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2011 Seminar

Saturday, February 12, 2011

Largo Public Library
120 Central Park Dr.
Largo, FL 33771

Speaker: Megan Smolenyak Smolenyak

Topics for the seminar will be:

Megan Smolenyak Smolenyak
Trace Your Roots with DNA (9:00 AM)
Over the past decade, genetic genealogy has graduated from pioneering research to one more tool in our family history arsenal, but just as the number of us taking DNA tests has grown, so have our genetic options. Come hear one of the co-authors of Trace Your Roots with DNA discuss how Y-DNA and mtDNA testing can be used to shed light on the paternal and maternal branches of your family tree, as well as how new (in many respects, revolutionary), autosomal tests can reveal previously unknown facets hidden anywhere in your family's past. (P.S. Talk delivered in plain English!) 
Reverse Genealogy: Techniques for Finding Your Lost Loved Ones (10:15 AM)
Although genealogy is at its heart the study of long-deceased ancestors, connecting with living relatives has become almost as important to many family historians. Some seek living kin in an effort to track down family photos; others do it to find family history playmates or DNA project participants. A few pioneers have begun exercising their skills to save lives - to locate potential donors or warn of possible medical dangers. Whatever the motivation, one of the most addicting aspects of genealogy is the thrill of finding distant cousins, or in some cases, parents, children, or siblings. But this "reverse genealogy" (working from the past to the present) has its own special challenges and requires the researcher to be part genealogist and part private investigator. This presentation covers proven techniques for tracing 20th century friends and relatives from the past to the present. Megan Smolenyak Smolenyak is uniquely qualified to speak on the subject of genealogy, and her achievements in the field have been diverse and widely recognized. She is the author of four books, and probably the best known is In Search of Our Ancestors, that served as the companion book to the 13-episode PBS Ancestors series, and Who Do You Think You Are?: The Essential Guide to Tracing Your Family History, companion guide to the NBC series. She has also written Trace Your Roots with DNA, In Search of Our Ancestors, and Honoring Our Ancestors. She has served as Chief Family Historian and spokesperson for and founder of, a volunteer group that assists coroners and medical examiners.

Some other noteworthy genealogical accomplishments include the true story of Annie Moore, he first immigrant through Ellis Island, Tracing Barack Obama's roots to Ireland, providing forensic consulting services to the U.S. Army to locate thousands of family members of soldiers still unaccounted for from all World War I to Viet Nam, helping Chris Haley, nephew of Alex Haley of Roots fame, use DNA testing to confirm the family's oral tradition of their ancestry, and figuring out who would be king of America if George Washington had been king instead of president.

Megan is also a popular speaker and TV guest, having appeared on Good Morning America, NPR, Today Show, CNN, BBS Breakfast and many more. She has also written numerous magazine articles and is the recipient of National Genealogical Society's Award of Merit, and holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Foreign Service from Georgetown University and an MBA from George Washington University and a Master’s Degree in Information Technology from John Hopkins University.
Find The Obituary! Online Newspaper Research (1:45 PM)
The last couple of years have given us an amazing array of searchable online newspaper resources - both historical and contemporary (and some of them even digitized!). Come learn how to tap into this treasure trove of information - especially those elusive and detail-filled obituaries.
Cold Cases: Genealogists, Coroners and the FBI (3:00 PM)
With over a decade's experience working forensics cases for the U.S. Army, Megan realized that "reverse genealogy" techniques could be used to help others seeking to find living people associated with past events or deceased individuals. This provoked her to cold-call several coroners' offices to volunteer her services. Come hear how her individual efforts eventually snowballed into the creation of Unclaimed Persons, a virtual, worldwide group of genealogists who cracked 84 cases in their first year. Peek behind the scenes at a couple of her most challenging cases — and into her latest initiative, helping the FBI with Civil Rights cold cases. 

After lunch (12:30 PM) there will be three group classes conducted by society members.  These will be led by:
Peter Summers on Naturalization Records: What and Where They Are Bob Byran on Research Trip Planning
Debra Fleming on Your Medical Heritage: How Genealogy Can Save Your Life!

Additional Information

The Largo Public Library cosponsors the Pinellas Genealogy Society annual seminar.
Registration will begin at 8:00 a.m.
The annual book sale will be in the rear of the conference room.  The tables will be open before the seminar and during break periods.
A representative of the society and membership information will be available at a table in the lobby.
Lunch will be provided as part of your registration.
Parking and driving instructions follow.
Great door prizes will be raffled off during the day.

Location – The seminar will be held in the Jenkins Conference Room of the Largo Public Library, located at 120 Central Park Drive, Largo, 33771.  Free parking is available in the front lot of the library.

Driving Directions: From the north: Travel south on US Hwy 19 to SR 686 (East Bay Dr.) Make a right on East Bay and follow to Largo. Turn left on Central Park Drive.  The Library is on the left side of the road.

From the south: Travel north on I-275 to Exit #30 (Clearwater/Largo SR 686, Roosevelt Blvd. West). At the fork in the exit ramp bear left which leads to Roosevelt Blvd. Follow on Roosevelt.   At the fork in the road bear left and follow the overpass that merges with Ulmerton Road (SR688) Follow Ulmerton past the 2nd traffic light and veer right to SR 686(Roosevelt Blvd). Follow Roosevelt Blvd/East Bay Drive.
Click here for a registration form.

Updated 13 December 2012 . Copyright 2010 by Pinellas Genealogy Society, Inc. All rights reserved.