Saturday, August 20, 2022

Summit of Excellence: Writing and Storytelling Track

  • The Summit of Excellence is a multi-track conference (Thursday - Saturday) with more than 50 presentations covering methodology, records types, DNA, professional topics, technology, international and ethnic research, and more. The full conference schedule can be viewed here

To register for the Summit of Excellence, click here

From a Box in the Closet to a Treasured Family Heirloom

By Sarah Cochran - 15 September, 9AM

Sara Cochran has faced the insurmountable brick wall that very beginner genealogist faces. After 28 years of professional experience, she’s learned to break down that wall, brick by meaningful brick.

“If you’re overwhelmed by the collection of photos accumulated by your family,” she says. Take heart, “you are not alone.”

In this course, Sara provides a brief history of photography, then reviews various organizing techniques, while explaining digitization basics and ideas on how to preserve photos so they can be enjoyed by generations to come, “instead of collecting dust in the box.” Sara’s research has taken her into nearly every state in the U.S. and many countries like Ireland, Italy, Austria and Great Britain.She has a penchant for discovering the stories of black sheep ancestors and helping people preserve their photographic legacy.

She holds a bachelor’s degree in Library Science, a certificate of Genealogical Research from Boston University and is an alumnus of the ProGen Study Group. She is a regular attendee at the SLIG, SLIG Academy, GRIP and IGHR institutes.

Publishing Your Family History

By Diane Henriks - 15 September, 10:30 AM

Diane Henriks, coyly dubbed the “Descendant Detective,” considers history to be a social science, where everyone, without exception, is involved. “As we learn about our family members and their experiences,” she says, “we should share their stories with others.”  


Join Diane to learn how to organize family stories and disseminate them to the family, the public, and most of all, to future generations.

She is a professional genealogist who shares her passion for family history as speaker, author and investigator. She uses advanced deductive reasoning and logical constructs to investigate a case. Her specialty is finding descendants in family trees and brick wall research. As a super sleuth of genealogy she works with private investigators to find living people, while assisting in background investigations in civil and criminal cases. What started as a small hobby for Diane has become a consuming obsession.

Breathing New Life into Your Boring Ancestors

By Melissa Barker - 15 September, 1 PM

Many say they have boring ancestors, says Melissa Barker, but “there is no such thing as a boring ancestor,” just a researcher who hasn’t found the records or information that will give life and breath to them.

In this course you will learn from a seasoned and tempered genealogist of 17 years how to find the information that will tell the drama of your ancestors and bring their struggle to life.

Melissa is a Certified Archives manager who currently works in the Houston County, Tennessee Archives and Museum. For her prowess, she’s affectionately known as The Archive Lady. She is a featured lecturer and teacher, who writes a popular blog titled A Genealogist in the Archives. She is also a well-known published book reviewer. Her expertise is Tennessee records. After 32 years, she’s still digging deeper into her own family history.

Write and Format Your Genealogy in a Research Report

By Lianne Kruger - 15 September, 2:30 PM

This session details how to create a research report, the basis of good genealogical writing. Lianne Kruger will draw from her vast experience to share examples of how to format headings and sections, and how to create tables for census records, as well as bullet points and lists in Microsoft Word.

Lianne is a professional genealogist and speaker who specializes in Canada, U.S., and Canadian homesteading. She is an expert in video recording of family history using technology such as Google Maps, Google Drive, Microsoft Office and Evernote.

She’s spoken at RootsTech, NGS, Legacy Family Tree Webinars, Ancestry, FamilyRoots, THE Genealogy Show, Vivid Pix, Ontario Ancestors, AGS and BIFHSGO, live and webinars. She’s published articles in BYU Studies Quarterly, FamilySearch, Ancestry, SK Translations and ISBGFH.

After earning a degree in computer science, she’s taught computer software courses since 1982. She recently earned associate and bachelor degrees in Family History Research from Brigham Young University-Idaho.

How to Do Oral History Interviews

By Rhonda Lauritzen - 15 September, 3:45 PM

Capturing authentic voices and real stories may be the most important family history activity to be undertaken, says Rhonda Lauritzen. This session in conducting oral history interviews is one-part practical, and one-part inspirational. “It is one of the easiest, most rewarding ways to approach a life story,” she says.

Learn about the significant advancements made in transcription tools in the last three years, such as digital recorders, voice recording apps, and microphones. Rhonda will share some of the best free applications and paid services.

The presentation will touch on how to combine oral history videos with written narratives, as well as a list of effective questions to ask in an interview and teach how to help an interviewee feel at ease.

Finally, learn the power of intensive, empathetic listening to draw out the depth of emotion. This course will help attendees feel confident to conduct their first interview.

Rhonda Lauritzen is a professional biographer who specializes in writing life stories, collecting oral histories and historical storytelling. She is an acclaimed author of multiple books. She does client work, including building nominations to the National Register of Historic Places and writing client family history stories. She believes that when you tell a story, it changes the ending. She is a passionate teacher, coach and presenter at conferences. Before founding Evalogue.Life, she served as a college vice president and corporate CEO.

  • The Summit of Excellence is a multi-track conference (Thursday - Saturday) with more than 50 presentations covering methodology, records types, DNA, professional topics, technology, international and ethnic research, and more. The full conference schedule can be viewed here

To register for the Summit of Excellence, click here