NYSFHC in Albany Program

Registration for the event in Albany is open! Should you wish to change your registration to the complete NYSFHC @ Home Pass, you may do so at any time before August 15, 2020 . Registrations will be converted to the full NYSFHC @ Home Pass should we be unable to hold in-person activities in Albany.  

Update: As of May 2020, we are still planning for in-person activities in Albany; we understand that circumstances might change in the future.

We continue to monitor official local, state, and federal guidelines as we evaluate these activities moving forward. Your health and safety are our top priorities.

Schedule At-a-glance

Thursday, September 10, 2020

8:00 AM

  • Onsite Check-in Open

8:30 – 11:30 AM

1:00 PM

  • Opening Session

2:00 – 5:45 PM

  • Conference Sessions

6:00 PM

  • Special Event: NYG&B Member Reception (light hors d'oeuvres and cash bar, open to all NYG&B members)

Friday, September 11, 2020

8:00 AM

  • Onsite Check-in Open

8:30 – 11:45 AM

  • Conference Sessions

12:00 – 1:30 PM

  • Special Event: Luncheon: TBD ($)

1:30 – 5:00 PM

  • Conference Sessions

2:00 – 4:30 PM

5:30 – 6:00 PM

  • Special Event: New York Stories Live!
    • Sponsored by: Your Story™ by Gaylord Archival (included with your registration, light hors d'oeuvres and cash bar)

Saturday, September 12, 2020

8:00 AM

  • Onsite Check-in Opens

8:30 AM–12:15 PM

  • Conference Sessions

8:30 – 11:30 AM

12:15– 1:30 PM

  • Special Event: Luncheon, Preserving the Preservation: 150+ Years of Volunteers, Archivists, and Genealogists Saving History, presented by Frederick Wertz ($)

1:30 – 3:45 PM

  • Conference Sessions

3:45 – 4:15 PM

  • Closing Reception (included with your registration)

Full Conference Schedule

Schedule subject to change.

Conference Sessions: Thursday, September 10, 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 – 3:15 PM

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.

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.

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.

3:30 – 4:30 PM

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.” 

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.

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.

4:45 – 5:45 PM

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 thathave been indexed with OCR will be discussed, along with the idiosyncrasies of how they have indexed certain fields of certain records.

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.

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.

Conference Sessions: Friday, September 11, 2020 

8:30 – 9:00 AM 

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!  

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. 

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! 

9:15 – 10:15 AM 

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. 

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 

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. 

First Steps for Evaluating Your DNA Test

Presented by Angie Bush 

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. 

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. 

1:30 – 2:30 PM 

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.  

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! 

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. 

2:45 – 3:45 PM

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. 

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.  

Marking Family History: Commemorating Your Ancestor's Contribution to their Community’s History 

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

The William G. Pomeroy Foundation’s New York State Historic Marker Grant Program commemorates historic people, places, things and events. Could one of your ancestors qualify? Find out how to apply! Learn research tips on finding and identifying the primary sources needed, many of which are also excellent resources for genealogical research. 

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.  

4:00 – 5:00 PM 

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.  

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. 

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 early 19th century? This presentation discusses researching censuses, wills, court proceedings, business records and, newspapers for information. 

Conference Sessions: Saturday, September 12, 2020

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.

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?

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. 

9:45 – 10:45 AM

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.

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.

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.

11:15 – 12:15 PM

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.

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.

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.

1:30 – 2:30 PM

Jersey Roots: Province to Statehood

Presented by Michelle Chubenko

Today, New Jersey's earliest history can offer challenges to those searching for their ancestry in East and West Jersey. In this lecture, you will learn about the history and records of the East Jersey Board of Proprietors and the Council of West Jersey Proprietors from the 1680s through 1702 and the Provincial government through statehood in 1783. Attendees will learn how to access the record collections on deposit at the New Jersey State Archives and other available resources, such as court, religious, land, probate records, for the colonial period.

Using DNA to Identify Biological Parents for Adoptees and Others

Presented by Angie Bush

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.

2:45 – 3:45 PM

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.

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.

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.

Conference Workshops

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

Presented by Pamela Vittorio 

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.” 

Beginner Workshop for German Ancestry 

Presented by James M. Beidler 

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. 

Using DNA Tools: Ancestry, MyHeritage, and 23andMe

Presented by Angie Bush, MS 

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. 

Using the "What Are the Odds?" Tool 

Presented by Angie Bush, MS 

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.