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Past Speakers

Speakers' Handouts from the following presentations are available
in the Member's Area of this website. 

Sarah Reed: Her Life and Impact on Erie, PA - May 10, 2022
Speaker Gary Bukowski, associate vice president, development, Sarah Reed Children's Center talked about Sarah A. Reed and her ground-breaking work in social services in Erie.  The Sarah Reed Children's Center in Erie celebrated its 150th anniversary in 2021. The Center, originally known as "The Association for Improving the Conditions of the Poor, and a Home for the Friendless," was founded in 1871 by Sarah A. Reed and a group of women. The association was the city's first social service agency. Starting in 1889, Reed served as president for 45 years until her death in 1934.  

How To Publish Your Family Stories, The Story of Us - April, 12, 2022

Speaker Noelle Ferre, President of the Castle Rock Colorado Genealogical Society, gave a well-received presentation on how to publish your family stories. Ferre emphasized the importance of starting to publish as you go. As Genealogist and Author Stephen Denker put it, "It is better to publish something now, than everything never." Ferre and her family have lived in Colorado for nine years. She's been working on her family genealogy research for about 20 years. "I have somewhat of a Heinz 57 background with roots in England, Canada, Scotland, Wales, Ireland, Netherlands and Germany, Spain, Portugal and France," she told the Castle Rock News-Press. "It keeps my research interesting!"  The speaker's handout is available in the Members Area of this website.

Bring Us Your Brick Wall - October 12, 2021
ESGR member Sue Mueller tackled Brick Wall research queries submitted our members. Brick walls are genealogy research problems you have not been able to resolve.

What Kind of Information Does a Funeral Home Keep? - September 14, 2021
Speaker Ari Wilkins discussed the valuable genealogical information often available in the information that funeral homes collect. Funeral home records often contain extensive information on the family's genealogy, church affiliations, business activities, education, community contributions and other topics valuable to family history researchers. Wilkins, a graduate of Louisiana State University, has been researching family history for more than 20 years. She works at the Dallas Public Library and teaches genealogy classes there. She specializes in African American research, and has spoken at the National Genealogical Society, the Federation of Genealogical Societies, Roots Tech, the American Library Association and many local societies.

Erie County in World War 1
On May 11, 2021, ESGR Board Member and World War One Committee Chair Mary Jane Koenig joined us with other speakers at 6:30 p.m. to give a presentation on the forthcoming book, "Answering The Call: Erie County, Pennsylvania in World War One." Produced by the Erie County World War 1 Centennial Committee, the book is organized into five sections: At War; The Homefront; Sketches; Bios of the 200 Men From Erie County Who Made the Ultimate Sacrifice; A List of 2300+ Men and Women From Erie County Who Served. The book will become available on May 25 at a special event at the Hagen History Center.

Discoveries in the Attic
On 4/13/2021, Speaker Linda Waha offered tips on how to sort out those family boxes in the closets, attic or basement. Many of us are downsizing, and can use some advice on sorting out the good stuff, and preserving and organizing interesting finds for your genealogy research -- and for future generations of your family. 

DNA Painter
Did you know that DNA Painter is not just for people who have had their DNA tested? ESGR’s DNA Special Interest Group leader Helen Shimek gave a presentation via Zoom on May 12 at 6:30 p.m. to demonstrate how to use DNA Painter in your genealogy research. The presentation showed how to use the “Ancestry Trees” feature on []( how to make pedigree charts, how to easily identify and visualize gaps in your ancestral line, and how to create dimensions that display countries of birth, decades of birth, or customized layers such as city of birth, age at death, etc. The handout is available to ESGR members in the Members area of this website.

Finding Your Female Ancestors
Feb 23 ESGR Computer SIG Leader Sue Mueller discussed special challenges in finding your female ancestors; how and where to search; using indirect proof; women and the law; military; immigration and naturalization.

Immigration Records for Genealogy: Nov. 2020 
Our ESGR Computer Research SIG meeting met on ZOOM November 24, 2020 from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. Topic: "Immigration Records for Genealogy." ESGR Computer SIG Leader Sue Mueller discussed how to figure out who came when; finding your immigrant ancestor's origin; searching passenger lists; destinations—why and where; naturalization records.