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Discovering Your Immigrant Ancestors

The Special Collections Division of the Akron-Summit County Public Library and the Summit County Chapter of the Ohio Genealogical Society presented Discovering Your Immigrant Ancestors, featuring genealogy experts Lisa A. Alzo and Leslie Albrecht Huber, on Saturday, August 3, 2013 from 9:30 am-4:30 pm in the Main Library auditorium.

Lisa A. Alzo is a freelance writer, instructor and lecturer with over 23 years experience in the field of genealogy.  She earned a Master of Fine Arts degree in Nonfiction Writing from the University of Pittsburgh and is the author of nine books, including Finding Your Slovak Ancestors, Writing Your Family History Book and the award-winning Three Slovak Women.  Lisa has written hundreds of articles, and her work has appeared in Family Tree Magazine, Family Chronicle, Internet Genealogy, APG Quarterly and others.  An internationally recognized speaker, Lisa blogs as “The Accidental Genealogist,” at www.theaccidentalgenealogist.com.  For more information, visit www.lisaalzo.com.

A freelance writer and speaker who has worked as a professional genealogist helping people trace their German roots, Leslie Albrecht Huber has published over 100 articles in a variety of publications including History Channel Magazine, FamilyFun, Ancestry, Family Chronicle and many more.  Her first book, The Journey Takers, was published in the summer of 2010.  Leslie has spoken about tracing immigrant ancestors on Good Morning America and National Public Radio as well as at libraries, museums, conferences and meetings across the country.  She lives in Wisconsin with her husband and four children.  To learn more about Leslie and her work, as well as researching your own Western European ancestors, visit her website at www.understandingyourancestors.com.

Program Schedule:

9:30 – 9:45  Introductions

9:45 – 10:45  Tracing Your Immigrant Ancestors (Lisa A. Alzo)
America is a nation of immigrants, comprised of people who left home to find a better life for themselves and their families. Tracking down your immigrant ancestors can often be a daunting task. This talk will show you tips and tricks for locating and searching passenger lists and other key immigration documents both on and offline to help you trace your roots.

10:45 – 11:00  Break

11:00 – 12:00  Online Sources for Western European Research (Leslie Albrecht Huber)
Every day, Western European research gets a little easier as more records come online. Learn about parish, census, civil registration, and other records that are only a click away.

12:00 – 1:00  Lunch on your own
Please note that there is not a café in the Library at present, so boxed lunches will not be available for purchase this year.  Attendees should bring a lunch with them or plan on eating at a nearby restaurant. There are several fast food restaurants on East Market Street within a short driving distance from Main Library.  If you are interested in eating at another restaurant, we recommend calling ahead of time to make sure that they are open for lunch on Saturday.  For information on nearby restaurants, visit the Downtown Akron Partnership’s Downtown Akron Dining page.

1:00 – 2:00  Jumping Over Hurdles in German Research (Leslie Albrecht Huber)
Has your German research run into a hurdle? Find out how to jump over some of the most common hurdles such as immigration, access to records, language, and handwriting.

2:00 – 2:15  Break

2:15 – 3:15  The Journey Takers: An Inside Look at the Immigration Experience (Leslie Albrecht Huber)
Learn some new sources, new approaches to methodology, and new insights into our immigrant ancestors’ lives as you follow along through some immigration case studies.

3:15 – 3:30  Break

3:30 – 4:30  Crossing the Pond: Successful Strategies for Researching Eastern European Ancestors (Lisa A. Alzo)
A vast number of immigrants came to America from Eastern Europe in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. Border changes, language differences, political considerations, and exotic-sounding surnames often complicate the search for Austrian, Czech, Hungarian, Polish, Rusyn, Slovak, Ukrainian, and other Eastern European ancestors. Traditional methods and online resources for tracking ancestors both in the U.S. and the old country will be discussed, as well as techniques for overcoming some of the most common obstacles and problems faced during the research process.

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