Genealogy Classes

A series of genealogy classes is offered by the San Diego Genealogical Society on a continual and revolving basis. Interested persons may join the classes at any time. Classes are free and open to the public. Class size is limited and advance registration is requested (but not required).  To register, or for more information, please contact us.  Classes are designed for a variety of research levels and emphasize best practices, from getting started to intermediate and advanced level research, and are often used as a refresher. 

Classes are held before the regular monthly Society meeting. Attendees are encouraged to bring a notebook or mobile digital device (i.e., iPad, laptop, tablet, etc.) for note taking and to bring any pertinent family records they possess. All are welcome and encouraged to stay for the Society meeting and presentation sessions.   The monthly Society meeting is on the 2nd Saturday of the month (February through November) at St. Andrew's Lutheran Church, 8350 Lake Murray Blvd. (at the corner of Jackson Drive), San Diego, California.

  In addition to Saturday classes, additional classes on a variety of subjects are offered on varying days of the week at different locations around San Diego. These educational resources are available to SDGS members and the public. 

Refer to the SDGS Calendar of Eventson this website for dates, times and topics. 

Summaries of classes offered


Family Tree Maker Presenter Dave Tooley

Family Tree Maker is a powerful software tool that allows you to build your family tree. It links to, allows you to search for your ancestors and provides charts, reports and maps to enhance your knowledge of your ancestor’s past. This class will discuss the use of Family Tree Maker version 2017. It is open to all levels of experience.

Reunion Users Group Facilitator Anne Alves

This class will focus on how to use Reunion for Mac to perform your genealogy research. We will demonstrate many of the functions of Reunion, show how they help you search for information on the internet and how they organize your data as you build your family tree.


RootsMagic Presenter Randy Seaver

RootsMagic is a comprehensive software tool which helps you research, organize and share your genealogy information. It is appropriate for all levels from beginner to professional. This class will discuss many of its multitude of features and show you how to use them  Presenter Diane Gould Hall

The objective of this Special Interest Group (SIG) is to discuss various functions and capabilities of  The presentations are a combination of Power Point slides and live demonstration of the program, with an emphasis on the latter.  Since the SIG is held multiple times per year, we attempt to discuss different functions and capabilities at each session.  Those include; but are not limited to the following:

 --New functions and changes

  --Functions that may not be well known by current users; but are very helpfuin conducting research.

 --A periodic review of the most useful and popular functions of

 --Due to the rapid growth in the use of DNA in genealogy and the importance of Ancestry’s DNA testing and software functions, we usually spend some time in each session discussing the use of Ancestry’s DNA functions.

 --At each session we attempt to leave about 15 minutes at the end of each session for questions and answers.

 --We welcome suggestions at each session of topics for future sessions.

From Bits, Bytes and Pixels to JPG,TIFF and PDF: An Explanation

Of Image File Formats Presenter Marshall Clow

How are images stored on your computer? What are the differences between a PDF file and JPG file? What does “300 dpi” mean? What are the tradeoffs that you can make when scanning and manipulating photos? This information will help you when dealing with your photos.


Introduction to Genealogy Presenter Colin Whitney

Where and how do you begin researching your ancestors? How do you search for them and organize your data? What records are available to search? These are some of the topics to be covered as well as family trees, DNA, and how to share your research.

Intermediate Level Genealogy Presenter Colin Whitney

This class picks up where the introductory genealogy class leaves off. We will discuss finding records abroad as well as how to search some of the less common US records. We will talk about genealogy sources that you can find on the web which help you find your ancestors.

DNA and Genealogy Presenter Colin Whitney

This class addresses topics related to DNA testing and analysis, including the basics of DNA testing, an overview of the major testing companies, third party sites, and strategies for analysis and interpretation of testing results. The class is open to all levels of experience. It is recommended, but not required, that attendees read “The Family Tree Guide to DNA Testing and Genetic Genealogy” by Blaine Bettinger prior to attending the class.

Publishing Your Genealogy Presenter Dona Ritchie

This class will discuss different ways of communicating your family history information in a manner which appeals to family members of all ages as well as other genealogists and non-genealogists. We will talk about creating a family genealogy album, making e-books and blogging.

San Diego Genealogical Society Orientation Presenter Pat Francisco


This class is designed for all who want to know more about the San Diego Genealogical Society- its people and its programs. We will discuss the history of the society, its officers, the monthly meetings, bi-annual seminars, the education staff, research trips, local resources and more. The session will conclude with a live demonstration of using the website. Bring your laptop.

Local Resources Presenter Susi Pentico

In this class we discuss the San Diego area libraries, why they are essential, search techniques you can use for the library, how to find the right library, and what the libraries contain. We show how to use searching aids such as WORLDCAT and PERSI and how to prepare for your library visit.  The resources available at the San Diego City Public Library, the San Diego County Library, the Carlsbad Public Library, independent Libraries such as Coronado and Escondido, and university libraries like UCSD and San Diego State are detailed.

Introduction to the British Isles presenter Colin Whitney

This talk will introduce you to the British Isles and provide a framework for researching your British ancestors. We cover the names for regions of the British Isles, the county structure and recent changes, as well as the Dioceses of both the Roman Catholic Church and the Church of England. The main record types are discussed, their location, and guides on how to access them.


German Translation Class Presenter Barbara Stanculescu

This class will help attendees who have documents in German scripture which need to be translated. Examples are church documents like birth certificates, marriage and death certificates as well as civil certificates. If you have documents you would like translated, you are encouraged to send them to me at abcde_bunch@ That way we can project them on the screen so that everyone can participate.

Hispanic Family History   Presenter Ceasar Castro

In this class we will discuss Hispanic genealogy and provide you with information which will help you with your Hispanic research.  Your host is a veteran genealogist in a state-of-the-art library. Whether you are new to genealogy and wondering how to start the quest for your ancestors, or have been searching for years, expert guidance can save you months, if not years, of your time.

Address: Post Office Box 635057

San Diego, CA 92163


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