2021 Virtual Genealogy Lock-In

 2021 Virtual Genealogy Lock-In

Join the Galveston and Texas History Center for the annual Genealogy Lock-In, held virtually this year. A series of seven video programs recorded specifically for this event will be presented online. The programs are provided by the Genealogy Network of Texas (GNT), a state-wide initiative to connect libraries/genealogical societies and provide educational and research opportunities that is spearheaded by the Genealogy Center of the Waco-McLennan County Library.

Attend as many sessions as you'd like! One registration gets access to all sessions.

Questions? Contact Lauren Henry by email or call 409-763-8854 x117.

Program of Events

9:30 – 10:20 am Filling in the Family Stories

Difficulty: Beginner

Susan Kaufman, Senior Manager, Houston Public Library, Clayton Library Center for Genealogical Research

This presentation, through examples of sources, will help you to understand the context in which your family lived, celebrated, cooked, listened to music, and other daily activities that all help provide the stories that make our families come alive. Stories in context go beyond just a name, date and place on a pedigree chart. Social history helps us to better understand lives, provides context to our research, adds interest to the pedigree chart and can also lead to additional records.

10:30 – 11:45 pm Attacking 18th and 19th Century Mysteries with DNA

Difficulty: Intermediate

Blaine Bettinger, Ph.D., J.D., The Genetic Genealogist Sponsored by: Waco-McLennan County Library

Did you know that you have an arsenal of Secret DNA Weapons at your fingertips? These tools can help you attack those mysteries from the 1900s and 1800s! Learn how to harness the power of Shared Matching to pull out matches related via a mystery ancestor, how to build Research Trees to quickly identify common ancestry, and more!

12:00 – 12:55 pm Fingerprinting Our Families: Using Ancestral Origins as a Genealogical Research Key

Difficulty: Beginner

Curt B. Witcher, MLS, FUGA, IGSF Manager, The Genealogy Center Senior Manager, Special Collections, Allen County Public Library

Explore how the concept of “America, the Great Melting Pot” may really be a flawed concept. Identifying the ethnic group of one’s ancestor or potential ancestor can pay some significant research dividends. Topics covered include how to build a historical context for one’s ancestor, studying population clusters, paying attention to patterns of all sorts (naming, migration, settlement, etc.), understanding the motivations of migration, and locating resource repositories.

1:00 – 1:50 pm Methodology: Using Timelines to Focus Your Research

Difficulty: Beginner

Susan Ball, President TxSGS

The most important tool you can use to research your ancestor is a timeline. Learn how to construct a timeline for your ancestor and use it to uncover previously overlooked avenues for research.

2:00 – 2:50 pm NARA Mythbusters: Your Family IS in the Archives

Difficulty: Beginner

Judy G Russell, JD, CG, CGL, The Legal Genealogist Sponsored by: Friends of Corpus Christi Public Libraries

“All the military records were burned in the fire.” “There isn’t any birth, marriage or death information in federal records.” “There aren’t any details about ordinary families at the National Archives.” These kinds of myth-statements stop genealogist from breaking down all kinds of brick walls using the wealth of information in NARA records. Join the mythbusters with the treasures the National Archives holds for your family.

3:00 – 3:50 pm Discover Genealogical Treasure Using Historic U.S. Maps

Difficulty: Intermediate

Hannah Kubacak, Genealogy Librarian, Genealogy Center Waco-McLennan County Library

Maps provide a valuable tool for understanding the world as it was when our ancestors were living. Explore a variety of resources for finding and using historic maps. A few of the maps to be discussed during this presentation will include Fire Insurance maps, county boundaries, Public Land Survey System maps, and land grants.

4:00 – 5:05 pm So, You’ve Found Your German Town of Origin, Now What?

Difficulty: Intermediate

Teresa Steinkamp McMillin, CG Sponsored by: Waco-McLennan County Library

Finding your ancestor’s town of origin can be exciting. Once this piece of information is found, you might be left wondering how to get records from the other side of the ocean. This lecture focuses on how to get records for German towns. Highlights include: verifying the location, strategies for identifying misspelled town names, finding historical jurisdictions, finding records for that town, useful aids for reading those records, tips for hiring a professional genealogist in Germany, when necessary.


Susan Ball

A genealogist for over 30 years, Susan Ball is TxSGS president, co-editor of Stirpes, and president of the San Angelo Genealogical and Historical Society. A strong supporter of records abstraction and publication, Susan has compiled four books of genealogical records, three of which have won TSGS book awards including the coveted grand prize. She also serves her local society as editor of the SAGHS Newsletter and assistant editor of Stalkin’ Kin of Old West Texas, the SAGHS biannual journal. Having received a master’s degree in electrical engineering, Susan worked as a project engineer for a defense contractor, as a patent engineer, and as CEO of her own database development company. In addition to giving presentations and seminars to numerous societies and the TxSGS Annual Conference, Susan has been the workshop speaker for the Amarillo Genealogical Society, the Permian Basin Genealogical Society, and twice for the Kerrville Genealogical Society.

Blaine Bettinger

Blaine Bettinger, Ph.D., J.D., is a professional genealogist specializing in DNA evidence. In 2007 he started The Genetic Genealogist (www.thegeneticgenealogist.com), one of the earliest blogs on the topic. Blaine is the author of The Family Tree Guide to DNA Testing and Genetic Genealogy, and co-author with Debbie Parker Wayne of the award-winning Genetic Genealogy in Practice, the world’s first genetic genealogy workbook. He also co-authored “Genetics for Genealogy” with Judy Russell in 2018’s Professional Genealogy: Preparation, Practice & Standards (ProGen PPS) (Elizabeth Shown Mills, Author and Editor).

Blaine is or has been an instructor for genetic genealogy courses at the Institute of Genealogy and Historical Research (IGHR), Salt Lake Institute of Genealogy (SLIG), Genealogical Research Institute of Pittsburgh (GRIP), and Virtual Institute of Genealogical Research. Blaine is a graduate of ProGen Study Group 21, a trustee for the New York Genealogical and Biographical Society’s Board of Trustees, and a board member for the Association of Professional Genealogists.

Susan Kaufman

Susan Kaufman is the Senior Manager of the Houston (TX) Public Library’s Clayton Library Center for Genealogical Research in Houston. An Illinois native, Susan has more than 30 years of experience as a genealogy librarian, having started her career in Peoria, IL (1987), then moving to the Allen County Public Library in Fort Wayne, Indiana, (1999 – 2004) then moving to Texas in 2004. 

A presenter at local, state and national genealogy conferences and meetings, she also has held numerous genealogical society board positions in Illinois, Indiana, and Texas and at the national level with the Federation of Genealogical Societies.   

Her presentation topics are source topics including research sources, effective library use and much more.

In 2019, Susan was awarded the National Genealogical Society / ProQuest P. William Filby and became a Fellow of the Texas State Genealogical Society for outstanding service as a genealogy librarian and for service to family history researchers. To round out 2019, she was awarded the Lloyd D Bockstruck Distinguished Service Award by the Dallas Genealogical Society.

She is past President of the Texas State Genealogical Society, and currently serves as its Director of Education.  She is a member of the Texas Library Association and the American Library Association.

Hannah Kubacak

Hannah Kubacak is a Waco native with a life-long interest in family stories. She has been the reference librarian for the Waco Genealogy Center since 2015. Previously she worked at the Chickasaw Nation’s Holisso Research Center in Sulphur, Oklahoma. In addition to presenting genealogy programs for the Waco Genealogy Center, Hannah has presented for various genealogical societies around Texas including the Central Texas Genealogical Society and the East Texas Genealogical Society. She previously taught genealogy continuing education classes at McLennan Community College. She has published multiple articles illustrating ways to use maps in genealogical research for STIRPES and Heart of Texas Records. Her areas of research include the Five Civilized Tribes, Texas, and the Southeastern United States, however as a reference librarian, she has assisted individuals researching their ancestors across the map.

Teresa McMillin

Teresa Steinkamp McMillin, Certified Genealogist ®, author of the Guide to Hanover Military Records, 1514-1866 on Microfilm at the Family History Library, is the owner of Lind Street Research, a company dedicated to helping people discover their German ancestry. Teresa conducts research on behalf of the U.S. Army to aid in repatriating soldiers missing from the nation’s past conflicts.

She has taught at the Institute of Genealogy and Historical Research (IGHR) and the Salt Lake Institute of Genealogy (SLIG) Academy for Professionals. She created and recorded courses for Ancestry Academy and Legacy Family Tree Webinars. She is a popular speaker for national, regional, and local genealogical societies.

Reading German Gothic script found in German records prior to the mid-1900s is second nature to her. Researching ancestors in Chicago and other areas of the Midwest is another of Teresa’s specialty areas. She is a multi-year attendee of the Institute of Genealogy and Historical Research (IGHR) and the Salt Lake Institute of Genealogy (SLIG).

Teresa is a member of the National Genealogical Society, the Association of Professional Genealogists, as well as many German and local genealogical societies. Teresa chairs the committee for the Board for Certification of Genealogists monthly webinar series. She is a genealogy volunteer at the Arlington Heights Memorial Library.

Judy Russell

The Legal Genealogist Judy G. Russell is a genealogist with a law degree. She writes, teaches and lectures on a wide variety of genealogical topics, providing expert guidance through the murky territory where law and family history intersect. A Colorado native with roots deep in the American south on her mother’s side and entirely in Germany on her father’s side, she holds a bachelor’s degree in journalism with a political science minor from George Washington University in Washington, D.C. and a law degree from Rutgers School of Law-Newark. Before she retired, she worked as a newspaper reporter, trade association writer, legal investigator, defense attorney, federal prosecutor, law editor and, for more than 20 years, as an adjunct member of the faculty at Rutgers Law School.

She is a member of the Association of Professional Genealogists, the National Genealogical Society and numerous state and regional genealogical societies. She has written for the National Genealogical Society Quarterly (from which she received the 2017 Award of Excellence), the National Genealogical Society Magazine, the FGS Forum, BCG’s OnBoard, and Family Tree Magazine, among other publications.

An internationally-known lecturer and course coordinator and faculty member at numerous genealogical institutes, she holds credentials as a Certified Genealogist® and Certified Genealogical Lecturer℠ from the Board for Certification of Genealogists®. Her award-winning blog appears at The Legal Genealogist website (http://www.legalgenealogist.com).

Curt Witcher

Curt Witcher is the Director of Special Collections at the Allen County Public Library in Fort Wayne, IN, managing the widely acclaimed Genealogy Center as well as the Lincoln Financial Foundation Collection of Abraham Lincoln related research materials. He is in his forty-second year of service at the Allen County Public Library.

Curt is a former president of both the Federation of Genealogical Societies and the National Genealogical Society, and the founding president of the Indiana Genealogical Society. He has penned many hundreds of articles on topics of interest to family historians, librarians and archivists, and has presented lectures to historical and genealogical groups across the country. Curt also serves on the Indiana State Historical Records Advisory Board and the board of the Friends of the Indiana State Archives.

Curt was distinguished in 1995 as a fellow of the Utah Genealogical Association (FUGA) and received the Federation of Genealogical Societies' Rabbi Malcolm H. Stern Humanitarian Award, in 1997. Curt was recognized in 2006 by being named the first fellow of the Indiana Genealogical Society. He was honored in May of 2007 with the National Genealogical Society’s P. William Filby Award for outstanding, life-time contributions to genealogical librarianship. Indiana’s lieutenant governor recognized Curt’s work in the summer of 2016 with a Hoosier Hospitality Award, and the Dallas Genealogical Society awarded him the Lloyd DeWitt Bockstruck Distinguished Service Award later that year for outstanding contributions to the genealogical community on a national level. In August of 2018, Curt received the Loretto Dennis Szucs Award from the Federation of Genealogical Societies in recognition of his many years of dedicated service to the genealogical community. Most recently, he is an Indiana Historical Society 2019 Eli Lilly Lifetime Achievement Award winner for his extraordinary contributions to the field of history and the Indiana Historical Society.