Welcome Genealogy Tip of the Day Fans!

Grow your genealogy research skills with one of my how-to genealogy webinars. Presentations are clear, easy-to-follow, and focused on helping you with your research. Downloads are immediate and you can watch the presentation as many times as you wish. Enjoy!

Our current live offerings.

Getting More From Searching FamilySearch

What's on FamilySearch is free, but navigating and refining search results is not always easy. In this presentation we will demonstrate how to construct searches, how to refine results, and how to determine if FamilySearch has online what you need and what you are looking for. See how to get more from FamilySearch and make better use of your online time spent there.

Order the "Getting More from FamilySearch" presentation here (media file and handout) for only $7. Download is immediate.

Using the Lutheran (ELCA) Records at Ancestry.com

This presentation will provide an overview of digital images of ELCA congregational church records on the Ancestry.com site. Navigational and search techniques, limitations of available index, citation issues, download, and use of images will be discussed. Learn how to get the most out of this record set.

Order the ELCA presentation here (media file and handout) for only $7. Download is immediate.

Getting More From Newspapers

There is more to newspaper searching than obituaries and marriage announcements. In this presentation, we will see how to see what newspapers are available, both digitally and on microfilm. We will look at effective search techniques for online newspapers, including search structures, keyword searching, and more. We will also discuss approaches for accessing newspapers that are not available online. Order an immediate download of this product.

Effective Census Search Strategies for Ancestry.com

There is more to searching the online census than simply putting a name in a box and clicking. We will look at effective use of wildcards, soundex options, location parameters, and more. Included will be a discussion of a general organizational strategy so that searchers spend less time "going in circles. This presentation is not sponsored or endorsed by Ancestry.com and Michael John Neill is not an Ancestry.com employee. Order an immediate download of this presentation.

Using Archive.org

Archive.org is a free resource containing digital scans of thousands of out of copyright books and thousands of rolls of microfilm (including all 1790-1930 United States Federal census records) Learn how to effectively search for specific materials, navigate the site and interact with uploaded items, and download items for personal offline use in a variety of formats. You will be using the site for days after you've seen what's available on this free site. Download the recording for only $8.

Using WorldCat

WorldCat contains an online library catalog for libraries across the entire United States and many foreign countries. Search thousands of library card catalogs in one interface. See effective ways to search for print, microfilmed, and manuscript materials on this site that contains millions of library catalog entries. Download the recording for only $8.
Title and Description
Other topics included

Is Your Process the Problem?
Is your genealogical research process part of your problem? We will look at ways to organize your search, your problems, and your results in order to make the most effective use of your genealogical and financial resources. Geared towards beginning and intermediate researchers.

Using the Bureau of Land Management Site
This presentation discusses search strategies for the Bureau of Land Management website--which hosts a database of federal land patent extracts and images. It will include a brief discussion of legal land descriptions in federal land states before discussing the several ways the site can be searched and queried. The presentation will conclude with several specific examples and how the site was queried for additional information.

Navigating Fold3.com
Frustrated with finding databases and people on Fold3.com? This presentation discusses search techniques for determining what Fold3.com has, what it doesn't and how to search the entire site and specific databases for individuals of interest.

Organizing Online Searches
This webinar presents suggestions for how to organize your online searches, including creating lists of search options, creating search logs that assist in problem-solving, and tracking negative results and eliminated matches to repeat viewing the same image over and over. Organized searches makes it possible to accurately problem-solve and allows others to provide constructive criticism. Also included is a discussion of when it may be time to stop. 

An overview of using Archive.org.    This focuses on searching the site, using books and how to navigate for National Archives microfilm and other materials
Digital books
Brick Walls
Brick Walls from A to Z--This lecture is based upon my article "Brick Walls From A to Z" and is geared towards the somewhat experienced beginner to intermediate researcher. Just a list of ideas to get beyond your brick walls discussed alphabetically.
$5.00 -add to cart
More Brick Walls from A to Z This presentation is a continuation on the popular "Brick Walls from A to Z" that was released earlier. The alphabet has been reused for additional ideas and quick suggestions for getting past those brick walls--aimed at all levels--with the intent of jumpstarting people's research

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"Yet More Brick Walls from A to Z" continues our popular series on this topic--with yet another list of brick wall breakers--with discussion--from A to Z
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Brick Walls From A to Z--FINAL one. Twenty-six new genealogy stumbling block breakers in alphabetical order. This session is geared towards advanced beginners and intermediate researchers and is not geared towards any specific geographic location. The Brick Wall series has been fun, but I'm looking forward to creating new material. And besides, I'm running out of things I can use for "X." 
$5.00 -add to cart
Case Studies
Barbara's Beaus and Gesche's Girls--Case study of two German immigrants to the American Midwest in the mid-19th century. For $8.50 you will be able to download the media file and the PDF version of the handout
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Preparing for Mother's Death. It's not quite what you might think. This presentation discusses an 1889 will that was denied in 1900 with no stated reasons. An exhaustive search of records resulted in the likely reason and made the machinations of one son a little easier to see and made the reasons behind some documents a little more clear. Along the way we discuss a few key terms and also see why chronology and context are always important--especially so when things are confusing.
Female ancestors
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Proving Benjamin. This presentation discusses work on a New York 1820 era native who appears in Michigan, Iowa, and Missouri census records. Combining those records with a probate, we show inconsistent 1850, 1870 and 1880 census entries are actually for the same   man, and using land and tax records (combined with census records) get a good foundation for researching his family of origin
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The Newmans in the 1830-1870 Census--A Case Study. This presentation follows a family through the 1830 until the 1870 census. Discussion includes correlation of information, search techniques and problem-solving for finding the family in 1880. 
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The Missing 1840 Census Enumeration. This webinar discusses a couple "missing" from the 1840 Census in Ohio and how they were eventually found and the indirect evidence used. A good overview of using land records to solve a "non-land record" problem with some points along the way about organization and visualization. Suggestions for additional research are also discussed. 
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Creating Families from Pre-1850 Census Records --This presentation discusses how to analyze pre-1850 census records in order to determine the family structure that is suggested by those records. Enumerations for one household between 1810 and 1840 are analyzed in order to determine the number of children, ranges on their years of birth, and ranges on years of birth for the oldest male and oldest female in the household.
$8.50 -add to cart
Court Records
Court Records-Pig Blood in the Snow. This lecture discusses American court records at the county level where cases were typically originally heard. Discusses cases of main genealogical relevance along with searching techniques.
$8.50 -add to cart
The Probate Process—An Overview. Geared towards the advanced beginner or intermediate researcher, it covered an overview of the process and looked at selected documents from two probate settlements with a discussion of the pitfalls to watch out for along the way. Probate records are an excellent genealogical source--regardless of the time period in which you are researching and may contain clues about your ancestor, where he lived, his occupation, etc.

$8.50 -add to cart
Tips and Tricks for FamilySearch  -This webinar discusses ins and outs of using the "new" family search,   searching by family structure, global searches, interpreting searches and troubleshooting. Also discussed are strategies when approaching an unindexed set of images, a new type of record series, or incomplete records. Aimed at advanced beginners and intermediate level researchers
$8.50 order
Female Ancestors. This presentation discusses approaches and techniques for determining an ancestor's maiden name and locating "missing" females. Geared towards the advanced beginner or intermediate researcher, it focuses on American records and sources. The content is not specific to any one time period and many of the approaches can be refined for different locations or types of records. If you are stymied on your female ancestors--and half your ancestors are female--this may give you the insight you need.
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Sarah and Susannah-Two 18th Century Virginia Women and Their Property -This presentation discusses the will of a 18th century Virginia woman and how another family "moved" a widow's life estate from one county to another.

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Proving Florence--From our Fundamental Series--this 20 minute presentation is geared towards beginners with some experience and intermediate researchers as well. It discusses how the father was "proven" for a woman who was born in the 1850s in Iowa or Missouri. There's not one source that specifically states the relationship--our case is indirect
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Using Fold3.com. Frustrated with finding databases and people on Fold3.com? This presentation discusses search techniques for determining what Fold3.com has, what it doesn't and how to search the entire site and specific databases for individuals of interest. Download complete presentation for $7
$7.00 -add to cart
Research in Illinois- -Geared towards advanced beginners and intermediate researchers, it focuses on local records, what makes Illinois different, and larger statewide facilities.

Local Land Records in Public Domain States--This lecture discusses obtaining, using, and interpreting local land records in areas of the United States from Ohio westward where land was originally in the public domain. This lecture is geared towards those who have some experience with land records--advanced beginning and intermediate researchers.  
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The Bureau of Land Management Office Tract Books. These books are a good source for additional information on your homesteading or federal land acquiring ancestors. This material supplements what is in the homestead file, allows you to see names of neighboring claims, even if those claims were not completed. If you've ever wondered who might have started a claim near your ancestor, but never completed it--these books are the way to find out. Our webinar on using the books (most of which are available for free on FamilySearch) discusses several examples in Ohio, Illinois, and Nebraska for a variety of federal land purchase types. If you've never used the tract books because you found them too confusing, let this webinar cut through the confusion
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Sections, Townships, Base Lines, etc--Land Descriptions in Federal Land States. The presentation focused on interpreting these descriptions, determining acreages and becoming familiar with the terminology. This presentation is geared towards those who have had difficulty using land descriptions or who have avoided using land records because of the use of legal descriptions. The use of land records for genealogy and searching those records are not a part of this presentation. This presentation concentrates on how land is described
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Using the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) Website.. This lecture discusses effective search techniques for the site, how to formulate your searches, how to trouble-shoot searches, a search template, and what records patents in the BLM site can lead to. 
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DeedMapper Geared for the person who is not familiar with DeedMapper--which maps properties described in metes and bounds, allows users to map multiple parcels on the same map, manipulate plats, insertbackground images. This works through one example and discusses other features of the program.
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DeedMapper with Virginia Land Patents. The session on DeedMapperdiscusses how patents for John Rucker and several of his neighbors were located using the Library of Virginia website. The presentation discusses the downloading of the patents, reading them, inputting the descriptions into  DeedMapper and attempting to fit them together using the plats created by DeedMapper. 
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What is Not Written. This presentation discusses the importance of discovering, as best you can, what is going on "behind the scenes" with a document or a record. Materials used by genealogists are usually created in response to some event and sometimes seeing what's "really going on" is not easy. Through examples and general methodology we will see how to get "behind" the document and discover what was really going on.
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The Genealogical Proof Standard for the Non-Professional. One of our most popular webinars, this presentation provides an overview of the “Genealogical Proof Standard,” including a discussion on the “exhaustive search.” The Proof Standard is not just for professionals, any genealogist who wants to improve their research and get past those stumbling blocks would be well served by implementing it in their research. Our discussion is practical, down-to-earth, and hands-on. 
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Charts, Charts and More Charts. Readers of the newsletter know that I love charts--and I'm not talking about pedigree and family group charts. Instead I'm talking about charts that organize information you have in order to see what's missing, notice patterns, and organize your research. In this webinar, I talk about key elements to include in any chart, troubleshooting before you get started, brainstorming, and ways to get creative with your data. Geared towards advanced beginners and intermediate researchers
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Creating Research Plans. This presentation discusses how to create your research plans, how to set goals, how to not set goals, when you are proving and when you are not, and other key concepts. Of course, we have a few charts as well. Our attempt is to be down-to-earth and practical. I realize that most genealogists are not going to write journal articles, however our research needs to be as thorough as possible and our analysis and method well-thought out or we're not going to get the best possible story on great-great-grandma that there is. This presentation is geared towards intermediate researchers, but advanced beginners might get some benefit from it as well
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Making and Proving Your Case. Geared towards advanced beginners and intermediate researchers, this presentation discusses things to think about before writing up "your case." Talks about statements, primary, secondary, ways to prove yourself, considering all the options, disproving, citation, etc. Provides the viewer with ideas on how to "make their case" and see gaps or omissions in their research.  
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Creating Families from Pre-1850 Census Records --This presentation discusses how to analyze pre-1850 census records in order to determine the family structure that is suggested by those records. Enumerations for one household between 1810 and 1840 are analyzed in order to determine the number of children, ranges on their years of birth, and ranges on years of birth for the oldest male and oldest female in the household.
$5.00 -add to cart
Seeing the Patterns-Organizing Your Information. This lecture discusses the problem-solving process and a variety of ways to   organize your information with the intent of getting the research to notice overlooked clues, patterns, trends, and information. $8.50 includes handout and hour-long lecture. 
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Determining Your Own Migration Trail/Chain. This lecture discusses ways to find the names of your ancestor's associates and ways to determine how your ancestor fit into a larger chain of migration. Geared towards advanced beginners and intermediate researchers
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Crossing the Pond. This presentation discusses problem-solving strategies for tracing 18th and 19th century ancestors back across the Atlantic. It is geared towards advanced beginning and intermediate researchers. This presentation does not merely list a list of sources, but focuses on research methods
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Did Your Ancestor Get a Civil War Pension? This presentation discusses ways to determine if your ancestor recieved a Civil War pension--either Union or Confederate. Free sites are the only ones discussed
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American Revolutionary War Materials on Fold3.com.  Our discussion concentrated on what items from the Revolutionary War era were on Fold3.com and how to search those materials. The presentation was approximately 45 minutes in length. A short handout was also included. The presentation is geared toward those who have not utilized these materials on Fold3.com and aren't all that familiar with how to interact with the search and navigational system of Fold3--both are discussed in addition to the records. 
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United States Naturalization Records pre-1920 - This presentation is an overview of naturalization records in the United States prior to 1920, focusing on locating and understanding the records. Women's citizenship and derivative citizenship are also included.
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Newspaper Research  Aimed at advanced beginners and intermediate level researchers, this webinar discusses research techniques for searching newspapers in digital, microfilm, and original formats. Pitfalls of using digital newspapers are discussed, along with manual search techniques and what types of materials to look for besides obituaries and death notices.  This presentation is not merely a list of online sites or an attempt to get subscribers to any specific database
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Using Newspapers at the Library of Congress. This presentation discusses search techniques and methods for utilizing the free online digital images of newspapers at the Library of Congress site.  Also discussed are pros and cons of varying search structure, effective navigation of search results, and determining what content is a part of this site.
$5.00 —add to cart.