George's Genealogy Seminars

Welcome to our catalog of George G Morgan's current genealogy seminars. All of the topics below are available for presentation at your genealogical society meeting or conference. Click on any topic link and you'll be taken to the abstract description of that presentation. Click on the link labeled Return to Top and you'll be returned to the top of this page. Please be aware that a few of our seminars are longer than one hour, even up to a full day in length. Please read the seminar abstract descriptions and inquire if you have any questions.
All of our one-hour and 90-minute genealogy seminars are also available as webinars using Zoom. Visit our Online Genealogy Seminars webpage for more information.

Please contact George G. Morgan by email at or by phone at (813) 220-6274 to discuss availability and fees.   
General Genealogy Topics
Introduction to Genealogy

We all have to get started with our family history research by learning the basics. Genealogy can be an intense and illuminating experience leading to a lifelong passion to learn more and more. This half-day seminar addresses the essentials of getting started with your research. These include: 
  • What is genealogy?
  • Motivations of genealogists
  • Where and how do I start?
  • Discover home sources
  • Interview absolutely everyone
  • Types of evidence
  • Primary vs. Secondary sources
  • Original vs. Derivative evidence
  • Types of records
  • Places to conduct research
  • Citing your sources
  • Weighing the evidence
  • Develop the big picture of your ancestors’ families and their lives
  • Get to really know your ancestors
The information you learn in this seminar will provide you with the important information you require to become a really effective researcher.

Introduction to City Directories
City directories are an integral tool in genealogical resource in locating individuals and businesses at specific times, and gleaning other details that may point you to other evidence. They can help determine date of arrival or departure, residence and/or business address, occupation, and more. They are great substitutes for census records and for the in-between years. This session shares what you can find, how to obtain the most information from them, and places you can find them. The presentation includes a wealth of visual examples from U.S. city directories.

Principles of Effective Evidence Analysis
It is imperative that we use both traditional and online resources in our research and work them in tandem. With the volume of digitized resources growing exponentially each year, our rapid access to original genealogical records online may flood us with more information than we can handle. It is easy to rush through the evidence examination and analysis processes, increasing the probability that we will miss critical details. It is critical that we take the time to carefully analyze all the evidence content for clues implied or suggested. This lecture discusses the principles of highly effective genealogical evidence analysis and shows examples of capturing all the clues to expand and improve our research.

Additional Records: Beyond the Basics
Explore more complex records than birth, marriage, death, and census records to gather additional clues in your research.

Laying Out Clues in Funeral Home Records
Funeral home and mortuary records can provide clues to many other sources, especially before death certificates were issued and between censuses. Learn what information may be included, what it infers, and places to locate the records. Examples of records from online sources are presented and discussed.

Sidestep Genealogy
Brick wall research blocks are inevitable. We strive to start with ourselves and work backwards, but sometimes there are impediments that stop us in our tracks. It is then that we must use our most creative research skills, and it is essential that we move to other family members. That means researching our ancestors' siblings, uncles, aunts, cousins, and the collateral lines with which they are connected.
Sidestep genealogy means researching these alternative individuals, their records, the places that they lived, and other resources. This lecture will make you stop and think about what alternative research paths you might use, and point you to new resources you may never have considered.

Getting Past Brick Walls
Research impasses are inevitable in genealogical research. They do not, however, have to be permanent stoppers. There are a number of methods that can be employed to get past your brick walls. 
The seminar is based on the best-selling book, Advanced Genealogy Research Techniques, by George G. Morgan and Drew Smith, and shares proven strategies for circumnavigating some of the most stubborn brick walls.

Locating and Ordering English and Welsh BMDs
Civil registration in England and Wales began in 1837. People were to register all births, marriages, and deaths with the government. The originals are held with the General Register Office (GRO) and transcribed copies are abailable via online order for a reasonable fee. This session discusses the records and the ordering process.

Five Reasons the Records Aren't in the Courthouse (and Where to Look)
U.S. courthouse records have been damaged, destroyed, moved, or stored over the centuries. Prepare yourself in advance for on-site and online research by consulting authoritative sources. Learn why records may not be available in the courthouse, what may have happened to them, and where they (or replacements or substitutes) may exist today. 

New Ways to Research Our Roots
We've come a long, long way in the last several decades in our genealogical research work. We started with writing letters and sending away for individual records, and now we are using the Internet, DNA, and social networking applications to collaborate with other researchers.
This session takes the attendees from our beginnings to the future of genealogical research, and it concentrates on the products, services, technology, and initiatives that are advancing our research each day. Learn about new research resources available today and trends into the future with books, records, digitization, DNA, and more.

Genealogy Orienteering: Using Maps to Find the Right Place

Maps are an essential part of our everyday life. We consult them to plot travel routes as we move from place to place, check them to determine correct postal codes, verify boundaries, and use them in a many other ways. Throughout history, maps have changed again and again. Country and county boundaries moved, towns came under different jurisdictions, and place names changed.
As we use maps in our genealogical research, it is essential to understand the geographical history of an area and how boundaries and jurisdictions have changed. These changes are important for determining who created what documents and where these materials can now be found. Many genealogists hit "dead ends" and waste inordinate amounts of time because they either fail to understand the importance of properly using maps in their research or they don't possess the skills.

This seminar presents and discusses a simple yet efficient methodology and some resources to help you use maps to quickly and effectively locate the right place to conduct your research.

Push and Pull: The Reasons for Migration

The earliest humans, from earliest times, have migrated from place to place seeking survival and sustenance. Our more recent ancestors also moved around for the same and other purposes. What made your ancestors leave their homes and move hundreds or thousands of miles? What drew them to a specific place to settle?
This session examines some of the reasons why it is important to become a student of history, geography, and sociology in order to understand and trace your ancestors’ movements.

Bits about Obits: Reading between the Lines

You'd be surprised how very much information can be gleaned from even the simplest obituary. An obituary, even for a person of modest means, can provide pointers to a multitude of records for your research. It may also be your only link to a missing or elusive ancestor, or to another family member whose records provide an alternative path for locating records about your ancestor.
This interactive session offers an overview of obituaries and funeral home advertisements, examines components of several obituaries from different time periods, and discusses how a typical obituary can alert you to the different records and research paths that can be found by "reading between the lines." 

Dissect Obituaries for New Clues

Obituaries are miniature biographies for the deceased. The writers were compelled to compress as much information into a small amount of text. Your job is to carefully analyze the content of the death notice, obituary, and/or funeral notice and look for clues.
This seminar presents an excellent methodology for dissecting an obituary, determining what information is provided or inferred, identifying record types that may be available, where those records are located, and how to access them. This method will definitely expand your research!


Clues in the News: Your Ancestor in Community Context
Newspapers are the chronicle of a community and its life. They contain a wealth of information about our ancestors, their families, and the things in which they were involved. This seminar discusses and shows many examples including marriage and birth announcements, accidents, death notices and obituaries, news from churches and social organizations, stories about local military personnel, farm and ranch news, weather, shipping news, and more. Important websites for digitized U.S. newspapers are discussed and URLs are presented. Your newspaper research will take off and you'll learn more about your family in no time!   

Interview Absolutely Everyone!

One of the most important sources of family genealogical information comes from your relatives. Family stories are often the only accounts of family events, traits and traditions that are available. Most family historians wait until it's too late before interviewing relatives. Often, too, they neglect interviewing distant relatives such as aunts, uncles and cousins for details that may be crucial in the family tapestry. As a result, facts and interesting stories are lost, and access to family Bibles and other important written records is overlooked.

This seminar discusses the importance of interviewing absolutely everyone, and presents techniques for interviewing and otherwise obtaining crucial family information. The seminar discusses:
  • Scheduling an Interview
  • Setting Expectations on Both Sides
  • Preparing for the Interview 
  • Taking Effective Notes
  • Determining Whether to Audio- or Videotape the Interview 
  • Following Up
  • Telephone Interviews 
  • Questionnaires
Don't delay! Learn how to interview and start the process until it's too late.

Bring 'Em Back to Life: Developing an Ancestor Profile

In the course of our genealogical research, we often become engrossed in the collection of information snippets, failing to put them into a logical perspective. We lose sight of the fact that the people we're tracing participated in the life of their historical times, led complex lives, and interacted with one another. 
Organizing the information we collect into a biographical profile can help you begin to recognize character traits and decision patterns. And the profile also provides an invaluable, portable research tool that avoids your taking voluminous amounts of notes with you on research trips. 

This seminar presents a methodology and a structured model for taking the details you collect about your ancestor and creating a biographical profile. We will discuss:
  • Establishing your ancestor's every location,
  • Learning about other people in your ancestor's life,
  • Studying local, state and national history to determine what events may have influenced or motivated your ancestor,
  • Studying personal events that may have influenced or motivated your ancestor, and
  • Effectively organizing materials into a profile that can be used for additional research and for writing.
 This approach will not only help you organize your research, it can become the basis for writing detailed biographical sketches or novels about the people whose lives you have been researching.

Timelining Your Ancestors

Your ancestors lived complex lives, interacting with family members, friends, neighbors, and associates of all types. They participated in their communities, and they were affected by events in their communities and around the world. You want to place your ancestors into geographical, historical, and social context so that you can better understand their lives.
This seminar suggests a wide array of resources for locating details about your ancestors and presents a methodology for constructing a chronological timeline of their lives.

The Genealogist as CSI
Modern genealogists are much like the crime scene investigators - CSIs - that we see on television. They must be skilled investigators. They must use all available tools to locate clues and evidence. And they must employ proven methodologies and their critical thinking skills to document and evaluate every type of resource they find. They must be able to communicate their findings.

This seminar analogizes genealogists with CSIs and describes the genealogical research and evaluation process. It provides a methodological framework for all types of research.

Alternate Records You May Never Have Considered
The records most frequently used by genealogists are birth, marriage, and death records, along with census population schedules, obituaries, and tombstones. There are literally thousands of alternative records that can be used to supplement your research and to help place your ancestors in context.
This seminar explores a number of record types that most genealogists skip or gloss over, and reexamines less frequently consulted portions of familiar records. These records can provide new clues and insights to open new research doors and help break down brick walls.

Planning a Very Successful Genealogical Research Trip

Regardless of whether you're going to the library or heading out on a genealogical vacation, advance preparation is essential. You have to know who you are researching, what information you hope to find, what resources are available, and where to find them. A well-organized genealogist is the most effective researcher.

This seminar discusses numerous resources you can use to prepare for the most effective genealogical research trips you'll ever make. We'll examine books, periodicals, maps, Web pages, Internet mailing lists, city governments, libraries and archives, genealogical and historical societies, family associations, church secretaries, sextons and other resources you should use to gather advance information to help develop your research schedule.

Learn to maximize your research time the way professionals do it, and return home with a genealogical treasure trove.

Planning a Very Successful Cemetery Research Trip

Cemeteries are fascinating places, and family history researchers can learn a great deal when visiting a cemetery. Part of the challenge in the first place is to locate the cemetery where your ancestor or relative is buried. And when you get to the cemetery, there may be more to be learned than just what's carved on the tombstones - the administrator or sexton may have files with lots of information too!
Advance preparation is definitely the key to a successful cemetery research trip. That means advance research, determining who and what you want and need to research on-site, making contact with the living people who can help you find the dead ones, as well as taking the right tools with you to record information you find.

This seminar presents a methodical approach to preparing for a successful cemetery research trip and detailed suggestions about what tools to take, how to record the information, and what to do with it when you get home.

Stereographs and Postcards: Another View of Our Ancestors’ Lives

Placing your ancestors into historical context is essential for understanding their lives. Learn how the most popular photographic media from the 1870s into the 1930s influenced our ancestors, and how collecting and studying these images yields important contextual insights and clues for our family history research. Topics that are discussed include:
  • Brief History of Photography
  • Introduction of the Stereograph and Its Sweeping Popularity
  • Photography Becomes Accessible to Everyone
  • Postcards of Our Ancestors and the Places They Lived
  • Methods for Using Stereographs and Postcards to Expand Your Knowledge of the Family

Researching the Miltons
A case study presents the research path and records used to learn about untimely deaths of Gennie and Gloria Milton in April 1940. Learn how scholarly genealogical research methods and common sense were used to reconstruct the family story from 1940 to present. See how the story brought the family’s story back to life. This session incorporates lecture and video to tell.

This case study was the basis for an episode of “Down Under: Florida” at, and the basis for an article in Family Chronicle magazine titled “The Milton Family Tragedy.”

Organize Your Genealogy Bookmarks Effectively
We use many online resources in our genealogical work. We also bookmark some or all of them for future reference. However, it gets messy trying to locate a link you want when you’re in the middle of a research problem. Organize Your Genealogy Bookmarks Effectively shows how to use the Bookmarks Bar in your browser to create, maintain, and use your genealogy bookmarks effectively.


Census Topics
All about the Census: Becoming an Expert
The U.S. Constitution called for a regular enumeration of the population of this new country, beginning in 1790 and continuing every ten years through the most recent census of 2010. For genealogists and family history researchers, census records are an essential and invaluable source for geographically locating their family over time, as well as for pointing to other original, primary records for other information.
Unfortunately, though, a very significant number of researchers lack an understanding of the records themselves. They don't know that most of the population schedules they examine are probably transcripts of the original or even second transcriptions. Likewise, few researchers ever look beyond the population schedules to the other schedule documents: Veteran's and Widows Schedules, Slave Schedules (which are useful to both African and non-African ancestored researchers alike), Agricultural Schedules, Manufacturing Schedules, Social Statistics Schedules, and the Schedules of the Defective, Dependent and Delinquent Classes. Federal Enumeration District Maps, too, can provide insights for more quickly locating the schedules on which ancestors are listed. Even the important Soundex and Miracode finding aids are little understood and/or used.
This 90-minute seminar is essential for those who wish to improve their understanding of the Federal census records of all types and to hone their skills in working effectively with these important resources.

U.S. Agricultural Census Schedules: Placing Your Farming Ancestor in Context
The 1850 through 1880 U.S federal censuses included an Agricultural Schedule. It details your ancestor's farm including crops, livestock, timber, mining, and production of commodities such as honey, butter, and eggs. Most of these documents have survived and have been microfilmed. has also digitized the microfilm for about a third of the states and territories. Unfortunately, the 1900 through 1950 censuses included a similar Farm Schedule but few of these documents survive.
Learn how to locate and access the 1850 to 1880 Agricultural Schedules and how to use them to learn more about your farming ancestor.

U.S.. Federal Mortality Schedules (1850-1885)
U.S. federal mortality schedules document the deaths of all individuals in the one-year period before census day, including their names, ages, addresses, occupation, cause of death, and period of illness, if any. Of particular importance is the fact that deaths of slaves in this period are also listed by name and with all the other information. For people who died in that single year period, there can be many clues to expand your research.

Land and Property Records
Colonial and Early American Land Records 
Land and property records are among the most numerous documentary evidence for genealogists. Deeds, tax lists, liens, and scores of related records can tell you when your ancestor bought and sold land, where the property was located, its sale value, and more. The transfer of property from a deceased person to another may provide the only evidence of the exact date of death.
This seminar presents an introduction to land records from earliest colonial times and how they were transferred or sold from the monarch to the people over more than two centuries.

State-Land States and Federal-Land States: Researching U.S. Land Records
Land and property records are among the most numerous documentary evidence for genealogists. Deeds, tax lists, liens, and scores of related records can tell you when your ancestor bought and sold land, where the property was located, its sale value, and more. The transfer of property from a deceased person to another may provide the only evidence of the exact date of death.
This seminar presents an introduction to land survey records using the state land state survey method and the township and range method. Many land and property documentation types are discussed.

Immigration and Naturalization Records
Introduction to U.S. Immigration Records
Immigration into the United States from Europe was primarily via ship. The federal government required passenger manifests beginning in 1820 for all ships bringing in any persons to a U.S. state or territorial port. These documents were microfilmed by the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA), and these have since been digitized and indexed by and other providers. Immigration across the Canada-U.S. boundary was also recorded on the St. Alban's lists.
This seminar discusses the ships' passenger manifests, beginning in 1820 and expanding in content until the closing of the Ellis Island immigration processing center in 1957. Learn what you can find at the various times and how these manifests can extend your research.

The U.S. Naturalization Process: 1790 to 1957
The U.S. Congress established the criteria for naturalization of aliens in the Constitution. The process has varied somewhat since 1790 but still entails the filing of a Declaration of Intention renouncing citizenship in a foreign country and, after a residency period in the U.S., the filing of a Petition for Naturalization.
The seminar focuses on the U.S. naturalization process over the centuries, what documents were produced, the exceptions that were introduced for spouses, minors, military service, and more. You will also learn where to seek copies of naturalization documents, both in NARA branches and online.

Southern States' Records: What Makes Them Different
Genealogists are well aware that records differ from location to location. Place, time, government, and events all influence the evidence we are able to find and acquire. United States researchers investigating in the southeastern United States quickly learn that many of the records can be quite different from those in other states. “Southern States’ Records: What Makes Them Different” discusses the beginnings of the American South,  addresses some key differences to keep in mind, and provides suggestions for resources to help your specific geographical locations.

Preservation of Your Genealogical Treasures
Genealogists become "accidental archivists" for a great many types of family materials. Paper, cloth, furniture, metal materials, and more occupy
important places in our homes. "Preservation of Your Genealogical Treasures" will provide some important instructive ideas about caring for your special family treasures.

Recruit Volunteers for Digitization and Indexing Projects
Digitizing and/or indexing projects are complicated. They require a vision, and understanding of the audience(s), content, and scope in order to organize them. Volunteers can be recruited but need guidance and mentoring. Recruit Volunteers for Digitization and Indexing Projects provides a structure and suggestions for organizing for success.

Electronic Research and Resources
Using Multiple Databases in Tandem to Solve Problems​  
This seminar discusses numerous online genealogical database facilities and a methodology for how to use them together to locate records to build context for your ancestor. Regardless of hether you're using FamilySearch, a comprehensive commercial database, databases devoted to specfic records or information such as newspapers, cemeteries, or military records, or databases compiled by libraries, archives, or societies, working between them for clues and content will extend your knowledge and reach.  

How to Use and Its Vast International Resources is a vast and fast-growing commercial website boasting more than 9 billon records. Its databases include collections for every geographical region of the world, and the site supports data and searches in 42 languages. It includes millions of family tree entries, more than 250,000 digitized books, newspapers, maps and gazetteers, and more. Its technological innovations SuperSearch and Record Detective can help you locate more records about the ancestors you search for, presenting additional links to other data. MyHeritage DNA provides another excellent resource for your genetic testing and matching with others around the world.
This lecture focuses on what resources are available at and how to use the site for extending your ancestor searches!

Maximizing Your Research on the adds millions of new images to its website each month. Most are initially not indexed. This session demonstrates how access and search the indexed records, and how to work with the browsable images to locate your ancestors’ records. This session also explains informational resources at the new FamilySearch, and shows you how to get help.

Expand Your Research Reach with Interlibrary Loan and Digitized Book Collections Online
No library can have a complete collection of published books, yet libraries collaborate to share materials from their collections with others located far away. This facility is a service called Interlibrary Loan, or ILL. Some items are non-circulating, and this includes most genealogy books and applies to one-of-a-kind documents and manuscripts. However, libraries that support ILL may be willing to photocopy or scan images for you.
Learn how to locate genealogical materials in other libraries and how to use ILL to obtain copies for your research.

Locating and Accessing Published Genealogies Online
Thousands of genealogy-related books have been digitized, indexed, and made available online at many sites. These include family histories, local histories, military regimental histories, and other reference materials. Universities, archives, online genealogy database sites, are growing each year. Public domain books are available through Google Books. And with the recent announcement in 2013 by of the addition of more than 100,000 additional titles to their collection, there has never been a better time to prospect for your families' history. 
This seminar will show you what types of materials are available, the primary Internet sites where they are located, and how to access these digitized books.

English Research and Resources
NOTE: The following English research topics contain special concepts unlike those of those of the United States research. We recommend discussing the appropriateness with your audience before selecting these topics for presentation as the attendees may neither be interested in the topic or may not comprehend the topics.

Locating and Ordering English BMDs
Civil registration was implemented in England and Wales on 1 July 1837 and required the registration of births, marriages, and deaths. Later additions included divorces, adoptions, and civil partnerships. The quarterly indexes of civil registrations have been digitized and are searchable online at several sites. Using these records, it is possible to trace families back several generations very quickly.
The seminar discusses the implementation of civil registration, the content of the entries, how to use the indexes, and how to order certificates online from the General Register Office.

Locating Anglican Parish Records in England
King Henry VIII changed history in many ways. When he broke with Rome and formed the Anglican Church, he dictated to the parishes that they were to maintain registers of christenings, marriages, and burials. These records are the basis of vast research opportunities for genealogists.
This seminar focuses on the beginnings of the Anglican Church, the contents of the parish registers, where they are now located, and how to access the contents. Print and Internet reference resources will be shared.