NYSFHC @ Home Program

The logo of the 2020 New York State Family History ConferenceNYSFHC @ Home includes access to livestream sessions, Q&A, and social events, held September 10–12, 2020 in addition to on-demand sessions, September 10–October 15, 2020. Choose between two options: 

  • A complete pass to NYSFHC @ Home (starting at $275) provides more than 44 hours of programming including 14 live and 30 on-demand sessions. Read below for an description of each session.  
  • NYSFHC @ Home Starter Pass (starting at $115) includes 8 live and 8 specific on-demand sessions.

Complete NYSFHC @ Home Pass  

Livestream Sessions: Thursday, September 10, 2020

A NYSFHC @ Home Pass provides access to these live-streamed activities by logging into nysfhc.nygbs.org

10:30 AM – 12:30 PM 

Open Q&A with the NYSFHC team! 

Last-minute questions about attending the event online? Wanting to do a last-minute audio check? Trying to decide which on-demand session to view first? The NYSFHC team will be online for an open question and answer session to ensure you are able to make the most out of NYSFHC 2020. 

1:00 PM – 2:00 PM 

Opening Session—Preserving the Records of New York State 

Join NYG&B President D. Joshua Taylor as we open NYSFHC 2020 with an address from New York State Archivist, Thomas J. Ruller. Mr. Ruller will discuss the work of the New York State Archives and its role in the preservation of New York’s records. 

2:15 PM – 3:15 PM 

Uncharted Waters: Diving into the Holdings of the New York State Archives

Presented by Jane E. Wilcox

The New York State Archives (NYSA) holds a diverse collection of state governmental records. Learn familiar and obscure resources to help advance your NY research. Includes a finding aid demonstration.

3:30 – 4:30 PM

DNA Signatures of Mayflower Passengers

Presented by Janine Cloud, Sponsored by FamilyTreeDNA

For years, genealogists have researched and sought connections to the 51 Mayflower passengers known to have descendants. This talk explores how DNA testing may be able to help confirm direct paternal and maternal lines through use of Y and mitochondrial DNA.

4:45 – 5:45 PM

The Military Tract: New York Revolutionary War Bounty Land

Presented by Skip Duett

The State of New York awarded 1.68 million acres of bounty land to its soldiers of the Revolutionary War in Central New York. The military bounty land opened up Central New York to white settlement and left an enduring system of land designation that survives today. Your NY Rev War soldier may be identified in Military Tract documents.

6:00 – 7:00 PM

NYG&B Member Reception (all are invited)! 

Grab your favorite beverage from home and a few snacks and join fellow NYG&B members to mingle, share research adventures, and learn more about what’s new at the NYG&B. 

Livestream Sessions: Friday, September 11, 2020 

7:30 – 8:15 AM 

Friday Breakfast Chat

Start your day off right, ask questions, share your favorite sessions from Thursday with members of the NYSFHC team and other attendees. 

8:30 – 9:00 AM 

The Textbook for New York Genealogy: The New York Family History Research Guide and Gazetteer

Presented by Susan R. Miller 

The New York Family History Research Guide and Gazetteer (NYFHRGG) is an imposing 868-page tome. This New York essential sits on the desk or in the closest bookcase for many professional genealogists. Learn what it contains and, more importantly, how to use it.  

9:15 – 10:15 AM 

A la Karte: Borders, Maps and Gazetteers for German Genealogists

Presented by James M. Beidler 

The borders of German-speaking lands in Europe followed a non-linear pattern that is at first difficult to unpack. Learn about the gamut of on- and off-line tools to overcome this difficulty. 

10:45 – 11:45 AM 

First Steps for Evaluating Your DNA Test

Presented by Angie Bush, Sponsored by Ancestry ProGenealogists

You've taken a DNA test, but aren't quite sure what the first steps should be in reviewing your results. The presenter has evaluated DNA test results for 1000s of clients. Learn the process she uses to review DNA test results to understand how best to incorporate those results to answer genealogical research questions. 

12:30 – 1:15 PM 

Preserving the Preservation: 150+ Years of Volunteers, Archivists, and Genealogists Saving History (luncheon talk)

Presented by Frederick Wertz

Bring your lunch and listen to NYG&B’s Director of Digital Services, Fred Wertz. As researchers, we all owe a great deal to the individuals of the past and present who use their time and skill to preserve history. Since our earliest days, the genealogical community has recognized the importance of preserving historical documents—even the ones that appear mundane and meaningless to others—for the use of future generations.  

1:30 – 2:30 PM 

Copyright Considerations for Genealogists

Presented by Blaine Bettinger 

As genealogists, intellectual property is one of our greatest assets. We write client reports, articles, blog posts, and so much more. Learn about how copyright and trademark law protects your intellectual property. And just as importantly, discover what you should do to avoid infringing on the rights of others! 

2:45 – 3:45 PM

Preserving Documents & Photos Found in Genealogy Research

Presented by Ariel Servadio, Sponsored by YourStory™ by Gaylord Archival®

This session will go over a variety of our products and educational resources to help genealogists preserve items they find while researching their family history. We’ll cover: what “archival quality” means and why it’s important, safe handling techniques for fragile and valuable documents and photos, and safe storage options for different accessibility and volume needs. By the end of the demo, attendees will have a better understanding of how to make precious family memories last for future generations.  

4:00 – 5:00 PM 

Using Indirect and Negative Evidence to Prove Unrecorded Events

Presented by Thomas W. Jones 

Information hidden below the surface or totally absent helps researchers reconstruct events, identities, and relationships that no record specifies. Examples show how. 

5:30 – 6:30 PM 

New York Stories Live!

Sponsored by YourStory™ by Gaylord Archival®

Listen to stories from across New York’s rich history from fellow conference attendees, speakers, and special guests. Have a story you would like to share? Now’s your chance!  

6:45 - 7:45 PM 

First Steps for Evaluating Your DNA Test [replay] 

Presented by Angie Bush, Sponsored by Ancestry ProGenealogists 

You've taken a DNA test, but aren't quite sure what the first steps should be in reviewing your results. The presenter has evaluated DNA test results for 1000s of clients. Learn the process she uses to review DNA test results to understand how best to incorporate those results to answer genealogical research questions.  

8:00 – 9:00 PM 

A la Karte: Borders, Maps and Gazetteers for German Genealogists [replay] 

Presented by James M. Beidler  

The borders of German-speaking lands in Europe followed a non-linear pattern that is at first difficult to unpack. Learn about the gamut of on- and off-line tools to overcome this difficulty. 

9:15 – 9:45 PM 

The Textbook for New York Genealogy: The New York Family History Research Guide and Gazetteer [replay] 

Presented by Susan R. Miller  

The New York Family History Research Guide and Gazetteer (NYFHRGG) is an imposing 868-page tome. This New York essential sits on the desk or in the closest bookcase for many professional genealogists. Learn what it contains and, more importantly, how to use it.   

Livestream Sessions: Saturday, September 12, 2020

7:30 – 8:15 AM 

Saturday Breakfast Chat

Start your day off right, ask questions, share your favorite sessions from Thursday with members of the NYSFHC team and other attendees. 

8:30 – 9:30 AM

Dutch Naming Systems in Early America

Presented by Aaron Goodwin

Those attending this session will find themselves rewarded with more than mere tidbits about strange and befuddling practices. Dutch naming systems are so important, in fact, that gaining a thorough understanding of them gives researchers the most effective tools they can have to answer longstanding questions and identify new avenues of research.

9:45 – 10:45 AM

NYG&B's New Online Records Platform

Presented by Frederick Wertz

Discover tips and tricks for using the NYG&B’s online records platform, including religious, cemetery, and census records from across New York State, the complete archive of The New York Genealogical and Biographical Record, and more.

11:15 – 12:15 PM

Expanding Research to Backtrack New Yorkers to New England

Presented by Thomas W. Jones

Two case studies demonstrate how searching beyond the person of interest led to establishing the separate origins of two unrelated Revolutionary War veterans who settled in New York with no record of their parents or prior residence.

12:15 – 1:15 PM

New York State of Mind (luncheon talk) 

Presented by Pamela Boyer Sayre, CG®, FUGA  

Bring your lunch and listen to professional genealogist Pamela Sayre. New York is more than "The City." Come and explore a New York state of mind and all that it encompasses. While native New Yorkers carried their customs, chutzpah, and positive influence to many other localities throughout the United States, people from other American regions or countries found their way to New York to experience success, fame, or sometimes disappointment. Join us for a visit to the lives and times of a few native or adoptive New Yorkers through a series of vignettes that capture that unique New York state of mind. 

1:30 – 2:30 PM

Still in Print: Your Genealogical Bookshelf in 2020

Presented by D. Joshua Taylor, MA, MLS

Is paper really on its way out? If 2020 has taught genealogist anything, it is that access to reference sources and other tools at home is still essential. Explore reference works and strategies for building your bookshelf (with an emphasis on those tracing New York families).

2:45 – 3:45 PM

The What’s New in DNA Update

Presented by Blaine Bettinger

Keeping track of new and changing tools and methodologies in the DNA/genetic genealogy world is tough. This session will help stay on top of the latest developments.

4:00 – 5:00 PM

Speaker Question and Answer Session and NYSFHC 2020 Wrap-Up 

Close out your NYSFHC 2020 experience with an interactive Q&A session with selected conference speakers, the NYSFHC team, and a final chance to say farewell to new—and old—friends.

5:15 – 6:15 PM 

Dutch Naming Systems in Early America [replay] 

Presented by Aaron Goodwin 

Those attending this session will find themselves rewarded with more than mere tidbits about strange and befuddling practices. Dutch naming systems are so important, in fact, that gaining a thorough understanding of them gives researchers the most effective tools they can have to answer longstanding questions and identify new avenues of research. 

6:30 – 7:30 PM 

NYG&B's New Online Records Platform [replay] 

Presented by Frederick Wertz 

Discover tips and tricks for using the NYG&B’s online records platform, including religious, cemetery, and census records from across New York State, the complete archive of The New York Genealogical and Biographical Record, and more. 

 

On-demand Sessions: Available September 10–October 15, 2020

A NYSFHC @ Home Pass provides access to these on-demand sessions by logging into nysfhc.nygbs.org.

People of New York (and Beyond)

The African American Experience in Three of New York’s Southern Tier Counties, 1803–1960

Presented by Stanton Biddle

The African American experience in the rural “Southern Tier” counties of western New York State is largely unexplored. Using his own extended family as a case study, the presenter will document and describe that experience from the region’s first European settlement in the early 1800s through the 1950s when social and economic forces led to the departures of many to urban centers to the north and west.

Did Your Colonial Ancestors Own Slaves?

Presented by Janice Lovelace 

Do you have New York ancestors who might have owned slaves? Did they live in colonial New York through the early 19th century? This presentation discusses researching censuses, wills, court proceedings, business records, and newspapers for information. 

Finding Your Irish Ancestral Place of Origin Using Collateral Research and Surname Variants

Presented by Terry Koch-Bostic 

Using surname variations, family collateral research, Griffith’s survey, and Grenham’s cross-correlation techniques are essential to locating your ancestor’s unknown Irish townland and place of origin. 

Genealogical Research in Austro-Hungarian Empire

Presented by Michelle Chubenko

Discover resources to research your ancestor from the multi-ethnic historical Austro-Hungarian Empire and how to determine the location of your ancestral town. Learn strategies to locate available records and relevant archives in the twelve successor (modern) countries. Examples of records and their importance, both from North America and from Europe, will be discussed.

Looking for Your New York Tenant Farmer: Little-used Resources

Presented by Jane E. Wilcox

Documents for Hudson Valley manors and their tenants have survived. Learn how and where to look for your tenant ancestors in these and other records.

On Your Mark(er), Get Set, Go! Celebrate Your Family History with a Pomeroy Roadside Marker

Presented by William G. Pomeroy and Deryn Pomeroy, Sponsored by the William G. Pomeroy Foundation 

Is it time to celebrate YOUR family history in a big, bold, fun way? At the Pomeroy Foundation, we’re ready to help with our New York State Historic Marker Grant Program. It commemorates historic people, places, things, and events. Could one of your ancestors qualify for a roadside marker?  Join us to learn how your genealogical research can be the launching point to ensure your family history stands the test of time.

New York’s  ̋Palatines˝: Diverse Origins, Mid-Atlantic Dispersal

Presented by James M. Beidler 

The first mass migration of German-speaking people landed in upstate New York in 1710 and have been intensively studied by Hank Jones. Review what records there are and the places to which many went.  

Stranger in a Strange Land: Italian Immigrant Workers on the NYS Canal System

Presented by Pamela Vittorio 

From 1903 to 1917, Italian immigrants began work between Albany and Buffalo on the newly-constructed NY State “Barge Canal.” Census records and government reports reveal the locations of several “labor camps” along the Erie and Champlain canals, and the difficulties this little-discussed group of canal workers faced under the rigid Padrone system. 

Using the Resources of the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum

Presented by Michelle Chubenko 

This presentation will introduce the many different collections—books, manuscripts, and digital—to utilize at the U.S. Holocaust Museum (USHMM) when researching Holocaust and the post-World War II exodus of Central and Eastern European peoples. Learn about digital resources and how to conduct onsite research in the USHMM Library and Resource Center.  

Places in New York

Albany as the Revolutionary War Hub of New York State: Sources in the Capital Region

Presented by Eric G. Grundset 

As a major patriot center during the Revolution, Albany became the powerhouse of activity for the patriot side in the Revolution and a major target for British and allied forces. Important records exist to help researchers identify the role of their ancestors in the struggle. Many are located at the New York State Library and the State Archives, but others are found elsewhere. 

Decoding the Ancient Documents: Research in the Dutchess County Court Records

Presented by William Tatum

In 2016, Dutchess County launched an online search portal that now features 52,000 pages of county court records from 1721 to 1830. This presentation will explain the project background, explain strategies for using the search portal, and discuss several detailed case studies to illustrate the strengths and weaknesses of county court records.

Location, Location, Location: The Oblong of Dutchess, Putnam & Westchester Counties, NY

Presented by Judith A. Herbert, CG® 

A strip of land that was sometimes part of Connecticut and sometimes part of New York, known as The Oblong, has a rich history and was home to some of the area’s early families. Understanding The Oblong geographically and administratively will help you to locate records of your ancestors that lived in the area. 

New York vs New Hampshire and Vermont: Records and Research in the Late 18th Century

Presented by Eric G.Grundset

Rival claims by New York and New Hampshire over the land that became Vermont created a nightmare for researchers in the 21st century. The records for study of the region during this period are numerous but scattered. This lecture will point researchers to sources for tracking their families during this tumultuous period.

The (Underground) Railroad Runs Through Here—New York

Presented by Janice Lovelace

Do you have ancestors that might have been involved in the Underground Railroad? It began in the 1820s when much of the north had abolished slavery and functioned until the start of the Civil War. The primary paths were through Ohio, Pennsylvania, and New York. How do you find records of those who were involved?

New York's Records

The Ancestry NY Portal: Accessing Digitized NYS Archives Records for Free 

Presented by Jamie Brinkman, New York State Archives 

The NYS Archives has formed a partnership with Ancestry.com to digitized family history records and make them freely available via the Ancestry NY Portal. Learn about the collections already available, future uploads and the information you can expect to find in the records. Includes demonstration of account setup and Portal use. 

British Colonial Period in NYS: Resources Available at the NYSL  

Presented by Michael Meyer, New York State Library  

The NYS Library has a number of resources relating to the British Colonial period in NYS that can be useful for researching family history. These include colonial laws, family papers, maps, loyalist claims, orderly books, and microfilm collections of original documents from the British Records Office such as “Colonial Office: New York Records, 1664–1781.” 

FamilySearch Sources for New York Research 

Presented by Michael Provard, Sponsored by FamilySearch 

FamilySearch is an excellent and deep resource for beginning and continuing your ancestral research in New York. This session will explore ways to get the most out of the FamilySearch web site including some hidden gems and search tactics, all for free! 

Leveling the Land in New York 

Presented by Kyle Hurst, Senior Genealogist of the Newbury Street Press, sponsored by the New England Historic Genealogical Society 

Explore the many jurisdictional levels at which land records were kept in the colony and state of New York. This session discusses types of land records created at each level, what they can tell us, and where we should look for them. 

New York City and State Governmental Vital Records

Presented by Jane E. Wilcox 

New York is notoriously challenging to find births, deaths, and marriages. Learn to navigate New York City and State governmental vital records. 

Oddball records in NYS

Presented by Matthew Urtz, Madison County Historian

Discover oddball records providing family information, addresses, education levels, and more. Some were mandated by laws for brief periods and may exist in other local governments, plus agricultural (stallion pedigrees, farm records), incorporation (religious, not-for-profits), professional licenses (medical, engineering, legal), military (appointments, military board records, remembrance books) records and more. 

Researching New York State Institutional Hospitals

Presented by Rhoda Miller

Considerable interest has been expressed in researching New York State institutional hospitals. Strategies for learning more about patients, and their experiences, will be presented despite privacy issues in obtaining records.

Understanding New York State Local Government

Presented by Dave Lowry 

This session will introduce the multilayered, complex, and confusing world of New York State local government, an important source of genealogical records. It will provide tips on records access including the best contacts in each local government and introduce genealogists to some unusual records series. 

Western New York Land—Using the Holland Land Company Records

Presented by Skip Duett

From 1803 through 1835, the Holland Land Company sold to the public a huge tract of land comprising most of Western New York. They created a vast trove of land records that exist outside the usual county repositories. Finding your ancestor in these records can add the critical land ownership piece to your Western New York genealogical puzzle.

Who Is Reclaim the Records?

Presented by Alec Ferretti 

Learn about the non-profit of scrappy genealogists who have banded together to use Freedom of Information Laws to release and publish long-obscured genealogical data!  

DNA and Technology

Digital Organization for Everyone: Ways to Conquer the Mess

Presented by Michael Cassara 

As genealogists, we are constantly seeking better ways to organize our treasures. Make sense of your electronic chaos, and get organized, digitally!

How Photos Enhance Genealogical Research on MyHeritage 

Presented by Daniel Horowitz, Sponsored by MyHeritage 

Photographs are an important resource in genealogical research. They add faces to the names in your family tree and teach you about how your ancestors lived. Learn about the value of photos in discovering and preserving your family history with MyHeritage In Color™ technology, that brings your old black and white family photos to life using sophisticated machine learning technology. 

Importance of Newspapers for Family Research 

Presented by Daniel Horowitz, Sponsored by MyHeritage 

Newspapers and City Directories are a key tool to get information about families in all kinds of announcements, but not everybody knows how and where to access it. Applying technology made it possible for people to find these pieces of information. Learn how this technology works, how it’s applied to the benefit of the users 

Making the Most of Ancestry.com's Search Engine

Presented by Alec Ferretti

Attendees will learn tips & tricks to more efficiently search Ancestry’s indexes, by understanding how to leverage their strengths and mitigate their weaknesses. The nuances using records that have been indexed with OCR will be discussed, along with the idiosyncrasies of how they have indexed certain fields of certain records.

Preserving History in 3D Museums: an Innovative Way to Communicate Stories Across Generations 

Presented by Vito S. Giovannetti, Sponsored by Treasured, Inc. 

Explore Treasured, an innovative software platform attracting leading family historians. The session showcases how to curate an interactive 3D Museum for your family, local museum, or genealogy society. Share in the magic of member testimonials and hear from migration historian, Chris Grafos, in a fireside conversation about the benefits of TreasureWorld. Learn to engage younger generations and share in the new frontier of storytelling. 

Top Ten Reasons You Should Be Using FamilySearch 

Presented by Michael Provard, Sponsored by FamilySearch 

FamilySearch has billions of records from around the world, along with many other resources to help you find your ancestors. This session will explore the top ten things that will help you understand that FamilySearch should be your first stop on your ancestral journey. 

Using DNA to Identify Biological Parents for Adoptees and Others

Presented by Angie Bush, Sponsored by Ancestry ProGenealogists

Learn the basic methodology used by the experts to turn DNA matches into names and stories for biological parents or grandparents that were previously unknown.

Why Big Y? Sequenced Y-DNA Testing and You 

Presented by Janine Cloud, Sponsored by FamilyTreeDNA 

Y-700 expanded Y-DNA research exponentially with over 100,000 SNPs added to the Y haplotree between July 2019 and May 2020. But what does that mean to the average genealogist trying to use Y testing to build a family tree? This session explains how this sequenced test may be your best investment to advance your paternal-line research.  

Methods and Best Practices

The Article Isn’t About Your Family? You Should Read It Anyway!

Presented by Karen Mauer Jones, CG®, FGBS, FUGA

Scholarly genealogical articles demonstrate the records, the strategies, and the thought processes necessary to perform successful research in any locality. Examples from The NYG&B Record illustrate how reading articles in scholarly journals will hone your research skills, even if not one of those articles touches on your ancestral lines.

Genealogical Proof for the Everyday Genealogist

Presented by Annette Lyttle 

How do you know if the facts you’ve uncovered are correct? How do you avoid attaching somebody else’s ancestors to your family tree? The Genealogical Proof Standard (GPS) is our guide to producing reliable research results. This introduction to the GPS will get your research moving in the right direction and help you avoid errors and frustration.

Gravestone Conservation for Genealogists

Presented by Christopher White

Remember that gravestone that was so dirty that you could not read it or the one that was tipped over? What can you do? What should you do? Discover what that dirt is and the proper methods for conserving gravestones. Determine why a gravestone is in its present condition. Learn what to do and what not to do so that you help preserve gravestones for the next generation.

Identifying the wife of Jacob Lasher of Germantown, Columbia Co., New York

Presented by Julie Miller, CG®, CGL®, FNGS 

Using New York resources, this case study demonstrates how a carefully crafted proof argument challenged long-accepted published genealogies and online trees. 

Using Land Records to Solve Genealogical Problems

Presented by Aaron Goodwin 

Land records can be dull, confusing, or both, but experienced researchers know they’re worth the work. Deeds (or conveyances in New York) can help establish dates of residence, estimate ages, identify occupations, and determine earlier and later residences. Most importantly, they can identify relationships, both explicitly and implicitly.