Maegan Kasteler | Jul 2, 2019

Records Classes at RootsTech London

One thing we are looking forward to most at RootsTech London is the broad range of records-related classes. These classes cover a large variety of regions across the globe. Here are just a few of the classes you can attend.

Thursday,​ October 24, 2019

Research Genealogical Resources in Israel from Your Couch

Learn how to access genealogical resources and other useful databases available in Israel that can be used online to find relatives. Overcome the language barrier with a basic lesson on Hebrew and how to efficiently translate it into English.

Presenter: Daniel Horowitz
Time: 9:00 a.m.
Location: Room 13

Trace your Ancestors in French Civil Records

Language is not a barrier to climbing the French branches of your family tree; come and learn how to find your ancestors in France! Accessing and understanding the vital records in French archives may be challenging if you do not know how to proceed. Come and discover the best way to locate the right repository and to access documents as we explore birth, marriage, and death records available online and at no charge! Learn how to understand the information contained in the various certificates even if you do not speak French. We will also give tips about conducting the research online within French parish records.

Presenter: Lucie Drouin
Time: 1:00 p.m.
Location: Room 14

Blessings and Curses of Tracing Welsh Ancestry

The wealth of online records for Wales should make Welsh family history research less challenging, but a simple search for “John Jones” illustrates the problem. With all the information available, you need a few search strategies to improve your success and accuracy. Along with knowledge of search strategies, awareness of patronymic naming customs is critical.

Presenter: Darris Williams
Time: 2:00 p.m.
Location: Room 7

Oral Genealogies in Africa with FamilySearch

This presentation shows how FamilySearch travels from village to village across 15 countries in sub-Saharan Africa to chronicle the lives and family relationships of hundreds of millions of people, living and deceased, via oral interviews. The richness of the oral tradition in this region is unique and identifies generations of people not documented in written records. This session will take you through the fascinating process of conducting oral interviews that capture village settlement stories and family histories. Tribal leaders encourage FamilySearch to collect these oral histories so the younger people migrating to the cities can retain their tribal identity by remembering their ancestors.

Presenter: David Ouimette
Time: 3:30 p.m.
Location: Room 9

Tips and Tricks for Finding and Documenting Your Middle Eastern Family Stories

Middle Eastern families are very close (even if separated by distance). This provides great opportunities to capture stories, build trees, and use technology to preserve your Middle Eastern heritage. In this class, I will share anecdotal experiences about gathering information of ancestors from this area. I will also discuss results and next steps from some of FamilySearch’s Middle Eastern record investigations that occurred in 2018 and 2019.

Presenter: Omar Kadri
Time: 4:30 p.m.
Location: Room 1

Friday, October 25, 2019

A Strategic Approach to Irish Genealogy

Researching Irish ancestral lines used to be extremely difficult, but we have seen a huge increase in the last 10 years in the digitization and indexing of Irish records, many of which are now available online. The trouble is that many people are not aware of how much easier Irish research now is, they don't know where to find the records, and they are not comprehensive in their approach to Irish research. This presentation pulls together the various sources for Irish records, many of which are freely available online, and provides a strategic approach to accessing the relevant records for your own Irish genealogical research, maximizing the chances of successfully breaking through brick walls in your Irish research. Technical aspects discussed during this presentation include checklists, blog posts, specific websites, search techniques, and methods for organizing your research.

Presenter: Maurice Gleeson
Time: 9:00 a.m.
Location: Auditorium

From the Cobweb to the Web: How to Find German Church Records on the Internet

There are still regions in Germany where you will need to set up an appointment with the parish staff to access church records. They will—if you are lucky—open their decrepit bookcase, with its dusty and cobwebby church record volumes, for you. This may be an enchanting, nostalgic experience but is not, of course, very conducive to efficient research. More and more of these records can be found online, but sometimes getting access is not really much easier, because finding them requires some knowledge of where to search. In other words, you need to know about the internal structures of the major churches in Germany and also about the system of church, state, city, and other archives. In this session, I will provide an overview of these structures and present tools on how to research them; you can find out anything on the internet if you know how you need to ask. Afterward you will be able to identify the correct archive and find out how you get access to the required records.

Presenter: Marc Jarzebowski
Time: 1:00 p.m.
Location: Auditorium

¡España Por Favor! Spanish Research Resources Online

There are various resources available online for research in Spain. This class will feature many of these sites, such as PARES (Portal de Archivos Españoles), Dokuklik, various diocesan archives, and others, where a researcher might find clues about their Spanish ancestry—all from the comfort of home.

Presenter: Debbie Gurtler

Time: 2:00 p.m.
Location: Room 9

Notify Next of Kin: Evidence of Death for Irish Family History

Most people leave a very light paper trail in their records; the one time we’re most likely to find evidence of a person’s life is through his or her death. Historically, families made arrangements to wake and bury the dead; notify immediate kin, friends, and community; erect a gravestone; pay the undertaker; prove a will; and settle all bequests. Sometimes artifacts were created at someone’s death: memorial cards, jewelry, or even more unusual items. Death was one of the busiest times of life, and many of the customs and traditions that developed around it generated a document or artifact which may survive to the present day. In this workshop, we use case studies to examine the evidence that survives in death. We explore where to find it, how to interpret it, and how to use it to build your research and write your family history narrative.

Presenter: Fiona Fitzsimons
Time: 3:30 p.m.
Location: S22-A

Squeezing Every Drop out of Polish Parish Registers

Polish parish registers tell stories about individuals, families, and communities, revealing living conditions, lifestyles, relationships, traditions, successes, trials, and social history. Genealogists should take time to study parish registers deeply to discover all that these records have to offer. In this session, we show how to mine Polish parish registers to uncover their enormous genealogical value. Examples are drawn from the parish of Saint Bartholomew the Apostle, which is located in Wόjtowa, a small farming village in Małopolskie (also known as Galicia). We use original records, genealogical standards, proven research methodologies, and spreadsheet software to squeeze every drop out of Polish parish registers.

Presenter: David Ouimette
Time: 4:30 p.m.
Location: Room 1

Saturday, October 26, 2019

Finding British Ancestors in India

Are you one of the many across the world who are actively rummaging through ancestry records looking for those elusive British ancestors who lived in India? Since 1600, thousands of British people traveled to the Indian subcontinent to carry out a multitude of roles in running the country—as military personnel, planters, civil servants accompanied by clergy, and missionaries who came from both Great Britain and the United States of America. So where can you find the details of your ancestors’ baptisms, marriages, burials, or careers, for various civil departments? Once you find them, how can you maximize your chances of finding your ancestor’s details? This session will take you through the tips and tricks for searching various online records—in particular, those offered by Find My Past, which has an extensive collection of India-related records from the British Library covering the period between 1698 and 1947.

Presenter: Cathie Sherwood
Time: 9:00 a.m.
Location: Room 17

Beginning Scandinavian Research on Your Home Computer

Successful research in Scandinavian records requires an understanding of the culture and events affecting our ancestors. This lecture presents tools to help focus research on one unique family group within the sea of patronymics. The major record groups used in Scandinavian research will also be introduced. Attendees will feel empowered to start researching their Nordic roots when they return home.

Presenter: Jennifer Hansen
Time: 1:00 p.m.
Location: Room 12

Scottish Genealogy: Beyond the Basics

Do you have tartan blood? Do you feel like you’ve exhausted the government website and want to know what happens next? You’re not alone! Scotland has some of the best records in the world, but so many of them lie just beneath the surface, creating an opportunity for an unprecedented level of detail about your ancestors to be revealed. Join Myko Clelland, resident genealogist for Findmypast, as we walk through the many available records for those with Scottish heritage and discuss where to find them. Discover tax records, newspapers, electoral and valuation rolls, free churches, militia lists, testaments, illegitimacies, occupational records, census substitutes, and much more. Learn how to read these records and what to look for, and understand the context that surrounds them. We’ll uncover more about your ancestors and how they lived as we dive in at the deep end to tell the story of our northernmost kin in new and exciting ways.

Presenter: Myko Clelland
Time: 2:00 p.m.
Location: Room 7

Beginner’s Guide to Researching Your Chinese Ancestors

For those who don’t read or write Chinese, researching one’s Chinese ancestors can seem quite daunting. During this talk, experts from Chinese genealogy start-up My China Roots will describe some of the main challenges of conducting family history in China before providing some tips on what sources to look out for in the UK, what ancestral traces or records can be found in China, and how to get the most out of a visit to one’s ancestral village.

Presenter: Clotilde Yap
Time: 3:30 p.m.
Location: Room 17

Italian Civil Records, Using the Italian National Archive Website

I will describe the types of civil records that are accessible for Italian genealogy research on the internet—specifically, on the Italian National Archive website (antenati.san.beniculturali.it). These accessible records include birth, marriage, and death records. I will discuss the background of the history of civil records, including the initiation of standardized civil records under Napoleon in 1806, and the use of these records up to today. I will also discuss how different parts of present-day Italy (which was not a unified country until the 1860s) have different availabilities of records, what records are found on the Antenati website, what information can be found even without a working knowledge of Italian, and how to use the website and the languages available. Finally, I will discuss the limitations of the website in conducting genealogy research.

Presenter: Bryan Schneider
Time: 3:30 p.m.
Location: Room 13

This is not a complete list of all records-related classes being offered at RootsTech London. A full list of classes being offered can be found here.

Maegan Kasteler

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