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Minnesota State University, Mankato

Minnesota State University, Mankato

Page address: http://lib.mnsu.edu/archives/genie/sessions.html

South-Central Minnesota Genealogy Expo - 2012 Session Descriptions



The full Mankato Family History Conference program is available online.


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Presenter Biographies also available.

Sessions are listed in alphabetical order.


Printable version is available here.


DNA for Genealogists John L. Rys
This presentation covers basic DNA concepts. It describes three DNA tests (Y-chromosome, mitochondrial and autosomal tests) currently used by genealogists. The presentation describes how DNA tests are translated into understandable numeric values for use in searching genealogy databases. Examples of DNA test certificates and information on how different websites handle DNA searching will be presented.

Early German-Bohemian Immigration to Minnesota Robert J. Paulson
This presentation will focus on the German-Bohemian immigrants who settled in and near New UIm and in the city of St. Paul. It will show how this group can be researched and identified. It will also discuss their origins in the western rim of Bohemia, their route to their destination in Minnesota, their settlement patterns, occupations, culture and their way of life in the New World.

Five Steps for Beginning Genealogists Jennifer de Fiebre & Lois Abromitis Mackin, Ph.D.
Lean the five steps for beginning your genealogical research (write down and organize what you know, decide what you want to learn, locate a useful source, learn from the source, and use what you learned). This presentation highlights key websites and describes the essential genealogical sources for beginners.

Genealogical Gold at the Minnesota Historical Society Tom Rice, CGSM
An overview of the Historical Society's library holdings relating to genealogy. How to get the most out of them; How these records are organized; How to find them using online catalogs; How to get around in the library; and How to make best use of your time at the library.

Genealogical Gold in Your Local Library and Historical Society Jessica Potter & Daardi Sizemore
Family history research takes you places including county historical societies, public libraries, universities and more. Learn about resources available in local libraries and historical societies.

A German Genealogy Primer Joyce Rohloff-Gardner
What is the difference between German & Prussian research? Why is research in Mecklenberg-Schwerin not the same as in the Rheinland or Silesia? What records exist in these areas? What are the reasons for emigration? What are some basics for planning a research trip in these areas? We will attempt to answer these and many more questions in this session.

How I can be Better at Using the Internet for My Genealogy Tom Rice, CGSM
This lecture will help you learn: How to do effective searches on the Internet; About the key genealogy web sites; How to get the most out of some of these key sites such as: Rootsweb, Ancestry, Familysearch, HeritiageQuest; and How to keep track of all of this?

The Minnesota Frontier in the 1860s Lori Lahlum
"The Minnesota Frontier in the 1860s" explores the tremendous change Minnesota underwent in the 1860s. It will focus on 1862 and the Civil War, Homestead Act, and US-Dakota War as transformative developments in the history of the state. Online databases will be discussed.

Researching Civil War Era Ancestors J. H. Fonkert, CGSM
The Civil War era is a pivotal period for family history research. Explore how the war influenced migration and learn how to find and use Civil War pension files, military service records and other mid-19th century records to bring your ancestors to life.

Researching When You're Not There Lois Abromitis Mackin, Ph.D.
Some lucky genealogists live near the locations where their ancestors lived, but most do not! If you're one of those who don't, this session will help you learn about the locations your ancestors inhabited and conduct research there from a distance.

Skillbuilders: Family Group Sheets, Pedigree Charts, Source Citations, and Analyzing Records Jennifer de Fiebre & Lois Abromitis Mackin, Ph.D.
This session presents three fifteen-minute segments addressing three key genealogical skills: working with family group sheets and pedigree charts, crafting useful source citations, and analyzing genealogical evidence.

Success Stories in Adoption Research Sandy Thalmann
Strategies for finding information about adoptions which occurred during the closed records period (1912-present) will be shared. Actual client stories and case studies will illustrate the point that information can be found despite legal restrictions which limit access to adoption records.

Twentieth Century Military Records Jere Mackin & Lois Abromitis Mackin, Ph.D.
Did you or your twentieth-century ancestors serve in World War 1, World War II, Korea, or Vietnam? This lecture discusses information you can find in the records of these conflicts and how to obtain copies of official military personnel files.

Using Homestead Records and Other Public Land Records for Family History J. H. Fonkert, CGSM
This year is the 150th anniversary of the Homestead Act, which spurred fueled rapid settlement of the Upper Midwest. Learn how to locate your ancestors' land, find it on a map, and use homestead files and other federal land records to enrich your family history.

US Dakota War Claims: More Sources for Family History Mary Bakeman
Financial requests of individual sufferers and reimbursement requests from those who provided shelter, food and clothing to victims and soldiers during the Sioux Uprising provide a wealth of information for family history researchers. There are many interesting facts contained in the records and this lecture will instruct on where to find them.

Using Maps in Genealogical Research Mary Bakeman
This presentation includes how maps can help you find answers to your research questions. We'll discuss types of maps and strategies for their use.

Presenter Biographies.


Printable version is available here.



Stephen Osman is a retired senior historian with the Minnesota Historical Society. He managed Historic Fort Snelling for over three decades, and actively researches, speaks and writes about Minnesota in the 1860s. Osman serves on the boards of the Friends of Fort Snelling, the Minnesota Military Museum, and the scholarly journal, Minnesota's Heritage.

Mary Bakeman, owns and operates Park Genealogical Books, specializing in genealogical books and local history resources for MN and surrounding areas. She edits the Minnesota Genealogical Journal, Minnesota Heritage, and has compiled many resources for researchers.

Jennifer de Fiebre, is an amateur genealogist with ancestral roots in the St. Peter/Kasota area. She currently serves as the Second Vice President of the Minnesota Genealogical Society and has written articles for Minnesota Genealogist.

J. H. Fonkert, CGSM, is a Board-certified genealogist, specializing in Dutch, English and Midwest research. He has published research and teaching articles in The Septs, Minnesota Genealogist, Family Chronicle, NGS Quarterly and NGS Magazine. He is a Director of the Association of Professional Genealogists and past-president of the Minnesota Genealogical Society

Joyce Rohloff-Gardner, has done family research for over 30 years on her German roots including research in the U.S., Germany and Poland in former German lands. She is a member of several German genealogical groups, county historical societies and volunteers at the LDC center in North Mankato.

Susan Hynes, is a member of the Board of Trustees of the Blue Earth County Historical Society, a member of the Program Committee of the Betsy-Tacy Society. She is a volunteer docent, costumer, living history creator and interpreter for both societies. She is also a presenter at Wasioja Civil War Days and the Winnebago Area Museum.

Lori Lahlum, is associate professor of history and teaches courses on the American West at Minnesota State University, Mankato. Lahlum edited Norwegian American Women: Migration, Communities, and Identities (Minnesota Historical Society Press, 2011) with Betty Bergland. She is working on revisions for a book on Norwegian immigrant women, landscape, and agriculture.

Jere Mackin, began his genealogy work as the dinner speaker for the MGS 2009 North Star banquet. He is a graduate of MGS Genealogy 101 and the Intermediate Course at Samford University's Institute for Genealogy and Historical Research and has researched in several states. He has an M.S. in Physics.

Lois Abromitis Mackin, Ph.D., researches Polish, Lithuanian, Cornish, German, Irish, and Scots ancestors in the Midwest, Ohio, Pennsylvania, and Connecticut. She holds a doctorate in history from Brown University, chairs the Minnesota Genealogical Society Education Committee, and sits on the MGS Board of Directors.

Robert J. Paulson, is a descendant of a German-Bohemian family that settled near New Ulm, Minnesota. He is the founder of the German-Bohemian Heritage Society(GBHS), and has done the pioneering genealogical and historical research on the German-Bohemians in America, and has led several genealogical tours to Bohemia. He has lectured on the topic of German-Bohemian Immigration in both this country and in the Czech Republic. He has also written a number of articles on the topic of German-Bohemian immigration for various genealogical publications and newsletters and co-authored two books on the subject. He is currently the editor of the GBHS quarterly newsletter the Heimatbrief.

Jessica Potter, is the Executive Director of the Blue Earth County Historical Society in Mankato.

Tom Rice, CGSM, is a full-time professional genealogy researcher, lecturer and writer; a director of the Irish Genealogical Society International, Inc.; Managing Editor of IGSI's quarterly The Septs; past director of the Minnesota Genealogical Society; and a Genealogy Help Desk volunteer for the Minnesota Historical Society. His website is www.heritagehunters.com.

John L. Rys, a 3M retiree with roots in southern Poland's Carpathian Mountains, indexes early Minnesota Polish church records and has tested his DNA for three genealogical purposes. John has published more than 25 articles in Minnesota Genealogist, Rodziny, and the Polish Genealogical Society of Minnesota Newsletter.

Daardi Sizemore, is the Archives and Special Collections Librarian and Department Chair of Library Services at Minnesota State University, Mankato. She has a Masters of Library and Information Science and a Master of Arts in History from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee and in 2001 became a Certified Archivist.

Sandy Thalmann,is an adoptee who understands first-hand the importance of finding the truth about family history. She owns and operates Authentic Origins, a genealogical research company based in Rochester, Minnesota, and has more than thirty years experience researching and documenting families. She is a past director of MGS, current chair of the MGS Local Society committee and a regular contributor to the Minnesota Genealogist and Minnesota Genealogical Journal. She holds a Master's Degree in Social Work from the University of Minnesota.