SIGs (Special Interest Groups)

Enthusiasm was high for these popular, informal mini-gatherings which were held virtually, throughout the conference period. They offered participants an informal opportunity to get together with others with similar interests to discuss ideas for genealogy research on a particular topic. 


Our 2021 SIGS were:

Sunday, April 4, 2021

French-Canadian Research, Hosted by Michael Leclerc

This SIG offered lively and interesting discussion of resources and topics related to French-Canadian genealogy. Attendees were able to update their knowledge of the latest information and resources to aid in their searches.

Monday, April 12, 2021

Society Management, Hosted by Joan Frederici and Seema Kenney

Today, every genealogical and historical society is facing similar challenges in membership, volunteer recruitment, technological updates, and other issues. Attendees for this SIG were able to join in a discussion of how to keep their societies vital and relevant to their goals.

Tuesday, April 20, 2021

Polish and Eastern European Research, Hosted by Julie Roberts Szczepankiewicz

Confused by Eastern European historical geography? This SIG offered attendees an opportunity to learn about the numerous border changes, and turn confusion into clarity. Attendees discussed strategies for identifying and locating their ancestral villages in the old country using both American and European sources, and learned where to find records and how to access them, to continue their journeys to their ancestral past.

Wednesday, April 28

Jewish Research, Hosted by Meredith Hoffman

Attendees discussed strategies and hints for researching their Jewish ancestors. Topics included how to find the records for immigrant ancestors, both here and in the “old country;” how to find people if they changed their names; how to find the villages that Jewish ancestors came from; and how to locate families lost or scattered by the Holocaust. Attendees were invited to bring their questions and research problems, and both online and local resources were discussed that could help them in their search.

Thursday, May 6

Irish Research, Hosted by Nora Galvin

Can’t find the place of origin for your Irish ancestors? Attendees of this SIG were able to join Nora Galvin as she led a discussion group with other Irish American researchers. They discussed sources and strategies for finding elusive ancestors across the Atlantic. They also discussed the ever-growing world of Irish research on the internet and some of the best resources to use for doing Irish research from home and in Ireland.

Friday, May 14

Scandinavian Research, Hosted by Michael McClellan

Attendees of this SIG had the opportunity to connect with other genealogists doing research in Scandinavia. This SIG was an ideal way for attendees to network with other researchers who shared this common interest, offering something for genealogists at any level.

Saturday, May 22

DNA Research, Hosted by Shellee Morehead, Ph.D., CG

Although DNA has been around for 4 billion years, its application to genealogy research is relatively new.  Attendees at this SIG were able to join an open discussion to gain a better understanding of how DNA testing can help with their research.  The presenter touched upon a number of topics: What is a centimorgan; what is, and how do I determine, a most recent common ancestor; how do I work my match list; and how are ethnicity estimates determined, to name a few.

Monday, May 24

African-American Research, Hosted by Diane Richard

This SIG offered attendees an opportunity to discuss the unique methods and strategies for researching African American ancestry.  Topics included 1867 voter registration, Freedman Bureau records, and 1866 cohabitation records (aka marriage) as records unique to African American research in the immediate post-Civil War period, as well as the exploration of the lives of those enslaved, and their 20th century descendants. 

Thursday, May 27

Eastern European Names and Places, Hosted by Meredith Hoffman and Julie Roberts Szczepankiewicz

Attendees of this SIG were able to explore resources and strategies for deciphering the names of their ancestral towns and villages in eastern Europe and obtain help in puzzling out how the names of your Eastern European ancestors may have changed, including personal and family names. The discussion was relevant to researchers with both Jewish and non-Jewish ancestries.