The Villages Genealogical Society

VGS Events from 2020

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Some of the many local, regional and national speakers that we have provided for quality member education...
L-R: Diahan Southard, Jane Gwynn Halderman, Karen Fortin, Kathryn Lake Hogan, Judy G. Russell, David Rencher, Margo Fariss Brewer, Annette Burke Lyttle, Thomas MacEntee, and Elissa Scalise Powell.
We are often asked by new members, prospective new members and even by other genealogy societies about events and subject matter that we provide at our regular monthly meetings. Below is a list of recent events.

 
 
 “Preserving Your Ancestor’s Textiles and Handmade Treasures”
Melissa Baker
“Preserving Your Ancestor’s Textiles and Handmade Treasures” was the topic for the December Monday Evening Webinar, presented bt the "Archive Lady", Melissa Baker. Christening gowns, quilts, high school sweaters and doilies are just a few of the items. Preserving and storing these items can be a challenge and if not done properly. She explained that all textiles are not the same and discussed the proper  techniques for handling, displaying, cleaning, storage, and keeping away from the sun.
Professional conservators, for those very special artifacts, are available to help but they will charge a fee for their services.
The recordings and handouts are now available in the "Members Only" section of our website, under "Webinars and Meetings."
 
 
Michele Tucker
Chubenko
Congratulations to President Pat Adams and VP Annette Burke-Lyttle. Today they were reelected for another two year term to their respective positions for The VGS. In other news, the membership voted to approve a by-law change raising our annual dues to $10.00 a year from the present $5.00 that was approved 10 years ago.  Michele Tucker Chubenko was our guest speaker for two presentations today.
Her first topic was "The Holiday Talk: Getting to Know Your Families History" and the bonus presentation was "Genealogy Research Using Online Resources."
The recordings and handouts are now available in the "Members Only" section of our website, under "Webinars and Meetings."
 
 
Nancy A. Peters
“Cards, Clevises, and Calomel: What Probate Files Reveal about Our Ancestors” was our November Monday evening webinar presented by Nancy A. Peters, CG, CGL. She explained that probate files not only help us discover relationships but also provide details of the ancestral lives provided we know how to find and interpret the documents. Understanding state probate laws helps us determine how the estate was administered, taxed, and distributed.
She spoke about probate process and administration can produce many different documents for the estate. Petition, Bond, Inventory, Accounts, Final Settlements just to name a few.
The recording is available in the "Members Only" section of our website, under "Webinars and Meetings."
 
 
Annette Burke
Lyttle 
Luana Darby was scheduled to be our guest speaker but due to circumstances beyond her control, she had to cancel. She will be a presenter at a later date. Our talented VP, Annette Burke-Lyttle, took charge with two outstanding presentations “Finding and Using Digitized Manuscript Collections for Genealogical Research” and “Doing a Deep Dive into Ancestry.com Collections.”  If you just type a name in the generic search field on ancestry.com, this is a must presentation for you to become a more accomplished researcher.
Both sessions were well attended and contained information on where to research your family were many researchers would not normally look. The recordings are now available in the "Members Only" section of our website, under "Webinars and Meetings."
 
 
Diane  
Richard
MosaicRPM 
At our Monday Evening Webinar in October, Diane asked "Have you explored ledgers?" She said that we can learn so much about your family and the neighborhood through these records.  Store, business (e.g., hotels, livery, stable, distillery, blacksmith, etc), and health related (e.g., Physician, Insane Asylum, etc.) ledgers can link family members and provide many interesting details invaluable to your family history narrative.
Diane said many ledgers are only available off-line, you can determine their existence online using Archivegrid! The recording is now available in the "Members Only" section of our website, under "Webinars and Meetings."
 
 
Our September General Meeting offered two interesting presentations by Paula Stuart-Warren, CG. The first, "Preserving Family History, Experiences, and Stories from the Pandemic" where she presented ideas of how to document your COVID-19 story during this pandemic. The information to save and share for future generations.
The bonus presentation by Paula was "Lord Preserve Us! Church Records for Family History Research." Names, dates, relationships, places of new and former residences, burial location, and other details may be learned. Both presentations can be found in the "Members Only" section of our website, under "Webinars and Meetings."
 
 
Sanborn Maps was the topic for our September Monday evening webinar with guest speaker Ari Wilkins. Sanborn Maps were used by insurance agents to determine the risks of insuring specific buildings. Who knew that they can be used with census records and city directories to reconstruct communities.
Google Earth is a free software tool that allows one to pinpoint an ancestor’s community in present day time. The software enables the user to view current and historical maps, streets, street views and buildings in 3D. It allows the user to overlay historical maps on top of current maps, add photographs and other genealogical information including a Sanborn map. The recording is now available in the "Members Only" section of our website, under "Webinars and Meetings."
 
 
At our August General Meeting, 200 members signed up to  attend and 156 attended. Our President, Pat Adams,  presented "Clan Cunningham: Skeletons in the Family Closet." Cunningham is her paternal side of the family where she had minimal information. 
Pat's presentation took us step by step on how she used the Genealogical Proof Standards to reach a reasonably exhaustive research conclusion. She also demonstrated using the different types of evidence that was available in her research. The video is now available in the "Members Only" section of our website, under "Webinars and Meetings."
 
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July 2020 General Meeting
Three members of The VGS presented topics to over 180 registered members at our July 22, virtual meeting.  During these uncertain times, Pat Adams VGS President, announced that the 2021 Annual Seminar will be a virtual seminar and our guest speaker will be Amy Johnson Crow.
Our 3-member panelists today presented 3 very interesting topics.
"Obituaries 2.0 – Telling the Rest of the Story", by Nancy Flanigan Schultz: "Understanding DNA Results", by Dan Spear and "20th Century Immigration Case Study: Grandpa, What Were You Thinking?" by Pat Adams.  The meeting was recorded and is available in the "Members Only" section of our website.
 
June 2020 General Meeting
On Wednesday, June 17, Crista Cowan, the Barefoot Genealogist, from Ancestry.com was our guest speaker at our June General Meeting. She showed some very useful tips in her presentation "Getting the Most Out of Ancestry.com."  As a bonus, she also presented "What's New at AncestryDNA." From member feedback, her use of emoji's with her DNA was a hit.  If you missed the live presentation, members have 90 days to view it in the "Members Only" section of our website.  There are no  handouts.
 
Internet Archive logo
June 2020 Monday Evening Webinar
One Monday Evening, June 8th, "Mining for Treasurers in the Internet Archives" was presented by our guest speaker, Carla Cegielski.
The Internet Archive preserves more than 439 billion web pages. It contains 11 million audio files, over 3.5 million images, 554,000 software programs, and 5.8 million videos (including almost 2 million TV news shows). Of major interest to genealogists is the over 25 million items in the Text collection. Carla explained the mechanics of the search options are crucial to performing successful searches. If you missed the live presentation, members have 90 days to view it in the "Members Only" section of our website.  The handout is also available. 
 
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May 2020 Monday Evening Webinar
On Monday evening, May 11, we had a terrific presentation by Mary Kircher Roddy, CG direct from Seattle, Washington. We had nearly 200 register for this webinar. Her presentation was "I Remember Mama (But Not Her Maiden Name): Finding Female Ancestors" 
Mary demonstrated multiple strategies using records and those of her FAN club – her friends and family, associates, and neighbors to help crack the case of the “mystery woman” in your family tree. She also showed how to use ancestry.com very efficiently.
If you missed the live presentation, members have 90 days to view it in the "Members Only" section of our website.  The handout is also available.
 
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April, 2020 Virtual Meeting
Paul Milner FUGA,MDiv was our guest presenter for our April Virtual General Meeting.  During these difficult times, the VGS is still presenting high quality genealogical learning opportunities to our membership.  Over 200 members registered for the first session and over 150 for the second. Session 1, "Overcoming the Deadend Doldrums" was the topic. Here we learned that in any search clearly identify what piece of information you are looking for - - - only then will you know how and where to look. The second presentation was "Effective Use of GENUKI." GENUKI is the United Kingdom's largest free genealogy website.  Do you have UK ancestors?
 
If you missed the live presentations, members have 90 days to view them in the "Members Only" section of our website.  Handouts are also available.
 
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March 2020
Our Family History Expo was canceled due to Covid-19 but it did not prevent us from having a Virtual Expo replacement. We were able to present eight, half hour presentations.  Our guest speakers included, Diahan Southard, Maureen Taylor, Jim Beidler, Janet Hovorka, Katherine Schober, Rich Voight, Mike Bollinger and Karen Molohon.
If you missed the live presentations, members have 90 days to view them in the "Members Only" section of our website.
 
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20th Annual Seminar Highlights
John DeAngelo Photo's
Our 20th Annual Seminar, held on February 19th, was a grand success with 250 attendees for our guest speaker Blaine Bettinger, PhD, JD.
Blaine presented 4 outstanding presentations on DNA.  He mentioned how the world of genealogy is growing and changing as never before with the advances in technology and the use of DNA.  In addition to telling us what's new in the world of DNA, he demonstrated the use of DNA Painter to map our chromosomes. He also talked about ways to do everything possible to identify our DNA matches and ways to use autosomal DNA to uncover some of our 18th and 19th century mysteries.
A special thank you goes out to our volunteers.  Without them, it would not be possible to run the events our organization sponsors during each year.  Next up is the Family History Expo in March.
 
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January 22, 2020 General Meeting 
John DeAngelo Photo
January again offered members the opportunity to attend two meetings on the 22nd at the Savannah Center.  Our guest speaker was Lisa Alzo, M.F.A.  The morning general meeting presentation, attended by over 300 members present and online, was “Cause of Death: Dissecting Coroner’s Records for Genealogical Research.” We learned what valuable information these documents may contain and where to find them.
At our afternoon workshop, attended by 135 members, present and online, heard “Overcoming Brick Walls in Eastern European Research.” Here she outlined the challenges to this type of research and the means to overcome them.
Meetings presentations & handouts are online: "Members Only" > Webinar & Meetings