Saturday, January 11, 2014

Genealogy-focused Webinars and Instructional Videos -- What is out There?

At our Let's Talk...Genealogy discussion group meetings, we often mention attending webinars. At the last meeting someone asked, "What is a webinar?"

A webinar refers to a web seminar. It is web/internet conferencing that allows attendees and the presenter to come together from multiple locations using internet video/sound services in real-time, often with two-way communication. This online event could be a meeting, online workshop, training event, lecture, or presentation.

Related to this are recorded instructional videos, some of which may be recorded webinar events.

Why attend a webinar? It's another great learning opportunity. And even better, you don't have to leave home to do it. All you need  is a computer and internet connection. 

Not sure how to do something or feel you are missing something in your research? A webinar is a great way to learn more about a topic. Of course it depends on the speaker and that person's capabilities but more often than not the speakers of these various online webinars are of good or great caliber. They know their subject and speak/present well.

Instructional/How-To books are a great way to learn about a topic also, but for some people spoken/visual instruction works better. And if books work for you, webinars are an added tool.

So where do you find these webinars? We've put together a list below. This likely isn't all inclusive but it is a good list to get your started.

What does a webinar cost? Many are offered for free when viewed live. Some are then archived for viewing later and these archived videos may also be free, free for a limited time or require a membership to them to be viewed later. Some companies do charge a fee to view/attend a live webinar (sometimes called a class) or archived/recorded webinar/class. 

In the end, it is up to you to decide which ones to view/attend/use.

Organizations or companies offering "free" (see above) genealogy-focused webinars.
Legacy Family Tree's FamilyTreeWebinars
Legacy Family Tree is a genealogy program. The company behind the program hosts a webinar just about every week using the gotowebinar service (on internet company specializing in hosting online meetings.) The webinars are free when viewed live and generally are available for free until the day before the next seminar (about 7 days). After that, you have to be a member/subscriber to the webinar website. The upcoming webinar schedule for 2014 is available here and there is a link at the top of the list to register for multiple webinars at one time: 

Illinois State Genealogical Society
The webinars are held generally on Tuesday nights and the society uses the gotowebinar service. They are free when viewed live. Afterwards, you need to be a member of the society to view the archived webinars. The society's 2014 webinars are listed here and you need to register for each webinar individually:

Southern California Genealogy Society
The webinars are held generally on Saturdays or Wednesdays and the society uses the gotowebinar service. They are free when viewed live. Afterwards, you need to be a member of the society to view the archived webinars. The society's 2014 webinars are listed here and you need to register for each webinar individually:

New England Historic Genealogical Society (NEHGS)
NEHGS has also started hosting genealogy webinars. The webinars are free and open to the public (unless otherwise stated) and archived for later viewing. The upcoming webinars (for about the next two months) is listed here:  
The society's archived webinars, video lectures and how-to videos (which are viewable my non-members) are available here: announces its upcoming webinars on its blog site. To find the latest list, scroll down through the articles to find the latest article on Upcoming Webinars and Events. Prior registration is required and the links to register are found in these articles. But it appears that you have to have a FaceBook account to register to view the webinar live. (Apparently no one has told Ancestry that not everyone is on FaceBook. So you might just have to view the archived version of the webinar.)
Archived Webinars are accessible in two places.
Ancestry also has a wide variety of videos archived at its YouTube channel located here:

Some genealogy/ family history conferences have been streaming live (and/or recording) select presentation/panel discussion sessions from their conferences.
RootsTech family history conference
RootsTech is a yearly, multiple-day family history conference hosted by FamilySearch. Registered/Paying Attendees of the event can choose from a wide variety of presentation/discussion panels sessions to attend throughout each day of the conference. In 2013, RootsTech offered select sessions streamed live for viewing by people around the country. There was no cost to view a live session online though prior registration was required. These presentation/group discussion sessions were then archived so they could be watched later. The 2013 archived videos can be found here:
The RootsTech 2014 conference is February 6-8 in Salt Lake City, Utah. It will once again offer select presentation/discussion panel sessions streamed live; though the schedule for these live streamed events has not yet been announced publicly. Keep an eye out for this announcement. The 2013 sessions that were live streamed were informative and interesting. This year's should be too.

National Archives Virtual Genealogy Fair
In 2013 for the first time, the National Archives hosted a Virtual Genealogy Fair with live lectures via the website UStream. Those lectures or the slides from those lectures are posted on the site and feature various federal records of genealogy interest:
Keep an eye out for information on the 2014 fair. 

Other forms of webinars
Federation of Genealogical Societies 
Thought the focus of this society is on running a society, you may find one of it's archived webinar topics interesting. The society's archived webinars are located here:
The society announces its live webinars on it blog site, FGS Voice. 

Dear Myrtle Google+ Hangouts
Also Dear Myrtle, a nationally known genealogy personality, began hosting Google+ hangouts. These are get-togethers using Google's video conferencing feature. She has a link on her blog site to her Google+ community page. Some hangouts are announced (have a link) a head of time but some not until closer to the start time. You have to be a Google+ member to participate. (Google+ is Google's answer to FaceBook.) Usually there is a panel that participates using web cameras. Some of these video slots are invited as a panel members, some are just attendees. If there is a specific topic, it is announced prior to the hangout. The hangouts that are recorded are viewable on Dear Myrtle's YouTube channel located here:

Online Instructional Videos

FamilySearch is the website of the Latter Day Saints of Jesus Christ (LDS/Mormons) who have been filming and collecting records of genealogy interest for years. Back before the internet, they produced and printed research guides and help guides to aid and instruct people doing genealogy. Since the internet they have moved these guides and helps to the FamilySearch Wiki. And on top of that they started a Learning Center which features the guides, helps AND instructional videos and classes. Here is the main page of FamilySearch's Learning Center:
FamilySearch also has a YouTube channel with instructional videos located here:

Here, there, every where. One way to keep track of what webinars are going on is the Genea-Webinars Calendar. It can be found on several genealogy blog sites. One such blog, is Dear Myrtle on her calendar page. Now it likely doesn't have every webinar out there but it is a good calendar of webinars to reference.

Speaking of calendars. Use your own Outlook or Google Calendar to keep track of the webinars that you have registered to attend. In addition to adding what and the time to the calendar date, in the where copy and paste the personalized weblink that you are sent in your confirmation of registration email. Also, set up a reminder -- either email or pop-up or both -- so you don't forget.

Have fun learning and exploring.

See you soon at the Mt. Clemens Public Library!


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