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.

   Location: (Hybrid Meetings)
  ZOOM Meeting
  Zion-Benton Public Library
 2400 Gabriel Avenue, Zion, IL 60099

   Genealogical Assistance:
  Experienced genealogists are available at the Zion Benton Public Library, 2400 Gabriel Avenue, Zion, Illinois 60099 on Tuesday mornings from 9:00 to 11:00 by appointment only; Tuesday evenings from 7:00 to 9:00 p.m.; and by appointment only on Saturdays. Call the Zion-Benton Public Library to make appointments.

2023 Program Schedule and Activities

Jan 16, 2023 - Monday
ZOOM Meeting onlhy
"Interviewing Kin" and "The Library: Shelves Full of Family History"
2 DVD's

Here, Dr. Colletta introduces you to several strategies and 10 vital tips to help you get the most out of sitting down with family members and transforming pleasant conversations into solid foundations for future detective work.

He will also introduce you to how to tap into the wealth of library material to get solid answers to the "why" behind events in the past. You'll tour genealogies and family histories; histories of states, counties, cities, and towns; the Periodical Source Index (PERSI); and several types of maps (which help ground events in the physical world).

John Phillip Colletta, Ph D. - via Zoom
John Phillip Colletta

Dr. John Philip Colletta is one of America's most popular genealogy lecturers. He is a faculty member at the Institute of Genealogy and Historical Research at Samford University in Birmingham, Alabama; the Salt Lake Institute of Genealogy; and Boston University's Genealogical Research Program. Dr. Colletta also has been an instructor and course coordinator for the National Institute on Genealogical Research, the Genealogical Institute of Texas, and the Genealogical Institute of Mid-America. He earned his Ph.D. from The Catholic University of America.

For 20 years, Dr. Colletta worked at the Library of Congress and taught workshops at the National Archives. Today, he lectures nationally, teaches at local schools, and conducts programs for the Smithsonian Institution's Resident Associate Program. His clients have included Johns Hopkins University, St. Louis Public Library, Daughters of the American Revolution, Brigham Young University, the Historical Society of North Dakota, the Huntington Library (San Mateo, CA), and the Genealogical Society of Ontario, Canada.

Dr. Colletta's publications include numerous articles, both popular and scholarly; two manuals, They Came in Ships: A Guide to Finding Your Immigrant Ancestor's Arrival Record and Finding Italian Roots: The Complete Guide for Americans; and the narrative family history, Only a Few Bones: A True Account of the Rolling Fork Tragedy and Its Aftermath. Dr. Colletta appears frequently on podcasts and radio and television programs. His honors include distinguished service awards from the Dallas Genealogical Society and the National Society of Daughters of Founders and Patriots of America.

Feb 20, 2023 - Monday
ZOOM Meeting Only
"Family History Center"

Suzanne will give insight into FamilySearch and The Wilmette Family History Center

Suzanne L. Hoffman via Zoom

Suzanne is a Professional Genealogist at "The Genealogy Maven"

She is also a Forensic Genealogist with Eastern European and Naturalization Specialties; Chicago-based, Boston-born. She is assistant Director of the Wilmette Family History Center, Secretary for the Illinois State Genealogical Society, and Secretary for the APG Forensic Genealogy SIG. She speaks English, French, Russian.

  1. Association of Professional Genealogists
  2. National Genealogical Society
  3. Illinois State Genealogical Society
  4. New England Historic Genealogical Society
  5. New York Genealogical & Biographical Society
  6. Genealogical Society of Utah
  7. Society of Genealogists - London, UK
  8. Jewish Genealogical Society of Greater Boston
  9. Jewish Genealogy Society of Illinois


Mar 20,2023 - Monday
In Person & ZOOM Meeting

"French-Canadian Research"

Are you trying to locate your French-Canadian ancestors and running into brick walls? Between name changes in the US and not understanding French, this can be daunting. French-Canadian Genealogy: Getting Started will give you the tools you need to overcome these obstacles. We will look at finding your French-Canadian ancestors, even if you know of their origin in Quebec or if you don't. We'll cover all kinds of name changes: dit names, variations, translated names, anglicized names, and first names. You can find out how the surname Daignealt became Lapris! With numerous examples, we'll review records in French and show how technology can help you understand them. We will explore the concept of survivance in French-Canadian culture, why they emigrated to the US, and how French-Canadian immigration was fundamentally different from European immigration. Quebec records, a veritable goldmine for genealogists, are introduced and illustrated. Get started with your French-Canadian genealogy and, who knows, you may trace your family back to France!

Margaret R. Fortier via In-person and Zoom
Margaret R. Fortier

Margaret R. Fortier, CG, a Boston-based genealogist, researches immigrant ancestors, focusing on those with French-Canadian, Italian, and Portuguese roots. She serves on the board of the Association of Professional Genealogists. She is eternally grateful that her husband's French-Canadian Furkey ancestors changed their name back to Fortier.

A professional genealogist with 20 years' experience, I help people recognize and explore our universal need to be connected. Researching your family, relating their stories, and revealing their legacy is my passion and my privilege.


Apr 24, 2023- Monday
In-Person & ZOOM Meeting
"The Family 'Circle', The Internet, LDS Family History Center, Libraries and On-Site Research"

Maureen Brady explains the various resources you can use to do your family history.

Speaker: Maureen Brady - In-Person & Zoom

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 15, 2023 - Monday
In-Person & ZOOM Meeting
"I Have a Civil War Ancestor...Now What?"

Civil War soldiers often left a rich genealogical paper trail. Many of these records are tucked away at the National Archives in Washington DC. Learn what records are available for your ancestors only at the National Archives, what records are online already, and how to access all of them.These records may unlock some of the family stories that have been forgotten over time, as well as break down a brick wall or two!

Brian will discuss the Civil War records at the National Archives and online. Although there is a wealth of information available at the National Archives, four main records exist to get a good overview of Civil War service:

  1. The pension file.
  2. Compiled military service records.
  3. The carded medical records.
  4. The company's record of events.

Speaker: Brian Rhinehart - In-Person & Zoom
Marty Acks

Brian is the owner of the website www.CivilWarRecords.com. I am a Genealogical researcher and speaker specializing in on-site research and record retrieval for the Civil War, the War of 1812, and federal land records at the National Archives in Washington DC.

I am a graduate of the Boston University Genealogy Research Certificate program. I've also completed the 18 month ProGen (Professional Genealogy) Study Group and the Genealogical Institute on Federal Records (GenFed) at the National Archives in Washington DC.

In addition to having expertise in military records, I also have experience with traditional genealogy research and DNA analysis. I have completed the Advanced DNA Evidence course at the Genealogical Research Institute of Pittsburgh and have used these skills to solve adoption and unknown parentage cases.

June 19, 2023 - Monday
In-Person & ZOOM Meeting
"Who Are You and Where Did You Come From?"

Workshop - Submit Probles To Solve

Speaker: Zion Genealogical Society Members & Board Members

July - Saturday
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 21, 2023 - Monday
In-Person & ZOOM Meeting
"Illinois Reginal Archives - IRAD"

If you research in Illinois, you don’t want to miss the resources held in the seven regional archive repositories of IRAD. From vital records to city directories, probate to local histories, each site has its own unique set of records. Learn tips and tricks for getting the most out of your visit, whether long-distance or on site. Come see some of the gems already gleaned from the vast resources of this amazing Illinois asset.

Speaker: De


Sept 18, 2023- Monday
In-Person & ZOOM Meeting

"Colonial Researach"

    Did your ancestor live in one of the Original Thirteen Colonies? Were they here before the Revolutionary War? Each colonist came to the "new world" for different reasons and each colony was different. They came for both religious and economic opportunities. The Southern Colonies, Maryland, Virginia, North and South Carolina, and Georgia were rural, with planters and farmers. Besides English immigrants there were Scots, Scots-Irish, Germans and Africans. Find out what records are available and where they are, so you can learn about your Colonial American Ancestors.

Speaker: Jane Haldeman

Jane Halderman

Jane Haldeman has 20 plus years of research experience. Her passion for genealogy began in the 8th grade with a school assignment. She graduated from the University of Iowa with a BA in Theater. Combining her passions for genealogy and theater she now lectures on technology as it applies to genealogical research. Ms. Haldman developed and owns "It's Relative" a genealogical service business provides lectures, workshops, research and consultations. It's Relative is based in the suburbs of Chicago. There is easy access to many of the major repositories in Illinois and the Midwest including the Great Lakes branch of the National Archives,  Illinois Regional Archive Depository (IRAD), Newberry Library, Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Wisconsin Historical Society Library-Archives in Madison as well as many others. Go to their site at (www.itsrelative.net) for more details.

Other positions Jane has held include President, Illinois State Genealogical Society, past president 2010–2012 and board member since 2001 of the Fox Valley Genealogical Society (Naperville, IL), Past Chapter Registrar, Fort Payne Chapter (Naperville, IL) National Society Daughters of the American Revolution, and Past Design and Technical Editor of the Illinois State Genealogical Society Quarterly journal.

Oct 16, 2023 - Monday
In-Person & ZOOM Meeting

"Courthouse Finds"

Courthouses are great resources for personal family history. Probate files, chancery cases, land sales and lawsuits are just a few of the types of records one can find in local courthouse files. Tina will share tips and tricks for family researchers to identify and secure these records.

Speaker: Tina Beaird

Tina Beaird is the owner of Tamarack Genealogy and is a genealogy and local history librarian at the Plainfield Public Library. She holds a Master of Library and Information Science degree with a specialization in archives/preservation from Dominican University. She has won multiple research and digitization grants to preserve and digitize historic documents and photographs.

Currently, she is a board director of the Illinois State Genealogical Society, the Northern Illinois Historic League and the Illinois State Historic Records Advisory Board as well as a commissioner for the Illinois World War One Centennial Commission. Tina is also an active member of the Society of American Archivists and the American Library Association. She volunteers, as time permits, for Illinois history and genealogical societies.

Tina lectures at the national, state and local levels on topics including genealogical methodology, military records and archival preservation. She has offered assistance to researchers for over 15 years and occasionally still finds time to conduct her own family research, which she has been pursuing for over 20 years.

Nov 20, 2023 - Monday
In-Person & ZOOM Meeting
"Tracing Your Scotch/Irish Ancestors"

The historical roots of what it means to be Scots Irish go back to the 17th century. During that epoch, substantial numbers of Scottish (as well as English) families removed to the northern part of Ireland during the so-called Plantation of Ulster. Between 1717 and 1776, 250,000 Scots-Irish immigrants (also known as Scotch-Irish or Ulster Scots) arrived in the British Colonies of North America. During the colonial and Early National periods of U.S. history, the Protestant Scots-Irish were known for settling deep into the Appalachian regions of the South and the Midwest, despite the risks, thereby extending the boundaries of settlement for the New Nation. According to U.S. Census Bureau estimates, 3.2 million Americans today identify as Scots-Irish and the actual number of persons with that heritage may be as high as 20 million.

If you happen to be a descendants of the Scots-Irish, this is a program you arae going to want to attend.

Paul Milner

Paul Milner, a native of northern England is a professional genealogist and lecturer. Paul has specialized in British Isles genealogical research for 30 years. Raised in England he settled in the United States in 1975. He holds an advanced degree in Theology and is particularly knowledgeable about the church and its role in record keeping. As a genealogist, he speaks on a variety of topics relating to research in the British Isles, migration to North America and research methodology.

Paul is the author of Discover English Census Records Global Genealogy 2015, Buried Treasure what’s in the English parish chest Genealogy 2015,Discover English Parish Registers Global Genealogy 2014, Genealogy at a Glance: English Genealogy Research Genealogical Publishing Company 2012, Genealogy at a Glance: England Research (Genealogical Publishing Co. 2011), plus co-author with Linda Jonas of A Genealogists Guide to Discovering Your English Ancestors: How to find and record your unique heritage (Betterway Books, 2000), and A Genealogists Guide to Discovering Your Scottish Ancestors: How to find and record your unique heritage (Betterway Books, 2002.)


Updated January 8, 2023