Zion Genealogical  Society of Lake County (Illinois, USA)

Researching Around the World

Including the Neighboring Lake County Communities of:

Beach Park, Gurnee, North Chicago, Park City, Wadsworth, Waukegan, Wildwood, and Winthrop Harbor

   Date and Time:
  Meetings are held the third Monday of each month at 7:00 p.m.

  ZOOM Meeting
  Beach Park Village Hall
  11270 Wadsworth Rd - Lower Level, Beach Park, IL 60099
  Zion-Benton Public Library
  2400 Gabriel Avenue, Zion, IL 60099

  Experienced genealogists are available at the Zion Benton Public Library by appointment only on Saturdays.
  2400 Gabriel Avenue, Zion on Wednesday evenings from 7:00 to 9:00 p.m.

2022 Program Schedule and Activities

Jan 17, 2022 - Monday
ZOOM Meeting
"New Resources for British Isles Research"

Learn what new primary and secondary sources have become available and how to access them. Keep up to date on the constantly changing face of British Isles research by learning about recently released original records, new indexes, books and web sites.

Paul Milner
Paul Milner

Paul Milner, a native of northern England, a professional genealogist and international lecturer. He teaches week-long English and Scottish research tracks at the Institute of Genealogical and Historical Research (IGHR), Salt Lake Institute of Genealogy (SLIG), and the British Institute. Paul is a recipient of UGA Fellow Award (2018) and the David S. Vogels Jr Award from FGS (2019). He is the author of six publications providing how-to guidance for English and Scottish researchers. Paul has specialized in British Isles genealogical research for over 35 years. Paul is currently the book review editor for the BIGWILL newsletter and retired review editor of the FGS FORUM . He is the past president of the British Interest Group of Wisconsin and Illinois (BIGWILL), and a past board member of the APG, FGS and GSG. Paul focuses on British Isles resources and methodology on his blog at www.milnergenealogy.com

Feb 21, 2022 - Monday
ZOOM Meeting
"The American Migration Trails Westward"

America is a land of immigrants. Most arrived on the East coast and eventually pushed westward towards the Mississippi River and beyond. This migration was made possible by trails cut through the wildness and then the use of barges on the rivers. The number of new settlers increased after the American Revolution and was helped by the Erie Canal and the construction of the railroads. The migration trails did more than open the door to the west. The need for more and better transportation led to the demand for more wagons, barges and more importantly for railroad equipment and supplies. This is more than the story of the settlement of the Midwest and western states but the explosive development of the Industrial Revolution in America. This program will try to show how our immigrant ancestors were one of the forces that caused all of this.

Stephen M Szabados

Steve Szabados is a genealogy lecturer and author. He has traced ancestors back to the 1600s in New England and the 1730s in Poland, Germany, Bohemia, and Slovenia. His goal is to share his passion for Family History, and he has given numerous presentations to genealogical groups and libraries in Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Missouri, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin. He graduated from the University of Illinois and had a master’s degree from Northern Illinois University. He is a member of the Northwest Suburban Council of Genealogists, Illinois State Genealogical Society, and the Polish Genealogical Society of America. He is also a genealogy volunteer at the Arlington Heights Illinois Library and is the Polish American Journal genealogy columnist.

Mar 21, 2022 - Monday
ZOOM Meeting

"Google Earth" (Webinar with Q&A after)

Google Earth is known for its ability to virtually “fly” us to locations around the world. We can use satellite imagery, terrain maps, 3-D views of city streets and more to understand all kinds of places–even places of the past.

You will learn how to unlock mysteries in your research, from unidentified photographs to pinpointing homesteads.

And there’s good news: Google Earth Pro is now available for free. Everything I cover in this class can be accomplished in both versions of the program. The main difference is that Google Earth Pro can print and save HD quality images. Today, the current “Pro” version of the software is now simply called “Google Earth.”

Lisa Louise Cooke
Lisa Louis Cooke

Lisa Louise Cooke is the owner of Genealogy Gems, a genealogy and family history multi-media company. She is also a sought after international genealogy speaker having regularly appeared at Who Do You Think You Are? Live in London, and webinar presenter. Whether in person or online, Lisa strives to dig through the myriad of genealogy news, questions and resources and deliver the gems that can unlock each listeners own family history treasure trove! Family is not just a priority professionally. Lisa is a doting wife to Bill, the proud mom of three daughters, and has added the role of Grandma to her resume. She counts her blessings every day for the love, fulfillment and laughter that family brings to every aspect of her life.


Apr 18, 2022 - Monday
ZOOM Meeting
"Family History Research in Illinois and Wisconsin"

The families which came to Illinois and Wisconsin came from varied ethnic backgrounds and created a varied landscape of urban and rural environments. The records which were created by, and about, them reflect that variety, both in type and availability. This presentation will first examine the similarities between Illinois and Wisconsin family history resources, and then look at the unique records of each state, including ethnic, religious and governmental archives and repositories. The discussion will also include a brief review of the history of this part of the "Old Northwest", and how that history has impacted the records which were created.

Maureen Brady

Maureen Brady, a former school librarian and computer educator, has over thirty-five years experience with family history research. She has traced her Scottish roots back to the end of the 17th century and beyond, and has also pursued Chicago and the Midwest, the trans-Allegheny U.S., Quebec, Irish and Swedish research.

Maureen has made numerous presentations to Illinois and Wisconsin genealogical societies, libraries, conferences and workshops, including presenting at the 2002 National Genealogical Society Conference in the States and the 2016, 2017 and 2018 Central Florida Family History Conference. She is a member of the Genealogical Speakers Guild, as well as a life member of the Aberdeen and Northeast Scotland Family History Society, the Chicago Genealogical Society, the Ohio Genealogy Society and the McHenry County (Illinois) Genealogical Society. She is also active in the British Interest Group of Wisconsin & Illinois (BIGWILL), the Chicago Scots Genealogical Group and the Lake County (Illinois) Genealogical Society.

May 16, 2022 - Monday
ZOOM Meeting
"Plantation and Settlement of 17th Century Ulster"

The Ulster Plantation scheme had its parallel in the settlement of the United States and it is easy to see the propagation of the idea on how ‘Westward Expansion’ took form in the same manner that the Scots-Irish had experienced overseas. In Ulster, land was confiscated from the Catholics who were living on the land, relocating them to other parts of Ireland, principally the Province of Connacht. By law, only one-quarter of the residents in Ulster after the implementation of the settlement scheme were to be Catholics. However, greed for high rents led to the widespread disregard for the laws of settlement.

Those who settled in Ulster from this point were supposed to be Protestant and speak English. When James I became King of England, he united both Scotland and England and in the process gained possession of Ireland since it was considered an English possession. This opened the settlement of Ulster as a joint venture between the English and Scottish and involved the counties of Armagh, Cavan, Londonderry (originally named Coleraine), Donegal, Fermanagh, and Tyrone. The new settlers were drawn from two major groups:

Undertakers – Principal Landowners
These were to be wealthy estate owners (also known as chief planters) in England and Scotland that would resettle tenants from their existing estates to Ulster.

Servitors – Veterans of the War in Ireland
Arthur Chichester, the Lord Deputy, was successful in his bid to have officers who had served in the war receive land grants underwritten by the London Companies – the trade guilds in the City of London.

    At the conclusion of this session, participants should have an understanding of the following:
  • The history of the confiscation and resettlement of Irish land
  • The London companies
  • The Scottish connection
  • Governance and protection
  • Effects of migration and emigration
  • Adventurers and Discoverers
  • The record sources available for this time period

David E. Rencher, AG*, CG*, FUGA, FIGRS:
Marty Acks

David E. Rencher, AG*, CG*, FUGA, FIGRS, is employed as the Director of the Family History Library in Salt Lake City, and the Chief Genealogical Officer for FamilySearch . A professional genealogist since 1977, he is one of the rare few who have earned both credentials: Accredited Genealogist® with ICAPGen in Ireland research (1981) and Certified Genealogist® with the Board for Certification of Genealogists (2006). He is the Irish course coordinator and instructor for the Institute of Genealogical and Historical Research in Athens, Georgia, and the Genealogical Research Institute of Pittsburgh in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. He graduated from Brigham Young University in 1980 with a BA in Family and Local History. He is a past-president of the Federation of Genealogical Societies (FGS) 1997-2000, a past-president of the Utah Genealogical Association (UGA) 1993-1995 and a Fellow of that organization. He is a fellow of the Irish Genealogical Research Society, London. He is the past chair of the joint National Genealogical Society and International Association of Jewish Genealogical Societies committee for the Record Preservation and Access Coalition; he serves as a director on the board of the National Genealogical Society and as a counselor for the New England Historic Genealogical Society.

June 20, 2022 - Monday
ZOOM Meeting
"Orphan Trains And The Children Who Rode Them"

The story of the Orphan Trains, which relocated children from the eastern cities to rural farmlands, has become a part of American popular culture. This presentation explores the facts behind the legends, follows a group of children “placed-out” in 1880, and, provides information on resources available to learn more about the orphan trains and their riders.

Speaker: Karen A. Fortin

Karen A. Fortin

Karen Fortin received a Bachelor's Degree in History and a Master's Degree in Library and Information Science from the University of South Florida. She worked at the Barbara S. Ponce Public Library in Pinellas Park, FL for 30 years before deciding to focus on genealogical research.

Karen's passion for history and research led her to an interest in genealogy. She began volunteering with the Pinellas Genealogy Society in Largo, FL in 2012, and was the society's president from 2014-2017. Karen began providing genealogy and history presentations in 2016 and has lectured at various genealogical societies and public libraries, and for other interested organizations. One of her goals is to help people explore historical periods, places, and events so that they can better understand their ancestors and the world in which they lived.

She is a member of Member of Pinellas Genealogy Society, Florida State Genealogical Society, New England Historic Genealogical Society, New York Biographical and Genealogical Society, National Genealogical Society, Association of Professional Genealogists

July 18, 2022 - Monday
No Meeting
"Christmas in July Picnic"

Hosted ByVicki Mattson

Vicki Mattson

In July is when we celebrate the spirit of Christmas; a time of good cheer, fellowship, feasting, and giving. There is a potluck picnic provided by the members, music, and fun. Also in keeping with the spirit of Christmas, our members open their hearts instead of presents by bring donations for A-Safe-Place as our early "Christmas Gift" to that organization.

Aug 15, 2022 - Monday
ZOOM Meeting
"More Than Money and Land: The Evolution of Bounty Land, Military Pensions and Alternative Records"


Speaker: Debra Dudek

Debra M. Dudek is Head of Adult and Teen Services at the Fountaindale Public Library District in Bolingbrook, IL. Ms. Dudek specializes in British genealogy, World War I research, and emerging technology topics. An alumna of Olivet College (Olivet, Michigan) and the University of Strathclyde (Glasgow, Scotland). Ms. Dudek holds a Bachelor of Arts in Journalism, a Masters in Information and Library Studies, and a Post Graduate Certificate in Genealogical, Palaeographic & Heraldic Studies.

Sept 19, 2022- Monday
ZOOM Meeting

"The 1950 Census"

    The 1950 Census may be able to answer all kinds of questions for you such as:
  • Where was your family living in 1950?
  • Did you have American relatives living abroad?
  • What did your relatives do for a living?
  • What was their household income in 1949?

The 1950 census also stands out because it ushered in some new features and data collection improvements with the goal of providing more complete and accurate information than ever before.

This census can help you confirm information you already have about your family while also providing new facts and clues for further genealogical research.

In addition to Americans living here in the States, for the first time Americans abroad were enumerated in 1950.

    This included:
  • members of the armed forces
  • crews on vessels at sea
  • employees of the United States government and their families living in foreign countries
Be aware that there were other people living abroad at that time who didn’t fall within these official categories. In those cases, they were to be reported by their families or even neighbors who lived in the U.S. This was clearly second-hand information which means that the information wasn’t as reliable. In fact, so much so that these individuals weren’t included in the published statistics. Keep this possibility in mind if you have trouble locating a relative when the census comes out.

What Questions Were Asked in the 1950 Census?

    The 1950 population census questionnaire asked for information such as:
  • Address
  • whether their house was on a farm
  • name
  • relationship to the head of the household
  • race
  • sex
  • age
  • marital status
  • birthplace if they were foreign born
  • whether or not they were naturalized
  • their employment status
  • how many hours they worked in a week
  • occupation
  • industry
  • class of worker
  • ...and much more
The information provided by your ancestors has the potential to lead you to more genealogical records.

Speaker: Lisa Louis Cooke


Lisa Louise Cooke is the owner of Genealogy Gems, a genealogy and family history multi-media company. She is also a sought after international genealogy speaker having regularly appeared at Who Do You Think You Are? Live in London, and webinar presenter. Whether in person or online, Lisa strives to dig through the myriad of genealogy news, questions and resources and deliver the gems that can unlock each listeners own family history treasure trove! Family is not just a priority professionally. Lisa is a doting wife to Bill, the proud mom of three daughters, and has added the role of Grandma to her resume. She counts her blessings every day for the love, fulfillment and laughter that family brings to every aspect of her life.

Oct 17, 2022 - Monday
ZOOM Meeting

"“Top Ten Genealogy Tips and Tricks"

A review of the top genealogical websites and how to use them most efficiently. Tricks and tips on websites such as familysearch.org, ancestry.com and even Google. Many use these websites but do not know how to get the most out of them.

Speaker: Jacquie Schattner
Jacquie Schattner

Jacqueline Krieps Schattner has been actively researching her family’s ancestors since 1996. She volunteered at the Family History Center in Schaumburg for 15 years, teaches genealogy for Districts 211 and 214, teaches beginning genealogy at area libraries and is active in several genealogy societies.

Jacquie received her B.S. degree from the University of Illinois. She is a retired school secretary, looking forward to having more free time to pursue new genealogy research. Living in Palatine, she has been happily married for 38 years, has three grown children, two sons-in-law and five adorable grandchildren.

CAGNNI Board of Directors - Secretary/Archivist (2015-present)

Nov 21, 2022 - Monday
ZOOM Meeting
"Finding and Using German Church Records"

This webinar is about


Michael Lacopo
Michael Lacopo

Dr. Lacopo is a widely-regarded German genealogy expert who has lectured and written extensively on German genealogy topics. He is especially knowledgeable about Mennonite research as well as topics pertaining to German and Swiss migration to America during the 18th century. He is proficient in reading German script.

Michal is a small-animal veterinarian born and raised in northern Indiana. Although having received his doctorate in 1991, he has been an avid genealogist since 1980. His medical training has afforded him a scientific and analytical approach to his research, which has yielded him a great amount of success in tackling difficult cases. He has been publishing and writing since 1985 and lecturing internationally and doing client work since 2004 and has tracked almost 24,000 descendants of a single Mennonite man born in Switzerland in 1761.


Updated June 10, 2022