Need a speaker for your society, library, or archive? Below are the topics I am currently offering. I’m always interested in developing new ideas. If you have something specific your group may be interested in that you’ve not seen elsewhere, I’d love to hear from you. While most scheduled dates can be found on the “See Me!” section of the home page, please contact me for availability and rates: chris@staatsofohio.com.

Beyond the Docket Books: Digging For Gold In Probate Packets
Will books and probate dockets can provide a great deal of information about our ancestors, but the original estate (probate) file can reveal details about our ancestors and their families that no other record group is likely to document. Family relationships, occupations, personal possessions, and even family squabbles may all be contained in that little packet. Administrator bonds, inventories, sale lists, distributive accounts, and other items found in the estate file breathe life into our ancestors and provide us with a glimpse of the person behind the names and dates.

Buried Treasure: Finding Your Ancestors in Ohio’s Local Government Records Collection
You’ve searched all the records available to you online, at the courthouses, and in local libraries, but your ancestor still has managed to elude you. Is it time to give up? Certainly not! Ohio’s Local Government Record Program has preserved a wealth of records that many people don’t know exist and can’t be found elsewhere: justice of the peace dockets, quadrennial census records, enumerations of youth, poll books, indentures, and militia enrollment— just to scratch the surface. Learn more about these records, who holds them, and how to access them.

Where Does It Say That? Learning to Love Indirect Evidence
Direct evidence, the sort of evidence that completely answers a research question by itself, is often scarce. It can also be wrong, or we may discover two pieces of direct evidence that conflict with each other. Without any documents telling us exactly what we want to know, how do we identify relationships that might not be stated explicitly, resolve conflicts between records, and arrive at sound genealogical conclusions? By collecting, analyzing, and correlating indirect evidence of course!The Henry McGinnis family of 19th century rural Pennsylvania provides an easy-to-understand example of using mostly indirect evidence to reconstruct a family which left precious little for descendants to work with.

Ten Hi-Tech Tools for Low-Tech Genealogists
Technology is supposed to make our lives easier, isn’t it? Sometimes it doesn’t seem that way, but there are a number of fear-free (and cost-free) tools available to help you throughout the research process: from creating a research plan and searching online, to onsite research tools, to things that help you put it all together once you get home. This presentation introduces a number of simple, yet powerful tools and some of their potential uses, explained in plain English – no technical degree required!

Using Deeds In Your Genealogical Research: Location Isn’t Everything
Deeds are an underutilized resource that can be intimidating and difficult to understand. Join Chris Staats as he discusses the wealth of information to be found in these records, helps wade through the legal terminology, and shows that deeds are about far more than simply learning where your ancestor lived.

Unlocking the Keystone State: Key Resources and Repositories for Pennsylvania Research
Pennsylvania can be a confusing, unfamiliar genealogical landscape – especially for those who’ve primarily researched in Ohio records. A limited run of vital records, courts of confusing names, and lack of easy access to records can quickly frustrate someone new to Pennsylvania research. “Unlocking the Keystone State” presents an overview of the most commonly used Pennsylvania records, where to find them, and how to use them. More and more resources are becoming available online, and access to those that aren’t is easier than ever. There’s no need to feel locked out of your Pennsylvania research. This presentation will help open the door, providing a gateway to your Pennsylvania past.

Power Platting: Technology Tools to Create Pictures From Property Descriptions
No doubt about it – a compass and graph paper still work fine. However, software tools add power and flexibility in the platting of property and creation of maps to aid in your research. Presented in plain English, this presentation focuses on the “whys” and “hows” of platting property descriptions using both proprietary (Adobe Illustrator) and open source (Scribus) drawing software. Extended sessions further explore using county GIS, Google, USGS, and other map sources to create overlays with the properties you’ve laid out.

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