Estimated reading time: 8 minutes
April 19, 2019
TALLAHASSEE – Presenters at this year’s Family History Discovery Day range from a Native American member of the Muscogee Nation to a pair of Alex Haley disciples who are members of the Tallahassee African-American Genealogical Society.
“We have something for everyone when it comes to family history research,” said Charles Watson, director of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints Family History Center located at 312 Stadium Drive.
The May 4 Family History Discovery Day features 18 classes designed to meet a wide variety of interests in family history and genealogy research. Free onsite registration begins at 8:30 a.m. Online registration is available at www.lds.org/familydiscoveryday.
Classes include the following:
9:30 to 10:30 a.m.
- Census First 1880-1940 – Class addresses how the census is a timeline to our ancestors and what we overlook. Everyone knows you get names, places, and some other stuff, but how often do you take the time to read all the columns on each and the census takers’ notes? This is great for newbies as well as intermediate researchers who need to go back and take another look at things they might have missed in the census. Instructor – Melody K. Porter is the Georgia State DAR Registrar, a noted researcher, writer, and lecturer.
- The 3 D’s of the 1880 Census – This course will discuss the little used three supplements to the 1880 U.S. Census (The Defectives, The Dependents, and The Delinquents), in discovering family history and finding those that may not show on the 1880 Census. Instructor – Wayne Stalvey has taught at both the Tallahassee and Panama City family history centers and is currently assigned as a trainer for family history consultants in the Tallahassee area.
- I See Dead People! Trip to the Graveyard – Tools to find and record relatives in the cemetery, symbols on headstones, cleaning and preserving headstones, online cemetery information, participating in Find A Grave, fun stories. Instructor – Barbara Allen Kent helped start the Records Name Extraction program in Tallahassee in 1978.
- FamilySearch for Beginners – An introduction to FamilySearch.org as well as helpful tips on navigation and insights on solving some common challenges family researchers face. Instructor – Marilyn Reno Cranford has served as a family history center director since 2011. She is currently the director of the Powder Springs, Georgia family history center.
- Tracking Down Native American Ancestors – This class will help clarify and describe common challenges encountered in tracking down Native American ancestors. Common barriers will be identified, as well as techniques for getting around them. The process of linking up standard genealogies with clues present in census records, tribal rolls, etc., will be discussed. Instructor – Scott McNutt is a member of the Muscogee Nation of Florida and serves on the National Council. His lineage includes Creek, Cherokee, Saponi and Lumbee ancestors.
- Breaking Through Brick Walls in Scottish Research (RootsTech Video) – When you come to what you think is a dead end, or a “brick wall” in your Scottish research step back and take a better look at the documents and what they are telling you about your ancestors. Instructor – Christine Woodcock is a genealogy educator with an expertise in Scottish records. Woodcock is also a lecturer, author, and blogger. She is the director of Genealogy Tours of Scotland.
10:45 to 11:45 a.m.
- Best Practices on FamilySearch Family Tree (or How Can I Find the Good Stuff and Keep My Sanity?) – The FamilySearch Family Tree differs from other online Trees because it is a single tree, not a collection of private user trees, and it can be edited by anyone. This class teaches best practices to reduce duplication of effort and to enhance search results, including tips on searching unindexed records. Instructor – Marilyn Reno Cranford has served as a family history center director since 2011. She is currently the director of the Powder Springs, Georgia family history center.
- Tracing African-American Families: Pre- and Post-Emancipation: This presentation will lead you through the resources to trace African-American families backwards through slavery. It will be presented in two parts: Part I, Tracing African-American families to 1870 and Part II, Tracing enslaved African-Americans. Instructors – Juanita Gaston and Ronald Williams, both influenced by Alex Haley’s “Roots,” have been researching their family history since the 1980s. Both are officers in the Tallahassee African-American Genealogical Society.
- Courthouse Records and Where to Find Them – The presentation lists a range of records that may be found in many courthouses, including land, property, tax, military, and many other records. However, which courthouse should one look in and where to look, either if you cannot travel to the courthouse or you have looked, and the records are not there. Instructor – Mary Anne Johnson Price has been involved with the Tallahassee Genealogical Society for more than 20 years and is a volunteer genealogist and lineage researcher with the Daughters of the American Revolution.
- Between a Rock and a Hard Place: Examining the Decision to Emigrate to America – This lecture discusses the many enticements that worked to lure potential emigrants to America as well as the forces that operated to try to keep them from leaving their homeland during the period of America’s heaviest immigration, 1815 to 1914. Instructor – Diane Dittgen is the former head of the genealogy department of the Manatee County Central Library and has worked in the field for more than 40 years.
- What Do I Do Now? – This class looks at the basic logic of searching for family history information. Designed for beginners, this class is perfect for those who are just starting to research their family history. Instructor – Trudie Bell has worked on family history for the past 30 years. She has experienced and learned through all the changes in family history research methods and computer technology.
- You Can Do DNA (RootsTech Video) – Learn about what DNA testing can do and what it can’t do, so you can pick the right DNA test to best help you make more and meaningful connections in your genealogy. Instructors – Dana Leeds, Diahan Southard and Christi Lynn Jacobsen, some of the leading voices on DNA research in family history.
12:00 p.m. to 1 p.m.
- Documentation—I Don’t Want to Do It and You Can’t Make Me! – Everyone is afraid to talk about documentation and source citations except Elizabeth Shown Mills, the first lady of genealogy. Class discusses the pain of not doing documentation and the easy steps to make it a habit. Instructor – Melody K. Porter is the Georgia State DAR Registrar, a noted researcher, writer, and lecturer.
- Local Resources – An overview of the genealogical resources available in the North Florida area. Instructor – Trudie Bell has worked on family history for the past 30 years. She has experienced and learned through all the changes in family history research methods and computer technology.
- FamilySearch Research Wiki – What is FamilySearch Research Wiki and why should you even know about it? This class will answer those questions and show you how valuable this website can be. Instructor – Courtney Newton previously worked for a professional genealogy research firm in Salt Lake City.
- A Encontrar Nuestros Ancestros! (To find our ancestors) – A class for beginners and those with some exposure to family history to learn how to research, create a family tree and find resources online. The class will be in Spanish, as needed. Instructor – Brenda Havlicak is a past director of the family history center and worked as a reviewer of Spanish text appearing on FamilySearch.org.
- ancestry.com for Beginners – This will be a basic, introductory course to Ancestry.com. Instructor – Joan Stalvey has taught at both the Tallahassee and Panama City family history centers and is currently assigned as a trainer for family history consultants in the Tallahassee area.
- How to Write Your Life Story in 5 Pages or Less (RootsTech Video) – Consider this: Your life, the one you are living right now, is the “family history” of future generations. Instructor – Alison Taylor is Creative Director at Pictures and Stories, Inc. Alison and her husband Tom are authors of the book “How to Save Your Life, One Chapter at a Time.”
Tallahassee’s family history center is one of nearly 5,000 centers worldwide, offering free family history research assistance. The church’s FamilySearch program offers image capture, digital conversion, preservation, online indexing, and online access services.
“Family history research is one of the most popular hobbies in the world. People want to know where they came from. They want to know about their ancestors,” said Watson.
The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints sponsors FamilySearch. Registration on familysearch.org is free.