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Class Descriptions for the 2022 FEEFHS Conference

2022 Class Descriptions for the 2022 FEEFHS Conference

The following lists includes all classes and workshops with its descriptions:


Austro-Hungarian Track

Arcanum Maps (Gina Palmer)

Learn about different types of maps available on the Arcanum website, and how to manipulate them to learn more about the area your ancestors lived in.


Gen-Team -- Resource for Research in Austria, Germany, Czechia, Slovakia, and Slovenia (Gina Palmer)

Learn about some resource databases available on the website, especially how the gazetteer can help you locate parish records.


Austro-Hungarian Research - Maps, Gazetteers, and more! (Annette Adams)

This course will provide a typical Austro-Hungarian research problem that starts with not understanding an entry, i.e. changing ethnicity in US census records, and having a place name that doesn’t seem to make sense on a US naturalization record. The course will introduce Austria Familia, Genteam, and Mapire, among others, to help identify place names. This class is meant to be an overview, and will provide other resources, such as FamilySearch video tutorials, and the FamilySearch Research Austro-Hungarian Research wiki.


Discover your Danube Swabian ancestors in the Austro-Hungarian Empire (Annette Adams)

A basic historic overview will be presented and historical maps and gazetteers will be mentioned. An in-depth look at Austria Familia will be provided, as well as other genealogical society online resources. The emphasis will be placed on the five major settlement areas, Banat, Batschka, Swabian Turkey, Slavonia and Syrmia, and Budapest, and how record collections and books may be found in the FamilySearch catalog on the topic of Donau Swabians in the Austro-Hungarian Empire. This class is meant to be an introduction. [paragraph break] Sites introduced:,, AKdFF.e.V.


"From Vienna to France, with letters of Love" (Annette Adams)

Different record types yield different information, and knowing where to look for resources to identify and determine familial relationships will teach class participants methodology tactics in addressing how to find answers concerning record collections, transcription helps and translation, FamilySearch, Jewish records, Genteam, Hungary, and archiving familial documents.


Austro-Hungarian Genealogy: A Germanic-focused Case Study (Stephen Wendt)

Gain a better understanding of historical Austro-Hungary in the pursuit of records with numerous examples and resources.


Census Records for Czechia (Jilline Maynes)

Want to learn more about your Czech ancestors? Come and discover them through census records. Many of these records for are digitized and available online to enhance your research and understanding of your ancestors’ lives. Learn when they were created, their content, and how to access them.


Confession Time: Religion in Austria-Hungary (Brian Schellenberg)

The various lands of the Austro-Hungarian Empire were not just diverse ethnically and linguistically, but also in matters of religion. Tradition, politics, and personal preference led our ancestors to various places of worship to save their souls and record their vital events. In this presentation, I will present an overview of the various religions found in the empire and then where, when, and why our ancestors may have belonged to these religions.


Vocabulary to Impress Your Friends: The Effects of Josephinismus (Brian Schellenberg)

Holy Roman Emperor Joseph II (ruled 1765-1790) was one of the three great enlightened despots of the 18th century (Who were the other two? Tune in to find out!), and the philosophy of his rule, later known as “Josephinismus,” had major effects on politics, religion, art, and (you guessed it) genealogy. You have likely seen these effects without really knowing it, and this class will help you understand and anticipate these effects to make your research more efficient and colorful.


An Édes By Any Other Name Would Smell as Süß: Deciphering Names in Austria-Hungary (Brian Schellenberg)

When does Albert become Béla? Was Martinus really the son of a man named Martini? Why do so many places Kiss- and why isn’t that Gross-? In this class, we will discuss personal names and placenames as they are affected by the various vernacular and ecclesiastical languages of the empire. This will lead us to discussing those little pet peeves of grammar and translation that make the creation of a clean family tree so doggone difficult.



DNA Track

Understanding DNA and Using DNA Test Results to Build Your Family Tree (Julie Stoddard)

Come learn how to use DNA test results as evidence to help build your family tree. This class will provide an overview of DNA, the benefits and tools of the various DNA testing sites, and then the steps and strategies for using DNA to solve research questions.


Using Geography to Solve DNA Questions (Dave Obee)

So you have spit into a tube -- now what? Your next step might be to consult an atlas, because geographic clues from your matches might get you looking in the right direction. This session includes some DNA success stories, based on geography and backed by documented research. It also offers pointers on how to get more value from your tests.


DNA Health Tests and Your Family Health History (Rick Crume)

Your family’s medical history might reveal a history of disease and patterns relevant to your own health. In this class, you’ll learn why you need a family health history, where to find records that show causes of death and illness and how to organize your health history information. You’ll also find out how health features in DNA tests from 23andMe, Living DNA and MyHeritage compare.



German Track

Exploring German Emigration Records (Stephen Wendt)

Gain a better understanding of the historical ports used for German emigration and the value of German emigration records.


Meyer’s Gazetteer Now Online, Indexed and Fully Searchable! (Fritz Juengling)

Learn the history of the project, how to search for places, special search features, how to use the maps, find surrounding parishes and civil registry offices, strategies for searching, and other features.


German Phonetics and Spelling (Fritz Juengling)

We learn how sounds are made, what symbols are used to represent those sounds, and why variant spellings are acceptable. This will give context to the spelling variants that people encounter in their research.


German Dialects and What They Mean for the Researcher (Fritz Juengling)

We learn sound changes and how those affect spelling and pronunciation in Modern German dialects. How are Bockholt and Buchholz, for example, related? How can a researcher recognize and how should she deal with dialects?


German Names: their Origins, Meanings, and Peculiarities (Fritz Juengling)

Their Origins, Meanings, and Distribution In this lecture, I discuss origin and meanings of given names and the four types surnames, geographic distribution based on dialect characteristics, and introduce an online surnames distribution map.


German Civil Registration Records (Jilline Maynes)

Discover why civil registration records are among the top sources for German research. These records are vital to expanding your family history and many are conveniently available online. Come and develop your knowledge of these records, including their content, availability, accessibility, and how to incorporate them into your research.


Online German-Language Newspapers (Jilline Maynes)

Bring your German-speaking ancestors to life through newspapers. Digitization and Fraktur-reading software have brought historic German-language newspapers into the spotlight. Expand your understanding of this record group – and your ancestors – by learning what countries created them and how to access them online.


German Marriage Laws and Customs (Milan Pohontsch)

In the various areas of Germany were different permissions required for marriage. Some permissions needed to be received from the ruling authorities, others from the church. Also, various customs dictated different ways marriages were celebrated. The class will introduce some of these requirements and customs.


Understanding the Past (Milan Pohontsch)

The class will introduce German naming patterns, social standing, the guilds, currencies, and tax laws, that existed in what became Germany. This will give you an understanding about the circumstances your ancestors lived in and the regulations they were subjected to.



Mixed Germanic Track

Online Church Records on Archion and Matricua Online (Gina Palmer)

This course will demonstrate how to use the websites and to find and view Catholic and Protestant church records online.


Navigating German Genealogy Research (Stephen Wendt)

Gain a better understanding of German Genealogy in the German Empire and the Austro-Hungarian Empire in the pursuit of records with numerous resources and examples.


German Gazetteers: Locating Historical German Place Names (Stephen Wendt)

Come prepared with your German ancestral locations and learn new tools for locating them in the German Empire and the Austro-Hungarian Empire.


Cemeteries in Central Europe (Roger Minert)

The customs associated with funerals and burials in German-language regions of Europe are substantially different from corresponding rituals in the United States. The layout and maintenance of cemeteries in also quite different. In this presentation, images are used to illustrate cemetery conditions and cultural customs associated with funerals and burials. The presenter demonstrates how the individual or family grave and its appearance are of great concern to Europeans. The question of death and burial records--often asked by North American researchers--is also discussed in detail. This presentation has been updated during Prof. Minert’s current stay in Frankfurt am Main, Germany. 


Finding East European Archival Resources Online (Nancy E. Loe)

This presentation helps you locate genealogy records held in libraries and archives worldwide, with a special focus on East European countries. Learn about digitized records, how to find them, and how archivists make collections accessible. Specific URLs for various archives worldwide are included, along with effective search terms and strategies for finding genealogy records in archives. 



Germans from Eastern Europe Track


Introduction to German Research in Eastern Europe (Dave Obee)

It can be difficult to research the Germans who lived in Eastern Europe, but it's not impossible. Factors include their location, the time frame, and their religion. This session might take the modern researcher to records in Poland, Ukraine and elsewhere, including descendants in North America, Germany and elsewhere. 


Germans from Russia Research (Thom Edlund)

This presentation offers a basic introduction to primary and secondary sources for researching Russo-German family history.  Content includes instruction on how to use and interpret period gazetteers, maps, census returns, taxation lists and metrical records.


Discovering Your Black Sea German Ancestors (Carolyn Schott)

Looking for your Black Sea German ancestors? Trying to understand the complicated history of Germans in this region (now Ukraine, Moldova, Romania, Georgia)? We’ll talk about how German settlers came to this area and how historical events impact the types of research records available for different parts of the Black Sea region.


Voyages of the Donauschwaben (Carolyn Schott)

The Donauschwaben were not all Schwäbisch (from Swabia in southwestern Germany), but most of them did travel the Donau (Danube) on their way to found colonies in Hungary, Romania, Serbia, and Croatia in the 17th and 18th centuries. Find out little-known facts about this group of immigrants as we dive into their history and identify key resources for researching your family history.


International Association of Germans from Lithuania: Deutsche aus Litauen (Cynthia Spurgat Jacobson / Owen McCafferty)

This presentation will include information about the newly-formed International Association of Germans from Lithuania (IAGL) This German minority, the Deutsche aus Litauen, lived in southwestern Lithuania for almost 150 years, from the late 18th century to 1944. A brief history will be followed by an explanation of the importance of the Civil Registration records. Demonstrations include how to find your family on the website, use the index, locate an inventory of the records, introduce non-church records, review a translation guide, and provide a free issue of Die Weite, the semi-annual journal.



Jewish Track

Introduction to Jewish Genealogy (Joanne M. Sher)

Jewish genealogical research builds on the general concepts of genealogical research however many specialized resources and techniques need to be known and used. Learn how to trace your Jewish family history as well as utilize available print, filmed, and online resources.


Illegitimacy in the Jewish Communities of Galicia (Janette Silverman )

The many punitive and restrictive laws in the Austrian Empire resulted in choices made by the Jewish community to circumvent these. Originally instituted to curtail the size of the Jewish community and create boundaries, the communities themselves changed and found ways to work around the laws. Many birth, marriage and death records in the Jewish community use terms like “illegitimate” and “ritual marriage”. Sometimes our ancestors had multiple surnames, or even hyphenated surnames this session will discuss these and the insight we can gain about the lives of our ancestors.


Unpacking Jewish Gravestones (Janette Silverman)

Jewish gravestones use symbols that are different from those on non-Jewish gravestones. Jewish gravestones often include inscriptions in Hebrew. These inscriptions may hold the clues for finding earlier generations. In this this session we will unpack the mysteries of the Hebrew on the stones and understand something about Jewish traditions and reading the gravestones. We’ll look at symbols, and at connections between names.


How to Find Your Jewish Ancestors (Daniel Horowitz)

There is a wealth of genealogical information available on the internet for people with Jewish heritage. In this session, you will learn how to search efficiently in various databases — both Jewish (e.g. JewishGen, GesherGalicia, JRI-Poland, and societies such as IGRA and IGS) and general (e.g. FamilySearch, Ancestry, and MyHeritage) — to find information about your Jewish ancestors. [paragraph break] Whether you know you have Jewish ancestors, suspect you have Jewish ancestors, or simply want your daughter to marry a nice Jewish doctor, you won’t want to miss this informative lecture that will make some order in the chaos of Jewish family history.


Mining the Manifest: Finding the Immigration Story (Susan Weinberg)

This presentation will explore immigration journeys both to the US and then from NY to elsewhere in the US. It will use a case approach and explore some of the search challenges associated with immigration in the 1800s and finding immigrants where there have been name changes or variable spellings. Techniques will address working back from other documents, resolving conflicting data and identifying and linking the person to whom an immigrant is going. Cases will address such topics as travel through Canada, the Industrial Removal Office and documentation of naturalization under a parent or husband.


From JewishGen to Family Search: Finding Images of Indexed Records (Banai Lynn Feldstein)

While it's great to have access to indexed records, it's important to obtain copies of the original records. Indexes are guides to help us find the records. Even if the records are fully indexed -- though they're usually not -- checking the original can reveal missing information or incorrect indexing. But it's not always simple to find the original images even when they're available online. Banai will show examples of different indexing techniques used by various JewishGen and SIG databases over the years to find copies of the original records.


Holocaust Research: Finding Family Members Who Died by Bullets (Joanne M. Sher)

Of the six million Jews who perished in the Holocaust millions died in their villages or in nearby forests, not in concentration or labor camps. Learn about resources to find out what happened to them and how they are remembered.



Polish Track

Introduction to Polish Research (Dave Obee)

Just starting with your Polish ancestry? This session reviews the history of Poland and covers some of the key sources you will need to consult. Most of these sources can be found online.


Polish Census Records – Then and Now (Tadeusz Pilat)

Learn about census records in the three partitions of Poland and some after WWII ones. Examples of census-like records of the pre-partitioned Poland will also be included.


Using Online Map Resources as well as Cadastral Maps in Poland (Tadeusz Pilat)

A brief history of the Cadastral records in Galicia (Austrian partition). What they are and how to use them.


Szukaj w Archiwach – A Guide to Researching on the Polish State Archives Website (Katerina Sanders Schmidt)

This class will help participants learn how to search for genealogically significant records, locate the important information available for each record set, and learn how to best use the features available with a free account. We will also go over how to contact archives if digital scans are not available. Additionally, this class will include case studies to help participants get a good grasp on how to use the website.


Galician Records and How to Read Them (Kinga Urbańska)

During the presentation, I will present the historical background of the record forms introduced Galicia, we will check how they changed over time and how to read them. As part of the webinar, the Latin names of professions, social status and causes of death will be presented. The important part of the meeting will also cover the instruction on how to locate a metrical documentation concerning Galician parishes/communes within current archival system.


Ethnic Diversity & Population Trends in SE Poland (Tadeusz Pilat)

Learn about population trends and ethnic diversity in pre WWII Poland and online resources for learning more.


Genealogy and Dual Citizenship: Polish (EU) Citizenship by Descent and its Perks (Michał Petrus)

Genealogy can be a sentimental journey into the past, but who says it cannot help with personal goals? One such instance is employing your ancestry to secure European Union citizen rights. This webinar is aimed at those who live outside of the EU and have Polish ancestry or are just curious about the citizenship law in Poland. We will discuss a method that allows confirming Polish citizenship even after many years has passed since anyone from your family lived in Poland.


Researching Polish Civil Registration (Greg Nelson)

[Description will follow soon]


Reading Polish Records (Greg Nelson)

Reading Polish records can be challenging, especially if you have family from the different partitions. The records may be in Polish, German, Russian, and Latin. In this course, we will cover the basics of all 4 languages - what it will look like in North American records, what the European records will look like, key words, and a list of resources you can use to further your research.



Resources Track

Morse Code: Favorite Tools on Steve Morse’s Website (Banai Lynn Feldstein)

Steve Morse has provided a plethora of tools on his web site to help genealogists to access the data on other web sites, including the Ellis Island searches, New York City vital records indexes, and the US Federal Census ED finder. Banai will discuss these and other tools, which ones she uses the most and why.


Blogging As An Excellent Platform to Share Your Family History (Craig Siulinski)

Have you considered starting your own genealogy blog to share the compelling stories of a family line or of a particular ancestor? This class will focus on the basics behind creating a blog using the free Google Blogger platform and all you need to know to get started with publishing your selected content online. The interactive element of blogging adds a dynamic element that stand-alone books and regular websites do not offer because readers can post information and stories to add to the content that you share with your audience.


How to Break a Brick Wall (Craig Siulinski)

Computers and technology provide today’s genealogists with many resources for basic research and sometimes can assist in solving complex research puzzles. But breaking brick walls, and possibly long-standing ones, often require other avenues to reach success. First and foremost, among these other avenues, is the research trip and accessing the available records in the brick-and-mortar establishments of our ancestors’ pasts. Another important avenue is meeting people along the way who can help provide insights or answers relating to your compelling and perplexing research questions. This presentation will offer ideas you may not yet have tried that could break your brick wall barriers. After these ideas are presented factually, what better way to illustrate how they worked for me in solving my brick wall…then by sharing a story!


Billions and Billions of Records from Europe on MyHeritage, Oh My! (Daniel Horowitz)

With billions of records at your disposal, where do you even begin? The MyHeritage Search Engine is a state-of-the-art tool that can help you search for information about your relatives online. In a matter of seconds, it can search across billions of historical records to pinpoint the ones most relevant to your research. Its advanced algorithms can identify spelling and phonetic variations, understand nicknames, and handle synonyms and ethnic variations. Daniel will show you how to use the MyHeritage Search Engine to find information about your relatives quickly and efficiently.


Changing Places, Changing Borders (Dave Obee)

Yes, it has been possible to be born in one country, get married in another, and die in a third -- without ever leaving your home. The boundaries in Eastern Europe have been redrawn many times over the years, presenting challenges for modern-day genealogical researchers. When jurisdictions have changed, it is especially important to learn how to interpret and record information.


United States & Canada Russian Consulate Records (Joanne M. Sher)

The Russian Consulates in the United States, 1862-1922, and Canada, 1898-1922, served subjects of the Russian Empire. After the consulates closed the governments of the United States and Canada preserved those records before returning them to the Soviet Union. Files contain records, reports, correspondence and photographs which are invaluable to researchers.



Russian Empire / USSR Track


Introduction to Russian Empire/USSR Research (Joe Everett)

The Russian Empire/USSR track includes research in countries that were formerly part of the Russian Empire or U.S.S.R, with a focus on the countries in Europe, including Russia, Ukraine, Belarus, Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania as well as the former Russian-Poland (Kingdom of Poland). This class will provide an overview of genealogy research in this region.


Finding Relatives in Russian Empire Records for non-Russian Speakers (Lara Diamond)

You don't have to speak Russian to have success in research. Learn how to navigate Russian resources and find and analyze records with a little Russian knowledge and some helpful tools and tips.


Russian Metrical Books and Revision Lists (Thom Edlund)

This presentation is an introduction to the study of Russian language birth, marriage, death and taxation records. Topics addressed included record discovery, archival arrangements, record structure and Russian language keywords. Excepted learning outcomes for presentation attendees include strategies for identifying records for family history research and the ability to extract genealogical information such as dates, names, geographical place and vital events.


Beyond Vital Records (Lara Diamond)

This talk will be a survey of additional Russian Empire sources beyond vital records, including censuses and tax records, city directories, military records, land records and more--and where to find them.


1897 Census of the Russian Empire (Thom Edlund)

This presentation provides instruction for using the 1897 all-Russia census for genealogical purposes.  A brief background to census is followed by step-by-step instructions in how to locate census records for specific Russian communities and how to interpret census returns for families and persons. Expected learning outcomes include the ability to identify census returns for relevant individuals and discovery age, religion, native language, literacy, place of residence and status within a family unit.


Russian Research Methodology (Thom Edlund)

This presentation is a genealogical case study.  For an individual identified in the 1897 census returns, an ancestry tree is created using Russian language metrical books and revision lists. Presentation will focus on 19th century documents and will introduce the attendee record identification and content extraction.


Researching Records in the Archives of former USSR Countries (Joe Everett)

Learn about the archive system in Russia and the former USSR, archival record arrangement, visiting or corresponding with archives, using archival finding aids, and locating records on archive websites.


Finding Records on FamilySearch and other Websites for the Former Russian Empire and USSR (Joe Everett)

Discover how to find images of original records from Russia and the USSR online on FamilySearch, other genealogical sites, as well as archive websites.


Jewish Research in the Russian Empire (Lara Diamond)

This talk discusses vital records, census and revision lists, and other records that will place Jewish residents and help understand their lives in the Russian Empire. It will cover where to locate these records – both in archives and online; how and why these records were created; and what each teaches. This talk will also provide tips for non-Russian speakers to identify family members in Russian language records.






Workshops (3 or 6 hours)

German Handwriting (3 hrs., Fritz Juengling)

Learn how to write the archaic German handwriting.


Latin Handwriting (3 hrs., Fritz Juengling)

Learn the peculiarities of the Latin handwriting and its grammar.


Bring your own German documents and let's decipher them (up to 6 hrs. if needed, Milan Pohontsch)

Bring your own records written in the archaic German handwriting (or print) and let's decipher together what is in it. The classroom will be open to anyone, and attendees can join and leave at any time.


Foundation of Hebrew for Beginners (3 hrs., Janette Silverman)

Among the Eastern European Jewish community, Yiddish was widely spoken, Hebrew was used for prayers and study of sacred texts, and Aramaic may have been used for ancient contracts. Yiddish, Hebrew and Aramaic are all written in the Hebrew alphabet. Hebrew is one of the Semitic languages. This short course will cover some of the basics of the alphabet and pronunciation, and discuss the differences in pronunciation between modern Hebrew and Eastern European pronunciations. We will review some Jewish records such as gravestones, circumcision books (mohel buchs) and marriage contracts (ketubot) and tools to assist in identifying names of people and places in these documents. We will also discuss other types of records which may include Hebrew.


Planting a Family Tree Online on MyHeritage (3 hrs., Daniel Horowitz)

Building a family tree online has a number of unique advantages, and one of them is that you can take advantage of the unique features of the platform you’re using. In this session, Daniel will introduce you to the MyHeritage platform and give you an overview of its features, showing you how you can grow your tree quickly and efficiently thanks to MyHeritage’s advanced technologies. You’ll learn the basics of building a family tree online: how to create family member profiles, fill in details, and discover new information and family members to add to your tree.


Reading Records in Russian (6 hrs., Joe Everett)

Move beyond basic knowledge of the Russian alphabet to learning and practicing reading printed and handwritten documents in Russian. Participants should come to class having already familiarized themselves with the Russian alphabet in print, including the letter names, sounds, and English equivalent letters, and be able to read (sound out) common Russian names and basic vocabulary.