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Great line-up for the New Year

Every December, the entire genealogical community waits for its holiday gifts from Legacy Family Tree Webinars and its partners: the announcements — plural — of the lineup of new presentations in the New Year.

Earlier this week, The Legal Genealogist was delighted to see the announcement of a new webinar channel specifically for genealogists Down Under — in Australia and New Zealand — with webinars scheduled at a time that isn’t the middle of the night for folks there.1 That new series will cover everything from DNA to researching in Australian archives.

Now, it’s the turn of the Board for Certification of Genealogists (BCG) to let the cat out of the bag for BCG’s 2019 webinar series, offered in partnership with Legacy Family Tree Webinars.2 And what a line-up it will be…

2019 BCG webinars

Now… before I go any further… truth in blogging. I am a trustee of the Board for Certification of Genealogists, and the links I’m gonna give you to register are what’s called affiliate links. That means BCG gets a financial benefit if you register using those links. Please do use these links. Doing so supports BCG’s educational mission and makes the webinar series possible.

Got that? Good. Now on to that 2019 line-up…

January 15, 8 p.m. ET – Margaret R. Fortier, CG, “Visualizing Information for Genealogists
You have slaved over your client report. You have delved into the data, mined it for every iota of information, you have examined and evaluated your sources, analyzed and correlated your evidence, resolved any conflicts, and carefully crafted a narrative. Your report is accurate, but does your presentation compellingly tell the story? Does your work convincingly summarize the depth and breadth of your analysis? Are you using all the tools available to you to effectively communicate with your clients and engagingly present the story of their ancestors? This presentation will show how to use text and images effectively in client research and why it matters. Several examples will illustrate how to go from raw data to a polished, professional display of information.

February 19, 8 p.m. ET – Melissa A. Johnson, CG, “Applying Evidence to Genealogical Research Questions
The best approach to solving genealogical problems is to start with a strong, attainable research question. Learn about the different types of research questions, the components of a good research question, and how the research question drives the elements of the Genealogical Proof Standard.

March 19, 8 p.m. ET – Debra S. Mieszala, CG, “The Five-story Fall: Correlating Indirect and Direct Evidence to Extend the Pedigree
Johanna (Daly) Mahoney plunged to her death taking her parents’ and siblings’ identities along. Extensive associate analysis and a sixteen-year post-mortem summons led to family.

April 16, 8 p.m. ET – LaBrenda Garrett-Nelson, J.D., LL.M., CG, CGL, “Transcribing Documents: There Is More Than Meets the Eye!
Genealogical proof requires the conduct of reasonably exhaustive research, preferably using original records. The emphasis on original sources means that the interpretation of handwritten records is an essential skill for genealogists. Using a variety of pre-20th century American documents, this webinar provides useful tips on the creation of a transcription–the first step in analyzing a handwritten document.

May 21, 8 p.m. ET – Jeanne Larzalere Bloom, CG, “Valid and Unsound Assumptions: What Was She Thinking?
The search for the deceased husband of Elizabeth Larzelere enumerated in 1820 with four young children leads to unexpected results and to new questions.

June 18, 8 p.m. ET – Patricia Walls Stamm, CG, CGL, “Using Another Library Source: The Government Document Section
As family historians go through the library to their local genealogy department, many quickly bypass the library’s Government Document Section. All offices of our federal government compiled, printed, and disseminated an assortment of reports and maps. Over the years, the GPO sent these publications out to various regional and selective depository libraries. Many times these publications contain unusual and one of a kind information pertaining to people and their surroundings. Repeatedly these publications contain unusual and one of a kind information. This session demonstrates the type of information included in Government Documents, how to search, locate, and obtain these federal gems.

July 16, 2 p.m. ET– Yvette Hoitink, CG, “Lesser Used Records for Research in the Netherlands
The Netherlands has excellent records. Records of births, marriages, and deaths were kept by the civil registration since 1811 and by churches since the early 1600s. Genealogists who don’t look beyond these records may create trees that go back ten generations, but they can be bare or have mistakes. By expanding the research to lesser used sources, we can learn more about our ancestors’ lives and find evidence of family relationships to build reliable conclusions. Using examples from her own research, Yvette will demonstrate how to find and use court, notarial, military, and cadastral records, and other records you may not have used before. Find out if your Dutch ancestors owned property, what their occupations were, or even what they looked like. See them in the context of their families and associates, and understand their roles in the communities where they lived.

August 20, 8 p.m. ET – Harold Henderson, CG, “Ten Tools for Genealogical Writing
Genealogists love to research, but writing it up – not so much. First, we need to read good writing (any kind). Then, practice writing in two separate compartments: write as it comes, and return later to fix or edit. Don’t worry about beginnings or endings; they will emerge over time. Seek out helpful critics, never wait until the last minute, and be ready to learn from editors.

September 17, 8 p.m. ET – Claire Bettag, CG, FNGS, FUGA, “Civil Law Concepts and Genealogy
Civil law – as opposed to common law – is a legal system that governs private relationships and interactions in most non-English speaking countries. Rooted in principles derived from ancient Roman law, it is the legal system that governs an estimated 60% of the world’s populations, including most European countries. Consequently, researchers tracing ancestral lines outside the United States frequently encounter records created in a civil law tradition. Proper interpretation of those records requires understanding the underlying civil law principles. In the United States only the state of Louisiana is today ruled by civil law, a legacy of the state’s unique colonial history under France and Spain. Colonial records created under civil law are also among the colonial records of California, parts of the Mississippi Valley, the Gulf Coast, and the American southwest. This presentation discusses major legal concepts that affect records and research in civil law societies. (Note: This presentation will be available in real-time only; no recording will be available.)

October 15, 8 p.m. ET – Claire Bettag, CG, FNGS, FUGA, “Civil Law Records in Genealogical Research: Notarial Records
Civil law notarial records are among the most valuable genealogical resources available. In civil law societies like France, Spain, Italy, (French) Canada, and many other countries, notaries function much like contract lawyers, creating legally binding “authentic acts” (also called contracts or protocols) that regulate private relationships among individuals. These are among the oldest extant types of records, dating in France, for one example, to the 16th century or earlier, and pre-dating church records in some places. They are also packed with information – explicitly stated family data as well as information that can help define an ancestor’s family life, social standing, financial status, business and social relationships within a community. This presentation examines the value, content, and location of the most commonly used notarial records, and strategies for using them to further genealogical research. (Note: This presentation will be available in real-time only; no recording will be available.)

November 19, 8 p.m. ET – Paula Stuart-Warren, CG, FMGS, FUGA, “Native American Research: Things You May Not Know
November is Native American Heritage Month and what better time to delve into Native American research. Learn about records, libraries, archives, websites, and databases and analyzing what you find. Be prepared for some surprises on where you might find more about this amazing heritage.

December 17, 8 p.m. ET – J. Mark Lowe, CG, FUGA, “Marriages Here, There, and Nowhere: Finding Gretna Greens and Borders
Many couples chose to marry in a location away from their home. Often there were reasons why it was a more convenient location to tie the knot. Sometimes, this decision was based on a romantic location or a place that would allow them to marry quickly without a three-day waiting period. These locations are often referred to as Gretna Green, the historic town in Scotland where thousands of English couples ran because of Scotland’s sympathetic marriage laws. We will consider the reason for a different marriage location, alternate sources to determine the location, and a few of the towns known as “Gretna Greens” in the United States.

Terrific line-up, isn’t it? You can register for any one webinar on the BCG page at Legacy Family Tree webinars (and yes, that link is the “BCG gets a benefit” link so please use it!). Just pick the one you want and click on the Register (Free) button. Or you can register for more than one at a time on the Upcoming Webinars page (and yes, that’s also a “BCG gets a benefit” link so please use it too!)– and there you can use the check boxes to the right of the names of as many webinars as you’d like and register all at once.

And you can check out prior BCG-sponsored webinars — like mine on negative evidence or on the importance of legal research in reasonably exhaustive research — at the BCG page as well.

BREAKING NEWS: And just as this post was getting ready to go out by email, Legacy announced the full list of all webinars scheduled for 20193… and well… I don’t want to toot my own horn here… but you can register now for DNA Rights and Wrongs: The Ethical Side of Testing on January 2… and I’ll have some others (for members only or for MyHeritage) later in the year too…

Just sayin’…


  1. See “Down Under edition of Webinar Wednesday announced,” Legacy News, posted 16 Dec 2018 ( : accessed 19 Dec 2018).
  2. See Board for Certification of Genealogists Announces Free Webinars for 2019, BCG SpringBoard, posted 18 Dec 2018 ( : accessed 19 Dec 2018).
  3. 2019 Legacy Family Tree Webinars Series Announced,” Legacy News, posted 20 Dec 2018 ( : accessed 20 Dec 2018).
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