Sunday, August 30, 2015

New Course on Federal Land Records

I  am very excited to be teaching a course on “Digging in Federal Land Records” for the Virtual Institute of Genealogical Research. This course will be held on two consecutive Saturdays: September 19th and 26th. There will be four 90 minute sessions that will allow us to dig further into these records than the typical lectures on the subject. 

Millions of Americans obtained land from the federal government either by purchase, donation, military bounty, or homesteading. The records created by these land transactions can be valuable for locating an ancestor in a particular time and place, and may also contain useful family information. Some land files include a detailed description of improvements made to the land, evidence of military service, proof of naturalization, and/or testimony from neighbors. 
This course will cover the distribution of land in the thirty public land states to individuals from 1798 to 1976. The sessions will take an in-depth look at the process for obtaining land, the records created, and the genealogical value they contain. Students will learn about the surveying process and legal land descriptions, the Acts of Congress authorizing different types of transactions, the process for applying for land, and what can be found online and only onsite at NARA. 
The unique format of four 90 minute sessions will allow time to dig deeper into these records and look at not only typical files for each type of transaction, but unique circumstances as well. The “plus” version of the course will also include feedback on the homework assignments and an extra session for asking individual questions about federal land records. 
Saturday, September 19th
Session 1: Background: History, Land Descriptions, Laws and Records
Session 2: Locating Records: BLM Website, Tract Books and Finding Aids
Homework assignment given

Saturday, September 26th
Session 3: Homesteads, Land Entry Papers and Military Bounty Land
Session 4: Case Studies Using Federal Land Records

To register for the course visit
The cost is $69.99 for all four sessions, or $99.99 for all four sessions plus feedback on the homework and an additional sessions where you can ask any questions you may have on the course content or on federal land records. 

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Family History Library Hosts Free Classes

The Family History Library Announces Free Classes for September 2015

These classes and workshops are designed to help individuals and families find their ancestors and teach others family history techniques. 

Sep 3              11:00 A.M. British Resources on findmypast
                         1:00 P.M. British Resources on
Sep 5                1:00 P.M. Recursos en línea además de
Sep 10              1:00 P.M. United States Civil War Records
                          6:00 P.M. Descendancy Research Webinar
Sep 17            11:00 A.M. British Resources on
                       11:00 A.M. Czech Online Church Records Webinar
                         1:00 P.M. Key Websites for British Research (Besides the “Big 3”)
Sep 19             10:00 A.M. Boy Scout Genealogy Merit Badge (1½ hours)
                         1:00 P.M. Conozca el sitio PARES
                         2:00 P.M. Protocolos notariales
                         3:00 P.M. ¿No hay otros registros?
 Sep 22             1:00 P.M. Newspaper Research
 Sep 24             6:00 P.M. United States City Directories Webinar

Click on this link to access the Live Online Classes.  Or go to; click on Search; select Wiki. Type Family History Library andchoose the top entry. Click on 2.2 Live Online Classes for details; scroll to find the desired class.

FamilySearch International is the largest genealogy organization in the world. Millions of people use FamilySearch records, resources, and services to learn more about their family history. To help in this great pursuit, FamilySearch and its predecessors have been actively gathering, preserving, and sharing genealogical records worldwide for over 100 years. FamilySearch is a nonprofit organization sponsored by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Guests may access FamilySearch services and resources free online at or through over 4,600 family history centers in 132 countries, including the renowned Family History Library in Salt Lake City, Utah.

Saturday, August 15, 2015

Research Plan Template

While speaking at the Northwest Genealogy Conference in Arlington, Washington I promised to post a link to my Research Plan Template. All the details on using the template are in the syllabus material shared at the conference. This is the link to the template in Word. Feel free to download it and us it on your own computer.