Family History Fair 2016 at Minneapolis Central Library

On Saturday, Oct. 29, 9 a.m.-3 p.m., connect with expert genealogists and learn about state, local and library resources; learn to identify clues to your family history; find out how to use and evaluate DNA for family connections, and more. Visit resource tables, attend presentations and learn how to start your family genealogy. Register today.

Sponsored by the Friends of the Minneapolis Central Library and presented in collaboration with the Minnesota Genealogical Society.

Schedule of events:

9-9:30 a.m.

Visit participating groups and resource tables

9:30-10:30 a.m.

Welcome and Keynote: Getting started with your genealogy and moving forward the right way (Presenter: Tom Rice, CG) A good foundation builds a good house. Strong roots let a tree grow strong. So it is with genealogy. We will take a look at the oft forgotten or yet to be learned best practices in genealogy, everything from how to take notes, how to organize what you find, what to do next and where to look for answers and how to learn what the next steps are after that. It all comes down to good research methods.

11 a.m.-noon

How to Organize your Family History Research (Presenter: Cathi Weber) Can you find the records you are looking for? Are your files organized? What system works best? Are your original documents stored safely?

Railroad Records and Railroad History: Methods for Tracking (Presenter: Paula Stuart-Warren) Did great-grandpa traverse this nation as he worked for the railroad? For which railroad did he work? Where did it run? Are there railroad records which may give us personal details? Visuals and references demonstrate the wealth of historical materials available all across the U.S. When this lecture is over you will know where to turn to find out more about the railroad, its records, and where to find them.

Can Facebook Find my Family? (Presenter: Jean Bielke-Rodenbiker) Using social media for genealogy is a newer trend – it’s not just for posting pictures of your dog and catching up with old friends. See how you might use social media to discover family, research techniques, and connect with other genealogists.    

12:45-1:45 p.m.

Finding Your Female Ancestors (Presenter: Lois Abromitis Mackin, Ph.D.,) Abigail Adams advised us to “Remember the Ladies!” Despite Abigail’s admonition, most of us have gaps in our knowledge of the female half of our family. This session will help you learn techniques, including DNA, for finding the hidden half of the family.

Designing an Oral History Project (Presenters: Vicki Albu and Ed Wons) In this session Ed Wons and Vicki Albu will present creative options to capture and preserve the stories of your family or community. From basic interview techniques to creating a documentary film, we will share examples and provide tips to help you decide the best approach for your project. We will briefly touch on funding and preservation issues. This session will interest family historians of all experience levels, representatives of ethnic and cultural organizations, and historical researchers.

Ethnicity 101 (Presenter: Trudi Campbell) What is ethnicity? Is it different from nationality? Learn the differences between these We labels, why people identify as one or the other and how such factors can help direct your research. Along the way, we will also look at “top sites” for specific genealogical groups.    

2-3 p.m.

Cousins by the Dozens: Using Autosomal DNA (Presenter: Alice Eichholz, Ph.D., CG) The autosomal DNA test (offered by FamilyTreeDNA, AncestryDNA, and 23andMe) makes it possible to find connections to ancestral cousins in all lines going back about 5-6 generations. The session covers some basic steps to take in using an autosomal DNA test to determine ancestral lines. Informative for beginners through advanced researchers.

Naturalization Records – A treasure trove of genealogical information! (Presenter:Shirleen Hoffman) Naturalization records can be very rewarding in the pursuit of your family history research. They might reveal town of origin, birth date, port of arrival, vessel, occupation, information about family members and other interesting details. This presentation will explain the naturalization process, how the law changed over the years, how to find the records, the information in the records and how it can be interpreted.

Tour Minneapolis Central Library genealogy resources with Minneapolis Central librarians

About the presenters:

Vicki Albu is a historian and genealogist and a co-founder of Romanian Genealogy Society, who co-produced the award-winning documentary film, “A Thousand Dollars and Back: Recollections of Early Romanian Immigration to Minnesota.”

Jeanne Bielke-Rodenbiker is a librarian at Minneapolis Central and Southdale libraries, and has been doing genealogy research for 15-plus years. It started with teaching a class, and she now has over 7,000 people in her family tree alone. Her special interests are English, Scottish, Irish, Prussian, Swedish, early American and Quaker genealogy.

Trudi Campbell is an HCL librarian who teaches genealogy classes and has been researching her family and assisting patrons with their research for over 20 years. Her areas of special interest include Irish, Swedish and Yankee genealogical research.

Alice Eichholz, Ph.D., CG, is a nationally known family history researcher, writer and adult educator. She is best known for her publication "Ancestry’s Redbook: American State, County, and Town Sources" and as a mentor to doctoral students at Walden University.

Shirleen Hoffman is a professional genealogist focusing on Minnesota and Wisconsin research. She has been published in Minnesota Genealogist and in Maiden Rock Press. She has been a genealogy researcher for more than 40 years and has studied at several major genealogical institutes.

Lois Abromitis Mackin, Ph.D., is a professional genealogist focusing on American and English research. She has a bachelor’s, a master’s and doctoral degrees in history, and has studied at major genealogical institutes. She writes for Minnesota Genealogist and The Septs.

Tom Rice, CG, is a full time professional genealogy researcher, lecturer and writer. He is a director and past officer of the Irish Genealogy Society International and editor of their quarterly journal, The Septs. He is a past director of the Minnesota Genealogy Society. He serves as a genealogy help desk volunteer at the Minnesota Historical Society library. He has attended 11 week long genealogy

Paula Stuart-Warren, CG, FMGS, FUGA works internationally in genealogical and historical research, lecturing, and consulting. Specialties include unusual records, problem solving, methodology, major repositories, Native American research, and railroads. Course Coordinator for SLIG and GRIP, former APG officer and MGS board member, and serves on the FGS Board of Directors.

Cathi Weber has been researching families for over 30 years. She is the owner of NorthStar Genealogy, president of the Anoka County Genealogical Society and a board member of the Minnesota Genealogical Society. Her passion is in teaching and helping people research their families.

Ed Wons is a senior partner at JPC Media, LLC, a Minnesota business that helps capture family stories using oral history interviews and creates and develops interactive museum displays. Ed has extensive experience in conducting interviews and storytelling.