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2018 Annual Genealogy Conference

North Hills Genealogists

Friday, March 23, 2018 at 1:30 PM - Saturday, March 24, 2018 at 4:00 PM (EDT)

2018 Annual Genealogy Conference

Ticket Information

Ticket Type Sales End Price Fee Quantity
2-Day Full Conference: member price
Both Friday Workshops and all-day Saturday conference
Mar 24, 2018 $105.00 $6.77
2-Day Full Conference: non-member price
Both Friday Workshops and all-day Saturday conference
Mar 24, 2018 $115.00 $7.32
Friday Evening Workshop
"The State and Land Records of Pennsylvania" and "Military Records at the Pennsylvania State Archives" Presented by Aaron McWilliams 6:30-8:30PM, registration begins at 6:00
Mar 23, 2018 $20.00 $2.09
Friday Afternoon Workshop
"You've Got the Names, Now Find the People! Facts about Ancestors Found in Federal Records" Presented by John Philip Colletta, PhD. "Genealogical Recources at the Pennsylvania State Archives" Presented by Aaron McWilliams 1:30-4:30, registration at 1:00
Mar 23, 2018 $30.00 $2.64
Friday Deli Buffet Dinner (5-6 pm)
including vegetarian option
Mar 23, 2018 $15.00 $1.82
North Hills Genealogists 1 yr membership
1 Year membership through 31-July-2017
Mar 24, 2018 $15.00 $1.82

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Event Details

March 23 & 24, 2018

John Philip Colletta, PhD
Aaron McWilliams

Our Spring 2018 Genealogy Conference is on Saturday March 24th, with additional sessions on Friday March 23rd.  Saturday's offerings include four lectures by John Philip Colletta, PhD., while Friday includes an afternoon  session with John Colletta and Aaron McWilliams, and an evening session with Aaron McWilliams.  Maia's Books will be onsite with their inventory of genealogy publications.

John Philip Colletta, PhD. is a popular Washington, D.C. based lecturer on topics of family history research and writing. For twenty years, while laying the foundation for his career in genealogy, he worked half-time at the Library of Congress and taught workshops at the National Archives. Today Dr. Colletta lectures nationally, teaches at local schools, and conducts programs for the Smithsonian Institution’s Resident Associate Program. In 2014 The Teaching Company released Dr. Colletta’s 15-lesson course, “Discovering Your Roots: The Fundamentals of Genealogy,” as one of their “Great Courses” on DVD or CD with accompanying manual. Dr. Colletta’s publications include numerous articles, both scholarly and popular, two manuals  ̶ They Came in Ships: A Guide to Finding Your Immigrant Ancestor's Arrival Record and Finding Italian Roots: The Complete Guide for Americans, and a “murder-mystery-family-history,” Only a Few Bones: A True Account of the Rolling Fork Tragedy and Its Aftermath. Dr. Colletta has received many professional awards and honors and appears frequently on podcasts and local and national radio and television. His PhD in Medieval French is from The Catholic University of America.
Aaron McWilliams is a reference archivist at the Pennsylvania State Archives. He is responsible for handling research inquiries at the Archives and frequently represents the agency at genealogical events. His areas of expertise include Pennsylvania state land records, Pennsylvania’s Revolutionary War militia, and genealogy. He has appeared on Who Do You Think You Are? and contributed to both Who Do You Think You Are? and Finding Your Roots. Prior to joining the Pennsylvania State Archives, Aaron worked as a reference archivist at the Maryland State Archives and as a professional genealogist. 

F R I D A Y   S E S S I O N S

1:00 Registration
1:30-4:30 Lectures

You've Got the Names, Now Find the People!  
Facts about Ancestors Found in Federal Records

Presented by John Philip Colletta, PhD. 
Whenever the path of an ancestor’s life intersected with a federal government agency, paperwork was created. That paperwork fills our National Archives. Some of it has been indexed, abstracted, microfilmed, or digitized, but most of it has not. This lecture explores some of the paperwork—both original and derivative—that provides rich biographical detail about our ancestors.
Genealogical Recources at the Pennsylvania State Archives
Presented by Aaron McWilliams 
This lecture is an introduction to the types of records available to genealogists at the Pennsylvania State Archives. The presentation will cover the primary types of records, what information they contain, and their accessibility.

6:00 Registration
6:30-8:30 Lectures

The State and Land Records of Pennsylvania
Military Records at the Pennsylvania State Archives
Presented by Aaron McWilliams
The State Land Records of Pennsylvania
This lecture provides a detailed look at the State Land Records held at the Pennsylvania State Archives. The presentation will cover the five principal documents created during the patenting process, their indexes, and how to effectively search them. It will also touch on other sources at the Archives, such as land office maps and Board of Property records.
Military Records at the Pennsylvania State Archives
This lecture provides an overview of the military records available to researchers at the Pennsylvania State Archives. The presentation will cover the primary records and indexes available to researchers interested in the military service of Pennsylvanians from the French and Indian War to Vietnam.


S A T U R D A Y    C O N F E R E N C E    S E S S I O N S

8:00 AM - Registration
9:00 AM - Opening Remarks
M O R N I N G    S E S S I O N S
Passenger Arrival Records, Colonial Times to Mid-20th Century
This lecture begins with a discussion of sources for discovering the arrival time and place—and perhaps the ship—of an immigrant to colonial America. It then explores U.S. passenger arrival records, especially 1820-1957, available on microfilm and the Internet. It suggests what facts you need to begin your search and explains step-by-step how to conduct that search.
Naturalization Records, Colonial Times to Mid-20th Century 
This lecture addresses the legal means by which non-British settlers in colonial America could become naturalized citizens of Great Britain. It then explains U.S. naturalization laws and processes, which began in 1790, and describes the records that resulted from them. It considers the naturalization of both alien classes and individuals, and provides guidance on how to find an ancestor's records, whether the naturalization occurred in a municipal, state, or federal court.
L U N C H    A N D    D O O R   P R I Z E S
A F T E R N O O N    S E S S I O N S


Only a Few Bones: Case Studies in Assembling Sources to Reconstruct Real-Life Events




The biographical facts we discover about our ancestors did not happen in a vacuum. Our ancestors were born, lived, and died in specific physical circumstances at specific moments in time. To reconstruct their lives, therefore, the facts we discover about them must be “situated” in their proper historical context. Three 19th-century case studies drawn from Only a Few Bones, a True Account of the Rolling Fork Tragedy and Its Aftermath demonstrate how to use multiple sources to assemble vivid accounts of ancestral events and generate biographies that portray individualized ancestors.




Discovering Your Ancestors’ World through Maps and Gazetteers




The facts you discover about your ancestors represent real-life events that took place in a physical place at a particular time. Cartographic collections—maps, atlases, and gazetteers—are essential tools for grounding all of your genealogical discoveries in the real world. This lecture describes different kinds of maps, current and historical, U.S. and foreign, and illustrates the broad range of information they provide. It explains how to use Internet sites to locate cartographic collections in libraries, archives, courthouses, historical societies, as well as those available online in digitized format.
W R A P - U P   S E S S I O N
The conference will conclude with an opportunity to ask questions during a discussion moderated by Elissa Scalise Powell, CG, CGL.



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  NHG Member Non-Member
Full 2-Day package:    
Until Feb 20: (Does not include Friday Buffet Dinner) $95 
After Feb 20: (Does not include Friday Buffet Dinner)
A la Carte:    
Saturday Conference, with buffet lunch (until Feb 20) $55 $65
Saturday Conference, with buffet lunch (after Feb 20) $65 $75
Friday Afternoon Workshop $30 $30
Friday Dinner $15 $15
Friday Evening Workshop $20 $20

Friday afternoon workshop registration begins at 1:00pm, evening workshop registration begins at 6:00pm, with an optional (extra charge) deli buffet dinner between the two.

Saturday registration includes buffet lunch and hand-out materials.  Registration begins at 8:00am, first session begins at 9:00 am.  Final session is a Question & Answer session.

DIRECTIONS to The Columbian Room (Wexford Knights of Columbus)
250 Swinderman Road, Wexford, PA  15090
I79 to Rt 910 East (Wexford), to Rt 19 North; or Rt 19 North past Rt 910 intersection. Turn toward Sheetz/Giant Eagle at next light, then immediate left onto Swinderman Road.
The Hampton Inn (Wexford-Sewickley, 412-528-1901) and EconoLodge (Wexford, 724-935-1000) are each 10 minutes from the conference location.  Home2Suites (McCandless, 412-630-8400) and Fairfield Suites by Marriott are 15 minutes from the conference, with rooms in the $130 range.  There are numerous hotel properties in Cranberry Township, close to the I76 Turnpike exit at I-79, 10 minutes north of the conference.
There will be a number of door prizes awarded during drawings at the lunchtime break.  




Have questions about 2018 Annual Genealogy Conference? Contact North Hills Genealogists

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When & Where

Columbian Room
250 Swinderman Road
Wexford, PA 15090

Friday, March 23, 2018 at 1:30 PM - Saturday, March 24, 2018 at 4:00 PM (EDT)

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North Hills Genealogists

The North Hills Genealogists is a group of people interested in genealogy and researching their family histories.  Located in the North Hills of Pittsburgh, Pa., our members have common interests in both the geographic areas north of the city as well as the geographic origins of our ancestors.  many of our members also live in the North Hills area.

Meetings are on the third Tuesday of every month except December, starting at 7pm at the Northland Public Library.  More details, including driving directions and meeting topics, are on our website at  All meetings are free and open to the public.  Additional information is also available by emailing

The monthly meetings each feature a guest speaker addressing the group on a subject related to genealogy.  A "roundtable discussion" is periodically scheduled instead of a lecture, giving each person a chance to ask questions or to tell of a great research breakthrough.  

We arrange field trips to repositories and locations such as Washington DC, The Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh, Wester Reserve Library in Cleveland, and West Virginia University.

We publish 10 monthly newsletters per year, which includes articles to help you find resources, tips on how to do better genealogy, and announcements of upcoming events. the newsletter is available either electronically via email or in hardcopy via USPS.

Membership dues are $15 year (August through July); back issues of the newsletter are sent to min-year newcomers.


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