Genealogy Presentations

These are my upcoming genealogy presentations.  If you are interested in having me speak to your group, please look over the list of my available talks at the bottom of the page and contact me at  I can also create new talks, if you would like a topic that is not on the list, and can customize an existing presentation.

Saturday, March 2, 2019, 9:30–10:45 a.m.
Freedmen's Bureau 2.0:  A Better Way to Do Slave Research
RootsTech, February 27–March 2, 2019
Salt Palace, Salt Lake City, UT

Friday, May 3, 2019, Jewish Genealogy:  How Is This Research Different from All Other Research?
Saturday, May 4, 2019, Online Resources for Jewish Genealogy
Ohio Genealogical Society Annual Conference, May 1–4, 2019
Great Wolf Lodge, 2501 Great Wolf Drive, Mason, OH 45040

Sunday, November 3, 2019, 10:00–11:30 a.m.
Jewish Genealogy:  How Is This Research Different from All Other Research?
for International Jewish Genealogy Month
Sacramento Public Library
828 I Street, Sacramento, CA 95814

Available Presentations
• Read All about It!:  Using Online Newspapers for Genealogical Research
• Using Online Historical Black Newspapers for Genealogical Research
• Using Online Historical Jewish Newspapers for Genealogical Research
• Using the Subscription Newspaper Web Sites at FamilySearch Centers and Libraries
• Follow a Family through 150 Years of Newspapers
• Introduction to Genealogy:  Family History to Share with Your Family
• Introduction to Jewish Genealogy
• Jewish Genealogy:  How Is This Research Different from All Other Research?
• Online Resources for Jewish Genealogy
• Finding and Following the Paths of My Cuban Cousins
• Freedmen's Bureau 2.0:  A Better Way to Do Slave Research
• Finding Family Members in Freedman's Bank Records
• Irish Research Online
• Reconstructing Family Information When You Start with Almost Nothing: A Case Study
• Vital Records and the Calendar Change of 1752
• So You Found Them in the Census:  That's Only the Start!
• Get Me to the Church on Time:  Finding Religious Records
• Ashes to Ashes, Dust to Dust:  What's Buried in Cemetery Records
• Where There's a Will:  Probate Records Can Prove Family Connections
• They Died in San Francisco:  A Little Used Source of Pre-1906 Deaths
• Grandma, Who Are You?:  Finding the Maiden Names in Your Family Tree
• Anybody Home?:  Using City (and Other) Directories in Your Research
• Immigration and Naturalization Research
But It Wasn't a Foreign Language to Your Ancestors*
• Researching LGBT Relatives* 
• Reading and Transcribing American Colonial Handwriting
• Why Would They Put It Online If They Didn't Want Me to Use It?:  Copyright Issues for Genealogy
• What Is Forensic Genealogy Really?
• Isaac Joseph of South Carolina and Daniel Joseph of Virginia:  Brothers?
• Using Finding Aids for Jewish Records to Help Research Non-Jewish Ancestors
• Cite This:  Citing Your Sources in Genealogical Research

Shorter Presentations (suitable for luncheon and dinner events)
• A Tale of Two Brothers:  The Patriot and the Outlaw
• Amazing Things You Can Find in the Newspaper about Your Relatives

*New presentation


  1. Hi Janice, My family genealogy, when I get a chance to work on it, has been really enjoyable, but my husband's family not so much. An african-american family with the two primary surnames of Smith and Johnson. I know that there are african-american genealogy sites. Do you have any recommendations? My Mormon almost-daughter-in-law has access to Mormon sources, but since there were not African American Mormons until relatively recently I don't if that would be useful. Any help appreciated, Lisa Pondsmith

    1. Hi, Lisa,

      The first thing to do is the same basic research as everyone else, which means starting with whatever family members were alive in 1940, finding as many of them as possible in the census, and then going back methodically every ten years to find them in as many censuses as possible. The best site to search the census is, available free to use in all FamilySearch Centers and Libraries and also at many public libraries.

      Ideally, you want to be able to take at least one line back to 1870, at which point you should start looking for those family members in the Freedmen's Bureau and Freedman's Bank records. These are both available free online. Bureau records can be most effectively searched at Bank records are online at If your not-quite-daughter-in-law hasn't done a lot of research herself, the aforementioned FamilySearch Centers and Libraries have lots of helpful volunteers who can help you. There has to be at least one center/library close to you.

      And if all else fails, I'll be moving up to the Portland area soon, and I can come by and help you in person. :)


  2. Hello Ms. Sellers,
    I recently received my DNA results and need some assistance in unraveling a mystery, I have a new relative that might be an aunt or half sibling. If I summit my DNA results such as segments, CMs and SNPs would you be able to assist me?

    Thank you,

    1. Hello, Melissa,

      Thank you for contacting me. Yes, I can assist you. Send me a message at and we can discuss your research.


  3. Lovely website and blog. Looking forward to learning more in the future.


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