Harford County Public Library Offers Fourth Genealogy Conference




Interested in learning more about how to discover your family history? Harford County Public Library is offering its 4th Annual Genealogy Conference on Saturday, February 25, from 8:15 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. at the Bel Air Armory, 37 North Main Street in Bel Air.


The conference kicks off with “Finding Your Ancestors: Resources and Search Strategies,” led by Eva Slezak, assistant manager of the social science and history department at the Enoch Pratt Free Library/State Resource Center in Baltimore. Slezak will discuss search strategies and resources to avoid potential detours, possible ways to break through roadblocks and tips to finding missing information on the family tree.


Angela McGhie, a professional researcher, lecturer and instructor, will discuss “Read All About Your Ancestors.” This session will focuses on newspapers as a valuable resource–how to determine which newspapers were printed when your ancestors lived and how to access them now. McGhie will also discuss “Creating an Effective Research Plan” to help attendees learn how to focus a research objective and identify sources that may help with research questions.


Shannon Combs-Bennett, a writer and lecturer on topics such as genetics and methodology, will address “Introduction to Genetic Genealogy” and discuss how genetic genealogy is a rapidly evolving tool for genealogists. She will follow up that discussion with “What Your Chromosomes Can Tell You About Your Family.” The most common chromosome test can be helpful in locating cousins, determining ethnic heritage and finding more information on female ancestors.


Resource table exhibitors include Enoch Pratt Free Library, Digital Maryland, Colonel Aquila Hall Chapter of the Maryland Sons of the American Revolution and Hereditary Order of the Signers of the Bush Declaration, Coyle Studios, Living Treasures: HCPL Oral Histories, FamilySearch, Maryland State Archives, Historical Society of Harford County and Gov. William Paca Chapter of the Daughters of the American Revolution.


“Attendance at the genealogy conference grows each year. It started on a Friday night in Whiteford and now is a full-day program at the Bel Air Armory,” explained Mary Hastler, CEO of Harford County Public Library. “The library is a great resource for anyone researching genealogy, and we are pleased to offer expert speakers to help our customers find just the information they need.”


Space at the conference is limited and advance registration is required by visiting hcplonline.org or by calling any Harford County Public Library. There is no fee to attend the conference.


Harford County Public Library offers several ongoing genealogy discussion groups. The Havre de Grace Library group meets the first Monday of the month at 6:30 p.m. At the Joppa Library, the genealogy discussion group gathers on the third Tuesday of the month at 6 p.m. A group at the Whiteford Library meets on the first Thursday of the month at 6:30 p.m.


In addition, Harford County Public Library offers several genealogy databases, including Ancestry Library Edition, Heritage Quest Online, ProQuest Historical U.S. Newspapers and Gale Genealogy Connect. The Maryland Room at the Bel Air Library houses an array of genealogy and local research materials in addition to Harford County’s Living Treasures Oral History Collection.


Harford County Public Library is also an affiliate library for FamilySearch, a program with the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints that houses a catalog of 2.4 million rolls of microfilmed genealogical resources worldwide.


Harford County Public Library operates 11 branches located throughout Harford County. The library serves more than 185,000 registered borrowers of all ages and has an annual circulation of more than 3.8 million. Harford County Public Library is committed to connecting people with information and promoting the love of reading in the community. For more information, visit hcplonline.org.

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