Sessions and Presenters


Instructor bios, class titles, class descriptions: 

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Janine Adams – Janine Adams is a St. Louis-based certified professional organizer and genealogy enthusiast. She’s the owner of Peace of Mind Organizing® and is the blogger behind She spoke at RootsTech 2017 on going paperless and has written about organizing genealogy research for FGS Forum, the newsletter of the Federation of Genealogical Societies.  


Class description: 

Going paperless in your genealogy research – If your research space is awash with paper and you’re struggling with keeping up with filing, it might be time to consider limiting the amount of paper you generate in your genealogy research. In this talk, Janine will detail the benefits of limiting your use of paper, and explain one way to organize your digital files on your computer or in the cloud. She will also cover some options on digitizing the paper documents you already have. If you’ve been thinking about going paperless, this talk can help get you started. If you’ve already stopped the printing, the talk might give you some pointers to make it easier. 

Download “Adams_handout paperless” Adams_handout-paperless.pdf – Downloaded 170 times – 84 KB


Tim Dollens – Tim has been ‘hooked on researching his – and others– family history since he was a teenager when his aunt Betty Lou asked him to type up her book, “The Zug, Zuck, Zook Family Trail” – about a branch of his tree. He is Past President of the Genealogical Society of Boone County and Central Missouri and is the current president of the Missouri State Genealogical Association. As a senior associate with the Daniel Boone Regional Library in Columbia, MO, he often helps patrons with their family history.  


Class description: 

Missouri: The Spoiled Brats in Genealogy!– We are the Show Me state for a reason!  Tim will show you why we ARE the spoiled brats of genealogy, whether or not your ancestors were ever in Missouri. Learn about the various records, repositories, databases, and collections, and organizations that make doing family history research in Missouri easier than it is for many people in other states. 


Joshua Freeman:

Tracing your Early Missouri Ancestor!– This presentation talks about the paper trail that exists for the typical Missourian from before state hood to the present.  I trace my third great grandfather who was an original land owner in Boone County, Missouri using the records that are available for each time period. 


Dawn Ficklin/Patti Kemp– Dawn has always had a love and fascination for Family History.  She had two aunts that were wonderful mentors to her.  She also had the privilege of working in the Genealogical Department of the LDS Church while attending the University of Utah. She has worked in the LDS Family History Center for about 5 years. Patti Kemp, former Director of the Kansas City, Missouri, LDS Family History Center, has been doing family history research for over 45 years. With extensive experience in US and British research, she especially enjoys helping others discover their ancestors. As a result she has conducted hundreds of classes and consultations teaching individuals effective techniques of research, sourcing and documentation in Family Tree. 


Class descriptions:  

Family Search Part 1 – Family Tree– In the first of this 2-part class, Dawn and Patti will cover the basics of Family Tree. Included are: different ways to view the tree, how to add and edit data and view changes others have made, how to view attached sources, viewing notes and discussions, and how to connect with others who are researching your ancestors. This class will be continued in Family Search Part 2. 


Class descriptions:  

Family Search Part 2 –  Research and Documentation in Family Tree – In the second of this 2-part class, participants will gain an in depth understanding of best practices for research, sourcing and documentation in Family Tree.  Class members will learn the importance and hierarchy of acceptable sources, how to distinguish between primary and secondary source documents and the most efficient methods of verifying, linking and documenting these sources in Family Tree. With an emphasis on techniques and tips for conducting searches in the Ancestry and FamilySearch databases, attendees will come away prepared to successfully conduct their own online research and ensure their ancestors are correctly and uniquely identified in Family Tree.   


Fred Held – Fred has been researching his and his wife’s families for over 20 years. He started with his German ancestry and was very successful. Then he successfully tackled his wife’s German, English, and Scottish ancestry. He followed his Polish ancestry with limited success. He and his wife have traveled several times to Germany, England, and Scotland for family research. Currently he is a librarian at the St. Louis North (Hazelwood) Family History Center and is considered the German research expert at the center. He was an engineer at McDonnell-Douglas for over 30 years before retiring in 1992. He has been a Boy Scout adult leader for 60 years and is a Genealogy Merit Badge counselor. 


Class description: 

My Experiences in German Family Research – Doing family research in old Germany is not the same as doing research in America. These 2-hours will touch on most of the things you need to understand to do research in the old German culture. The details on how to do research are ever changing, but the basics stay the same. This presentation includes: Research aids, name issues, finding your family’s village, reading old German and much more. 


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Linda Iskow – I have been involved in genealogy for the past 30 years. I am guilty of becoming ‘obsessed’ at times and even pulling an occasional ‘all-nighters’ because I just couldn’t stop. I ignored those who told me, as the mother of two special needs children in my 20’s, 30’s and 40’s, that it wasn’t ‘my season’ to focus on my family history. The past 4 years I have had the great joy of helping others ‘get obsessed’ with their family history as a Consultant at the Family History Center in Washington, MO. I have helped many people preserve priceless photos and documents by adding them to Family Search where they can be seen by  


Class description: 

Family Search – Create Timeless Treasures by Adding Memories – Would you love to get those boxes of pictures or stack of albums preserved in a more permanent way? Wouldn’t it be nice if other family members could have access to your treasure trove? Did you know that getting an audio recording of your aging relatives is as easy as grabbing your smartphone? In this class, we will help you scan, label, and tag your pictures into FamilySearch. We will also discuss adding documents from other websites to your FamilySearch tree, creating audio memories, and using the ‘Memories’ app to make gathering and stories memories easy and fun. 


Download “Uploading Documents to Family Tree” Uploading-Documents-to-Family-Tree.pdf – Downloaded 140 times – 216 KB

Emily Jaycox – Emily Troxell Jaycox joined the Missouri History Museum library staff in 1989. Prior to that, she worked at the Newberry Library in Chicago and Lake Forest College Library.  Her undergraduate degree in History is from Oberlin College and her master’s in Library Science is from the University of Chicago.  While working among old books and documents, much of her workday is spent planning ways to make more of MHM’s collections searchable via the Internet.  Her research interests include historic maps, immigration, and the history of etiquette and food.   


Class description: 

Maps for Genealogists– There’s much more to maps than simply finding directions! Historic maps showing long-lost boundaries and landmarks can help give you a better understanding of your ancestors’ lives. Several specialized types of maps—including plats, fire insurance maps, and geological survey maps—may reveal new facts about your family history. Using maps in conjunction with other primary sources can yield even more information and help you feel as though you are walking where they once walked. 


Download “Emily_Jaycox_MapsforGenealogists_2017_Handout” Emily_Jaycox_MapsforGenealogists_2017_Handout.pdf – Downloaded 483 times – 47 KB

Tracy Keeney – Tracy Keeney is a genealogist whose creative methods for researching her difficult to trace genealogy and locating previously unknown records has opened a gate for Armenians around the world. She is the founder of The Armenian Genealogy Group on Facebook, with over 6,600 members spanning the globe.  Additionally, she is one of the three creators of the Armenian Genealogy Conference, held in Boston in 2016 and Detroit in 2017.  She is in the process of creating and formalizing an Armenian genealogical society.   


Class description: 

Social Media & A Search Engine– This class will focus on the ways social media sites like Facebook, YouTube, Linked-In etc., can aide in genealogy research and finding descendants of common ancestors who may hold solutions to breaking down brick walls.  Additionally, attendees will learn how to use their search engine to find lesser known records, books, databases and personal memoirs currently unavailable through sites like Ancestry and FamilySearch.  These are simple techniques that even those who are “genealogy pros” are often unaware of, making the presentation useful to those who are just beginning their genealogy quest and those who’ve been pursuing it for decades. 


 Genocide & Genealogy: Tracing your Armenian, Assyrian or Greek Family Tree in Pre-1920 Turkey Part 1 & 2 – This class will share information and tools needed to discover existing records of ancestors before and after the 1915 genocide of Armenians in Ottoman Turkey. We will dispel the overwhelmingly believed misinformation that no records exist. We will learn how to use records of immigrant ancestors to America, find information in Turkey and elsewhere and learn about the ongoing efforts to find and translate records in those other countries. Learn where and how to search the ones already completed and what you can do personally to collaborate with others in making the records available for everyone. 


Download “Tracy_Kneeny_Handout - Genocide & Genealogy” Tracy_Kneeny_Handout-Genocide-Genealogy.pdf – Downloaded 156 times – 84 KB

Download “Tracy_Kneeny_Social Media and a Search Engine” Tracy_Kneeny_Social-Media-and-a-Search-Engine-handout.pdf – Downloaded 216 times – 74 KB

Julie Lambson – Julie has worked on researching her family history for about 5 years an enjoys learning about technology tools to help make genealogy easy and fun. She has a law degree and has practiced in the area of family law. She enjoys spending time with her husband and 2 children and also enjoys helping others with their research and technology needs.  


Class description: 

Smartphones, Tablets and Computers, Oh my! Tools For Genealogists– There are many different apps for your phone and programs on the computer to help make genealogy work easy and fun. This class will introduce different apps and programs for: converting a screenshot to a PDF, taking, storing and posting photos on genealogy sites, searching for missing information in Family Search, finding people you’re related to, recording cemetery information and much more! 


Download “Lambson_Smartphones Tablets Computers” Lambson_Smartphones-Tablets-Computers-Lambson-presentation.pdf – Downloaded 146 times – 578 KB

Dan Lilienkamp – Daniel R. Lilienkamp, J.D. is the Reference Specialist at History & Genealogy at St. Louis County Library. Dan earned a BA in History from Texas Lutheran University and a J.D. from Tulane. He brings expertise in African American, German, and French Canadian (Quebec) genealogy. Dan is particularly interested in complex sources and enjoys developing tools and programs to help researchers to best utilize them.  


Class description: 

Finding Your Ancestors in the Draper Manuscript Collection– The Draper Manuscript Collection is a unique source for researching eighteenth and nineteenth-century Appalachian and Ohio Valley ancestors. Learn about guides, finding aids, indexes, transcriptions, and resources to help you research in the collection. Explore case studies of increasing complexity and discuss possible research strategies. 


Finding Your Ancestors in German Church Records– German church records can are the principal source for learning about your German ancestors. Get some ideas on how to find your ancestral town in Europe and learn the types of information you might find in these records and how to use them to trace your family. 


Download “Dan_Lilienkamp_Finding your Ancestors in German Church Records” Dan_Lilienkamp_Finding-your-Ancestors-in-German-Church-Records.pdf – Downloaded 290 times – 4 MB

Download “Dan_Lilienkamp_Finding your ancestors in the Draper Manuscript Collection Handout” Dan_Lilienkamp_Finding-your-ancestors-in-the-Draper-Manuscript-Collection-Handout.pdf – Downloaded 234 times – 460 KB

Christina Miller– Christina Miller is the Senior Reference Archivist at the Missouri State Archives.  Christina graduated from Truman State University with a Bachelor of Arts in History and also holds a Masters of Archival Studies from the University of British Columbia School of Library, Archival and Information Studies.  


Class description: 

Introduction to the Missouri State Archives – As the official repository for state government records, the Missouri State Archives holds an abundance of genealogical resources.  This session will provide you with an overview of the records available for research at the archives, as well as provide information on how to do distance research at the archives by using online databases or submitting research requests.       


Introduction to Missouri Digital Heritage   More than 9 million records can be accessed through Missouri Digital Heritage, including the collections of the Missouri State Archives, the Missouri State Library and other institutions from across the state. This session will explore some of the genealogy resources available and provide some tips on using the site. 


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Download “Miller_MDH_handout” Miller_MDH_handout.pdf – Downloaded 132 times – 398 KB

Mary Najar I have always had an interest in the story of my ancestors.  As I got older, I started researching my family history.  I have been a volunteer at the Frontenac Family History Center for nine years.  I enjoy sharing what I have learned and seeing the excitement that comes over someone who begins their own family history quest. 


Class descriptions:  

Family Search Part 3 – LDS focus on submitting temple names.  This class will cover how to submit names for temple work and how to manage your temple file online. Learn how to print ordinance cards and how to keep track of what you have reserved. We will also discuss the steps for merging duplicate records. Would you like to share names with family or friends? We’ll discuss how to do that too! 


Chris Nordmann – Christopher A. Nordmann, Ph. D. is a professional genealogist specializing in African American and St. Louis area research. The late Gary B. Mills directed his dissertation, “Free Negroes in Mobile County, Alabama,” which was based upon genealogical research. His publications include “Jumping Over the Broomstick: Resources for Documenting Slave “Marriages”’ in the National Genealogical Society Quarterly. He is the 1985 recipient of the Louisiana Historical Association’s Presidents’ Memorial Award for the best article of the year in Louisiana History. He serves as the National Genealogical Society Quarterly review editor  


Class description: 

Locating your Ancestor’s Slave Owner: Records and Case Studies – Finding the name of a slave’s owner is one of the most challenging aspects of African American genealogy. Case studies will illustrate methods and resources used in locating the names of two former Missouri slaves, one born in Kentucky, the other in Virginia.       


Freedmen’s Bureau Records –  It may now be easier to find your ancestors in the period immediately after the Civil War among Freedmen’s Bureau records with the recent indexing project of those records. This class will discuss the types of records — such as marriage, apprenticeship, and labor contract records — that the Bureau generated and how to access them. 

Download “Nordmann_Freedmen_Bureau” Nordmann_Freedmen27s-Bureau.pdf – Downloaded 107 times – 74 KB


Dennis Northcott  Dennis has been on the staff of the Missouri History Museum library and archives since 1989. He has compiled numerous guides to the museum’s manuscript collections, including an inventory of the extensive Civil War holdings. He is the creator of the Missouri History Museum’s Genealogy and Local History Index, an ever-growing index that provides access to genealogical sources in the library and archives. 


Class descriptions:  

Finding Your Ancestors at the Missouri History Museum Library & Research Center. The Missouri History Museum Library and Research Center holds a wealth of resources that tell the stories of our St. Louis-area ancestors. City directories, military records, company newsletters, school yearbooks, historic photographs, letters and diaries, and newspapers are just some of the sources that may hold the secrets to your family’s history. Join Missouri History Museum associate archivist Dennis Northcott for an entertaining and informative look at the genealogical treasures stored at the Library and Research Center. 


Researching Your Civil War Ancestors. Did your Civil War ancestor wear Union blue or Confederate gray? Or was your ancestor a civilian affected by the tumult of the war years? Missouri History Museum associate archivist Dennis Northcott will introduce you to the vast array of genealogical documents and publications that the war produced. Learn about service records and pension records, publications and records of veterans’ organizations, letters and diaries, and more. 

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Download “Northcott_finding Ancestory in History Museum Library” Northcott_FindingYourAncestors.pdf – Downloaded 152 times – 265 KB



Tom Pearson – Tom was born and raised in northern Illinois.  A U.S. Air Force vet, he holds a B.A. (History) from Eureka College (IL), and the M.L.S. (Library Science) from the University of Illinois.  He has been head of a prison library in Joliet, Illinois; and director of a public library in South Dakota. He has worked for St. Louis Public Library since 1984. Tom’s special interest is genealogy research methodology. He has done programs for numerous local libraries and societies, and has been a supporting speaker at several regional conferences. 


Class description: 

Caught in the Draft: WWI Draft Registration Records– Genealogy Librarian Tom Pearson discusses the WWI draft: who had to register, when and where registrations were held, and what information enrollees provided on each of the various registration forms. He’ll also discuss where and how to access these records, including use of newspapers and tips for smart searching in reference databases like Class concludes with a brief discussion of service records of men who actually did get drafted. 


A Guided Tour of Ancestry Library Edition  – If you’ve ever said that you’ve already seen every single record in Ancestry LE pertaining to a particular individual, you were almost certainly wrong! Ancestry LE has 20 billion records and counting (more added every day), and a majority of the people I work with at my library are not searching efficiently. Learn ways to use Advanced Search, Keyword Searches, Category Searches, and Ancestry LE’s Card Catalog to find records that you just can’t find using Basic Search. We’ll also discuss Research Aids, Maps, and State Resources available in Ancestry’s Learning Center. Finally, we’ll show how you can keep track of new and updated record collections in Ancestry LE. Note: Nearly all the info we’ll cover today also pertains to home users of! 


Nancy Sparks– By name I am Nancy Louise Halliday Sparks Bowman. I’m a genealogical record searcher (40 years), and an American Sign Language Interpreter. I truly enjoy puzzles, which is exactly what genealogy is! I enjoy teaching others how to organize and keep track of information they have gathered. I am also an avid journal keeper and have been learning and recording family stories for many years. 


Class description: 

Start writing your family stories today!  Would you like to write your own story? Or a story about one of your ancestors? Or interview a living relative and share their story? Nancy will cover these topics and more as she explores learning and sharing personal and family stories and how to get started writing them in an easy and fun way.  


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Carol Whitton, MA, MS, CG – Carol specializes in German genealogical research. Currently Project Director, St. Louis Genealogical Society, she’s a graduate of Germanic Research Salt Lake Institute for Genealogy, the National Institute for Genealogical Research, and Virginia Institute for Genealogical Research. After retiring, she worked as a genealogist at the National Society of the Daughter of the American Revolution. In 2013 she coordinated St. Louis Genealogical Societies’ summer German Institute.
Class description:
Meyers Gazetteer and Other Parish Finders  Using Meyers Gazetteer is now easier because it’s online in English, but what do you do with it? Can you find your parish using it? Or will you still need other parish finding aids? Learn how Meyers provides more. Also learn about other parish finding aids and gazetteers and how to use them.