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WebSite updated:
2 May 2016
©2016. All Rights Reserved.


The Genealogical Society of New Jersey received an operating support grant from the New Jersey Historical Commission, a division of the Department of State.

New Jersey Historical Commission

2016 Program Announcement

GSNJ 2016 Seminar

Saturday, 4 June 2016, 8:30am–5:15pm
East Brunswick, NJ

GSNJ and the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, East Brunswick Ward, are proud to present an exciting and diverse slate of speakers for our 2016 seminar.

This year’s GSNJ Seminar will present a variety of talks in two concurrent lecture tracks—all of which are designed to inform and inspire your New Jersey research.

Our New Jersey-focused lecture track will explore three important repositories for New Jersey research, as well as websites and important, underused New Jersey record sets.

The second lecture track includes talks on analysis and correlation, discovering your immigrant’s origins, finding Italian-Americans in the Old Country, indirect evidence, and global research from home.

We hope you’ll join us on Saturday, 4 June and discover something new that will inspire your research!

Seminar fees include five talks (two tracks, some talks concurrent, please see schedule), lunch, beverages, luncheon presentation, chance of door prizes, parking, and printed syllabus covering all 10 lectures (except lunch presentation where there is no syllabus).

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Location
The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, East Brunswick Ward,
303 Dunhams Corner Road, East Brunswick, NJ 08816

GSNJ Members and LDS Church Members: $48
Non-Members: $58

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Download the Event Flyer which includes Driving Directions, Detailed Presentation Descriptions, and a Mail-In Registration Form (PDF)

Register Online at the GSNJ Bookstore

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Presentations and Speakers

Two concurrent lecture tracks. Attendees may swich between tracks. Download the complete schedule (PDF) here.

GSNJ 2016 Seminar—Schedule

Schedule and speakers may be subject to change.

8:30 am Registration and Light Refreshments*
9:15 am Opening Remarks, C. Arthur Lawton III, GSNJ President
9:45 am Session 1 (choice of presentations)
 

A Day in the Life of the Family History Library
Janell Zulick, Family History Center

Analysis and Correlation: Two Keys to Sound Conclusions
Chris Staats, Staats Genealogical Services

11:00 am Session 2 (choice of presentations)
 

Resources at the New Jersey State Historic Preservation Office
Sarah Scott, New Jersey State Historic Preservation Office

Discovering Your Immigrant’s Origins: Exhausting Every Resource
Rich Venezia, Rich Roots Genealogy

Noon Lunch* (provided), presentation, and door prize raffles
  Genealogy Goes to the Movies
Jordan Ausländer, www.thegenealogydetectives.com
When it comes to genealogy, Hollywood doesn’t let accuracy get in the way of a good story. This can be both infuriating and hilarious—from a 1930 prediction about the 1980 census, Ellis Island name changes, and even shoot-outs in cemeteries!
1:45 pm Session 3 (choice of presentations)
  New Jersey State Censuses, 1855–1915
Michelle Chubenko, Jersey Roots Genealogy

Italian-Americans: Finding Your Roots in the Old Country
Rich Venezia, Rich Roots Genealogy
3:00 pm Session 4 (choice of presentations)
  New Jersey Resources at the Newark Public Library
Tom Ankner, Librarian, Newark Public Library

Where Does It Say That? Learning to Love Indirect Evidence
Chris Staats, Staats Genealogical Services

4:15 pm Session 5 (choice of presentations)
  Digging for Roots in the Garden State
Michelle Chubenko, Jersey Roots Genealogy

Global Reach Without Airfare or Postage
Jordan Ausländer, www.thegenealogydetectives.com





Note: The syllabus will include materials from all sessions (except luncheon talk).

* Please note that all facilities of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints are stimulant-free environments. Herbal teas, soft drinks, and water will be offered throughout the day, but coffee and black teas will not. We encourage attendees to be respectful and avoid bringing beverages into the facility or smoking anywhere on the premises.

Presentation details


Track 1) A Day in the Life of the Family History Library

Janell Zulick, Family History Center at the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, East Brunswick Ward

The resources available from the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints are so much more than just microfilm. Every day, LDS researchers and archivists are on-site around the world digitizing fragile original records and sending tens of thousands of images monthly back to Salt Lake City; researcher-volunteers and experts are assisting patrons from around the world at Family History Centers and the Family History Library at Salt Lake City; and thousands of volunteers are transcribing and indexing imaged records from the comfort of their home computers. All in all it’s an efficient, ordered undertaking that brings billions of records, at little or no cost, to genealogists and family historians. This talk will focus on the resources available through Family History Centers, the Family History Library, and FamilySearch.org, how to navigate the collection from the card catalog, free webinars and call-center help.


Track 1) Resources at the New Jersey State Historic Preservation Office

Sarah Scott, New Jersey State Historic Preservation Office

The New Jersey Historic Preservation Office (HPO) in Trenton is a working State Historic Preservation Office that makes their vast collection of records available to approved researchers. The HPO’s collection contains maps, photos, architectural and archaeological surveys, and a variety of other documents on thousands of New Jersey properties. The HPO also holds files on properties that have been nominated to the New Jersey and National Register of Historic Places, which contain the history of sites and structures as well as the history of the people who inhabited them. For those who are researching the structures in which their families lived, worshiped, or conducted business, the collection can provide valuable historical context. In addition to property-specific files, the office also has contextual files on topics including canals, railroads, manufacturing, black history, and women’s history. Researchers interested in using the collection must first complete an orientation and training seminar, which is offered monthly. This session will offer a sneak peek for researchers interested in learning more about what the HPO collection offers.


Track 1) New Jersey State Censuses, 1855–1915

Michelle Chubenko, Jersey Roots Genealogy

When it comes to genealogical research, US federal censuses are a must-use resource. However, many researchers miss the numerous state censuses that were conducted on the ‘five years’ between the federal censuses. New Jersey’s state censuses began in 1855 and ended with the 1915 enumeration—a time when New Jersey’s population increased nearly 500 percent! Beyond the population schedules, many years include special schedules for agriculture, manufacturers, mining, and commerce. These censuses are invaluable for filling in the timeline of your New Jersey ancestors, but the different schedules vary by census year and from county to county. We will look at what these state schedules censuses contain, which counties and years are extant (some are still being discovered!), where you can find online indexes and access microfilm, and how you can use them to bridge the lost 1890 federal schedules.


Track 1) New Jersey Resources at the Newark Public Library, Charles F. Cummings New Jersey Information Center

Tom Ankner, Newark Public Library

Did you know that the Newark Public Library (NPL) houses one of the premier collections of New Jersey-related materials in the state? The library’s Charles F. Cummings New Jersey Information Center fields questions from across the country and around the world—from authors, filmmakers, college professors, graduate students, and genealogists. The NPL’s first-rate book collection, extensive clippings files, archival collections, city directories, and more than two million photographs make it a necessary resource for New Jersey history and genealogy researchers.

This talk will focus on the NPL’s collections, with a special emphasis on genealogical materials, including a collection of city directories from across the state. Ankner will discuss the clippings and photo archive of the Newark Evening News, New Jersey’s top newspaper for much of the twentieth century and a valuable resource for researchers seeking obituaries and photos of ancestors. He will also discuss the photo archive of the Star-Ledger, which the NPL acquired in 2014.


Track 1) Digging for Roots in the Garden State

Michelle Chubenko, Jersey Roots Genealogy

The Garden State has a rich history, and those who research New Jersey families, whether on-site or from afar, are passionate about bringing resources online. In this talk, Chubenko will share her “top-ten” websites for New Jersey research—sites that are invaluable and are constantly expanding their collections. From online indexes to digitized images of records, you’ll discover how New Jersey state entities, for-profit companies, and local societies are all working to bring greater access to records and historical materials. This talk is guaranteed to inform and inspire your New Jersey research.


Track 2) Analysis and Correlation: Two Keys to Sound Conclusions

Chris Staats, Staats Genealogical Services

Careful analysis of individual records may reveal more evidence than we might think and correlation of the evidence at hand can solve difficult research problems. This talk will look at the basics of sources, information, and evidence.

We will examine an eighteenth century case study for Jacob Staats, Sr., who died in Appoquinimink Hundred, New Castle, Delaware in April of 1783. Reconstructing his family provides an interesting and complex example of analyzing and correlating information, resolving conflicting evidence, and reaching a conclusion. A deed names Elijah Staats’ father as Jacob Staats Sr. and a court record names his father as David Staats. Neither are correct—or are they? Using analysis and correlation of all the evidence will help identify the correct man as the father.


Track 2) Discovering Your Immigrants’ Origins: Exhausting Every Resource

Rich Venezia, Rich Roots Genealogy

Immigrant ancestors can give us quite the challenge when trying to find their exact place of origin. The endless entries of “Ireland” and “Italy” as places of birth can drive genealogists, both beginner and expert alike, mad. This presentation will delve into various and diverse records that are found stateside and can narrow down the search, as well as offer ideas for when the paper trail continually runs cold. The main suspects will be discussed, of course (vital records, ship manifests, naturalization records), but emphasis will be placed on some lesser-known or lesser-used records, including: ethnic-driven record sets, NYC marriage and bank records, fraternal organization records, US immigration and passport records, and employee records. This talk will help you pin down your elusive immigrant ancestor’s place of origin using both well-known, and some lesser-known, record sets, ideas, and techniques. Specific emphasis will be placed on New Jersey immigrants and the records they may have left behind.



Track 2) Italian-Americans: Finding Your Roots in the Old Country

Rich Venezia, Rich Roots Genealogy

From the Garden State back to the Boot! Learn the basics of Italian records, what’s available and where, and tips and tricks for finding elusive ancestors, with a specific focus on New Jersey-area Italian-American records that are waiting to be discovered. In this talk, Italian-Americans and Italian immigration patterns will be placed into context, and a concise history of modern Italy will be given to better understand genealogical records available during different timeframes. Suggestions will be given regarding finding the place of Italian origin, but the meat of this presentation lies in the Italian records themselves. Discover your famiglia and make Nonna proud!


Track 2)
Where Does It Say That? Learning to Love Indirect Evidence

Chris Staats, Staats Genealogical Services

Without documents telling us what we need to know, how can we answer our research questions and arrive at sound conclusions? By using indirect evidence! We will focus on using indirect evidence—the sort of evidence that provides only part of an answer to a research question—and show how using indirect evidence can make a strong case for “proof.”

We will examine a nineteenth century Pennsylvania family that provides an easy-to-understand case study using indirect evidence to reconstruct a family that left little for descendants to work with. In the 1850 census, James and Jesse McGinnis lived four households apart. Their close proximity in that census strongly suggested some relationship between them, but how could that relationship be established? Reconstructing the family required consulting a wide variety of records, each of which provided a small piece of the puzzle. This case illustrates how indirect evidence can be used to reach sound conclusions in cases where little-to-no direct evidence exists.


Track 2) Global Reach Without Airfare or Postage

Jordan Ausländer

You may not need to pack a bag to visit the “old country.” While travel to an ancestor’s homeland can be an exciting trip, what can you do if you have just too many places to visit? This talk will focus on utilizing the ever-expanding international resources, available by subscription and free, to facilitate research. We’ll look at foreign documentation, directories, and indices that can be accessed from your home computer, as well as libraries, societies, and archives. We’ll also look at what can be accomplished without investing in the time and costs of extensive travel, and if you can travel, how best to optimize your in-county, on-site visits.



Luncheon Presentation: Genealogy Goes to The Movies

Jordan Ausländer

Hollywood doesn’t let accuracy get in the way of a good story. From a 1930 prediction on the 1980 census, to name changing at Ellis Island, to the science fiction of “where it’s all on the internet,” to current vital records on library open stacks, and to (Ausländer’s favorite) shoot-outs in cemeteries—popular culture’s take on genealogy can be both infuriating and hilarious. The two-fold purpose of this talk is to show how genealogy is pervasively portrayed in the popular media and how resources and methodology are misrepresented. The discussion that follows focuses on how to manage expectations and offers a reality check for what can be accomplished with genealogy.

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Download speaker bios & presentation details.  


About GSNJ—A History of Genealogical Preservation

The Genealogical Society of New Jersey (GSNJ) was founded in 1921 by a group of genealogical scholars dedicated to the preservation of New Jersey family history. A common interest among GSNJ’s founders was the transcription of tombstone information. Styling themselves “tombstone hounds,” they began organizing “tombstone hunts” at burying grounds around the state.

In 1924, the Society was incorporated, with a mission to discover, procure, preserve and publish information pertaining to families and individuals associated with New Jersey. GSNJ’s institutional history has depended extensively on contributions made by volunteers.

In 1925, the Society commenced publication of its journal, The Genealogical Magazine of New Jersey (GMNJ). Respected today as a national leader among genealogical publications, it is recognized as the preeminent resource for transcribed primary source material from New Jersey.

Since its founding, GSNJ has collected manuscripts and research papers. The Society’s extensive collection is a key resource for New Jersey genealogy, augmenting the holdings of public and academic research institutions. In 1960, GSNJ’s manuscript collections were placed on deposit at Special Collections and University Archives, Rutgers University, New Brunswick, New Jersey.

In 1976, GSNJ began publishing GSNJ Newsletter as a forum for reviews of published works, queries, and other news. This publication has evolved, with new features to educate genealogists and promote scholarship. GSNJ continues to develop its website and is automating its indexes and finding aids. Over time, GSNJ has published many reference works and sponsored countless educational programs. GSNJ regularly joins with other genealogical or historical organizations to promote New Jersey genealogy and history, broadening its audience and increasing its collections. The basic mission of the Society has remained constant, with the service, accuracy and scholarship remaining as ideals that drive GSNJ’s endeavors.