Geneology: Filling Your Time and Expanding Your Skills


Here we are in 2021 and still not able to travel and socialize as we might like. What are some of the ways that you might spend your time doing with your genealogical projects? There is always organization of files, stacks of notes, etc., doing on-line research, looking through some of the resource books that you have bought over time, or you might want to take advantage of the many webinars being offered by libraries, associations, and companies. That is one of the things that I have done and have been astounded at what is out there. You will find that many if not most of the programs are available after the initial presentation.

Type Free Genealogy Webinars into your favorite browser and you will receive a nice long list of possibilities. The URL was one that I looked at closely.

The New York Genealogical and Biographical Society offers, hundreds of expert-authored articles and webinars to help you navigate the tricky New York research landscape. A membership to this site is relatively inexpensive at $77.00/year. Italian, African American, DNA and German research are only a few of the topics that were presented in 2020. As most of us living in this area ae doing research in NYS, it would seem that this would be a good place to start.
Keeping with the theme of tracing our ancestors from their arrival to their eventual location, looking at New England records is another area of research that would be beneficial to many of us. The website for the New England Historical and Genealogical Society, American Ancestors, is a wealth of information in the form of webinars. Go to this website and click on archived webinars. This will open a page that allows you to register for a guest account. When this opens, if you select Explore Subject Guide you will see an incredible list of options. In addition, there are many lectures such as the recent interview with Eric Dolin about his newest book, A Furious Sky: The Five-Hundred Year History of Americas Hurricanes. My husband and I watched it and found it fascinating.

Family Search is an excellent source of webinars and classes and they are always free. I receive weekly lists of the classes being offered. Simply type Family Search Classes into your favorite bowser and you will receive an extensive list of upcoming classes and webinars as well as those that are archived. One thing to keep in mind is that they are listed as MST, Mountain Standard Time. You will need to convert that to EST. The content ranges from beginner to expert level. Some are offered in other languages, the most common being Spanish.

Legacy Family Tree Webinars is another site that I have used. Their list is extensive. Some are free and some have a cost associated with them. Two upcoming webinars are Researching your Maine Ancestors and Chinese American Research: Challenges and Discoveries.

The giant site that we are all familiar with Ancestry offers learning programs free at The site is artfully arranged in categories. Some are only a couple of minutes long allowing you to refresh your memory or getting a quick answer to a simple question. They range from beginner to more advanced and will help you to create a Family Tree on their website in addition to doing research.

Family History Daily offers classes for all levels of expertise. They are not free but offer intensive instruction in genealogical research in a wide range of topics.

Do not overlook you/tube!

Monthly Support Group programs and periodic workshops are available from the Fenton History Center’s research library at the Hall House are offered in a combination of virtual and in person formats. The monthly Support Group meets on the last Wednesday evening of each month at 6:30 and is free with a membership to the Fenton. Memberships begin at $30/Seniors. The Hall House also offers 6 workshops a year. They range from 60 to 90 minutes each. Cost is $10/Fenton members and $20/general public. Give us a call at 716-664- 6256 to get started.

So, now that have a peek at what is out there, let us all jump in and fill our time and expand our skills during these unusual times.

To read Janet Walberg’s previous genealogy columns or to delve deeper into her writings and insights for searching out and recording your own family’s genealogy, please go to and visit Janet’s own web page.