Skip to main content

Conference registration is open! Register Now.

Pre-conference Workshops

These 2017 workshops have been formulated for the purpose of aiding conference participants in gaining the knowledge required to do accurate research in Eastern Europe. Participants may attend only one.

Please read these descriptions carefully before registering!

Finding the Village of Origin

Joanne M. Sher, Instructor

Joanne M Sher

The purpose of this workshop is two fold: First, it is virtually impossible to do research in Eastern Europe without first knowing the name of the village where your ancestors come from. A country name, or even a general area, is too broad. You must have the name of the village. Second, having this information and a point to work from will enhance your experience during the conference such that the country-focus courses will be more meaningful.

This two-day workshop will focus on helping you find that village of origin. Instruction will be provided each morning in the use of specific United States and Canadian record sources that may provide this information and methodologies to use when your search has not produced the answer. Each afternoon participants will spend time at the Family History Library using the available subscription sites and other records to research with assistance as needed. Joanne Sher will be instructing, with various local consultants assisting with research at the Family History Library.

Note: This workshop ends at the point where identification of the the name of the village of origin is identified (which is highly possible, but not guaranteed during the two-day workshop). It is not intended to take you beyond that point. The conference lectures begin with the information you need to take it from there, including finding where that village is located on a map or gazetteer. Please don’t sign up for this workshop if you already have this information.

Please bring all information found to date on each ancestor/family you wish to track.

German Handwriting

Milan Pohontsch, Instructor

German handwriting class

In this workshop, you will learn how to read and write the old German Deutsche Schreibschrift handwriting style, that was used in German records prior to 1917. Each letter of the alphabet will be taught and how to create it by using a nib and ink. Writing whole words will be practiced with those most often found in German genealogical records. A knowledge of the German language is helpful but not required.

It would be helpful to purchase prior to starting the class a few nibs of various sizes (best results are produced by nib sizes Broad and 2B), a pen holder, and some ink (sets are often under $20 on the Internet). Ruled paper will be provided. For cleaning purposes it would be helpful to bring a small jar and a cloth.

Cyrillic for Beginners

Joe Everett, Instructor

Would you believe that Cyrillic is one of the most common writing systems in the world? It is utilized in Russian, Rusyn (hence parts of Eastern Slovakia and southern Poland), Serbo-Croatian, Bosnian, Ukrainian, and more. This two half-day workshop will provide tools and assistance geared toward helping you memorize the Russian alphabet as a precursor to being able to read Cyrillic script in any language. Instruction and in-class practice will be followed by personal practice such that one could attend the Russian Language and Handwriting class and actually be able to participate and receive meaningful instruction.

Note: Knowing the Russian alphabet is considered a pre-requisite to worthwhile participation in the Russian Research Courses during the conference. You may utilize this workshop to help you, or you may learn the information before you arrive at home on your own. The Russian Language and Handwriting Class will be helpful to anyone conducting research in any of the Cyrillic Script languages, not just Russian.