Minnesota Genealogical Society

1385 Mendota Heights Road, Suite 100
Mendota Heights, MN  55120-1367
(651) 330-9312 • info@mngs.org

North Star Session Descriptions

Amber Oldenburg

Land for the Landless: Homestead Records and How to Use Them in Your Research

The Homestead Act of 1862 opened millions of acres of land for settlement across 30 states. Interested individuals needed to meet certain criteria before they could gain title to this land. These valuable records created from this process are often overlooked my family historians.

Fantastic Fun Filled FamilySearch Wiki

In this session you will learn how to navigate the FamilySearch Wiki and Catalog and how they can help you be a better family history researcher.

Bert Jones

Creating an Afterlife File

What happens to the various genealogical logins, paperwork, research, photos, that you accumulated in your life. Do you have a plan for where those are and how someone else is to access them? In this session, Bert will talk about an “afterlife file” and the types of information you might consider placing inside, as well as how to keep it safe.

Airtable for Genealogists

Bert will show how he uses Airtable (an online database program) to create an online "repository" of the various copies of records he has accumulated during his research. Having a repository “in the cloud” can be a useful resource for sorting/cataloging your records, as well as quickly finding a record to determine if you already have it or not.

Brian Rhinehart

Navigating the Records From the War of 1812

From bounty land to pensions, there are no shortage of genealogical records for soldiers from The War of 1812. Learn how and why these records were created, how to make sense of them, and what those records can contain for your ancestors!

Bryna O'Sullivan

Navigating French language records when you only read English

Digitization projects have made it much easier to research French speaking families from home. This webinar will outline the types of records most commonly used in genealogical research, offer models and other resources for navigating them from home, and help you decide when you need to bring in a professional translator.

Cathi Weber

Preparing for the 1950 Census Release

Are you using census records in your research? What you can start doing now to be ready to find your family when the 1950 census is released in 2022. We will also look at past census to see what clues can be found in census records.

Dannell (Danni) Altman-Newell

Before Rosie: The Women of the Great War

When the men were called to war, what was a girl to do? Roll up her sleeves and show the world the power of women!

Fraternal Organizations: The Original Social Network

Social networks have existed since before the digital age. Fraternal organizations were among the original social networks and can add flavor to your ancestor’s story.

Diana Crisman Smith

Civil War Pensions? The Case of An Ancestor Who Didn’t Serve

If your ancestor was alive during the Civil War, it’s highly likely he served in the military for either the Union or Confederacy. Asbury Crisman was born in 1850. Very little else was known about him. Who were his parents? Did he have siblings? Military pension files were the key to unlocking his family - even though HE DID NOT SERVE.

Those Pesky Patronymics

A number of countries have used patronyms for creating surnames (some still do). The best known are the Scandinavian countries, but there are also others, such as Wales and Scotland which have patronymic origins. Understanding them is important, but tracking them is a bit different than tracking “regular” surnames in genealogy, so how do we do it?

Elizabeth Williams Gomoll, CG

Documents + DNA + Methods + a little bit of Luck

Finding an adopted child's biological family is especially challenging for genealogists. This presentation will dissect a successful case to show how good methodology combined with document research and DNA matches (and a dose of luck) can put a decades-old question to rest.

I Hate Conflict - Mediating Sources that Don't Agree

Sources of information don't always agree. Dates or places are different, or names aren't quite right. Learn how to weigh evidence to determine which source is most credible and how to resolve or report conflicting information.

J. H. ("Jay") Fonkert, CG

Identity Puzzles: Make Sure You’re Following the Right Character

Merging or separating identities is a core genealogical problem. Sometimes we find two easily confounded people in the same place and time. Other times we must merge identity fragments to prove that Fred in Iowa in 1880 was the same person as Frank in Ohio in 1870. A series of short case studies demonstrate how to solve identity puzzles.

Finding and Using Probate Records to Break Through Brick Walls

Wills and probate files are one of the richest sources for family history research. Learn how to find and access probate records and use them to solve genealogical problems. Learn about testate and intestate wills and heirs at law, and what you can learn from estate inventories, estate sales, and distributions.

Researching Pre-1850 American Ancestors

American genealogy becomes more challenging before 1850, when the U.S. Census first listed every individual in a household. Researchers must turn to other records, including tax lists, estate records and court records to reconstruct pre-1850 families.

Lauri Jean Swett

Developing A Research Plan

You deserve success in your genealogy endeavors. A research plan is the place to start.

Digging for Gold in State Census Records

Minnesota, Iowa, Kansas, and New York have extensive state census records with unusual questions. Learn about how to find them and what information they contain.

Til Divorce Do Us Part

If 50% of marriages end in divorce, it is likely you have one or several on your family tree. Learn how to recognize the clues and find these records.

Nancy E. Loe

Beyond Ancestry: Essential Portals for Genealogy Research

Research portals make online records from different repositories available in a single search. Created by librarians and archivists, these free online portals are available for archives, books, digital libraries, maps, newspapers, and more.

Paula Stuart-Warren, CG, FUGA, FMGS

Discover the Records of Old Settler & Pioneer Organizations:

The story of a migrating ancestor’s journey from one state to another, notes on birthplaces, children, acquaintances, arrival in a locality, deaths, and other details. Learn about records of old settlers and pioneer organizations that may yield such information for your family.

City & Rural Directories: How, When, Content, and Where to Find

Learn how and when directories were compiled, who did the work, distribution of the product, where to locate them today online and off, some surprising details, and understanding the amazing research content.

Rue Lynn Galbraith

Proving your Pedigree: The Genealogy Proof Standard in Action

The five elements of the Genealogical Proof Standard or GPS are interrelated and, at times, can be daunting; paired with the genealogical research cycle, one can clearly understand these elements and how to implement them into your genealogical research.

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