Educational Program Summaries

Saturday Morning Classes

Organizing Your Records and Data

 Presenter Claire McKarns

As one enters the tangled web of Genealogy, there are many records to file and ancestors to keep in line. It is always a challenge to stay focused and to keep in order. This class will offer some ideas for organizing records that have worked for the presenter and others. Some examples will be displayed. There will be an opportunity for questions and ideas at the end of the seminar.


Writing about your family

 Presenter Claire McKarns

Now that you have the skeleton, it is time to put some meat on the bones. We need to tell the stories of our families in a way that will interest those whose eyes glaze over when we start to describe our research. We will explore several ways of bringing the dead ancestors to life and make them real to the readers.



 Presenter Kathleen Fernandes

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 that attendees read “The Family Tree Guide to DNA Testing and Genetic Genealogy” by Blaine Bettinger prior to attending the class.

The Genealogy Family Album

 Presenter Colin Whitney

What do you do with the information you have uncovered about your ancestors? An answer is the genealogy family album. This talk shows how to combine your family pedigree charts, church records, documents, old photos and more with other information normally found in a family album. You will see how to use data mining to extract new information from your family tree allowing you to characterize your tree as a whole and discover how it evolved over time. You can add your family narrative to provide a comprehensive, reader friendly, document to be handed down to future generations.

Publishing Your Own Genealogy Family Album

 Presenter Colin Whitney

This presentation starts with a recap of the genealogy family album. It discusses which kinds of information to search for that fit well in the album format. It describes how to lay out your information, how to organize your documents to facilitate the album assembly process, how to format charts, maps and residence data, and how to insert your family narrative. It discusses which software tools are required and how to use them. Techniques for keeping the generations straight are shown. The advantages of e-book versus hardcover are covered. SIG

 Presenter TBD

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 helpful in 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.

Researching San Diego

 Presenter Peter Steelquist

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. 


Genealogy Computer resources

 Presenter Peter Steelquist


In 'Genealogy Computer Resources', we'll review your options for compiling and storing your data -- Is the 'cloud' or your PC the best option. Which genealogy program should you use, which is best?. What other computer tools you'll find essential. We'll then cover computer and online search methodologies -- little known tricks to help you find what you are looking for. Finally, we'll survey some of the best 50+ web sites  

 San Diego Family Search Library

 Presenter Don Martin, Co-Director

Don will talk about the resources available at the San Diego Family Search Library. These include many computers, microfilm and microfiche readers for your use, free online database access, access to the Salt Lake City Library resources, and trained volunteers to help.

Roots Magic

 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.

An Introduction to Genealogy on the Mac

 Presenter Dona Ritchie

 This class is ideal for Mac users who are beginners in genealogy. It will show you how to take advantage of the key features of your computer for genealogy research and for organizing the information you find.

Genealogy on the Mac Intermediate Level

 Presenter Dona Ritchie

This class targets Mac users who have a good grasp of the computer and some familiarity with genealogy. It takes off from where the beginner course ends. It will show you how to use advanced features to help you uncover your family history.




                                              Introduction to the British Isles

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.



San Diego Genealogical Society Orientation

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.

Publishing Your Genealogy

This class will show you how to design and assemble your genealogy family album.



Special Interest Groups

San Diego Ancestry Interest Group

 Facilitator TBD

This is a group which visits, every other month, research or historical sites in San Diego where our ancestors lived, worked and played. We share the genealogical strategies we have used with success to uncover information about our past. This year our planned visits include, the Genealogy Department Archives at the Downtown Public Library, the San Diego/ Imperial Counties Congress of History Conference held in Point Loma, Lakeside Museum and the Kumeyaay Culture and History Museum, the California Wolf Center in Julian, the J.S. Cooley Museum in San Diego, the Chinese Historical Museum for a presentation on Chinese History, and Forest Lawn Memorial Park in Glendale.

German Interest Group

 Facilitator Amy Chidester

The German Interest Group explores a wide variety of subjects, mostly related to German genealogy. Occasionally, non-German specific topics of general interest, such as DNA or a Review of the 2017 Federation of Genealogical Societies Conference, are presented. Most classes are taught by a member of the German Interest Group although, this year, there will be two national speakers, Ken Heger and Fritz Juengling. Periodically, we provide interactive classes where members bring in individual issues to be solved.

Writers group

 Facilitator Diane Altona

The Writer’s Group meets twice monthly at the Family Search Library. It addresses the need to write stories about our ancestors to enhance the pedigree charts and other documents. The group focus is on historical and genealogical topics of interest to its members and how to write about them. We learn from each other by reading our stories out aloud and receiving comments and criticism. All levels are welcome with or without their writing.


Hispanic Saturdays

 Facilitator Ceasar Castro

This Special Interest Group meets every other month to discuss Hispanic genealogy. It provides personal assistance to Hispanic researchers. Your host is a veteran genealogist in a state-of-the-art library. Whether you are new to genealogy or have been searching for years, expert guidance can save you months, if not years, of your time. Bring your pedigree charts and family history sheets and/or your laptop so that our experts can see your family’s “big picture.”


Family Tree Maker Users Group PC or Mac

 Facilitator 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. The Users Group discusses the use of Family Tree Maker version 2017 and provides individual attention to solving the problems that you bring in. It is open to all levels of experience.

Computer Basics PC or Mac

 Facilitator Dave Tooley

This group provides a forum for discussing any computer issues you are dealing with. Members are encouraged to bring in their problems and we can give you one on one assistance in solving them. The group is open to all levels of experience.

Roots Magic

 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 monthly SIG will discuss many of its multitude of features and show you how to use them. Attendees are encouraged to bring in problems or issues to receive individualized help.

Reunion Users Group

 Facilitator Anne Alves


The primary focus of this workshop is on Reunion for Mac although other genealogy topics of interest are covered. We usually start each session with questions from last month’s topic before diving into a new discussion. Often a mixed format is adopted which incorporates a formal presentation, demonstration of the use of Reunion, and a problem solving session where individualized help is provided.


DNA Interest Group

Facilitator Colin Whitney

This Special Interest Group will meet every other month starting in July 2018. We will focus on all aspects of using DNA for genealogical purposes. We will cover the basics of DNA, organizing your data, and testing your DNA at the major websites. The tools available at these websites which help you understand your results will be discussed, as well as the additional the benefits of using third party tools. The agenda for each meeting will be posted prior to the event.

British Isles Interest Group

Facilitator Colin Whitney

This Special Interest Group will focus on the British Isles and will be held every other month starting in July 2018. It will cover all countries of the British Isles; Ireland and Northern Ireland, Scotland, England and Wales. Different countries will be discussed in each session. The presentations will outline research resources available for each country, particularly on-line records. Research trips to the British Isles will be presented. The agenda for each session will be provided prior to the meeting.






Address: Post Office Box 635057

San Diego, CA 92163


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