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Conference Sessions Back to top

Records for New York and Beyond: 

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

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.

Civil War Records: Going Beyond NARA Pension Files 

Additional sources for Civil War era ancestors exist in collections such as U.S. Sanitary Commission pension and hospital files, state and local library and manuscript collections, and regimental histories.

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

In 2016, Dutchess County launched an online search portal that now features 52,000 pages of county court records from 1721-1830. 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. 

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

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.

The Military Tract: New York Revolutionary War Bound Land  

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.

Navigating NARA 

The National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) has a wealth of resources that can be used for genealogical research. The records may be found in Washington, thirteen regional branches located throughout the United States, and online. Learn how to effectively utilize the rich collections of this national treasure.

New York City and State Governmental Vital Records 

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

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

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.

Oddball records in NYS 

Description forthcoming. 

Researching New York State Institutional Hospitals 

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.

Uncharted Waters: Diving into the Holdings of 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.

Understanding New York State Local Government 

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. 

Using Land Records to Solve Genealogical Problems 

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.

Western New York Land – Using the Holland Land Company Records 

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?

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!  

People and Places 

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

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. 

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

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.

Did Your Colonial New York Ancestors Own Slaves? 

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

Dutch Naming Systems in Early America 

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.

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

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 

Discover resources to research your ancestor from the multi-ethnic historical Austro-Hungarian Empire and how 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.

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

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.

The (Underground) Railroad Runs Through Here – New York

Do you have ancestors that might have been involved in the Underground Railroad? It began in 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? 

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

This presentation will introduce the many different collections – books, manuscript and digital – to utilize at the 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.

Skills and Methodology 

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

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. 

Copyright Considerations for Genealogists 

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!

Expanding Research to Backtrack New Yorkers to New England 

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.

Genealogical Proof for the Everyday Genealogist 

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.

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

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

Location, Location, Location: The Oblong of Dutchess & Ulster Counties, NY 

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.

Using Indirect and Negative Evidence to Prove Unrecorded Events 

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

Technology and DNA/Genetic Genealogy 

Digital Organization for Everyone: Ways to Conquer the Mess 

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

First Steps for Evaluating Your DNA Test 

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.

The What’s New in DNA Update 

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.

Using DNA to Identify Biological Parents for Adoptees and Others 

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.

More sessions and complete session descriptions will be added to this list soon. 

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Conference Workshops Back to top

Workshops offer a longer, more hands-on experience, and can be added on to conference registration for an extra fee.

Fantastic Canal Records and Where to Find Them: NY Repositories 

In this workshop, participants take a virtual trip through the NY State Archives and over twenty other repositories where they may discover information on their ancestors. Participants can choose to attend the entire 2.5-hours or one seventy-five-minute session: “From the Halls of Montezuma to the North of Albany” or “New York’s Wild West and the Southern Tier.” Presented by Pamela Vittorio 

Beginner Workshop for German Ancestry 

There are many contrasts in how to research Germans from the Colonial "First Wave" vs. the "Second Wave" in the century up to World War I. Get a hands-on feel for these differences and the best resources to research each one. Presented by James M. Beidler 

Getting Started with Italian Records 

This workshop will teach Armchair Italian Genealogy: learn how civil records can often be easily accessed from home, or at least a Family History Center, and how other types of records can be ordered easily and cheaply from Italian Archives, such as draft and enlistment records. An in-depth, hands-on session will help teach participants how to read the records. Presented by Alec Ferretti 

Mapping An Empire: Austria-Hungary 

Discover military survey and cadastral maps of the Austro-Hungarian Empire. Learn how to locate digital map collections of nineteenth-century cadastral maps and how to locate collections in archives and interpret the maps for the family history research. Discover tools to compare cadastral maps with modern maps using various digital resources and to document the location of your ancestral home. Presented by Michelle Chubenko 

Developing a DNA Testing Plan

Seasoned researchers know that a well-crafted research plan is key to success. Strategically planning DNA testing will also lead to research breakthroughs. Presented by Angie Bush, MS 

Using DNA Tools: Ancestry, MyHeritage, and 23andMe

This workshop will teach participants how to use and interpret the features from the testing companies that are integrating DNA test results with family trees and historical data. Presented by Angie Bush, MS 

Using the "What Are the Odds?" Tool 

This tool lets you test multiple hypotheses for relationships based on the amount of DNA you share with multiple matches. This would be best as a hands-on workshop. Presented by Angie Bush, MS 

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Preliminary Schedule Back to top

Subject to change

Thursday, September 10, 2020


  • Workshops (additional registration required [$])
  • Onsite check-in
  • Exhibit Hall opens (late morning)


  • Opening session
  • Afternoon sessions (choice of four)
  • Afternoon sessions (choice of four)


  • NYG&B Member reception

Friday, September 11, 2020


  • Exhibit Hall open all-day
  • Workshops (additional registration required [$])
  • Morning sessions (choice of four)
  • Morning sessions (choice of four)


  • Noon: Lunch break (on your own or ticketed luncheon [$])
  • Afternoon sessions (choice of four)
  • Afternoon short sessions (choice of four)


  • Special Event (additional registration [$])

Saturday, September 12, 2020


  • Exhibit Hall open until mid-afternoon
  • Workshop (additional registration required [$])
  • Morning sessions (choice of four)
  • Morning sessions (choice of four)


  • Noon: Lunch break (on your own or ticketed luncheon [$])
  • Afternoon sessions (choice of four)
  • Workshop (additional registration required [$])
  • Closing reception - gather to exchange your favorite moments of the conference.

Register for NYSFHC