (in a courthouse record, a county history, a family history book, or published online) doesn't make it so. All too often we find tantalizing bits and pieces of our family trees in various sources. It takes knowledge and experience to carefully evaluate what you have found and to determine when further research and documentation is necessary. This lecture covers the evaluation of both compiled and original sources.
  • This webinar is sponsored by FamilySearch (
October 2014
Hunting for Henry: A Case Study Using Collaterals  
  • Presenter:  Teresa Steinkamp McMillin, CG
  • Date: October 14, 2014
  • Description: Henry Steren was a German immigrant who lived in Quincy, Illinois. The United States records that were created about him indicate only that he was from the Province of Hanover in Germany. This lecture will detail how his town of origin and parents were identified, in spite of the lack of records naming him. Carefully researching each of his associates and correlating all available evidence reveals the origins of Henry. Use of the Genealogical Proof Standard is demonstrated.
  • This webinar is sponsored by FamilySearch (
September 2014 
Treasures and Hidden Secrets of the Illinois Regional Archives (IRAD)
  • Presenter:  Luana Darby, MLIS
  • Date: September 23, 2014
  • Description: If you research in Illinois, you don’t want to miss the resources held in the seven regional archive repositories of IRAD. From vital records to city directories, probate to local histories, each site has its own unique set of records. Learn tips and tricks for getting the most out of your visit, whether long-distance or on site. Come see some of the gems already gleaned from the vast resources of this amazing Illinois asset.
  • This webinar is sponsored by FamilySearch (
August 2014
Land Records in Illinois
  • Presenter:  Michael John Neill
  • Date: August 12, 2014
  • Description: This presentation will discuss searching and using local land records in the state of Illinois. Typical methods of organization and recording will be covered along with search methods, problem-solving, and records analysis. This presentation will not discuss federal land records and attendees should have a basic knowledge of the township and range system of property surveying within the state.
  • This webinar is sponsored by FamilySearch (
July 2014
Newspaper Research - More Than Obituaries
  • Presenter:  Patricia Walls Stamm. CG, CGL
  • Date: July 8, 2014
  • Description: Newspapers contain obituaries. But newspapers can provide us so much more information than just obituaries! See what searching the local newspaper can tell you about your family.
  • This webinar is sponsored by FamilySearch (
June 2014
Plotting, Scheming, and Mapping Online
  • Presenter:  Cyndi Ingle
  • Date: June 10, 2014
  • Description: The Internet is a source for a variety of maps and geographical tools that will help you in your research. From new maps and atlases with online driving directions to old gazetteers with county lines and ancient place names, the Internet has them all. We'll explore those resources, ideas for using them, and integrating them into your research routine.
  • This webinar is sponsored by FamilySearch (
May 2014
Organizing (or Reorganizing!) That Family Reunion
  • Presenter:  James M. Beidler
  • Date: May 13, 2014
  • Description: There’s no place as good for a family’s history as a reunion, but the gatherings come and go – learn how to organize one that will last or reorganize one that’s fading. 
  • This webinar is sponsored by FamilySearch (
April 2014
Using Canadian Records to Find Your Midwestern Ancestor
  • Presenter:  Kathryn Lake Hogan, PLCGS, UE
  • Date: April 8, 2014
  • Description: Have you hit a brick wall in your research? Maybe your ancestor was in Canada. Discover reasons why your Midwestern ancestors may have been in Canada, and where to find the records. A variety Canadian record sources and websites will be presented.
  • This webinar is sponsored by FamilySearch (
March 2014
Going Nuclear: DNA Discoveries to Trace All Lines of Descent
  • Presenter:  Debbie Parker Wayne, CG, CGL
  • Date: March 11, 2014
  • Description: Learn to link families using autosomal DNA test results from any testing company. Maximize impact on your genealogical research goals. Includes how to use test results such as those from 23andMe and Family Tree DNA Family Finder tests. 
  • This webinar is sponsored by FamilySearch (
February 2014
Printed Legends and Missing Footnotes: Dissecting 19th and 20th Century Compiled Genealogies
  • Presenter:  D. Joshua Taylor
  • Date: February 11, 2014
  • Description: Discover the methods used in the 19th and early 20th century to create a compiled genealogy, and how to ensure its information does not lead you down the wrong trail.
  • This webinar is sponsored by FamilySearch (
January 2014
7 Habits of Highly Frugal Genealogists
  • Presenter:  Thomas MacEntee
  • Date: January 14, 2014
  • DescriptionLearn how savvy genealogists are find success with 7 basic habits of frugality. You’ll not only find a list of key resources but more importantly you’ll learn how to embrace the “mind set” of finding the best ways to save money while researching your ancestors.
  • This webinar is sponsored by FamilySearch (
December 2013
Miracles, Mysteries & Mayhem: Online Family Trees
  • Presenter: Jeanne Larzalere Bloom, CG
  • Date: Tuesday, December 10, 2013
  • Description: We want to build on the research of others but those online family trees often contain miracles, mysteries and mayhem. Does the tree need to be pruned? Learn effective techniques to determine if branches on a tree are diseased or if they are healthy.
November 2013
Little Houses on the Prairie: Midwestern Research Techniques
  • Presenter: Diana Crisman Smith
  • Date: Tuesday, November 12, 2013
  • Description: Do you have Midwestern ancestors? Have you found them difficult to research because they are "different" from New England, or the south, or ..... wherever? There are some tricks and techniques which make researching this region less intimidating.
October 2013
Up In Smoke!! What To Do When the Courthouse Burns
  • Presenter: Peggy Clemens Lauritzen, AG
  • Date: Tuesday, October 8, 2013
  • Description: War and natural disasters have taken their toll on many of our nation’s county courthouses. Let’s look at some helpful sources that may still exist.
September 2013
“To the Honorable, the General Assembly” - The Treasure Trove in Legislative Petitions
  • Presenter: Judy G. Russell, CG
  • Date: Tuesday, September 10, 2013
  • Description: As colonists and as citizens of the new United States, Americans were fiercely protective of their right to petition their government. Whether the issue was forming new counties, building bridges and highways, or some matter of public concern, our ancestors made their voices heard in legislative petitions that are a treasure trove for genealogists.
August 2013
Getting to Here from There: Following your Ancestor’s Migration Trail
  • Presenter: J. H. "Jay" Fonkert, CG
  • Date: Tuesday, August 13, 2013
  • Description: Every migration story is different, but learning about common migration routes helps us understand the migration possibilities for our individual ancestors. Learn about major 19th Century American migration routes, as well as how to look for clues for the routes taken by your particular ancestor.
July 2013
Common Surnames: Ways to Identify Your Ancestors in a Crowd
  • Presenter: Juliana Smith
  • Date: Tuesday, July 9, 2013
  • Description: Techniques for finding your Smiths (or Kellys or Browns...). Methodology and some helpful reports and charts that can make your search easier.
June 2013
The Research Calendar: A Resource You Cannot Live Without
  • Presenter: Luana Darby
  • Date: Tuesday, June 11, 2013
  • Description: How many times have you run across documents only to realize that you had previously done the same research years before? Research logs or calendars are at the core of good research and are essential in documenting evidence. Come learn easy shortcuts and tips on how to make that job quicker and easier.
May 2013
Timelines: Placing Your Heritage in Historical Perspective
  • Presenter: Laura Prescott
  • Date: Tuesday, May 14, 2013
  • Description: Match historical events to an ancestor's life, or synchronize one ancestor's life events to another's using genealogical software as well as everyday software programs to create a graphic profile and timeline.
April 2013
Digging Through Documents Word by Word
  • Presenter: Debbie Mieszala, CG
  • Date: Tuesday, April 9, 2013
  • Description: Proper scrutiny of each piece of information in a document is essential to understanding that item’s evidentiary value. Studying every word’s meaning and context ensures that evidence has been properly analyzed and comprehended.
March 2013
Back to Your Roots - Planning a Successful Heritage TripBack to Your Roots: Planning a Successful Heritage Research Trip
  • Presenter: Lisa Alzo
  • Date: Tuesday, March 12, 2013
  • Description: Learn how to plan that dream trip to your ancestral homeland, including how and what to pack, book affordable travel and accommodations, how to create a workable itinerary, key tips for visiting archives and villages, and other secrets to make it your most memorable trip ever!
February 2013
Best Genealogy Present You Can Give Yourself: Citing Your Sources
  • Presenter: Harold Henderson, CG
  • Date: Tuesday, February 12, 2013
  • Description: Footnotes are not just for professors any more. The secret is not where to put the commas—it's understanding the record you're looking at.
January 2013
Beyond the Draft Cards: Additional Selective Service Records of World War I
  • Presenter: Linda Woodward Geiger, CG, CGL
  • Date: Tuesday, January 8, 2013
  • Description: Explanation of the selective service process including discussion of the three distinct registrations; classification lists; inductees lists; appeals to the President; and records relating to delinquents and deserters.
December 2012
Ready-Set-Plan! Developing a One-Step Research Plan
  • Presenter: J. Mark Lowe, CG
  • Date: Tuesday, December 11, 2012
  • Description: Learn a simple technique for breaking down difficult research problems into manageable segments. Learn to get more research done while remaining focused.
November 2012
Sidestep Genealogy
  • PresenterGeorge G. Morgan
  • Date: Tuesday, November 13, 2012
  • DescriptionBrick wall research blocks are inevitable. We strive to start with ourselves and work backwards, but sometimes there are impediments that stop us in our tracks. It is then that we must use our most creative research skills, and it is essential that we move to other family members. That means researching our ancestors' siblings, uncles, aunts, cousins, and the collateral lines with which they are connected.  Sidestep genealogy means researching these alternative individuals, their records, the places that they lived, and other resources. This lecture will make you stop and think about what alternative research paths you might use, and point you to new resources you may never have considered.
Jumping Over Hurdles in German ResearchOctober 2012
Jumping Over Hurdles in German Research
  • PresenterLeslie Albrecht Huber
    Leslie Albrecht Huber is a genealogy freelance writer and speaker who specializes in German research and in writing family histories. She has published over 100 articles in a variety of publications including The History Channel Magazine, Family Chronicle, History Magazine, Ancestry Magazine, Family Tree Magazine, and others. She has spoken about genealogy research on Good Morning America, National Public Radio, and at libraries, museums, and conferences across the country.
  • Date: Tuesday, October 9, 2012
  • DescriptionHas your German research run into a hurdle? Find out how to jump over some of the most common hurdles such as immigration, access to records, language, and handwriting.
Grandma Did What?! Researching Your Famous and Infamous RelativesSeptember 2012
Grandma did What!?: Researching Your Famous and Infamous Relatives
  • PresenterGena Philibert-Ortega
    Gena Philibert-Ortega holds a Master’s degree in Interdisciplinary Studies and a Master’s degree in Religion. Presenting on various subjects involving genealogy, women’s studies and social history, Gena has spoken to groups throughout the United States and virtually to audiences worldwide. Gena is the author of hundreds of articles published in genealogy newsletters and magazines including Internet Genealogy, Family Chronicle, FGS Forum, APG Quarterly,  GenWeekly and the WorldVitalRecords newsletter. She is the author of the books, Putting the Pieces Together and Cemeteries of the Eastern Sierra (Arcadia Publishing, 2007) as well as the forthcoming, From The Family Kitchen (F + W Media, 2012). Gena is the editor of the Utah Genealogical Association’s journal Crossroads. Her writings can also be found on her blogs, Gena’s Genealogy and Food.Family.Ephemera. An instructor for the National Institute for Genealogical Studies, Gena has written courses about social media and Google. She serves as Vice-President for the Southern California Chapter of the Association of Professional Genealogists and is a Director for the California State Genealogical Alliance. Her current research interests include social history, community cookbooks, signature quilts and researching women’s lives using material artifacts.
  • Date: Tuesday, September 11, 2012
  • DescriptionIn order to research infamous ancestors, genealogists have to be knowledgeable about the diverse historical resources available. In this presentation, using various case studies, we  will look at manuscript collections, ephemera, newspapers and repositories available to research your famous or infamous ancestor.
August 2012
Major Midwestern Archives & Their Records
  • Presenter: Paula Stuart-Warren, CG, FMGS, FUGA
    Since the early 1980s Paula has worked full time in the area of genealogical and historical research, lecturing, consulting, and writing. She has been a Board-certified genealogist since 1988, passing the every-five-year renewal assessments by the national Board for Certification of Genealogists. She is a firm believer in continuing education in genealogy and strives to keep up-to-date by participating in national and local conferences, reading the publications of many genealogical and historical organizations and individuals both off and online. She completed the week-long U.S. National Institute of Genealogical Research held at the National Archives in Washington, DC.
  • Date: Tuesday, August 14, 2012
  • DescriptionDates, names, ages, relationships, lawsuits, prison records, church records, bibles, probates, and more await us in archives. This presentation highlights some major Midwestern archives and their holdings, finding aids, websites, and special indexes. An overview will be presented for each state’s archive and some will be covered in greater detail. Archives are not created equally! For the states we are covering this is very evident. Some have a combination state historical society and/or library and the state archives. The websites, research services, online databases, range of holdings, and even the mission statements show big differences. We will also look at other unique archives in the Midwest. The main aim is to show the wealth of material available, how to access it, and why the on-site experience can be so rewarding.
July 2012
Clue to Clue: Tracking a Family Over Time and Miles
  • PresenterJean Wilcox Hibben, PhD, MA, CG
    A native of the Chicago area, Jean Wilcox Hibben has a PhD in folklore and MA degree in Speech Communication. A national speaker and former college professor, Jean is a Board-Certified genealogist; Director of the Corona, Calif. Family History Center; volunteer at NARA, Pacific Region facility; President of the Corona Genealogical Society and the Southern California Chapter of the Association of Professional Genealogists (as well as a Board member for APG); and secretary for the Genealogical Speakers Guild. She lives in the Lake Mathews area of Riverside County, California; maintains a regular blog at; and can be reached through her website
  • Date: Tuesday, July 10, 2012
  • DescriptionUsing various clues, this presentation shows how to move from one piece of information to the next to piece together the life of an ancestral family.  The steps used are illustrated so that they can be followed by the beginner as well as the seasoned genealogist.  Use of census, probate, property, and personal records, among others, are explained.
The War of 1812 - America's "Forgotten" WarJune 2012
The War of 1812 – America's "Forgotten" War
  • PresenterPeggy Clemens Lauritzen, AG
    Peggy Clemens Lauritzen, AG has been involved in genealogy and family research since even before she was born. Being born into an older family afforded her the opportunity to be around a generation that loved to tell stories and visit cemeteries. She is accredited in the Southern States, and is a frequent speaker at workshops and jamborees around Ohio. She is a former Family History Center Director, keeping a staff of thirty trained and up to date on current genealogy trends, as well as implementing yearly seminars.
  • Date: Tuesday, June 12, 2012
  • DescriptionThe War of 1812 is one of the forgotten wars of the United States, yet records abound for our ancestors who were willing to fight the British once again.
Some Great, Seldom-used, Resources: A Genealogical PotourriMay 2012
Some Great, Seldom-Used, Resources:  A Genealogical Potpourri
  • Presenter: Timothy Pinnick
    Tim Pinnick is an author, article writer, national speaker, and researcher. He has extensive lecture experience on a variety of topics and has been a presenter at over a dozen national and regional genealogy conferences coast to coast. An associate instructor in the “Researching African American Ancestors” course at the Samford Institute of Genealogy and Historical Research, he is a past board member of the Association of Professional Genealogists and the Federation of Genealogical Societies.
    As an independent scholar, Tim has presented five historical papers. The most recent one,

    Reconstructing the African American Community of Thurber, Texas was given at the 2008 Western History Association Conference in Salt Lake City, Utah. Past papers were delivered at the Association for the Study of African American Life and History, Association for African American Historical Research and Preservation, and the Illinois History Conference. It was in 2008 that he also authored his book, Finding and Using African American Newspapers.

    A former 1976 Illinois state high school track and field champion and 1980 Olympic Trials qualifier in the long jump, currently divides his time between his research passion and coaching the sprinters and jumpers of the Downers Grove South girls track team in the western suburbs of Chicago.
  • Date: Tuesday, May 8, 2012
  • DescriptionGenealogists are largely beholden to their peers for the introduction to marvelous resources that they may have otherwise missed.  During this presentation I share some of the unique and exciting resources I have come across with the potential to knock down one or more of the troublesome brick walls aggravating seasoned researchers.
Going Digital - Organizing Research Files ElectronicallyApril 2012
Going Digital: Organizing Your Research Files Electronically
  • Presenter: D. Joshua Taylor
    D. Joshua Taylor "Josh" is a nationally known and recognized genealogical author, lecturer, and researcher. Currently Joshua is a Business Development Manager for brightsolid online publishing, the creator of A frequent speaker at genealogical societies, libraries, and other organizations, his previous speaking engagements include RootsTech, the Federation of Genealogical Societies Annual Conferences, the National Genealogical Society Annual Conference, and the Salt Lake Institute of Genealogy. He has authored articles in American Ancestors, UGA Crossroads, FGS Forum, Association of Professional Genealogists Quarterly, and New England Ancestors, and was a columnist for Digital Genealogist.
    Active in the genealogical community, Joshua is the Vice President of Administration for the Federation of Genealogical Societies, where he chairs the Conference Planning and Long-Range Planning Committees. He previously oversaw the Research Services and Education Departments at the New England Historic Genealogical Society and holds an MA (History) and MLS (Archival Management) from Simmons College. He has also been a featured genealogist on NBC’s Who Do You Think You Are?.
  • Date: Tuesday, April 10, 2012
  • DescriptionThinking of going digital? Organizing your research files electronically can speed up processing time, save space, and help anyone become a better genealogist. Learn how to take your paper research notes, logs, and documents and convert them into your own personal “digital archives.”
March 2012
Desperately Seeking Susan: Finding Female Ancestors
  • Presenter: Amy Johnson Crow, MLIS, CG
    Amy Johnson Crow, MLIS, CG, is a researcher, editor, webmaster, and database developer. She is the Genealogical Content Manager for Amy has also served as a database and website consultant for libraries and societies. She is a former webmaster for the Federation of Genealogical Societies. Amy earned her Master of Library and Information Science degree from Kent State University, where she concentrated on digital libraries and digital preservation.
  • Date: Tuesday, March 14, 2012
  • DescriptionChanging surnames and scant records -- it's enough to make a genealogist ignore the female half of the family tree. This webinar will explore sources and methodologies to help you find those elusive female ancestors.
Cool Tools for Publishing Your Family HistoryFebruary 2012
Cool Tools for Publishing Your Family History
  • PresenterLisa Alzo
    Lisa A. Alzo. M.F.A. is a freelance writer, instructor, and internationally recognized lecturer, specializing in Slovak/Eastern European genealogical research, writing your family history, and using the Internet to trace female and immigrant ancestors. She is the author of nine books, including the award-winning Three Slovak Women, and hundreds of magazine articles, and writes the blog "The Accidental Genealogist."
  • Date: Tuesday, February 14, 2012
  • DescriptionNow that you’ve written your family’s story, what do you do with it?  Thanks to technology and the Internet, it’s easier than ever to document and share your genealogical discoveries. Those attending this FREE webinar will learn about some of the popular online tools and methods available for writing and publishing a cutting edge family history.
January 2012
10 Ways to Jumpstart Your Genealogy10 Ways To Jump Start Your Genealogy
  • Presenter: Thomas MacEntee
    Thomas MacEntee is a professional genealogist specializing in the use of technology and social media to improve genealogy research and as a way to connect with others in the family history community.
  • Date: Tuesday, January 10, 2012
  • DescriptionWhether stuck in a rut with genealogy research for the past year or just wanting to expand the ways in which family history can be pursued, the genealogy community is encouraged to join ISGS for this fun and informative FREE webinar. Those attending will learn how to energize their genealogy research and will be ready to hit the ground running in 2012.
  • Recording and Handout: ISGS Members Section.