Friday, August 3, 2012

SDGS All-Day Seminar on 8 September 2012 Features Lisa Alzo

The San Diego Genealogical Society (SDGS) has an all-day Family History Seminar on Saturday, 8 September 2012 from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.  The seminar will be held at The Handlery Hotel and Resort, 950 Hotel Circle North, San Diego, California 92110, and includes a box sandwich lunch and drink, and door prize drawings.

The Seminar cost is $40 per person for SDGS members or $45 per person for non-members.  Parking on-site is $3.  Checks should be made payable to San Diego Genealogical Society, mailed to SDGS care of Del Ritchhart, 17544 Plaza Otonal, San Diego, CA 92128.  The deadline for seat reservations is 30 August 2012.  The SDGS flyer for this seminar is online at

The featured speaker for four sessions will be Lisa Ann Alzo, M.F.A.  Any of you who have heard Lisa speak will agree when we say she is entertaining, energetic, knowledgeable and lots of fun.  

Lisa grew up in Duquesne, Pennsylvania and currently resides in Ithaca, New York.  She earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Nutrition from West Virginia Wesleyan College in 1987 and a Master of Fine Arts degree in Nonfiction Writing from the University of Pittsburgh in 1997.  An avid genealogist for 22 years, Lisa currently teaches online genealogy courses for Family Tree University and the National Institute for Genealogical Studies, and has authored nine books.  She is the recipient of the 2002 Mary Zirin Prize given by the Association for Women in Slavic Studies to recognize the achievements of independent scholars, and is a frequently invited speaker for national conferences, genealogical and historical societies.

Lisa's  four presentations will be:

1)  Demystifying Eastern European Research -- Anyone who has attempted to trace their ancestors back to Eastern Europe understands the special challenges and frustrations involved. Border changes, language differences, political considerations, and exotic-sounding surnames often complicate the research process. This session covers the most common myths and misconceptions and how to work around them.

2)  Show, Don’t Tell: Using Nonfiction Writing Techniques to Write Better Family History -- Do your family members start yawning and rolling their eyes when you mention Family History? This presentation will show you how to create interactive family histories using free, or low-cost online tools for adding photos, video, maps & more to bring your ancestor’s stories to life. You have the power to change family indifference or boredom into excitement about family history. Books, e-books, blogs, newsletters, family web sites, online scrapbooks, memory or memorial pages, slide shows or presentations, video tours and social media will all be discussed as tools for making family history more interesting.

3)  Immigrant Cluster Communities: Past, Present and Future -- There are a handful of “cluster” immigrant communities throughout the United States that blossomed during the immigration influx of the late 19th and early 20th centuries. Exploring “cluster genealogy” -- the process of researching those relatives, friends, and neighbors who lived near an ancestor -- can often break down brick walls in the search for individual family lines and help to place our ancestors’ lives in historical context. For those descendants who’ve moved away from such traditional immigrant enclaves, 21st-century technology can be used to rebuild “cluster communities” in the virtual world. This lecture will cover: How to identify chain migrations or cluster communities using key records;  ways to share and collaborate with other researchers, and the benefits, pitfalls, and obstacles associated with a shift to “virtual” cluster communities; and how to use tools such as social networking sites, wikis, etc., to build online genealogical communities.

4)  365 Ways to Discover Your Family History -- Serious genealogists recognize that they are never truly “done” when it comes to their research. However, while researching our roots, we often find that the process can become tedious and even frustrating, especially when you stumble across the inevitable “roadblock(s).” This session will discuss some of the ways to make the research process fun and challenging throughout the year, using your calendar as a genealogical research guide, and even how to use holidays to enhance your family history quest. The presentation will offer innovative approaches to common research tasks to assist both the novice and more experienced researcher.

This Family History Seminar should be well-attended and well-received.  I know and appreciate Lisa Alzo, and this seminar should be an excellent way to learn more about these topics.

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