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MGC 2020 Seminar: Origins & Destinations

Massachusetts Genealogical Council

Saturday, April 4, 2020 at 8:00 AM - Sunday, April 5, 2020 at 4:00 PM (EDT)

MGC 2020 Seminar:  Origins & Destinations

Registration Information

Registration Type Remaining Sales End Price Fee Quantity
Saturday, April 4, 2020 108 Registrations Mar 20, 2020 $85.00 $0.00
Sunday, April 5, 2020 109 Registrations Apr 4, 2020 $85.00 $0.00

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Event Details

Two Days of Exciting Programs


Three separate tracks of lectures get Saturday off to a kicking start.

We break for lunch, where we get to hear Richard Howe's presentation "Failure as Opportunity: The Birth, Decline and Revival of Lowell, Massachusetts."

For our afternoon, we'll listen to one more lecture per track, then we'll break for something completely new--a visit to the Tsongas Industrial History Center and the National Historic Park at Lowell for a variety of hands on activities to experience how the American Industrial Revolution impacted our ancestors who worked in mills not only in Lowell but throughout New England.  


Our featured speaker, Michael J. Leclerc, will dominate one of today's tracks. His presentations will explore the harder parts of doing genealogy, the difficult stories to tell, the hardest people to trace. He'll explain how to preserve our family stories for history by writing about them.

Two other tracks will cover ethnic research and tools for one's genealogy toolbox.  

At lunch on Sunday, we'll meet two mill girls from Lowell. They'll talk to us about their lives nearly 100 years ago.


Continental Breakfast and Full Lunch Included Each Day!


Complete Seminar Schedule

Saturday, April 4, 2020 - A Variety of Talks in Three Tracks: Mayflower Passengers, Ethnic Resources, Repositories

 7:30 - 10:00 AM: Registration and Breakfast

  • Registration begins in the Conference Area on the south side of the hotel. This area is directly accessible from the parking lot.
  • Continental breakfast is served from 7:30 to 9:00 AM.
  • Exhibitor area opens at 8:30 AM

9:00 – 10:00 AM: Session 1

  • Christopher Child (NEHGS) - Ongoing Scholarship and Published Materials for Mayflower Research
  • Ariana Fiorello-Omotosho – Two Worlds, One Family (African American Genealogy)
  • Anthony Sampas - Genealogical Resources at the UMass Lowell: Center for Lowell History

 10:30 – 11:30AM: Session 2

  • Christopher Child (NEHGS) - Uncovering Mayflower Connections through DNA
  • Kathleen Kaldis – Opa! It's All Greek to Me!
  • Catherine Gaggioli – Genealogical Resources at the Massachusetts Archives and Commonwealth Library

11:45 AM – 1:45 PM: Lunch

Richard Howe - Failure as Opportunity: The Birth, Decline and Revival of Lowell, Massachusetts 

2:00 - 3:00 PM: Session 3

  • Robert Charles Anderson – Mayflower Pedigrees
  • Denise P. Lindgren – Impact of Canon Law on French Canadian Genealogy
  • Jennifer Hornsby and Meaghan Wright – Genealogical Resources at the Phillips Library at the Peabody Essex Museum (PEM)

 3:30 – 5:30 PM: Session 4

The Saturday programs ends with everyone moving to the Tsongas Industrial History Center for a variety of hands on activities to experience how the American Industrial Revolution impacted our ancestors who worked in mills not only in Lowell but throughout New England. 


Everyone can do one of three hands on activities:

  • Bale to Bolt:   After an introduction to the mechanics of manual cloth production, we will weave on hand looms and learn about how advances in technology impacted changes in weaving.

  • Workers on the Line:  During the Industrial Revolution, the new factory system changed the nature of work and the relationships between workers and management. In this high-energy program, we’ll examine how workers fought, and continue to fight, for their rights in a corporate system. We’ll immerse ourselves in printing “cloth” on an assembly line and experience dramatic fluctuations in work conditions.  We’ll also have to decide whether to join a union to gain power in the corporate workplace and engage in collective bargaining with mill management.


  • Power to Production:  At the start of the Industrial Revolution, water from the Merrimack River powered mechanical systems that allowed Lowell’s machines to produce cloth faster than ever before. As engineers and scientists, we’ll test for solutions to the problem of how to harness water-power by testing waterwheels speed and strength, designing and building a functioning mill-and-canal system, and exploring how energy was transferred from water to loom.

Lastly, we’ll step back in time to the 1850s to see what life was like for mill girls living in one of the Boott Cotton Mill Boarding Houses, restored by the National Park Service.  We’ll learn about the work schedule these women kept, what they ate, how they spent their leisure hours, and what is was like to come from a small farm to suddenly be sharing a room with others from vary different social and ethnic backgrounds.


Logistics:  Up to 25 people can participate in each of the activities at any time which last about 45 minutes.  Each activity will be offered twice--at 3:45 pm and 4:45 pm.  When not engaged in one of the hands on activities, you will be able to visit the mill girls boarding house.

As you register to attend the Seminar on Saturday, April 4th, you will asked to specify the hands on activity session in which you’d like to participate.


Sunday, April 5, 2020 - Michael Leclerc - Featured Speaker, Ethnic Focus, Tools

7:30 - 10:00 AM: Registration and Breakfast

  • Registration begins in the Conference Area on the south side of the hotel. This area is directly accessible from the parking lot.
  • Continental breakfast is served from 7:30 to 9:00 AM.
  • Exhibitor area opens at 8:30 AM

8:15 – 8:45: Orientation for First Time Attendees

 9:00-10:00 AM: Session 1

  • Michael J. Leclerc – Advanced Probate Research
  • Margaret Fortier – Andiamo! Finding Your Italian Family
  • Sara Campbell – Using Old Maps in Your Genealogy Research

 10:30-11:30 AM: Session 2

  • Michael J. Leclerc – Resources at the National Archives (U.K.)
  • Carol Clingan – Jewish Genealogy
  • Pamela Guye Holland – DNA painter and Chromosome Mapping

11:45 AM – 1:45 PM: Lunch

Emily Donovan and Allison Horrocks: Mill Girl Presentation

 2:00 – 3:00 PM: Session 3

  • Michael J. Leclerc – Sharing Your Family History with Multimedia
  • Sonia Pacheco – Figuring Out Your Portuguese-American roots:  how archives can help you be a better genealogist
  • Linda B. MacIver - Mining for Gold in Federal Records

 3:15 – 4:15 PM: Session 4

  • Michael J. Leclerc – Writing About Special Concerns
  • Pamela Guye Holland – Mapping Irish Locations Online
  • Susan M. O’Connor – Adding Spreadsheets to your Genealogy Toolbox


Frequently Asked Questions

What does the daily registration fee cover?

The daily registration fee includes the lectures for that day, an electronic and printed syllabus, continental breakfast, lunch, raffle prizes, free parking, and access to the exhibitor area.

Do I need to register early?

In the words of many genealogists, “it depends.” Seating is limited each day. While you don’t have to specify which sessions you are going to attend, we expect the seminar to fill quickly. All registrations forms must be received by Friday, March 20, 2020.

Will I be able to register on the days of the 2020 Seminar?

We discourage walk-in registrations because of the limitations on seating. There is no guarantee that there will be openings on either the day of the Seminar. If you miss the registration deadline, contact the Seminar coordinator at

What happens if the 2020 seminar is over-subscribed?

If the 2020 Seminar is over-subscribed, your name will be added to the waiting list. We will take registrants off the wait list in the order submitted if openings come available.

What if I have to cancel my reservation for the 2020 Seminar?

Cancellations received by Friday, March 4, 2020, will receive a refund less any processing fees.   After March 4th registrants will receive an electronic copy of the syllabus, but no refund will be issued. Refunds will be issued in the same manner as the Seminar Fees were paid.

What if I have special dietary needs?

As you register, you will have an opportunity to specify any special dietary needs you may have. We will make every effort to accommodate these needs if we know about them by Friday, March 13, 2020.

What if I have other special needs?

Please let the Seminar coordinator know of any other special needs that you may have by sending an email to We will make reasonable accommodation to meet your needs if we know about them by Friday, March 13, 2020.

Can I stay overnight?

Hotel rooms will be available at the same hotel where the 2020 Seminar is being held—UMass Lowell Inn and Conference Center. Click here to book a room on line.  The rate is $129/day plus taxes if you book your room before March 4, 2020.

If you prefer to call, the direct number is 978-934-6921.  Mention that you are attending the Massachusetts Genealogical Council Seminar on April 4th and 5th.  The agent will then be able to help you.

Do I have to pay for parking?

No. Free parking is available in the surface in front of the hotel. If there are no spots there, you may use the city owned Lower Locks Parking Garage. Make sure you enter the Garage in the entrance nearest the Inn and Conference Center.  DO NOT ENTER THE GARAGE DIRECTLY FROM WARREN STREET.

Can I get to the 2020 Seminar by Public Transportation?

Yes. Commuter rail service is available from Boston's North Station to Lowell's Gallagher Terminal. View the MBTA schedule for the Lowell Line. Lowell Regional Transit Authority (LRTA) shuttles buses run between Gallagher Terminal and downtown Lowell Monday through Saturday. Please view the schedule for the LRTA “Downtown Shuttle.”

Can I exhibit at the 2020 Seminar?

Genealogical societies and individuals may exhibit at the 2020 Seminar. Contact for details.   Approved exhibitors may set up their materials between 7:00-8:30 AM on Saturday April 4, 2020. Specific locations will be given to exhibitors as they arrive.

What if something changes?

Changes will be posted on the MGC website: All registrants will be contacted electronically with additional information closer to the seminar date.

What if I have other questions?

Please direct any other questions to the Seminar coordinator at

Have questions about MGC 2020 Seminar: Origins & Destinations? Contact Massachusetts Genealogical Council

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When & Where

UMass Lowell Inn & Conference Center
50 Warren Street
Lowell, MA 01852

Saturday, April 4, 2020 at 8:00 AM - Sunday, April 5, 2020 at 4:00 PM (EDT)

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Massachusetts Genealogical Council

The Massachusetts Genealogical Council (MGC) was founded in 1980 and is the umbrella organization representing Massachusetts genealogists, historical societies, and individuals concerned about records preservation and free and unfettered access to civil records. We do that by 

  • monitoring legislative and administrative activities of governmental agencies which affect genealogists;

  • sponsoring and presenting legislation and programs designed to expand the resources and accessibility of services;

  • developing and promoting the growth, education and exchange of ideas among persons and organizations interested in the pursuit of genealogy; and

  • providing educational activities to advance genealogy.

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