Learn more about the sessions, topics, and presentations at the 2022 New York State Family History Conference, with New York and family history experts eager to present more than 50 sessions across five tracks and topics!

Click below to view sessions by tracks and topics:

Click here to view a list of speakers!


Keynote Session

Lost Stories: How the New York City Fire of 1776 Illuminates Unfamiliar Lives of the American Revolution [T01]

Benjamin L. Carp | In-person and On-demand

On September 21, 1776, five days after the British occupied New York City, a devastating fire burned down a fifth of the city. While the mystery of the fire is fascinating in its own right, the event also brings together a startling cast of characters from around the Atlantic world. What's found is a very different American Revolution in the stories of the disgraced, the displaced, and the prematurely deceased.

The Great Fire of New York City brings together the thoughts and decisions of some well-known politicians and senior military officers, but also captains and privates, Loyalists, women, and people of African and indigenous descent. The Great Fire of 1776 offers opportunities to think about the lives and their actions of marginalized and lesser-known people, and it requires historical context as well as genealogical research to fully unravel its mysteries.

All About New York

18th Century Slavery and Gradual Emancipation in 19th Century New York [OD1]

Janice Lovelace, PhD | On-demand

Do you have a friend, family member or client with a New York African American ancestor from the 18th and early 19th century? This presentation will explore what life was like for Africans who were enslaved and then freed in New York State through records such as standard censuses, probate and vital records as well as special collections.

Colonial British and Loyalist Records at the New York State Archives [T08]

Jane E. Wilcox | In-person and on-demand

The New York State Archives holds records of the colonial and state governments of New York. Tapping into the underutilized resources of the colonial Dutch and British governmental records, as well as Loyalist records from the State, can assist your research of your colonial and Loyalist ancestors in New York.

DAR Records: Don't Research New York without Them! [F04]

Eric G. Grundset MLS | In-person and on-demand

The National Society Daughters of the American Revolution, the New York State Organization DAR, and the chapters in the state have produced a huge collection of valuable genealogical materials. Researchers must tap these rich resources in the search for hidden family information. Materials in Albany, New York City, and Washington, D. C., and how to access them are the focus of this lecture.

Divorce and Guardianship in 19th century New York—Chancery Court Case Studies [OD2]

Monica Gray | On-demand

The New York Court of Chancery (1787–1847) had jurisdiction over divorce cases. In 1813 this jurisdiction was extended to separation and annulment proceedings. The session briefly addresses changes in the law over time, and then examines case studies from the records to look at what type of information you can expect to find and how you locate it.

Finding Births, Marriages, and Deaths in New York, 1780 to 1850 [F16]

D. Joshua Taylor, MA, MLS, FUGA | In-person and on-demand

Seeking evidence of a birth, marriage, or death in New York State between 1780 and 1850? Without consistent vital records, documenting these events can be a genealogical adventure. Together we explore numerous substitutes and strategies to employ when researching these vital events including religious records, census reports, personal records, and other materials.

From Pirates to Sunken Ships: New York's Federal Court Records [F03]

Judy G. Russell, JD, CG®, CGLSM | In-person and on-demand

Even genealogists with a good background in court records often overlook the goodies in the records of New York's federal courts: the District Court, the Circuit Court, the modern Circuit Court of Appeals, and even the Supreme Court. From pirates and prize cases to the way the courts handled the Titanic, federal court records merit a close look.

Government Secrets Revealed: County Supervisors’ Proceedings [T06]

Rhonda Hoffman, MLS | In-person and on-demand

County supervisors' proceedings are not your average government reports. Tucked amongst their pages are hard to find details about our ancestors’ lives. Learn how to use these documents and what they may reveal.

Hidden Gem - Holland Land Company in Central New York [F06]

Skip Duett | In-person only

Before the Holland Land Company made their massive land purchase of Western New York, the men who formed the HLC first operated at a much smaller scale in what is now Oneida and Madison Counties. These early (1792-1815) records may be the only evidence available tying your ancestors to early New York before they moved west to Ohio and beyond.

Land Companies: Post-Revolutionary War Land Development in New York [S15]

Skip Duett | In-person only

After the Revolution, there was a shift away from the earlier land transfer approaches. The Holland Land Company, Phelps & Gorham, Pulteney, Constable and many others operated land companies in the post-war period. Understanding how and where these companies functioned opens a treasure trove of records the prudent New York researcher will not want to miss

Navigating FultonHistory.com [S11]

Jeanette Sheliga | In-person and on-demand

FultonHistory.com, or Old Fulton NY Postcards, is a free, historic newspaper website that contains archives of over 50 million pages of microfilmed newspaper images (mostly New York State newspapers, along with collections from other states and Canada). This presentation will give an overview of the content and a variety of search strategies.

New York in Postcards: Bringing Deltiology to your Genealogy! [F12]

Michael Cassara | In-person and on-demand

Postcards were the text messages of their day. In 1905 alone, over 7 *billion* postcards were sent worldwide. Genealogists can often find postcards depicting places where their ancestors lived and might even find their actual correspondence! New York's rich postcard history will be presented to illustrate this underutilized genealogical resource.

New York State Censuses: You Won’t Believe What’s Hiding In There! [S01]

Jeanette Sheliga | In-person and on-demand

New York State conducted 10 State censuses between 1825–1925. Some of the questions asked for the State censuses provide details prior to the beginning of civil registrations and decades before a similar question was asked on the Federal censuses. If you have New York State genealogy research to do, this is a record collection that you’ll want to familiarize yourself with!

Putting Your Upstate New York Ancestor on the Map [T02]

Skip Duett | In-person and on-demand

Determining where your Upstate New York ancestors lived can provide valuable context to understanding their lives but figuring out that physical location can sometimes be tricky. Learn about map resources and various survey and lotting systems used in Upstate New York as well as some strategies that can help you put your ancestor on the map.

Return to New York Church Records at FamilySearch Website, Library, and Centers [S14]

Robert Raymond | In-person and on-demand

Over the years, FamilySearch has amassed a large collection of New York Church records. Learn how to access them online, or when necessary, at the Salt Lake Family History Library, branch family history centers, or affiliated libraries.

Tips for Searching and Using Ancestry’s NY Religious Records [S04]

Susan R. Miller | In-person and on-demand

Ancestry.com holds several significant collections of New York’s Protestant denominations. Learn tips for searching and also when searching by name might not yield results. Gain a better understanding of how you might uncover more than the obvious records.

Methods and Tools

Adding Story to Family History [T04]

Kyle Hurst | In-person only

Going beyond names and dates, how can we add narrative that brings our ancestors to life? This class will cover story structure, writing tips, and how to add biographical and contextual details that show how each ancestor lived.

Advanced Chromosome Mapping Using DNA Painter [F05]

Blaine T. Bettinger, PhD, JD | In-person and on-demand

Chromosome mapping can be a powerful tool for working with unknown matches, among other uses. In this lecture we will go beyond the basics of chromosome mapping. Using the DNA Painter tools, we will examine advanced methodologies such as inferred chromosome mapping (using DNA we DON’T share with a relative to map new segments!)

Connecticut Research: The Basics [OD3]

Bryna O'Sullivan, PLCGS | On-demand

Many New York families interacted with Connecticut, whether they lived on the border or moved from Connecticut into the state. This presentation will introduce four common sources that can be used to document families in Connecticut and explain how to access them.

Finding and Using Digitized Manuscripts for Genealogical Research [T10]

Annette Burke Lyttle | In-person and on-demand

Manuscript collections contain genealogical gems. Letters, diaries, photographs, histories, and many more wonders reside in repositories around the world. Many are digitizing parts of their collections. Learn how to search for online collections, use finding aids to determine their usefulness, and locate amazing records.

Making the Most of Your Onsite Research In New York [OD4]

Susan R. Miller | On-demand

When you travel to New York, efficiency while researching can improve your ability to answer that research question. Learn how to determine where to research, how to prepare, and a few key points when you arrive.

Maximizing your Membership and Volunteer Opportunities [F01]

Jennifer Davis and Anna King | In-person and on-demand

Join us to be sure that you are taking full advantage of all the benefits of NYG&B membership. Along with member information, we will also discuss volunteer activities and the tremendous impact our volunteers have on our activities.

NYG&B Digitized Collections: Materials Available Online for You [S07]

NYG&B Team | In-person and on-demand

What does it take to digitize a collection from an archive or book for you to view it at home? Learn the behind-the-scenes process and how you can view collections from home.

Searching for Ancestors When You're Adopted [S08]

Penny Walters, PhD | In-person and on-demand

Look at the practical realities, the excitement and pain of researching a ‘new’ family. Invaluable information can be revealed to adopted people through DNA testing. Reunions may not go as well as expected, so some adopted people find satisfaction in finding other relatives or constructing an ancestral tree. Penny will reflect on her own adoption story, the impact on identity and personal narrative, and discuss the ethical dilemmas that can arise.

Sharing Your Genealogy: Writing It Up Right [F13]

Scott Andrew Bartley | In-person and on-demand

We will discuss the various reasons for writing up your genealogy, the pros and cons of genealogical programs, writing styles for ancestry or descendancy, and the importance of footnotes. We will show how this will help researching problems and then focus on how to create simple, concise footnotes for online sources.

Surname Mapping: A New Approach to Finding Your Ancestors' Place of Origin [F17]

Terry Koch-Bostic | In-person and on-demand

Surname mapping projects connect historical content for surnames and variants to families and locales. Understanding surname origins and distribution by country can help discover ancestral origins and relevant records for your family. Explore websites for European countries and Early Dutch in NYC.

Surname Studies: Follow That Surname [T09]

Michael Cassara | In-person and on-demand

A one-name (or surname) study is defined by the Guild of One-Name Studies as "a project researching all occurrences of a surname." This talk will dive into the practice of surname studies and examine how they can help lead a researcher to major breakthroughs. Learn valuable information for both beginning and advanced genealogists—and hear an overview of related topics including DNA studies, surname mapping, and research methodology.

Understanding TIMBER and ThruLines® at AncestryDNA [S13]

Blaine T. Bettinger, PhD JD | In-person and on-demand

This presentation will look at the effects of the TIMBER algorithm, AncestryDNA’s proprietary method to filter out segments shared with more distant common ancestors. We will also examine AncestryDNA ThruLines, and how they can be properly utilized for genealogical research.

Using U.S. Church Records to Identify German Origins [OD5]

Hallie J. Borstel | On-demand

How do you determine a town of origin in Germany? When civil records lack specificity about the location, church records can provide clues. This session will walk through several case studies to show the important role these records can play in getting back to Europe. Examples will cover New York, New Jersey, and the Northeast. Applicable to 19th c. research.

When Worlds Collide: Resolving Conflicts in Genealogical Records [T05]

Judy G. Russell, JD, CG®, CGLSM | In-person and on-demand

The Genealogical Proof Standard says to resolve conflicts in data... but like so many things that sound good, it’s easier said than done. What exactly are we supposed to do when we encounter conflicting evidence? What are the basic types of evidence conflicts and the methods—and tips and tricks—we can use to resolve them?

You Be the Judge: Was Nicholas Storm Alive during the Revolutionary War? [F09]

Jane E. Wilcox | In-person only

A family tradition claims that Philipsburg Manor tenant Nicholas Storm hosted Gen. Philip Schuyler at his home during the Battle of White Plains. Fact or fiction? You be the judge using typical and atypical sources for Westchester County including manorial, court, cemetery, Loyalist confiscation, U.S. Army forage, personal papers and accounts, probate, maps, laws, and more.

Migration

Americans North of the Border: Migration and the Records to Find Them [S06]

Scott Andrew Bartley | In-person only

This lecture covers the migration north to Canada after the Revolution and then picks up on the "modern" records covering the United States and Canada border. Each record type will be discussed with examples of them. The accompanying handout will list everything discussed with a link to the original records that you can see online.

Dutch Passenger Lists and Other Emigration Records [F18]

John Boeren, LLM, PLCGS | In-person Only

Anyone who has discovered that their ancestors once came from the Netherlands also wants to know when they left the old homeland and for what reason. The first question that arises is: are there passenger lists or other emigration documents? What can we learn from these documents and how do they help with further research into Dutch families? But also: what are the differences over the centuries?

The Erie Canal and the Opening of the West [F10]

Annette Burke Lyttle | In-person and on-demand

The Erie Canal revolutionized 19th-century travel across New York to the Midwest. It made settlement of the Old Northwest Territories possible by providing an efficient means of exporting agricultural products to the markets and ports of the east. But it was also one of the most challenging and fascinating projects ever undertaken in America.

Finding Samuel Fletcher - Searching Records in New York, Vermont, and Beyond [OD6]

Denise Cross | On-demand

The lack of vital records does not mean identities cannot be discovered or children named. Digging deep into online records and manuscript collections in New York archives and special collections turned up evidence to tie Samuel Fletcher of Westville, NY to his Vermont origins and provided names for his children.

Migration: New England to and Through New York [F15]

Kyle Hurst | In-person only

New York has been called “the first West for New England” because so many New Englanders settled there before continuing westward. Understanding patterns of settlement, expansion, and migration can help identify deep New England roots. This class will also cover methods for researching families on the move in the Northeast.

New York and Beyond

Exploring New York the New Way at FamilySearch [F14]

Robert Raymond | In-person and on-demand

First, images in 2020. Now, records in 2022. FamilySearch is radically transforming the rapid publication of online records.

Fire, Water, and the 1890 U.S. Census: Researching Beyond the Ashes and Mold [T03]

Elizabeth Williams Gomoll, CG® | In-person and on-demand

Most genealogists are aware the 1890 federal census was destroyed by fire in 1921. Learn the story behind this historical and genealogical tragedy and how to research around the loss of that precious record.

Free Websites for Family History Researchers [S03]

Cherie Bush | In-person only

There are many wonderful free genealogical resources available that people may not be aware of.

A Mosaic of New York Books on FamilySearch [OD9]

Robert Raymond | On-demand

The FamilySearch Digital Library has over 500,000 e-books from a mosaic of libraries. New features make it easier to find your ancestor than ever before.

Records on 17th Century Dutch Ancestors [S02]

John Boeren, LLM, PLCGS | In-person only

A significant number of families in New York can boast of one or more ancestors who settled New Netherland in the 17th century. In which Dutch sources do you look for relatives who did not make the crossing? This presentation provides a general overview of sources in Dutch archives, and especially online. Examples are church books, probate and court records.

Unlocking Notation Codes on Alien Passenger Lists [S05]

Elizabeth Williams Gomoll, CG® | In-person and on-demand

Finding an immigrant's name on a passenger list is exciting, but there's more information on that sheet than you might expect. Learn what the cryptic abbreviations and number codes jotted on U.S. customs manifests can reveal about an immigrant's experience when they arrived in "Amerika."

People and Places

Dutch Reformed Church Records [F07]

John Boeren, LLM, PLCGS | In-person and on-demand

The Dutch Reformed Church—formerly Nederduits Gereformeerde kerk—had a special place in Dutch society in the 17th and 18th centuries. The church records provide insight into the lives of our ancestors, but most importantly help us understand who was who and what happened to whom. These sources play a major role in research into 17th century immigrants in particular.

Finding Family in Eastern Europe; Getting Creative When Records Are Scarce [F02]

Lara Diamond | In-person only

For most places there are likely alternatives when records we want (vital and census records) are not available. And even when some records are available, information in lesser-known records may add human interest to otherwise dry genealogical facts. Historic border changes can drive available record types and where they might be held. This talk looks at two families, one from Austria-Hungary and one from the Russian Empire.

Is Great-Grandmother Really Native American? Native American Genealogy Research [OD7]

Janice Lovelace, PhD | On-demand

Many families have the oral history that an ancestor was Native American. How does a family researcher begin to discover if this is true? What federal, state and tribal records are available?

Irish Research Update: Best Sources and Methods to Unlock Your Family’s Records [S10]

Terry Koch-Bostic | In-person and on-demand

Researching ancestors born in Ireland has become less difficult in recent years as more records become digitized and freely accessible. But discovering their origins in a townland can still be a major hurdle. Discover methodology and records that can help solve that problem.

The Jews of Long Island 1705–1918 [F11]

Brad Kolodny | In-person and on-demand

The Jews of Long Island 1705–1918 tells the story of how Jewish communities were established and developed east of New York City, from Great Neck to Greenport and Cedarhurst to Sag Harbor. Discover how archival material including census records, newspaper accounts, never-before-published photos, and personal family histories illuminate Jewish life and experiences during these formative years.

Land of the Blacks: Tracing America’s First “Free” Black Community at NYSA [OD8]

Jasmine Bumpers and Jamie Brinkman | On-demand

In 1643, the first deeds were granted to those of African descent that had been formerly enslaved by the Dutch West India Company and successfully petitioned for freedom or obtained “half-free” status within New Netherland. Learn more about the unique village and the people who inhabited it, the ulterior motive behind the settlement, and what became of it after the English seized control of the Dutch colony.

Lumberjacks, Canal Workers: Rural Occupations in New York and Pennsylvania [S12]

James M. Beidler | In-person and on-demand

Many rural workers, often landless, supplied the labor for various industries in the areas on either side of the border between New York and Pennsylvania. Some traditional records omit them entirely; others need to be closely examined to find and document these individuals. Learn which record sets will help you the most!

New York Quakers: Their History and the Records They Left [S09]

Annette Burke Lyttle | In-person and on-demand

The first Quakers came to New Amsterdam in 1657 and soon there were several Quaker communities on Long Island. In the next two centuries, Quakers moved steadily westward across the state. Learn about the history of Quakers in New York and how to find the wonderful records they left.

Searching for Irish Ancestors [F08]

Penny Walters, PhD | In-person and on-demand

This session will look at why the Irish left Ireland during the 1800s, many of who went to America. Immigrant ancestors are inspiring and fascinating because they are diaspora (they left somewhere) and pioneers (they came to somewhere). We would like to know how, when and why ancestors went to America, and how to analyze the mark they left in records in Ireland.

Ukrainian Genealogy Research [T07]

Lara Diamond | In-person only

Ukrainian genealogical resources are becoming more available, both online and in-person in recent years. This talk will cover the wide variety of online resources available to research one’s ancestors who lived in what is modern-day Ukraine as well as those available to local researchers. Contrary to popular belief, most records were not destroyed, and researching Ukrainian ancestry is very possible.