MSOG Webinar Series

MSOG is committed to genealogical education and is proud to now offer its members a webinar series of additional learning opportunities from their computers. This series will be presented through the GoToWebinar software. Once you register, you will receive an email with a link that will take you to the GoToWebinar website, where the software can be downloaded for free. You will need headphones or speakers to hear the presentation. There is no need for anyone other than the speaker to share their webcam during the presentation. You will be asked to evaluate each webinar and the results of the evaluations will be shared with the speakers.

Begun in the 2015/16 Membership Year, we now have a monthly webinar series for members only!
Registration will open approximately one month prior to each webinar. Registration is completed through the members-only section of our website and the recording of the webinar is made available for three months after the live presentation for those who cannot attend. Handouts will be posted the Sunday before the webinar and will remain online for three months, or while the recording is available.

Evaluations will be distributed and the responses will be shared with the speaker. We use the GoToWebinar software, which maximizes attendance at 1,000 – there’s room for everyone! You can learn more about how to use the GoToWebinar software by watching a short training video.

Registration is required for attendance.

If you have any questions or would like to volunteer to present, please contact the Research & Education Committee at research@msoginc.org.

The MSOG webinar series is available as a member benefit, and registration and handouts will be made available in the members-only area.

February 27, 2018 – Devon Lee, A Recipe for Writing Family History

Devon Lee

Names, dates and places on charts is not an exciting way to make an ancestor endearing to future generations. Together we’ll discuss how to turn the facts into a written story that you can then share with your relatives so your ancestors are gone but not forgotten. It’s time to stop researching and start writing your family history.

About the Speaker: Devon Lee specializes in preserving and sharing family memories and motivating budding genealogists. She has published over 60 books, including a memoir and four family history how-to books, including the popular A Recipe for Writing Family History. With over 20 years experience in genealogy, Devon is a high energy speaker and lab instructor at local, state, national genealogy conferences and public libraries. She educates and inspires the genealogy world weekly through videos at FamilyHistoryFanatics.com.

January 23- Michael McClellan, ArkivDigital for Swedish Research

Michael McClellan

What exactly is ArkivDigital and what types of records are available? Do I need to read or speak Swedish to use ArkivDigital? How do I trace my family and find my distant relatives in Sweden? All these questions will be answered in the webinar.

About the Speaker: Michael McClellan is a professional genealogist and Treasurer for MSOG, Inc. He has completed the Boston University course in Genealogical Research in 2016. He has deep roots in the U.S. on both sides of his family. His mother’s side were among the first settlers of Newbury, MA and his father’s side were direct descendants of Mayflower passenger, John Alden. He first became interested in genealogy in 2006 after finding out at his grandmother’s wake that she was proud of the fact that she was related to Nathan Hale, who was a distant cousin.

December 19 – Direct Link to the Past – City Directories for Genealogy

Mary Roddy

City Directories are a tool for genealogists to fill in gaps between census years and learn more about ancestors. But if you’re just searching for a name, you’re missing out! In this presentation see many sources to find directories. Mary will show you what to look for in them, including understanding the “anatomy” of a directory and what might be in one. Learn some tips for getting the most out of them by using address searches, alternate spellings, advertisements and more to understand your ancestors’ world and their movements within it. Directories are also a source for historical images that might not be available elsewhere. See how to track your searches and results using spreadsheets. And learn how directories will lead you to clues for further follow-up research.

About the Speaker: Mary Roddy, a CPA, earned a certificate in Genealogy and Family History from University of Washington and attended SLIG. She regularly presents for Legacy FamilyTreeWebinars.

November 28 – Who Lyeth There?: Early Colonial Settlement Patterns

Beth Finch McCarthy


The preservation project of a seemingly empty colonial burial ground in Northborough, Massachusetts is the inspiration for following the story of the earliest families of the Massachusetts Bay Colony. You will learn how the first towns were created and how successive generations expanded westward, bringing with them family values and scandals. Methods for researching and conserving an early colonial burial ground will also be discussed.

Beth Finch McCarthy is a professional genealogist from Northborough, Massachusetts. She holds a Certificate in Genealogical Research from Boston University and has been the Webinar Coordinator for the Massachusetts Society of Genealogists since 2015. Her specialty is colonial New England research.

October 24 – Welcome to the Graveyard – Brenda Sullivan

This program is directly aimed at genealogists and how they can learn to ‘read’ the cemetery for clues and information.  Using both direct observation and deductive reasoning from objects such as the writing, art, geology and the cemetery landscape, much new insight can be revealed.  That new insight can answer questions, create new inquiries and open doors for further detective work.  Many genealogists use the cemetery as a cursory resource, some haven’t tapped it at all.  My program will get them looking at these spaces, both old and new, as a valuable resource for their data collection activities!

About the Speaker: The Gravestone Girls’ mission is to “Keep Our Dead Alive!”  We create decorative artwork using the beautiful and primitive images carved on olde New England gravestones; give lectures on cemetery art, history and symbolism as well as teach gravestone rubbing classes!  Our work aims to entertain and educate on the historical perspective of old cemeteries by documenting and preserving the beautiful art they contain.

Season 3 – MSOG Webinar Line Up

Date Speaker Topic
10/24/2017 Brenda Sullivan Welcome to the Graveyard – A Valuable Resource for Genealogists
11/28/2017 Beth Finch McCarthy Who Lyeth There?: Early Colonial Settlement Patterns
12/19/2017 Mary Roddy Direct Link to the Past – City Directories for Genealogy
1/23/2018 Michael McLellan ArkivDigital for Swedish Research
2/27/2018 Devon Lee A Recipe for Writing Family History
3/27/2018 Margaret Fortier An Identity Case Study
4/24/2018 Tina Beaird PANDEMIC 1918! Combating the Spanish Influenza during the Great War
5/22/2018 TBD DNA
6/26/2018 Dave Robison, Seema Kenney Google Tools for Genealogy

June 20, 2017, 7:00 PM EST – FindingYour Ancestor’s Records: Near & Far

Melissa Barker

About the Speaker – Melissa Barker is a Certified Archives Records Manager currently working as the Houston County, Tennessee Archivist. She is also a Professional Genealogist lecturing, teaching and writing about the genealogy research process, researching in archives and records preservation. She conducts virtual webinar presentations all across the United States for genealogical and historical societies. She writes a popular blog entitled A Genealogist in the Archives. She is the Reviews Editor for the Federation of Genealogical Societies (FGS) magazine FORUM. She writes a bi-weekly advice column entitled The Archive Lady that can be viewed at www.GeneaBloggers.com. She has been researching her own family history for the past 26 years. .

About the Topic – Locating records for our ancestors can be a challenge at times. This is especially true if we live far from where our ancestor’s records are located. We should not become discouraged if we are not able to travel to our ancestor’s hometown or visit the archives where the records are housed. Also, we should not be lulled into thinking that everything is online. This presentation will give you some tools you can use to research your ancestor’s records near and far.

The date of the presentation is Tuesday, June 20 at 7pm.

After registering, you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the webinar.

May 16, 2017, 7:00 PM EST – “Taken with a Large Grain of Salt” — Verifying Family Stories

Erica Dakin Voolich

Erica Dakin Voolich

About the Speaker – Erica Dakin Voolich, PLCGS, is an author, blogger and teacher who has transitioned from using her problem solving skills in the mathematics classroom to solving family history problems.Erica has written articles in MASSOG (Vol. 40, no.1, 2015-2016), Crossroads (Winter 2015), ISGS Journal (Fall 2015), and TIARA Journal (Winter 2013 and September 2015) and published five family history books. She currently serves as the secretary of the Middlesex Chapter of the Massachusetts Society of Genealogists, Inc.  (MSOG).She was an award winning math teacher and now is the founder and president of the Somerville Mathematics Fund.

About the Topic – We collect family stories, but we can’t assume veracity. Traditional sources don’t always confirm the legend. Doing a case study, we look at other sources to verify the family information. We are told to collect the family stories while we can. Once you collect your family stories, you need to verify the facts.Of course you first check the vital records, census reports and then move onto probate, religious, immigration/ naturalization/ passenger lists, land, military, court records. Using the case of the Richardson family stories, we look at some other sources to use when searching to verify the given information.

The date of the presentation is Tuesday, May 16 at 7pm.

After registering, you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the webinar.

April 18, 2017, 7:00 PM EST – Oral Interviews: Connecting with the Living Past

Lori Lyn Price

Lori Lyn Price

About the Speaker – Lori Lyn Price, MAS, MLA, is a professional genealogical speaker. She has been working on her personal genealogy for over 15 years and recently completed a Master’s degree in history, focusing on domestic medicine in 17th century England and New England. She loves sharing her passion for social history and genealogy, as understanding the social and historical context in which an ancestor lived really helps bring that ancestor to life.

About the Topic – This guide to conducting successful oral interviews designed to obtain genealogical information and family stories will focus on lessons the speaker learned through both successful and unsuccessful oral interviews with her grandfathers. We will focus on preparation for the interview, including how to approach the subject you wish to interview, deciding which questions to ask, and choosing the appropriate equipment. We will discuss briefly how to handle situations that may arise during the interview, interview etiquette and transcription of the completed interview.

The date of the presentation is Tuesday, April 18 at 7pm.

After registering, you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the webinar.

March 21, 2017, 7:00 PM EST – Did Grandma Have a Filling Station? Using Married Women’s Business Certificates

Sara Campbell

Sara Campbell

About the Speaker – Sara is an instructor of non-credit genealogy courses at Greenfield Community College and Fitchburg State University. She is a genealogy blogger and an active member of the Polish Genealogical Society of Massachusetts, Central Massachusetts Genealogy Society, and MSOG. She is a frequent speaker in Western Massachusetts and has lectured at Wistariahurst and the Chicopee, Holyoke, and Erving Public Libraries on various topics of historical interest. Sara uses her engineering background in solving problems in her research projects. She has early colonial roots in Massachusetts and post-Revolution families in New York State, in addition to grandparents who emigrated from Poland.

About this Topic – Laws governing the rights of married women were changing in the late 1800s. Women who entered into a business in their own names were required to register these businesses with the Town or City Clerk. Sara Campbell and Shari Strahan digitized the records found at the Greenfield Town Clerk’s vault and analyzed them to see how they fit into local history. There were a wide range of endeavors, from farming to retail shops to manufacturing. Who were these women? Why did they do what they did? Using historic newspapers, business directories, census and vital records Sara will retell the forgotten stories of those enterprising women.

The date of the presentation is Tuesday, March 21 at 7pm.

After registering, you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the webinar.