Talks and Workshops
I have a number of talks and workshops that I can present. These are listed below in three categories: DNA; Beginners; and General Topics. I am also preparing new talks and it may be possible to develop a talk or workshop if you have a specific need.
Talks are available in person or online. I can provide my own Zoom account to support online talks and events if required.
If you would like to book me for a talk or workshop for your group or your event, or discuss your requirements further, please contact me via email@example.com.
- Introduction to DNA for Family Historians – this hour long lecture is a high level overview of how DNA can help with family history research. Covering the basics of the types of DNA tests available and what information you can gain from DNA testing to help your family history. This talk is designed for experienced family historians who have not yet used DNA to support their research. I am presenting this talk to West Middlesex FHS on 17 August 2023.
- Demystifying DNA Tests – this talk is designed to help the audience decide if taking a DNA test is for them. It talks about what can be found by taking a DNA test and discusses possible concerns people may have. It will help focus the questions that need to be considered before deciding to take a DNA test. I am presenting this on 28 November 2023 for the Society of Genealogists.
- DNA Test Taken, Now What? – this talk is for people who have taken a DNA test but need guidance on how to explore the results at the various companies and learn where to find the relevant information from the results. I am presenting this on 5 December 2023 for the Society of Genealogists.
- Starting to Use Your DNA Results in Your Family History – this talk allows you to start taking the results and actively incorporating them into your family history research. With hints and tips on how to discover more about your DNA matches and working out how they are related to you. I am presenting this on 12 December 2023 for the Society of Genealogists.
- Hunting through matches – practical examples of how to investigate unidentified matches – similar to the previous talk, this covers similar material but uses specific examples to illustrate the methods for identifying your DNA matches and working out how they fit into your family tree.
- DNA Test Plan – Considering the Options – once you have done an initial DNA test for yourself, you start to consider who else to test or where else to test to increase the information you can gain from DNA. This talk discusses the considerations when decided who, what, where, when and why to test.
- Solving genealogy brickwalls case study – finding a great grandfather – this talk uses an example from my own family history where I have progressed a brickwall using DNA alongside traditional genealogy research. The path to solving this brickwall had a number of surprises along the way with forgeries, quick marriages, criminal ancestors and often more questions than answers. In telling the story, methods and tools for using DNA to break down brickwalls are provided.
- Using DNA to Support Family History Research – this talk is aimed at people who want to practically apply DNA insights to their family history research. DNA is the new tool in our toolkit for helping us take our family history further. Whether it is validating all the work we have already done to confirm if the paper trail matches the biological trail or solving a long standing brickwall, DNA can help with our research. This talk looks at some of the methods and techniques you can use when working with your DNA results. In addition, little tips will be given along with a few practical examples to help you visualise what you need to do to progress your family history research.
- Moving DNA to the Next Level – this talk provides information on more advanced tools and techniques for analysing your DNA results. Covering chromosome browsers, clustering, statistical analysis and X-DNA, this talk takes your use of DNA for family history to the next level.
- Examples of using WATO and other tools to help analyse a set of matches – practical examples of how to use key tools useful for analysing your DNA matches including What Are The Odds? (WATO), chromosome mapping and auto-clustering.
- Introduction to DNA for Adoptees – this talk is aimed at professionals supporting adoptees rather than adoptees themselves. This talk covers the basic background to how DNA testing can help in the identification of biological relatives (notably the birth parents of adoptees). It is aimed at adoption workers supporting adoptees who have taken or are thinking of taking a commercial DNA test. To understand why DNA testing helps to identify biological family, the basics of DNA and how it is inherited is explained. The different types of DNA tests are discussed and how they help in the search. A look at what information a DNA test gives you (ethnicity and DNA matches) leads into the basics of how to use the information to identify biological parents. Along the way, cautions (e.g. things to be aware of when interpreting DNA results) will be given to help ensure mistakes are not made using the DNA results.
- DNA Q&A – sometimes your group may just want to be able to ask open questions on DNA. I have held a DNA for Beginners Q&A session however the Q&A session can be adapted to work to fit your group’s needs.
- Family History – What Is It All About? – this talk is designed to introduce family history to people who have not done any family history or are at the very start of their genealogy journey. This is ideal for groups such as the Women’s Institute, Rotary, Probus, etc. This can also be adapted for a younger audience such as a Scout or Guide group. See the Introduction to Family History handout on Information page.
- An Audience with a Genealogist – a question and answer session with an experienced genealogist. After a brief introduction about who I am and what I do, the floor is opened up to the audience to ask questions regarding any aspects of family history from DNA testing to how to get started researching, privacy concerns and what have been the most interesting ancestors that have been found.
- Tracing Your Ancestors’ Lives – using various sources, learn how to follow the journey through your family’s story. Using my own family as an example, I explain how to explore the record sets and tools at The Genealogist and elsewhere. Find out how to use them to build out information on your ancestors. This talk will allow you to learn how to trace your family and expand their stories. This talk is available to purchase via Family-History.TV.
- What Did They Do? – Sources for Trades, Occupations and Professions – this talk covers a range of sources for your ancestors’ occupations as well as considerations when researching their occupations. A version is available which specifically highlights the occupation collections at the Society of Genealogists as well as a version which concentrates on online sources. See Occupations handout on Information page.
- Occupations: The Why, What, When, Where, and How – this talk is a short version (20 minutes) of the above talk recorded for RootsTech Connect that is free to watch on YouTube.
- Hidden in Plain Site – this talk looks at free online sources that are often overlooked in preference for the main commercial websites. This talk gives ideas of where else you could go to expand your hunt for your ancestors’ life story. This talk is available to members of Legacy Family Tree Webinars – join here. Note these are affiliate links.
- Hidden in the Small Print – discover how little details can reveal the answer to your problems. This talks looks at where additional information may be hidden within documents that you have already viewed. It takes you through different ways of examining and viewing records to get more from them. Often it is these small clues that can help break through brickwalls. This talk is available to purchase via Family-History.TV.
- Hidden in the Newsprint – an insight into the wealth of information that is available within newspapers including the British Newspaper Archive and The Gazette as well as hints and tips for getting more out of searching and finding useful articles within the newspapers.
- Probate: Where there is a Will – English and Welsh probate records are split into two eras – pre and post 1858 – and how to track down your ancestors’ probate records is different in these two timescales. This talk takes you through the differences for these two eras, the types of records you may find and what they contain. Information on how to find indexes and use them to locate the original wills, administrations and other records is provided noting some are easy to find however many more are often hidden online or remain only at archives. In particular, how to find the records available through the FamilySearch website will be explained. At the end of this talk, you will be ready to go and find the wealth of information hidden in probate records.
- A Life at Home and at Sea – with the help of old diaries, newspaper articles and postcards sent from around the world, I pieced together the life story of my great-great grandfather, who was a ship’s steward. My research revealed that he was lucky enough to experience mingling with famous people and seeing eclipses, but that he also loved just going out in the rowing boat when home on the Isle of Wight. The talk also describes helpful research techniques and websites/sources I used while researching his life.
- Ask the Experts Q&A Panel – I have taken part in a small number of Q&A panels and am available to support panel discussions on any of the subjects covered by talks or workshops.
These are examples of workshops that I have previously held however it is possible to design a workshop for your group or organisation depending on your needs on any of the subjects that I also talk on. These can be held in person or facilitated online through Zoom and the use of breakout rooms. Further information about the workshops that I can facilitate are provided on the Genealogy Services page.
- DNA workshops – using example exercises and/or specific discussion topics, facilitated workshops on DNA can be carried out. In addition, small group question and answer sessions can work in a workshop setting.
- Census workshops – taking a number of examples of census returns, the workshop allows the participants to answer specific questions about each census example to help them successfully read and interpret census records for family history – see Census handout on Information page and report on a census workshop I carried out at Family Tree Live on my blog
- Brickwall workshops – facilitated sessions where a small number of brickwalls are reviewed by the group with everyone providing ideas and sources to help solve the brickwall. The brickwalls can be provided by members of the group or by myself to aid learning of tips and techniques for breaking down brickwalls.
- Professional Website workshops – these workshops called ‘Who Do Your Clients Think You Are?‘ are run jointly with Fiona Brooker of Memories in Time. This is an interactive workshop where you will explore what a successful website looks like and how it ‘feels’. You will gain an overview of the key features that make navigating a website client friendly; explore your website’s strengths and weaknesses; get ideas for tweaking or renewing your website to attract clients; discover tools that will help improve your interactions with clients; and find out who is looking at your website (and when they stop looking). It is suitable for people with their own websites or planning to develop a website.
Where have I talked?
I have provided talks and workshops for a number of organisations and groups including:
- Legacy Family Tree Webinars, online (note this is an affiliate link)
- Society of Genealogists, London and online
- The Family History Show, online
- Family History Down Under 2022, Sydney and online
- RootsTech Connect, online
- Association of Genealogists and Researchers in Archives (AGRA), online
- Association of Professional Genealogists Professional Management Conference, online
- Family History Academy, online
- Auckland and Christchurch Family History Expos, online
- FHF Really Useful Family History Show, online
- Family Tree Live, Alexandra Palace, London as well as Family Tree Virtually Live
- Italian Mediterranean Genealogy Cruise, Unlock the Past
- Gloucestershire Family History Society, Heritage Hub, Gloucester
- Guild of One Name Studies Seminars
- Scottish Indexes Conference
- British Isles Family History Society of Greater Ottawa for their 2021 and 2022 conferences
- Norfolk Adoption Services
- SEPAN Conference (PAC-UK)
- Various local societies in Gloucestershire