Monday, February 28, 2011

March "Mad for Genealogy" Classes: Join me for Free Webinars!

I'm pleased to announce that I will be offering a series of free genealogy Webinars during the month of March.

Space is limited to the first 100 attendees. Reserve your spot now!

Saturday, March 12, 2011
1:00 PM Eastern Time
Getting Started in Genealogy: The Basics

Saturday, March 19, 2011
1:00 PM Eastern Time
Silent Voices: Tips and Tricks for Tracing Female Ancestors

Saturday, March 26, 2011
1:00 PM Eastern Time
Life Stories: How to Write a Compelling Family History Narrative

While others are watching basketball, come join me for some genealogy learning and fun!

In the meantime, as a pre-webinar "warm-up," check out my "March Madness for Genealogists" Blog post from 2009.

Copyright 2011, Lisa A. Alzo All Rights Reserved

[Disclosure: I am not receiving any form of compensation from Citrix, Inc. or any other company for conducting these free Webinars]

Still Time to Register for Family Tree University Immigration Master Class

There's still time to register for the next session of my Immigration Master Class at Family Tree University. The course begins today--February 28th and runs for 8 weeks. In this course you'll learn how to find immigrants, ancestral villages and foreign records. Click here for a detailed description and course outline, and to register.

Sunday, February 27, 2011

Back by Popular Demand: Fearless Females: 31 Blogging Prompts to Celebrate Women's History Month

In March 2010 I launched a series of 31 blogging prompts for celebrating and honoring the "fearless females" in our family trees. Many bloggers participated and I was asked if I planned on running them again. So, to mark National Women's History Month (beginning Tuesday, March 1st), I'm listing the 31 prompts below. You can choose to do some of them, or all of them--there's no pressure--it's meant to be a fun exercise to focus on the women and make sure their stories are told!


Fearless Females: 31 Blogging Prompts to Celebrate Women’s History Month

[Group of young women reading in library of normal school, Washington, D.C.]Library of Congress, (Johnston, Frances Benjamin, 1864-1952, photographer.); REPRODUCTION NUMBER: LC-USZ62-100288 (b&w film copy neg.) DIGITAL ID: (b&w film copy neg.) cph 3c00288

Blogging Prompts

March 1 — Do you have a favorite female ancestor? One you are drawn to or want to learn more about? Write down some key facts you have already learned or what you would like to learn and outline your goals and potential sources you plan to check.

March 2 — Post a photo of one of your female ancestors. Who is in the photo? When was it taken? Why did you select this photo?

March 3 — Do you share a first name with one of your female ancestors? Perhaps you were named for your great-grandmother, or your name follows a particular naming pattern. If not, then list the most unique or unusual female first name you’ve come across in your family tree.

March 4 — Do you have marriage records for your grandparents or great-grandparents? Write a post about where they were married and when. Any family stories about the wedding day? Post a photo too if you have one.

March 5 — How did they meet? You’ve documented marriages, now, go back a bit. Do you know the story of how your parents met? Your grandparents?

March 6 — Describe an heirloom you may have inherited from a female ancestor (wedding ring or other jewelry, china, clothing, etc.) If you don’t have any, then write about a specific object you remember from your mother or grandmother, or aunt (a scarf, a hat, cooking utensil, furniture, etc.)

March 7 — Share a favorite recipe from your mother or grandmother’s kitchen. Why is this dish your favorite? If you don’t have one that’s been passed down, describe a favorite holiday or other meal you shared with your family.

March 8 — Did one of your female ancestors leave a diary, journal, or collection of letters? Share an entry or excerpt.

March 9 — Take a family document (baptismal certificate, passenger list, naturalization petition, etc.) and write a brief narrative using the information.

March 10 — What role did religion play in your family? How did your female ancestors practice their faith? If they did not, why didn’t they? Did you have any female ancestors who served their churches in some capacity?

March 11 — Did you have any female ancestors who died young or from tragic or unexpected circumstances? Describe and how did this affect the family?

March 12 — Working girl: Did your mother or grandmother work outside the home? What did she do? Describe her occupation.

March 13 — Moment of Strength: share a story where a female ancestor showed courage or strength in a difficult situation.

March 14 — Newsmakers? Did you have a female ancestor who made the news? Why? Was she famous or notorious? Did she appear in the social column?

March 15 — Write a six-word memoir tribute to one of your female ancestors.

March 16 — If you could have lunch with any female family member (living or dead) or any famous female who would it be and why? Where would you go? What would you eat?

March 17 — Social Butterfly? What social organizations or groups did your mother or grandmother belong to? Sewing circle, church group, fraternal benefit society or lodge? Describe her role in the group.

March 18 — Shining star: Did you have a female ancestor who had a special talent? Artist, singer, actress, athlete, seamstress, or other? Describe.

March 19 — Have you discovered a surprising fact about one of your female ancestors? What was it and how did you learn it? How did you feel when you found out?

March 20 — Is there a female ancestor who is your brick wall? Why? List possible sources for finding more information.

March 21 — Describe a tender moment one of your female ancestors shared with you or another family member.

March 22 — If a famous director wanted to make a movie about one of your female ancestors who would it be? What actress would you cast in the role and why?

March 23 — Create a timeline for a female ancestor using your favorite software program or an online timeline generator such as OurTimelines.Post an image of it or link.

March 24 — Do you share any physical resemblance or personality trait with one of your female ancestors? Who? What is it?

March 25 — Tell how a female ancestor interacted with her children. Was she loving or supportive? A disciplinarian? A bit of both?

March 26 — What education did your mother receive? Your grandmothers? Great-grandmothers? Note any advanced degrees or special achievements.

March 27 — Do you know the immigration story of one or more female ancestors? Do you have any passenger lists, passports, or other documentation? Interesting family stories?

March 28 — Do you remember your mother’s best friend? Your grandmother’s? How and where did they meet? How long were they friends? What activities did they share?

March 29 — Create a free Footnote Page or a Genealogy Trading Card at Big Huge Labs for a female ancestor. Some of you may have created your own card back in September 2009 following Sheri Fenley’s post over at The Educated Genealogist. This time, the card is for your female ancestor. Tell us about who you've selected and why and then post a link to what you've created.

March 30 — Did you receive any advice or words of wisdom from your mother or another female ancestor?

March 31 — Pick one female ancestor and write a mini-profile (500 words or less).

BONUS: Take all of your postings and turn them into a memory or tribute booklet for future generations.

Post an entry on your Blog when you have created your tribute. Tell us how you did it (what format, how you printed it or digitized it, etc.).

Copyright, 2011, Lisa A. Alzo
All Rights Reserved

Saturday, February 26, 2011

New Session of Discovering Your Czech and Slovak Roots Begins 2/28

Join me for a new session of my online Family Tree University Course: Discovering Your Czech and Slovak Roots: Strategies for Searching Over Here and Over There. The course begins Monday, February 28, 2011.

Researchers with Czech or Slovak roots often battle certain brick walls—do surname issues, border changes and language troubles sound all too familiar to you? In this four-week course, I'll show you tools and tricks for tracking down those hard-to-find ancestors from the Austro-Hungarian Empire and Czechoslovakia.

Click here to view the course outline and to register.

Copyright, 2011, Lisa A. Alzo
All Rights Reserved

Thursday, February 24, 2011

SCGS Announces 2011 Webinar Series

For Release 22 Feb, 2011. Burbank, California.

Riding close on the tails of the highly successful RootsTech conference, the Southern California Genealogical Society proudly announces the launch of a new web-based education program, the Jamboree Extension Series.

This innovative program provides family history and genealogy educational webinars (web-based seminars) for genealogists around the world. The program will offer Jamboree-style seminars for up to 1000 attendees per session, at no charge.

SCGS President Heidi Ziegler explained, "The Jamboree Extension Series is offered as a service to the genealogical community as part of the Society's mission 'to foster interest in family history and genealogy, preserve genealogical materials, and provide instruction in accepted and effective research techniques.'"

While the original webcasts are available to all genealogists, SCGS members will be able to review archived sessions at any time by accessing the SCGS members-only section of this website. Archive sessions will be available approximately three days following the webinar. SCGS memberships can be purchased online at the SCGS website,

To view the webinar, attendees will need a computer with audio speakers or a headset. No special software is necessary. Attendees with a fast Internet connection (either broadband or DSL) will likely have the most satisfactory experience.

Jamboree Extension Series presentations will be scheduled on the first Saturday and third Wednesday of each month. Saturday sessions will be held at 10am Pacific time / 1pm Eastern time; Wednesday sessions will be scheduled at 6pm Pacific time / 9pm Eastern time.

Several highly respected speakers have already agreed to participate in the program. Thomas MacEntee, president of High-Definition Genealogy and founder of, will kick off the series on March 5 with his presentation "Social Networking – New Horizons for Genealogists." Other instructors include George G. Morgan, Marian Pierre-Louis, Lisa Louise Cooke, Lisa Alzo, Michael Booth, Maureen Taylor, DearMYRTLE, Gena Philabert Ortega, and Jean Wilcox Hibben, PhD, CG, among others. Notices for new courses will be placed on the SCGS blog and in the Society's eNews and Notes electronic newsletter.

Course listings are available at the SCGS website: Also included on the page are registration instructions and links to each scheduled session.

Genealogy and family history speakers who are interested in participating in the Jamboree Extension Series are invited to submit proposals by contacting

[Press release source: GeneaPress]

[Disclosure: As an invited presenter for the SCGS Webinar series I will be paid a speaker's fee for my seminar]

Thursday, February 17, 2011

GeneaPress: Genealogy News You Can Use

One of the greatest aspects of the RootsTech 2011 conference in Salt Lake City last week was the opportunity to interact and brainstorm with like-minded genealogists and fellow geneabloggers.

One idea that emerged, thanks to Thomas MacEntee, was GeneaPress--a centralized Blog to streamline press releases from genealogy vendors and other organizations.

In the past I haven't posted many press releases on this blog because so many of my colleagues do an excellent job of getting the word out, and I try to keep my blog focused on research and writing topics. But I think GeneaPress is an excellent idea.

The official statement from the site follows:

"GeneaPress is a communal effort by the genealogy and family history blogging community to manage the large number of press releases received from genealogy vendors and organizations. The goal is to create a repository where bloggers can link to the latest news about the genealogy industry."

For the ground rules and more details, visit the GeneaPress site.

[Note: I am an invited blogger for GeneaPress. If you send a press release to me and it has not already been added to the site, I will post it there.]

Sunday, February 13, 2011

A Quick Review of RootsTech 2011

I just returned yesterday from the first RootsTech Conference held February 10-12 at the Salt Palace Convention Center in Salt Lake City, Utah. As a selected speaker, I had the privilege of giving four talks and serving on two panels--one on Self-Publishing and the other on Blogging.

It was unlike any other genealogy conference I have attended or presented at. From the keynotes, to the exhibit hall and the networking with fellow genealogists it was an exhilarating whirlwind from start to finish. Unfortunately, I was unable to attend any of the breakout sessions because I was either presenting or meeting with attendees after my own sessions to answer additional questions. It was wonderful seeing old friends again and meeting new ones! I was happy to finally meet some of my fellow genealogists/writers/bloggers in person after years of corresponding by e-mail or interacting now through Facebook and Twitter. There are plenty of my fellow bloggers who have done an excellent job of posting photographs, video, and comments about RootsTech. (See some via GeneaBloggers). But here are my comments about what I loved about RootsTech and a few things I think they could improve upon for next year (February 2-4 in Salt Lake).

What I liked:

1. Plenty of sessions to choose from whether you were a newbie genealogist, advanced researcher, or a developer.

2. Fantastic exhibit hall with hands-on demos, a playground sponsored by Microsoft, a cybercafe, and a special media center for the Bloggers/Media.

3. "Unconferencing" and other opportunities for networking.

4. The energy and positive vibes from the speakers and attendees.

5. The "Who Do You Think You Are?" viewing party at the Family History Library, which stayed open until midnight on Friday. A genealogist's dream.

Suggestions for Improvement:

1. Free wireless Internet for all attendees in all of the conference areas/rooms. There were some places where the wi-fi did not work.

2. Maybe have the exhibit hall open a bit later on the last day.

3. Some improvements for the registration process--especially for the hands-on workshops. Those sessions where attendees are using computers need to be monitored from the start. A list needs to be available for the speaker/room monitor.

One of the best parts of the conference for me was a dinner party for bloggers on Saturday night hosted by A.C. Ivory--who writes the Find My Ancestor blog, and his family. A great end to the conference--a chance to just sit and relax and talk with my fellow bloggers.

All in all, it was a high-caliber conference that was informative, entertaining, and made me excited to be a 21st-century genealogist.

Looking forward to RootsTech 2012--I already have next year's dates blocked out on my calendar!

[Disclosure: As a speaker for RootsTech 2011, I received complimentary lodging at one of the conference-designated hotels].