Genealogy & Family History Day

Graphic for Genealogy and Family History Day

Genealogy & Family History DayFamily History Research through Life’s Stages

Register to attend the 3rd annual FREE genealogy and family history day. Learn about resources and processes to start the journey to find your ancestors.

Presenters will highlight a diverse range of resources held in the University Libraries and elsewhere.


UPDATE: All sessions will take place at Love Library South Auditorium, Room 102.

June 10, 2017

9 am - 3:30 pm

Register To Attend

Due to limited seating, preregistration is required.

Contact Us For Questions

Tom McFarland


Joan Barnes

Agenda, Speakers & SessionsAttend the entire day or specific sessions

Download (PDF) Syllabi of Sessions
Time Schedule
9:00-9:30 Check-in and Coffee
9:30-9:40 Welcome
Tom McFarland
9:40-10:30 The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly
Gail Blankenau, Professional Genealogist, Speaker and Author

Most of us know what a citation is, but in the thrill of the ancestor hunt, we sometimes give short shrift to our sources. Gail Shaffer Blankenau will share stories and examples from the genealogical trenches that demonstrate why footnotes are important, how and what genealogists should cite, with a discussion of citation styles and tools.

Gail Shaffer Blankenau is a professional genealogist, author and speaker. Gail’s publications include articles in the New England Historic and Genealogical Register, The Genealogist and many popular national and state genealogy magazines. She is also the author of the Legacy QuickGuide: Deciphering Germanic Script, available at Legacy Family Tree. She is currently pursuing a Master’s degree in History at the University of Nebraska-Kearney.

10:30-10:45 Break with Coffee
10:45-11:15 Searching for County Land Records
Joan Barnes, University Libraries Community Engagement Librarian

In this session, you will learn where and how to find land records that were privately bought and sold at the county level.

Joan Barnes is the Community Engagement Librarian and a member of the User Experience Team for the Libraries at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. She is responsible for marketing, communications, outreach, and coordinates the Peer Guide Program. When not working, Joan enjoys genealogy, bird-watching, coloring, and exploring metaphysical ideas.

11:15-11:45 The Time Grandpa Sued Wonder Bread
Erin Colonna, University Libraries Graphic Designer

While working on a family history project in western New York, Erin discovered that her grandfather, who owned the town’s bakery, once sued the company that produces Wonder Bread. Learn how Erin found the information and what she uncovered.

Erin Colonna is the Graphic Designer for the University Libraries. She grew up in a small town in western New York where her extended family has resided for several generations. Erin's undergraduate studies took place in New York, but she moved to Nebraska to attend graduate school. Erin and her family are now permanent residents of Nebraska and have started a small farm growing hops.

11:45-1:00 Lunch Break (Bring your own, or view additional options)
1:00-1:50 Religious Records - Finding a Lifetime of Clues in the Religious Community
Marcia Stewart

Some people have their fantasy vacations. Others have their fantasy sports leagues. As genealogists, we might fantasize about that one ideal record group that could give us an overview of our ancestor’s entire life. Religious records may be the solution to your research roadblock. Discover what information can be found and how to approach religious records research.

Marcia Stewart is a native Nebraskan who has been fascinated by family history most of her life. Beginning with “grandma stories” of homesteaders and frontiersman, she has researched her way into colonial America, the Protestant reformation in Europe, and most recently, the emigration of Volga River Germans from Russia. She is a member of the Association of Professional Genealogists and a genealogy instructor at Southeast Community College. Marcia also is a charter member of the Nebraska State Genealogical Society. As a member of the Lincoln-Lancaster County (Nebraska) Genealogical Society, she has served as President, newsletter editor, and in various other offices. She has served as a delegate to the Federation of Genealogical Societies.


  • A Genealogy of the Robert Newton Turpin Family
  • A Record of the King Hill Cemetery, Greene County, NY
  • Index to the Hickman (Lancaster County, NE) Enterprise Newspaper, 1901 through 1903

1:50-2:10 Break
2:10-2:45 Finding More with Newspapers
Tom McFarland, University Libraries Staff Development Officer

Newspapers are an essential tool for genealogists that can have surprising results, but they can be difficult to locate and are often not available locally. This presentation looks at digital resources, bibliographies of newspapers, and suggestions for getting copies.

Tom McFarland is the Staff Development Program Officer at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln Libraries and his earned MLS from Emporia State University. He is an enthusiastic genealogist with over 35 years of experience. He has published in academic journals and has written a family history. He presents at local, state, and national conferences on Irish research, DNA, using an academic library in genealogical research, and cluster analysis. He was a founding member and past president of the Nebraskans of Irish/Scots Irish Ancestry and past president of the Lincoln-Lancaster County Genealogical Society. He is a member of the Association of Professional Genealogists and president of the Great Plains Chapter.

2:45-3:15 Library Tour


Attendees are encouraged to use the “for-pay” parking at the Larson Building at 13th and Q Streets.

Get Directions

Enter your starting address:

Love Library South, Room 102
13th & R Street
Lincoln, NE 68508

Restaurants Nearby

Lunch options are available at several downtown locations. Restaurants in the Student Union are closed Saturdays.