The 2018 New York State Family History Conference features two and a half days of lectures, workshops, and a vibrant exhibit hall.

With registration, conference attendees are able to enter the exhibit hall, and attend any one of our 45 conference sessions on New York records, genealogy methodology, DNA and genealogy, and more. 

Read on for a full overview of what you can learn at the conference. 

Attendees also have the option to purchase tickets to any conference lunches or dinner, which include a presentation along with a meal. Note: Tickets for meals are now closed.   

View our schedule at-a-glance for an overview of the conference below. Click the links within to see more details on a particular day or event, or continue reading to view the full, detailed conference program

We also have a recorded webinar that reviews everything you need to know about the conference. 


NYSFHC 2018 Conference Schedule At-A-Glance

Please note: Conference schedule is subject to change

Thursday, September 13

  • 9:30am: Workshops (additional registration is required)
  • Noon - 6 pm: Exhibit hall open
  • 1:15 - 4:30 pm: Sessions
  • Evening: NYG&B Member Reception

Friday, September 14

  • 8 am: Opening Session
  • 9 am - 6:30 pm: Exhibit hall open
  • 9:15 am - 6 pm: Sessions
  • 12:30 pm: Luncheon and talk (additional registration is required)
  • 6:30 pm: Dinner and talk (additional registration is required)

Saturday, September 15

  • 8:30 am - 3:15 pm: Exhibit hall open
  • 9:15 am - 4:00 pm: Sessions
  • 12:15 pm: Luncheon and talk (additional registration is required)
  • 4:15 pm: Wrap-Up Reception


Click here for prices and registration



NYSFHC 2018 Full Program

Please note: Conference schedule is subject to change

Click here to view a PDF version of the program

Wednesday, 12 September 2018

Conference attendees will have the option of purchasing tickets to one of two pre-conference tours. We're still finalizing the details, and will update this page with more information soon. Feel free to register today - you can always call us and add on additional meals, tours, or workshop tickets after you register. 


Thursday, 13 September 2018

9:30 am - 12:00 pm: Workshops (advance tickets required)

  • Workshop #1: Mapping Your Ancestors, Frederick Wertz, NYG&B
  • Workshop #2: Developing Research Questions and Hypotheses; Planning an Exhaustive Search, Thomas W. Jones


12:00 pm: Exhibit Hall Opens


1:15 - 2:30 pm: Conference Sessions

30 Resources for Tracing New Englanders in New York, D. Joshua Taylor, NYG&B: Discover the best online, printed, and compiled resources for tracing ancestors who traveled from the New England states into New York from the 1600s to the 1800s.

More than Just Names: Advanced US Census ResearchJudy G. Russell: Those every-10-years U.S. censuses are goldmines of names, ages and birthplaces. But there's so much more in census records. Learn how an advanced search of the U.S. census records can enhance family history.

Unlocking Roman Catholic Records on FindmypastJen Baldwin, Findmypast: Discover the Catholic Heritage Archive on Findmypast, bringing these crucial records online for the first time from across North America and the UK. Combining a bit of Catholic history with research best practices, this lecture will allow you to further your own religious research.

DNA Testing for Genealogy: The BasicsJanine Cloud, FamilyTreeDNA: If you aren't sure where to start with DNA testing, this is for you. We'll discuss—in plain language—the basics of Y-DNA, mitochondrial DNA, and autosomal DNA, including the what DNA testing can and cannot do, uses for each kind of test, who should test, and where to start when you get your results.


3:15 - 4:30 pm: Conference Sessions

A Tour of Upstate New York Genealogical Research Repositories: Some GemsJane E. Wilcox: Explore some unique resources held by public and university libraries; county archives; municipal historians; historical, genealogical and ethnic societies; museums; military repositories; and digital collections.

Lesser-Known Collections at the NYC Municipal ArchivesSusan R. Miller, NYG&B: Records far beyond birth, marriage, and death records reveal more about New York families. Learn about unfamiliar collections, what they contain, and how to access them.

Westchester County ArchivesJackie Graziano Interviewed by Frederick Wertz, NYG&B: Discover Westchester’s history and unique collections at the Westchester County Archives. Learn tips and techniques to make the most of your visit straight from archivist Jackie Graziano, in conversation with the NYG&B's Fred Wertz.

Behind the Scenes of DNA Testing and Living DNADavid Nicholson and Katie Welka, Living DNA: With the rise in DNA testing this talks looks at what goes on with your DNA sample, the processes involved and how that impacts your results.


4:30 - 6:00 pm: Unopposed Exhibit Hall Time


6:00 pm: NYG&B Member Reception


Friday, 14 September 2018 

8:00 - 9:15 am: Plenary Session

The Future of Family History and DNADavid Nicholson and Katie Welka, Living DNA: Living DNA explores how to take the guesswork out of DNA relationships using their latest tools.


9:00 am: Exhibit Hall Opens


9:45 - 10:45 am: Conference Sessions

Courting the Empire State: New York’s Early Court RecordsJudy G. Russell: New York court records are challenging with Dutch/English origins and complex structures, but with persistence and luck reveal ancestral stories from colonial times to today.

Genealogy and Maps, Philip Sutton, New York Public Library

Solve Research Problems Using Surname Variants & Surname Mapping ToolsTerry Koch-Bostic: Learn techniques and tools to apply surname variants and surname mapping to locate ancestors in common records and geographic locations when they can’t be found.

Tracing Your European AncestryDavid Nicholson and Katie Welka, Living DNA: Explore the next generation of DNA admixture testing and how it can help narrow down your European Ancestors.


11:15 am - 12:15 pm: Conference Sessions

Using Geo-Tech Tools to Answer New York Research QuestionsFrederick Wertz, NYG&B: Location can help you solve problems about people, events, or even record sets themselves. In this session, we will explore the latest developments in the field of geospatial technology, and how it may be leveraged by family historians.

Finding Your Own Jewish Roots, Lauren Orenstein, Jewish Genealogical Society: Discover the many documents available both abroad and here at home that can create or complete lost family history. This talk will take you from the Pale of Settlement to New York City and relate to historical events that influenced us all.

New Jersey’s Early Land Records: Unprecedented Access to Colonial SourcesJoseph R. Klett, New Jersey State Archives: 

DNA 101: From Taking the Test to Understanding the ResultsMike Mansfield, MyHeritage: Learn how genetic genealogy techniques have evolved to be important tools that every genealogist should understand how and when to employ to their maximum effect.


12:30 pm: Luncheon and Presentation (advance ticket required)

FamilySearch and the Future for Genealogists, Michael Provard; Sponsored by FamilySearch: FamilySearch is a leader in the preservation and sharing of records of your ancestors. This talk will look back at where we’ve been and look forward to the exciting future in a digital world.



2:00 - 3:00 pm: Conference Sessions

Researching New York Dutch FamiliesHenry B. Hoff, NEHGS: 

African-American Families in The Hills Community, 1830–1890s, Westchester County, NYEdythe Ann Quinn: While family and church were pillars of the Black community of The Hills from 1830–1860, the Civil War service of 36 Hills men and out migration influenced community decline by the 1890s.

Converting a Bunch of Information into a Credible ConclusionThomas W. Jones: Thorough research often yields disparate evidence items. Genealogists can organize the mixture, assess it as a whole, and convert the assemblage into a provable conclusion.

Are You Doing Everything to Identify Your DNA Matches? Blaine T. Bettinger: This lecture examines ways you can use a match’s profile to identify who they might be. We will also examine ways to use the In Common With and the Shared Matches tools to estimate how that elusive match is related to you.


3:30 - 4:30 pm: Conference Sessions

Using the Law for African American Genealogy in Pre-Emancipation New York, Meryl Schumacker: Before New York abolished slavery in 1827, it passed laws related to free, enslaved, and indentured African-Americans. Those laws generated a range of records, including birth certificates, that you can use to find your ancestors.

New York State Archives Content Digitized by Ancestry.comPresented by the New York State Archives: Over 35 record series totaling almost three million pages, including military, probate, census, corrections, and other records in the State Archives, are now available through Another million plus pages, will be available from Ancestry after a current scanning/indexing project is complete. Learn from content experts about those resources, and how to access them effectively.

Writ in Stone: Cemeteries and GenealogyJudy G. Russell: Cemetery stories are crucial to genealogists, especially in graves of those who lived and died before birth and death recordation became standard. How can we best capture these stories writ in stone for our families?

Y-DNA and the Peopling of EuropeJim Brewster, FamilyTreeDNA: Tens of thousands of years ago, the earliest humans evolved in Africa then spread across the globe. Their mtDNA and Y-DNA lineages (haplogroups) reflect distinct migratory patterns. This talk on Y-DNA discusses waves of migration into Europe and the major Y-DNA haplogroups found in Europe.


5:00 - 6:00 pm: Conference Sessions

Happily (N)ever After: Using Divorce RecordsMichael Provard, FamilySearch: The average genealogist scours ancestors’ records: birth, marriage, death, census, wills, and military. One valuable overlooked resource is the dissolution of marriages or divorces. This session will cover a number of online and other places to find these records.

Using’s Records OnlineD. Joshua Taylor, NYG&B: Dive into search strategies and techniques for uncovering your ancestors in's New York collections, including materials from the New York State Archives.

Genealogy Resources at the Center for Jewish HistoryJ.D. Arden, Center for Jewish History: The unique CJH offers resources from a consortium special collections libraries. Learn how various institutional materials are brought together making historical records access faster and more efficient. The collections focus on Jewish history, but the resources of the Genealogy Division are relevant and accessible to those doing any kind of historical research.

DNA and the Genealogical Proof Standard, Blaine T. Bettinger: How important is DNA evidence to your genealogical research? DNA alone can establish a genealogical relationship, but it cannot alone establish the common ancestor or identify the exact relationship. When should DNA evidence be considered? How should DNA evidence be incorporated into your non-DNA research? We will examine these and other questions in this session.


6:00 - 6:30 pm: Unopposed Exhibit Hall Time


6:30 pm: Dinner and Presentation (Advance ticket required)

  • From Wigwams to Corporate Headquarters: 400 Years of Westchester History, Patrick Raftery, Westchester County Historical Society


Saturday, 15 September 2018

8:30 am: Exhibit Hall Opens


9:15 - 10:15 am: Conference Sessions

New York Records and Resources at FamilySearch.orgCherie Bush, FamilySearch: Come learn about the over 134 different New York record collections and other resources are available for free at

Chancery Court Records Held at the New York State ArchivesPresented by the New York State Archives: A major transfer of Chancery Court records to the New York State Archives in early 2017 reunites all of the court’s voluminous records in one location after 200+ years. Chancery jurisdiction included family property and divorce/separation cases. The court’s complex records (ca. 1703–1847) and multiple access tools will be discussed and illustrated.

MyHeritage’s Powerful and Unique Technologies for Genealogy DiscoveriesMike Mansfield, MyHeritage: MyHeritage's site and services contain a number of unique and powerful technologies primarily designed to save you time and help focus your genealogical efforts.

Shared Matches and Genetic NetworksBlaine T. Bettinger: Shared matches and ICW are the most powerful tools that DNA testing companies provide. Together we will look at some of the ways to take advantage of these tools to work with our matches and break through brick walls.


11:00 am - 12:00 pm: Conference Sessions

Outstanding Long Island Research Repositories and ResourcesTerry Koch-Bostic: Long Island, New York has centuries of immigration and settlement. Its genealogical records and resources can be challenging to find—but helpful and exciting.

Underutilized New York Records: Towns, Tax, and Much MoreEric Grundset: Many records in New York State are barely used by genealogists resulting in lost information. This lecture examines town records, tax lists and other great genealogical sources.

Genealogy in Context: Using History to Find (more than just) Family FactsSusan Kriete, New York Public Library

The Science of Genetic GenealogyDavid Nicholson and Katie Welka, Living DNA: Explore the science of all types of DNA testing from the popular autosomal DNA to mtDNA and Y-DNA.


12:15 pm: Luncheon and Presentation (Advance ticket required)

  • Genealogical Records in the Path of Destruction & Neglect – Past, Present & Future, Sponsored by MyHeritage


1:45 - 2:45 pm: Conference Sessions

Navigating NYG&B Member Resources for New York GenealogyFrederick Wertz and Susan R. Miller, NYG&B: Discover the wealth of guidance and the millions of records available to members of the NYG&B. You’ll find lots to explore after you return home from this conference session.

They Became American: Our Ancestor’s NaturalizationJen Baldwin, Findmypast: Explore the records of the Naturalization process in America, and see the many benefits of using these materials for your family history.

Documentation: The What, Why, Where, and HowThomas W. Jones: Learn essential principles and structures for documenting both genealogical research in progress and finished products. The session will describe five characteristics making a citation “complete and accurate,” showing the basis for conclusions and facilitating backtracking.

Writing Your Family HistoryKyle Hurst, NEHGS/Newbury Press


3:15 - 4:15 pm: Conference Sessions

Small Footprint, Big Apple: Researching Ancestors of Meager Means and even Less Fame in 18th Century NYCJudith A. Herbert: The session focuses on the resources available to build the story of your poor or immigrant NYC ancestors. This case study demonstrates how surname studies and the research of extended family members can prove your ancestor’s parentage and place of origin.

Turnpikes, Canals, and Railroads: Transportation and Migration in New York StateKaren Mauer Jones: This lecture examines the history, impact, and records associated with these modes of transportation. Each mode affected New York State history, generated different records, and necessitate different research strategies.

Uncharted Waters: Diving into the Holdings of the New York State ArchivesJane E. Wilcox: The NYSA holds a diverse collection of state governmental records. Come learn about both familiar and obscure resources to help you advance your New York research.

Copyright MythconceptionsJudy G. Russell: What we don’t know about copyright law can hurt us – right in the pocketbook! Here’s a guide to the most common mistakes and misunderstandings about copyright and what we can and can’t do with other’s material.


4:15 - 5:00 pm: Closing Reception (Open to all Conference Badge Holders/cash bar)



NYSFHC 2018 Webinar

The video below is a recorded version of a live webinar recently hosted by the NYG&B. Conference Director Susan R. Miller goes over everything you need to know about the conference. A written version of the full conference program can be found above.