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Conference registration NOW CLOSED

6 ON-DEMAND Lectures + 3 LIVE Zoom Check-ins
+add  IN-PERSON Workshop (Saturday, 24 September 2022)

Download Conference Brochure

Featuring: Annette Burke Lyttle | Judy Russell | Alice Hoyt Veen | Gena Philibert-Ortega


Register for Fox Valley Genealogical Society’s 2022 Fall Conference RESEARCHING WOMEN: Frontier to Kitchen to Courtroom and learn how to find your elusive female ancestors.

Digital Syllabus  |  Door Prizes  |  Closed Captioning Available

Download Conference Brochure

Six ON-DEMAND Lectures:
View lectures at your convenience from 17 Sep – 17 Oct

Your conference registration ($25 Members/$35 Non-members) includes 30-day access to six ON-DEMAND Lectures. Learn from four prominent genealogists how to locate and use unique records to tell the fascinating stories of your female ancestors. Syllabus with handouts for all six ON-DEMAND Lectures will be emailed to registrants in mid-September.
  1. Use Lots More Apples: Vintage Cookbooks as Genealogical Sources by Annette Burke Lyttle
    Vintage cookbooks can be an excellent source of genealogical information and social history that can fill in and add depth to the lives of our ancestors, especially our women ancestors. In addition to cookbooks we may have in our own collection, many others are available in repositories and on line. Learn how to find and use these fascinating resources to fill in details of the lives of our women ancestors.
  2. Finding and Using Digitized Manuscript Collections for Genealogical Research by Annette Burke Lyttle
    Manuscript collections can contain genealogical gems. These collections can be particularly useful for learning about women ancestors. Letters, diaries, photographs, histories, and many more information-packed wonders reside in repositories around the world. Many repositories are digitizing parts of their collections and making them available online, but finding these collections can still be a challenge. Learn how to search or online collections, use finding aids to determine their usefulness for our research, and locate amazing records.
  3. “Don’t Forget the Ladies” – A Genealogist’s Guide to Women and the Law by Judy Russell
    In early America, women were all too often the people who just weren’t there: not in the records, not in the censuses, not on juries, not in the voting booth. The common law relegated women to “protected” – second-class – status, and understanding how they were treated under the law provides clues to finding their identities today.
  4. Reclaiming Their Rights: Female Legislative Petitions and Divorce by Alice Hoyt Veen
    Imagine being a married woman with no legal identity. Imagine a husband controlling your property, your ability to conduct business, and any wages you earn. Imagine having no legal claim to custody of your children. Our female ancestors confronted these challenges and more as they struggled to retain or restore their legal rights. At times, their only recourse was petitioning their colonial, state, or territorial legislature to enact a “private law” on their behalf. Explores the era of female court and legislative petitions and divorce, and the records created by the process.
  5. Staking Their Claim: Female Homesteaders on the American Frontier by Alice Hoyt Veen
    Women of diverse backgrounds and circumstances took advantage of the 1862 Homestead Act to claim federal lands. The paperwork generated can provide key evidence for elusive female ancestors. Learn the benefits of Homestead case files in ancestral female research, how to access the records and understand the information they offer. Included is an overview of the Homestead Act law, eligibility requirements, and the homesteading process. Case-study examples illustrate the challenges and rewards for female homesteaders on the American frontier.
  6. The Secret Lives of Women: Research Female Ancestors Using the Sources They Left Behind by Gena Philibert-Ortega
    Why is finding a female ancestor so difficult? One reason is the way we research their lives. Successful research must combine familiar genealogical sources and the specific sources that women left behind. It is the sources that women authored or participated in that tell us their unique story.  In this lecture we look at the specific trail women left including signature quilts, community cookbooks, journals and diaries.

Three LIVE Zoom Check-in Sessions:
Door prize drawings at all three Sessions

The LIVE Zoom check-in sessions are included for all registrants with your registration fee. Links to the sessions will be provided in the syllabus. Mark your calendar so you don’t miss any of the LIVE Zoom Check-ins – they will NOT be recorded.
  • Sunday, 18 September @7:00 PM CDT (Chicago)
    LIVE Zoom Check-In #1: Opening The Frontier to Women’s Research
    Join us for the FVGS Conference Opening! Hear about the upcoming conference activities, meet some of your fellow attendees, and share a photo or artifact from your frontier female ancestor. Will you have the oldest item? Let’s celebrate those fearless frontier females in our families.
  • Thursday, 22 September @7:00 PM CDT (Chicago)
    LIVE Zoom Check-In #2: Let’s Get Cooking
    Cooking was an important avenue of sharing family traditions for our female ancestors. Join us to talk about cooking and food traditions in your family. Do you have an old family cookbook or recipe? Let’s share those cherished items and the stories that go along with the stains. We will also review upcoming conference events and the workshop.
  • Tuesday, 11 October @7:00 PM CDT (Chicago)
    LIVE Zoom Check-In #3: Case Closed
    As the conference wraps up, join us to share your discoveries. Is there a court record that has helped you with researching your female ancestors? What is it and how did it help you? Are you excited to begin searching for a particular court record? Come and ask your follow-up questions before the gavel falls on the FVGS 2022 conference.

add IN-PERSON Workshop with Annette Burke Lyttle:
Finding Women Ancestors in Historic Newspapers

Saturday, 24 September 2022  |  9 a.m. – Noon CST (Chicago)  |  NIU Conference Center  |  1120 E. Diehl Rd, Naperville, IL
Door Prize Drawing
Local members and guests can add on the IN-PERSON Workshop for an additional $35. The workshop focuses on newspaper research and will provide strategies for finding women ancestors in newspapers. A separate digital syllabus will be emailed to registrants. Workshop attendance is limited to 40 participants – so register early! The workshop includes:
  • Pre-work Assignment
    Before the workshop, choose a woman ancestor and research what newspapers existed during her lifetime (if she lived in one place) or during a period in her life (if she lived in more than one place). Instructions will be provided on how to do that research. The pre-work assignment will be sent to workshop registrants in early September.
  • IN-PERSON Lecture: Finding Women Ancestors in Historic Newspapers
    Annette will provide instruction on newspaper research and will provide strategies for finding women ancestors in newspapers. Subscription websites will be mentioned but the focus will be on free sites. This additional lecture will not be recorded or included in the ON-DEMAND lectures.
  • Hands-on Research Time
    Registrants should bring a laptop (preferred) or tablet to access the internet during the hands-on research time. WiFi and power outlets are available in the classroom.
  • Coaching & Group Discussion
    Annette will guide the group discussion, provide coaching, give live website demonstrations as appropriate.


Direct questions to [email protected]
Download Conference Brochure

Speaker Bios:

Annette Burke Lyttle owns Heritage Detective, LLC, providing professional genealogical services in research, education, and writing. She speaks on a variety of genealogical topics at the national, state, and local levels and loves helping people uncover and share their family stories. She is coordinator of the Fall Virtual Intermediate Foundations course for the Salt Lake Institute of Genealogy. Her articles have been published in NGS Magazine, FGS Forum, and the APG Quarterly, among others. Annette is president of the Association of Professional Genealogists and editor of The Florida Genealogist.

Judy G. Russell, The Legal Genealogist®, is a genealogist with a law degree who provides expert guidance through the murky territory where law and family history intersect. An internationally-known lecturer and award-winning writer, she holds credentials as a Certified Genealogist® and Certified Genealogical Lecturer℠ from the Board for Certification of Genealogists®. Her blog is at


Alice Hoyt Veen is a Board-certified genealogist, professional researcher, writer, and genealogical educator. Alice believes family history success lies in truly understanding the records our ancestors created. She founded Prairie Roots Research in 2010 with the mission of fostering a deeper understanding of the past by researching and reconstructing forgotten lives. She is committed to assisting genealogists at every level of experience to rediscover, preserve, and share their unique family story. Alice has spoken at national, regional, and state conferences, and for numerous local organizations. She is a past trustee for the BCG Education Fund, a charitable trust advancing the educational aims of the Board for Certification of Genealogists.

Gena Philibert-Ortega is an author, researcher, and instructor whose focus is genealogy, social and women’s history. She holds a Master’s degree in Interdisciplinary Studies (Psychology and Women’s Studies) and a Master’s degree in Religion. Her published works include two books, numerous articles published in magazines and online, as well as six editions of the Tracing Your Ancestors series from Moorshead Publishing. Her writings can be found on her blogs, Gena’s Genealogy and Food.Family.Ephemera as well as the GenealogyBank and Legacy Webinars blogs. She has presented to diverse groups worldwide including the Legacy Family Tree Webinar series. Her current research includes women’s repatriation and citizenship in the 20th century, foodways and community in fundraising cookbooks, and women’s material culture.

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