What are GenTalks?

GenTalks are less formal, genealogy-related presentations that take place at the GFO library several months per year, generally on the third Saturday at 2 p.m.  GenTalks are free and open to the public (i.e., you do NOT have to be a GFO member to attend). And they are a great opportunity for us to learn about not only genealogy, but also historical and cultural topics that permit us to better understand our ancestors and the eras in which they lived. Check out our Calendar page, and come spend an hour or so with us on a Saturday afternoon!

Upcoming GenTalks:

My Cuban Cousins

Saturday, May 19 @ 2 p.m.

Presenter: Janice Sellers

“I was always told that I had cousins who had immigrated to Cuba, but no one could remember their names or even which branch of the family they were from.  And Cuba is a difficult country to research.  As more records have become available online, I was able to uncover enough clues to find and contact some of my Cuban cousins. In the summer of 2015, I traveled to Cuba to see what traces I could find of my family there.”

Janice Sellers is a professional genealogist who specializes in forensic, Jewish, black and newspaper research. She has presented numerous talks to diverse audiences at local, regional, state, and national events. She is the editor for ZichronNote, the journal of the San Francisco Bay Area Jewish Genealogical Society (SFBAJGS); The Baobab Tree, the journal of the African American Genealogical Society of Northern California (AAGSNC); and the CSGA Newsletter. She is also the vice president and publicity director for SFBAJGS, a board member of AAGSNC, and was on the staff of the Oakland FamilySearch Library for over 15 years.

The Family Photo Collection & Its Uses in Visualizing Your Personal Family History

Saturday, June 16 @ 2:30 p.m.

Presenter: Harold Hinds, Ph.D.

Most of us hope to illustrate our personal family histories with family photographs. But what should be collected? Which deserve to be preserved and identified for posterity? What types of photos might you find in typical family albums or shoe boxes? What guidelines might you apply in selecting items from your collection for inclusion in a family memoir? This lecture tackles these important questions.

Harold Hinds, Ph.D., was Distinguished Research Professor of History at the University of Minnesota-Morris, and is the author of several books, including Crafting a Personal Family History: A Guide Plus A Case Study, and A Basic Guide to Genealogical and Family History Resources for Essex County, New York.

Voting Records: Genealogy's Best Kept Secret

Saturday, July 21 @ 2 p.m.

Presenter: Pam Vestal

Looking for a date of birth or death? The date and court of naturalization? Where your ancestor disappeared to, or where he came from?  His political outlook? Even what kind of house he lived in? Voting records may have the answer.  These often-overlooked gems can be packed with genealogical information, and you won’t believe what they can tell us about our ancestors!

Pam Vestal entered the field of genealogy after a 21-year career as a professional writer. She does genealogical research for clients, has articles published in the Association of Professional Genealogists Quarterly, and lectures up and down the West Coast. 

Some of the GenTalks we have offered in the past:

April 2018 
Getting from Then to Now: Locating People in the Last Century
Presented by: Leslie Lawson, FCG

March 2018 
Finding James: A WWII Repatriation Project
Presented by: Kate Eakman, MA

January 2018 
Making the Most of Your DNA Holiday Gift
Presented by: Lisa McCullough

December 2017 
Personal Archiving
Presented by: LauraDenise White, MARM, GFO Resident Archivist

November 2017 
Paper & Spit: Making First Contact with a Match
Presented by: Don Anderson

October 2017 
Write It Up!
Presented by: Marti Dell, Co-Editor, GFO Bulletin

September 2017 
Switched at Birth: Unraveling a Century-Old Mystery with DNA
Presented by: Alice Collins Plebuch

June 2017 
Capturing and Bringing to Life Your U.S. Farm Ancestor
Presented by: Harold Hinds, Ph.D.

May 2017 
Presented by: Zita Podany, author

March 2017 
French Prairie Oregon Settlement & The GFO's French-Canadian Collection
Presented by: Gerry Lenzen and Susan LeBlanc, AG

January 2017 
Friends of Lone Fir Cemetery
Presented by: Linda Werts, Board Member, Friends of Lone Fir Cemetery

November 2016
What the U.S. Census Tells Us about Your Potential Native American Ancestors
Presented by: Kate Eakman, MA

September 2016 
Map Guides to German Parish Records
Presented by: Keith & Darlene Pyeatt

June 2016
Church Records: Their Location & Value for Family Historians
Presented by: Harold Hinds, Ph.D.

May 2016
Buttons, History...and Genealogy?
Presented by: Dorothy Krugner

April 2016
Beyond Names & Places: Filling in the Stories of Our Female Ancestors
Presented by: Pam Vestal

March 2016
From Native American to Scottish: The Journey to Find My First Parents 
Presented by: Don Anderson

February 2016
Research in Eastern Canada
Presented by: Thomas Higgins

January 2016 
Discover Your House History
Presented by: Connie Lenzen, CG