The following topics are among those available for speaking engagements, genealogy presentations or more in-depth genealogy workshops. If you're interested in one of the topics listed below or another topic not mentioned, please contact Dan Lynch to discuss dates, availability, logistics, and speaker fees.
Google+ for Genealogists
Google+ (pronounced Google Plus) was arguably the most significant Internet product launch in recent memory. Some family history enthusiasts may view it as Google's response to Facebook, but it is so much more than that. We'll look at Circles, Sparks, Hangouts, the Stream, and all the other components of Google+ that make it the perfect tool for genealogy and family history. Society leaders and others will want to pay special attention as this may be the best way to communicate with members (and prospective new members) in the future.
Jumpstart Your Family Tree
A great session for beginners and casual hobbiests who may need a little direction for where to turn next. We’ll discuss major record types, as well as how and why they are important; recommendations for record keeping and the need to use pedigree charts and family group sheets; interviewing relatives and evaluating unique in-home sources for clues. This is a flexible topic that can be done in 60 minutes, but has also been expanded with detailed material for delivery as an 8-week course for continuing/adult education.
1940 Census (U.S. Federal Census)
The 72-year wait is over and the National Archives is now the official caretaker for the 1940 U.S. Federal Census. Learn about the unique aspects of this census, as well as what some of the leading organizations worldwide are doing to help you find and document your 1940 census story with a 1940 census index and online images!
Genealogy Research – Beyond the Basics
Once you've become familiar with pedigree charts, family group sheets, and the basic record types, it becomes important to develop a more detailed understanding of the research process and how to methodically piece together your family puzzle. 'Stone walls' are part of the challenge of genealogy, but you need to adapt different strategies for breaking through this barrier to the past. This session will discuss record types in greater detail, enabling you to more carefully evaluate the contents of a record source within the context of how it was originally created.
Organize for Efficiency
If you use a computer for any aspect of your genealogy, you may never look at your screen the same way again! There are many simple, but powerful techniques you can use right away to ensure you are squeezing the most power from your computer. We’ll discuss file organization, file naming conventions, tips for sharing files online, and ways to outsmart your computer when working with dates. We’ll also discuss the use of common software applications (Word, Excel, Email, etc.) and how they can be easily adapted for use as powerful genealogical tools.
Google Your Family Tree — Fundamentals of Filtering
Google is available in more than 160 countries and is free to use! By learning to employ some very simple yet powerful techniques, you can reduce the amount of time spent searching through millions of results and instead use that time to closely evaluate a much smaller number of results with far greater relevance to your specific family research. (Also discusses Yahoo, Live.com, Bing.com and merits of other secondary search engines and/or emerging trends for online search.)
Google Your Family Tree — Advanced Techniques for Everyone
A more in-depth overview of Google tips and techniques, specific emphasis given to refining results with filters by content type. Will touch briefly on those major content areas of greatest benefit to genealogists. (Session typically given as follow-up to Part 1, but where time does not allow for dedicated sessions on individual Google services.)
Google Images & Video
Google Images and Video hold great value for genealogists in bringing our ancestors stories to life – you just have to be clever about how and where you look. We’ll explore special techniques for using Images and Video as you search for clues about your family, as well as using Google Language Tools in conjunction with these popular and fun services. Fasten your seat belts, this session will move fast!
Exploring Google Book Search
Family history enthusiasts are among the most dedicated patrons for any library or archive, but it’s rarely possible to visit every individual collection that might hold a book on your surname, place name or other topic of interest. Google Books places an unimaginable amount of content at our disposal – all keyword searchable to help flush out hidden treasure. Special attention will be given to those titles which are now out-of-print and out-of-copyright, many available for Free download!
Google News Archive & News Timeline
Genealogists love news! The older the better, right? Google provides specialized access to a growing collection of historical archives and a special timeline feature empowers us with the ability to quickly filter content to suit our individual needs. Using the foundation techniques discussed in the Introduction to Google, you can master New Archives and the exciting new News Timeline and also save your query definitions so Google can search on your behalf – even while you sleep! Family history enthusiasts will appreciate the current functionality, as well as the direction these tools are taking for researching historical content.
Google Maps, Earth, and Street View
Family historians the world over are challenged to find both people and places. Google has some extraordinary tools available that you may not realize are perfectly suited for genealogy research. Maps, Earth, and Street View can all open up a new understanding of a far away place. You might even learn a thing or two about places you visit every day! Fun and fast-paced, so fasten your seat belts.
Live, Uncensored Search!
We’ve all attended presentations that make this all look so easy. How about a session that isn’t scripted, but instead takes live examples from the audience and demonstrates how an experienced researcher might use all the tools at his or her disposal to find a clue or two. Time spent on any one problem will need to be limited, but we’ll use a random draw to select 4 or 5 attendees and see what we can find for them.
Optimize Your Surname (Advanced Session)
If you have a web site, blog or are otherwise fairly confident in your use of the Internet as it pertains to family history research, you may wish to learn some tips for how you can make your site(s) more visible to search engines . . . increasing the chances that others searching for similar names will end up viewing your pages. This session is somewhat technical, so not recommended for those without a basic understanding of HTML and the Internet in general.
Google Language Tools
Many American families eventually connect back to other shores . . . and other languages. Google offers a range of powerful language tools that can greatly expand your capabilities.
Google — The Latest & Greatest
Google is making improvements to its core service every day, while also introducing some new and exciting tools and services perfect for use by family historians. Learn about them from a Google expert!
Genealogy Power Tips for Microsoft Word and Excel
You may have used these common computer desktop applications for years, but did you know they hold special potential for family history research. I'll share some of my favorite tips for using Word and Excel to organize, sort, and automatically extract data. This session assumes a general familiarity with Microsoft Office applications.
Using Google Docs for Genealogy
If you have Gmail or receive Google Alerts, you may not have known that you have a Google Account. This also gives you access to a host of powerful, but easy to use business applications for word processing, spreadsheets, presentations, calendars, and more. We'll explore how to find them, getting started, as well as organizing and sharing the files created with these applications.
Family Tree Tech Tools
Digital cameras, scanners, USB Drives, Handheld GPS, Digital Audio Recorders, walkie talkies, “smart phones”, and other tech gadgets may seem like “toys” reserved only for the hard core (obsessed), but they make great gifts and their relatively low price points can open up a whole new world of benefits as you research and record details for your ancestors. This is a fast-moving, fun, hands-on overview!
Vital Records, Obituaries & City Directories
Most family historians, from beginner to advanced, have used vital records, obituaries, and city directories, but are you squeezing all the clues you can from these common genealogical sources. We’ll take a close look at birth, marriage, and death certificates, death/funeral notices, obituaries, and city directories to see what they tell us, but also what they may not tell us that also can be imporant clues. This session is especially helpful for beginner and intermediate researchers.
Getting Started with U.S. Census Research
So what’s so important about census records? Perhaps you are new to genealogy . . . or have been at it a few years, but never fully understood the strategies and breakthroughs that are possible using census records. We’ll look at U.S. Federal Census Records, with a particular emphasis on stepping backwards and using what you learn to tie in with other record sources. And getting ready for the 2012 release of the 1940 census.
Overview of Leading Subscription & Free Sites
As genealogy has grown in popularity, more organizations have been attracted to our large community of online users. Some offer free sites, others are fee-based. How do you know where to turn and when is a good time to open your wallet? We’ll discuss the merits of using free and paid content, including overviews of Ancestry.com, Footnote.com, FamilySearch.org, and a variety of other lesser known sites.
Ellis Island & The Port of New York
The Port of New York has long served as an important entry point for trade and passengers. We’ll discuss the arrival of immigrants from 1820 through the mid 1930s, including an overview of Castle Garden and then Ellis Island. Particular emphasis will be placed on techniques for locating the passenger arrival records for your ancestors and then mining these documents for additional clues about your family.
Saving A Forgotten Cemetery
The story of Saint Augustine Cemetery (Bridgeport, Connecticut). Established in the 1850s as the second Catholic cemetery in Fairfield County CT – age, neglect, Church politics, and urban blight had taken a toll on this historic, but mostly forgotten burial place for hundreds of early Irish immigrants. Learn how traditional genealogy detective work, online sleuthing, and a shovel helped to unearth more than 300 stones.
What's a Blog? — I Want One!
You may not know what a Blog is, but might be surprised to learn how easy it is to create one for free! A Blog is essentially an online journal where you can share your family story and attract distant cousins who may be researching your common ancestors. A Blog can also serve as a starting point for a group interested in sharing unique genealogy content online. Even novice computer users will gain the knowledge sufficient to create and maintain their own genealogy blog in less than an hour.
For the topics noted above, most materials can be adapted to fit a 60 minute presentation or a half-day workshop format, depending upon your needs and the anticipated size of the audience in attendance. Some can be combined into an all-day session, giving you the option to mix and match. In addition to the topics listed, Dan has also covered closely related topics including basic and advanced computer skills, working with photos (traditional and digital), and Microsoft Windows.
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Google Your Family Tree