Social distancing may be keeping you from getting out of the house, but it shouldn’t keep you from pursuing genealogical research!

While you and your loved ones are at home helping to prevent the spread of the COVID-19 virus, there are ample ways to expand your skills and knowledge over the next few weeks. Several groups and organizations are hosting free genealogy webinars, virtual events and resources, so this is a great time to push forward on your brick-wall projects!

First, I have some great news for Fountaindale Public Library card holders! Ancestry Library Edition is now available for free from home through the end of March. We are very grateful to Ancestry and Proquest for making this service available to our patrons! To access the site, visit our Genealogy Resources page and click on the link to the Ancestry eResource. Enter your library card number when prompted, and you are ready to begin browsing and searching.

While you are there, take a look at all of the additional databases, webinars, handouts and other cool stuff available on our site. Don’t forget to sign up for genealogy blog notifications by using the signup box on the right hand side of the screen.

Lookout for Free Webinars!

Societies, businesses and organizations from across the globe are helping researchers connect to each other through free webinars and learning opportunities. You can use a computer, portable tablet or phone to access these resources. Some webinars are available for free to a live audience, while others provide free access to previously recorded programs. Here are a few places to visit:

Legacy Family Tree Webinars

You don’t need a membership to register for the 80+ live webinars available on Legacy Family Tree.  While this site has often provided free webinars to non-members, it is really impressive to see how many sessions are available just within the next few days. Sign up for a session in advance by clicking on the ‘registration’ button and following the instructions. A program reminder and event link will be sent to your email address in advance. You can find a full account of the upcoming webinars here.

Recommended Sessions:
City Directories: Much More than Ye Olde Phonebooks with Mike Mansfield, Using Fold3.com to your Advantage with Craig Scott, Decoding Social Security with Michael Strauss and Was Great Grandmother Really Native American by Janice Lovelace.

New York Genealogical and Biographical Society

You don’t need a New York ancestor to expand your genealogical horizons on the New York Genealogical and Biographical Society website.  Just like Legacy Family Tree webinars, NYG&B hosts a few free webinars to non-members, however, it has really ramped up its schedule. With a sessions scheduled nearly every day (and double sessions on certain days), you will really be able make a dent in your research ‘to do’ list.  Sign up for a session in advance by clicking on the ‘registration’ button.

Recommended Sessions:

Jewish Genealogy 101 presented by Lara Diamond, An Introduction to Researching Hispanic Ancestry presented by Colleen Robledo Greene, Strategic Searching on Findmypast presented by Jennifer Baldwin and Beginning Your African American Genealogy Journey presented by Kenyatta Berry.

Free Genealogy Sessions with Fountaindale

Did you know our website has four years of archived Genealogy Day programs ready to watch right now? One of my favorites is Tracking Infamous Ancestors in Court Records with Ray Johnson, where he uses Cook County court records pertaining to the infamous H. H. Holmes as a research case study. Excellent stuff! To watch the webinar, click the ‘play’ button in the middle of the box, and left click on the ‘full screen’ button on the bottom of the video. The handout is linked in the title below the video.

As our March Genealogy Club meeting is unable to be posted at this time, Tina Beaird from Tamarack Genealogy has graciously allowed us to extend her February 2020 lecture, Family History Resources at the Library of Congress. She also provided permission to rebroadcast her lecture on the Influenza Pandemic of 1919. Just press the play button to watch each video.

I will continue to provide more webinars and programs to watch in the next couple of days.  Until we meet again, stay safe, stay well and keep researching!