Harford County Public Library Offers Fifth Genealogy Conference




March 24 gathering focuses on Baltimore as an immigrant entry point, census research, finding forgotten women and DNA research


If you are interested in learning how to discover your family history, Harford County Public Library’s 5th annual Genealogy Conference is for you. This free conference will be held Saturday, March 24, from 8:15 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. at the Bel Air Armory, 37 North Main Street in Bel Air.


            Attendance 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.


The Genealogy Conference kicks off with a presentation on “Baltimore: The Golden Door for Immigrants” by Debra A. Hoffman. Baltimore was a major entry point for immigrants to the United States. Participants will learn about information sources available to document individuals who arrived through the Port of Baltimore. Hoffman, vice-president of the Maryland Genealogical Society, is a professional genealogist specializing in Maryland and German research.


Hoffman then facilitates a session titled “Maximize Your Census Research: More than Households.” Through a Baltimore case study, Hoffman will explain the information and methodology used in a census to discover information beyond just the individuals living in a household.


Following a lunch break, Sandra MacLean Clunies, CG, will discuss “Finding Forgotten Females” and will provide strategies to identifying “the lost ladies” in researching genealogy. Clunies is an active family historian, author, lecturer and researcher. She specializes in colonial New England, federal lighthouse records and lineage society applications.


The conference’s final speaker, Shannon Christmas, MCP, will discuss “How to Get More from your DNA with GEDmatch.com.” Christmas, an experienced genealogist specializing in genetic, colonial American and African American genealogy in Virginia and the Carolinas, will explain how to mine genealogical gems from autosomal DNA with the world’s most popular genetic genealogy toolbox.


“Every year our Genealogy Conference draws a capacity crowd,” said Mary Hastler, CEO of Harford County Public Library. “We are pleased to offer this conference to the community because there is such a great interest in researching family histories. Harford County Public Library offers many resources beyond the conference including monthly discussion groups and several genealogy databases.”


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


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. Contact Ann Winkler at 410-638-3608 for details.


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. This enhanced digital content is available only by using public computers at the Bel Air Library.


Several genealogy programs are being offered at libraries throughout Harford County from March through May. For information about topics, times and locations, visit hcplonline.org.


Harford County Public Library operates 11 branches located throughout Harford County.  The library serves more than 194,000 registered borrowers of all ages and has an annual circulation of more than 4.7 million. Harford County Public Library is the recipient of the 2017 The Daily Record Innovator of the Year Award. For more information, visit hcplonline.org.

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