Home About Me Services Lectures Publications Free Resources Case Studies Blog Contact

Genealogy Lectures

I am available to present genealogical lectures across the country, either live or remotely.

Each lecture will be accompanied by a Powerpoint presentation and paper handouts. I can provide my own LCD projector if necessary.

Rates will vary, depending on a number of factors, including travel, number of presentation, etc.

Presentations can also be developed for your society on topics not listed below. Please contact me using the form at the bottom of this page to discuss.

I am also available to present lectures to societies remotely, using webinar software. In order to use this service, the host society must have access to a computer with high-speed Internet, as well as a projector and speakers, so that the attendees are able to see and hear the presentation.

Click here to contact me about speaking for your organization.

Available Lectures


The first step of the Genealogical Proof Standard is to "complete a reasonably exhaustive search for all relevant records" related to your research objective. This presentation discusses what a "reasonably exhaustive search" constitutes, why this is necessary, and how to conduct a search. A case study explores how failing to identify all relevant records can lead to missing information and forming inaccurate conclusions about your ancestors' lives. Learn the basics of 'genetic genealogy' as a way to supplement your traditional research and break through brick walls. This presentation will include details on on Y-DNA, mitochondrial DNA, and autosomal DNA research. You will learn about comparing your test results with other individuals and surname projects, and how to target your testing to discover the desired connections.

Records and Research

Every aspect of our ancestors' lives--and most of the records we use to discover their lives--were either directly affected or indirectly influenced by the laws in effect at the time. This presentation will show how to locate historical laws online to learn more about the world in which our ancestors lived and better understand the records we use. Established in 1634, Maryland has a long and storied history. In this presentation, you will learn about the major repositories in Maryland, the common record groups, and techniques for researching in Baltimore city as well as the rest of the state. Learn how to identify your Civil War ancestors, and what information can be found in the Civil War records. Both Union and Confederate ancestors are covered. This lecture discusses the process associated with the administration of testate and intestate estates. Example documents illustrate the various and detailed information that probate records can hold about our ancestors, their daily lives, and family relationships.

Online Genealogy

The emergence of the Internet has led to many online resources for genealogical research. Many researchers are unaware of the sheer volume and variety of records that have been brought online, at no cost, by government agencies and others active in individual towns, counties, and states. This presentation focuses on what kinds of records are available, some of the places to look, and how to find online resources in your area of research. Several websites are used as examples to demonstrate how to find resources in different places. The websites demonstrated can be customized for the audience. This lecture requires Internet access to be most effective. Though many federal records have been digitized by commercial sites, the federal government itself has provided unique online material that genealogists can use. This overview includes resources offered by the National Archives and Records Administration, Library of Congress, and other federal agencies. For those research in Maryland, the Maryland State Archives will be an essential repository to visit. Yet many researchers are unaware of the wealth of resources that the MSA has already digitized and brought online at their website. This presentation will guide you through the official website of the Maryland State Archives, focusing on the many indexes, transcriptions, and digitized records available there.

African American Genealogy

The Genealogical Proof Standard provides a measuring stick to evaluate the validity of your conclusions. By allowing the Proof Standard to guide your research, you can be sure that your research is as accurate as possible. This case study will show how the Genealogical Proof Standard was used to research the slaves owned by a single family of planters, from Saint-Domingue (Haiti) to Maryland, South Carolina, and Louisiana. Brickwalls in African-American genealogy can be caused by lack of records or improper research habits. Learning to research effectively can help to avoid these brickwalls. A short case study demonstrates proper techniques for researching an African-American family in Maryland, from evaluating known information to identifying parents to locating the final slaveowner. Discover the role African American soldiers played in the U. S. Civil War, and what can be learned from records about their military service. This lecture will present tips and techniques for researching your African-American ancestors in Maryland. You will also learn about several record groups created by the Maryland government that deal specifically with both free and enslaved African-Americans, and how to identify the owners of enslaved African-Americans.

Contact me for more information.

References available upon request

Michael Hait, CG, "'Of Sound Mind and Body' Using Probate Records in Your Research" from BCG on Vimeo.

Past Engagements (Highlights)

“Your Civil War Ancestors: A Guide to Research,” Mid-Atlantic Family History Conference, Cherry Hill, New Jersey, 17 October 2009

“African-American Genealogy in Maryland,” Washington, D. C., Family History Center, 4th Annual Family History Conference, Kensington, Maryland, 17 April 2010

“Your Civil War Ancestors: A Guide to Research” and “Researching Online at the Maryland State Archives Website,” Baltimore Family History & Genealogy Workshop, Essex, Maryland, 11 September 2010

“African-American Research in Maryland,” 2010 Annual Afro-American Historical and Genealogical Society (AAHGS) Conference, Adelphi, Maryland, 7-10 October 2010

“Researching African-American Genealogy,” (part of “Between Fences” exhibition co-sponsored by the Smithsonian Institute, the Maryland Humanities Council and the Laurel Historical Society), Laurel Library, Laurel, Maryland, 6 November 2010

“Identifying Slave Owners in Maryland,” Reginald F. Lewis Museum for Maryland African American History & Culture, Baltimore, Maryland, 7 May 2011

“Your Civil War Ancestors: A Guide to Research,” Maryland Historical Society/Maryland Genealogical Society, Baltimore, Maryland, 10 September 2011

“Using Civil War Records to Research African American Ancestors,” Mid-Atlantic Family History Conference, Cherry Hill, New Jersey, 15 October 2011

“What is a 'Reasonably Exhaustive Search'?,” Pennsylvania Family History Day, sponsored by Ancestry.com and the Genealogical Society of Pennsylvania, Exton, Pennsylvania, 5 November 2011

Workshop (four lectures), Tulsa Public Library, Tulsa, Oklahoma, 17 March 2012

“African American Genealogy: Tearing Down the Brickwalls,” and “Online State Resources for Genealogy: Beyond Ancestry and FamilySearch,” National Genealogical Society Conference, Cincinnati, Ohio, 9&ndash12 May 2012

Workshop (four lectures), Tennessee Genealogical Society, Georgetown, Tennessee, 19 May 2012

Faculty, Samford University, Institute of Genealogical and Historical Research (IGHR), Birmingham, Alabama, 10–15 June 2012, in “Course 3: Research in the South, Part I” and “Course 8: Researching African-American Ancestors: Slave & Reconstruction Era Records,” and an evening session

What is a 'Reasonably Exhaustive Search'?,” webinar, Legacy Family Tree, 12 September 2012

Your Civil War Ancestors: Beginning Your Research,” webinar, Legacy Family Tree, 24 October 2012

Faculty, Utah Genealogical Association, Salt Lake Institute of Genealogy (SLIG), Salt Lake City, Utah, 14–18 January 2013, in “Course 8: Producing a Quality Family Narrative” and an evening session

Faculty, Samford University, Institute of Genealogical and Historical Research (IGHR), Birmingham, Alabama, 9–14 June 2013, in “Course 3: Research in the South, Part II: Cessions and Territories&rdquo and “Course 6: Genealogy as a Profession”

Faculty, LaRoche College, Genealogical Research Institute of Pittsburgh (GRIP), Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, 22–26 July 2013, in “Your Immigrant Ancestors’ Stories: Writing a Quality Narrative”

Faculty, Utah Genealogical Association, Salt Lake Institute of Genealogy (SLIG), Salt Lake City, Utah, 13–17 January 2014, in “Course 3: Research in the South,” “Course 7: Producing a Quality Family Narrative,” and “Course 10: Advanced Evidence Analysis Practicum.”

Faculty, Samford University, Institute of Genealogical and Historical Research (IGHR), Birmingham, Alabama, 8–13 June 2014, in “Course 7: Researching African-American Genealogy: 20th Century Research,”

Writing Logical Proof Arguments,” Virtual Institute of Genealogical Research, 1–8 November 2014

“Applied Anthropology in National Parks: A Roundtable of Works-in-Progress in the National Capital Region,” panelist, Society for Applied Anthropology Annual Meeting, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, 24–28 March 2015

Faculty, Samford University, Institute of Genealogical and Historical Research (IGHR), Birmingham, Alabama, 9–14 June 2015, in “Course 8: Research in the South, Part I: The Colonies of the South” and “Course 9: Genealogy as a Profession”

Faculty, LaRoche College, Genealogical Research Institute of Pittsburgh (GRIP), Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, 29 June–3 July 2015, in “Writing Your Immigrant Families’ Stories: From Research to Publishing”