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. Handouts will be posted the Sunday before the webinar and removed the Saturday after the webinar unless we have speaker permission to keep them for the month with the recording. Recording, if permitted by the speaker, will be available for one month. Evaluations will be distributed and the responses will be shared with the speaker. We will 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 and the hand-outs will be in the member’s only area of the website.

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.

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.

February 21, 2017, 7:00 PM EST – WikiTree for Genealogists

Hope Tillman

February 21, 2017, 7:00 PM EST – Hope N. Tillman

About the Speaker – Hope Tillman brought together the genealogies of both sides of her families – one emigrated to Virginia and the other to New England both in the 1630s. Her special focus is on the female lines changing names each generation. A technology early adopter Hope is always looking for ways to integrate technology with genealogy. Her genealogy can be found on Ancestry and on her own website, but WikiTree has recently become a new genealogy home, a good place to evolve her own research working with others.

Outside of genealogy, Hope is a retired librarian and information professional having worked in academic, special and public libraries. She is currently a website designer/developer and Internet consultant. Her MSOG activities include Technology Chair and Webmaster.

WikiTree (wikitree.com) is a free, caring community of genealogists collaborating on their records. There is a strong focus on information accuracy and sources. Collaboration is balanced with privacy to ensure that living relatives can work together safely.

About this Topic – This talk will cover how you can mine WikiTree for content about your relatives without joining and the value of you joining and participating in WikiTree to improve your research and engage with others interested in the same people.

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

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

January 17, 2017, 7:00 PM EST – Catholic Records in America

Margaret R. Fortier

January 17, 2017, 7:00 PM EST – Margaret Fortier

About the Speaker – Named for her grandmothers and inspired by her mother’s phenomenal memory, Margaret R. Fortier has been researching for sixteen years. She holds a Certificate in Genealogical Research from Boston University and has completed the ProGen Study program. She attends several institutes and conferences each year. A researcher, writer, and speaker, Margaret focuses on immigrant ancestors in New England. She serves as Membership Director of the Massachusetts Society of Genealogists, Inc.

About the Topic – Beginning in the 19th century, Puritan Massachusetts transformed into a Catholic stronghold. The Catholic Church kept sacramental records (baptism, marriages) as a matter of canon law. Records vary in level of detail but basic genealogical data is consistently included. Find out what records exist in Massachusetts, where to find them, and how to interpret them. Discover what other Catholic records exist that may help you track your ancestor.

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

December 20 – Dave Robison

Dave Robison

Dave Robison

Topic: December 20 – Dave Robison , Mining the Rich Resources of Western Massachusetts

None of us needs to be reminded that “It’s not all on the internet.” Estimates of the volume of online content range from 10% to as much as 15%. That number has always seemed low to me. But considering the sheer volume of data available at libraries, archives and repositories as well as the steady stream of documents being produced each day of every month all year long it begins to make sense. Let’s take a close look at the possibilities.

Bio: Dave Robison, owner of Old Bones Genealogy of New England, is a professional genealogist from Western Massachusetts. A frequent lecturer, he offers a variety of presentations and workshops both live and virtual throughout New England and the US. He was a speaker at the 2015 New England Regional Genealogical Conference (NERGC) in Providence, RI and serves as a Co-Chair for the 2017 NERGC conference being held in Springfield, Massachusetts where he is scheduled to speak. He holds a Certificate in Genealogical Research from Boston University and the ProGen Program. Dave is an active member of several local, regional and national genealogical societies. He is a member of the SAR and is also the President of the Western Massachusetts Genealogical Society, an ex-officio President of NEAPG in 2015 and was recently named to the Board of Governors of the Connecticut Society of Genealogists.

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

November Webinar

Jake Fletcher

Jake Fletcher

Topic: Young and Gifted: Researching Your Ancestors in Massachusetts School Records

Massachusetts has a deep history in the field of education, dating back to the 17th century. The majority of our ancestor’s paper trail results from their adult life, leaving researchers to only imagine or speculate on their earlier development. From the town school house to large universities, come learn about where to find academic records in the Bay State.

The date of the presentation is Tuesday, November 15 at 7pm.

Registration is open for MSOG members from the link in the Members-Only section of the website.

October Webinar

mary-roddyTopic: A Decree of (Temporary) Divorce: My Life Without Ancestry.com

Mary Roddy

Wondering about surviving without Ancestry.com? Find resources for census, directories, vital records and more for free from home. A fresh perspective will jumpstart your research.

Bio: Mary Roddy, a CPA, earned a certificate in Genealogy and Family History from University of Washington and attended SLIG in 2016. She regularly presents for Legacy FamilyTreeWebinars.

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


Topic: What Is the Digital Public Library? How Can I Use It for Genealogy?

Diane Brooks-Sherry

The Digital Public Library of America makes content from libraries, museums, and archives available for free to the entire world; these resources are useful for both amateur and experienced genealogists.  If you are beginning your search, early published vital record books are available for some areas to assist you in finding birth, death, and marriage records.  All genealogists can use early maps, photographs, and town histories to place their ancestors into a specific place and time.  Experienced genealogists will find the ability to simultaneously search resources like HathiTrust, the National Archives, and the Library of Congress very convenient; you can save these searches and share them with others.  Come explore how the DPLA can enrich your genealogy work and maybe even help break down a brick wall!

Bio: Teacher, Ed.M. In Teaching and Curriculum, Secondary Social Studies Community Representative conducting outreach for DPLA

Diane Brooks-Sherry is a retired high school social studies teacher and Community Representative for the Digital Public Library of America.  She is an enthusiastic lifelong learner who is now turning her energy toward genealogy and research.  Her experience includes researching the archives in New Hampshire as well as pursuing ancestors through Massachusetts and Nova Scotia records. Diane is dedicated to helping others include a wide variety of sources in their genealogical research to provide the richest possible picture of their ancestors’ lives.

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


May 17 – Julie Szcepankiewicz

Topic: Finding Uncle Frank: Confirming the Identity of a Polish-American Soldier Buried Under the Wrong Name

Frank Zielinski was a Polish immigrant who served in the U.S. Army in World War I, was killed in combat, and was buried in an American cemetery in Europe. However, the American Battle Monuments Commission, which has burial records for all American cemeteries overseas, has no record of a serviceman by this name. Using a variety of sources including military personnel and burial records from state and national archives, and newspapers, Ms. Szczepankiewicz will trace her search for Uncle Frank and demonstrate how military records can be goldmines for family historians.

Bio: Julie Roberts Szczepankiewicz is a family history researcher with 20 years of experience in researching her family’s origins in Poland, Germany, the U.S. and Canada. She reads records in Polish, Russian and Latin, and she volunteers as an administrator and regular contributor to the Facebook groups, “Polish Genealogy,” and “Genealogy Translations.” She is a member of the Polish Genealogical Society of America, the Polish Genealogical Society of New York State, the Polish Genealogical Society of Connecticut and the Northeast, and the Polish Genealogical Society of Massachusetts. Her article, “The Insider’s Guide to Geneteka” (co-authored with Maciej Adam Markowski), was recently published in the Winter issue of the PGSA journal Rodziny. Ms. Szczepankiewicz currently resides in Hopkinton, Massachusetts, with her husband and children.

The date of the presentation is May 17 at 7:00 pm.