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March 14, 2024 By: Laura Mattingly
Are you convinced?

Have we convinced you yet that you don’t want to miss the 2024 NSGS annual genealogy conference? What do you get you ask?

You get 5 hours of lectures on genetic genealogy from the premier expert, the Genetic Genealogist, Blaine Bettinger! This information on his sessions may convince you to attend:

Using Y-DNA and mtDNA to Explore Your Ancestry” – Y-DNA and mtDNA testing have helped genealogists break through thousands of stubborn brick walls. Learn about the unique inheritance of Y-DNA and mtDNA in your family, how these tests can be used to explore your ancient ancestry, and how the results can identify your relatives both close and distant. (Friday morning)

Shared Matches and Genetic Networks” – Shared matches and ICW are the most powerful tools that DNA testing companies provide. Together we will look at some of the ways to take advantage of these tools to work with our matches and break through brick walls. (Friday morning)

Identifying and Examining DNA Outliers” – The amount of DNA shared by two people with a specific genealogical connection can vary considerably. The Shared cM Project attempts to identify these ranged by collecting information from thousands of example relationships. However, sometimes we find shared DNA amounts that don’t fit the expected relationship. Does this mean the expected relationship is incorrect, or that it is truly an outlier? Together we will examine the methodologies used to examine possible outlier situations, as well as review some real-life outlier examples. (Friday afternoon)

Building Research Trees and Tracking the Living” – DNA evidence often requires identification of living individuals, either current test takers or possible test takers. In this lecture we will learn about the tools and tricks for identifying living people. (Saturday morning)

"Understanding Ancestry's DNA's TIMBER and SideView Tools The TIMBER and SideView tools at AncestryDNA are widely misunderstood but are incredibly valuable and useful! In this lecture, we will examine these tools and how they can be utilized to expand our research. (Saturday afternoon)

What more can we say?

Actually, we can say…

  • You get 3 breakout sessions of your choice with great speakers on enlightening and intriguing topics!

  • You get a 40% discount on printed copies of archived Nebraska Ancestrees!

  • You get to view before purchase any of the NSGS publications!

  • You get a chance at a share of the door prizes we have totaling in excess of $1200!

  • You get to visit the Platte County Historical Society and Museum after hours! -- or

  • You get to stretch your legs on a self-guided walking tour of Columbus, Nebraska!

  • You get two full days to network with other genealogy enthusiasts and share your stories and research experience with those who really are interested!

  • You might even get to meet a new cousin!

‚ÄčMail-in registrations must be postmarked by April 10th. Online registrations will be accepted after that, but if you want a printed syllabus you will also need to register by April 10th.


February 29, 2024 By: Laura Mattingly
What's In Your Genes?

If you’d like to learn more about genetic genealogy, you won’t want to miss our annual conference. NSGS is proud to bring in Blaine Bettinger, “The Genetic Genealogist” as our featured speaker for two days of lectures April 26th & 27th.

Blaine Bettinger’s lectures, which are all included in your 2-day registration, cover different aspects of the DNA tools available for your research. More details can be found on his website

To help you make your breakout session selections, here is more information on each class.

Friday breakout session (#1), choose between:

Preserve Your Family Photos: Both Print and Digital”, by Christie Johnson – This course will help you organize your lifetime of printed photos, various physical media, physical memorabilia, and digital images and videos throughout your digital devices.

Christie Johnson, owner and operator of Memorable Legacy, will teach you how to gather, sort, organize, digitize, backup, and, best of all, creative ways to relive and enjoy your family photo collection. She will teach you a step-by-step proven method of organization used by professional photo organizers worldwide.

Germans from Russia”, by Ruth Boettcher – “My family are Germans from Russia.” That is a broad statement in that Germans settled many areas of Russia over the 17th and 18th centuries. To help research your family’s origins, you will need to know some history and geography. Germans from Russia are a heterogenous group that shares a German ethnicity. Yet how and when German groups settled in Russia and what part of Russia has its own story.

Saturday morning breakout session (#2), choose between:

Tracking a Bigamist; Case Study in DNA” by Teresa Shane – John Franklin Shane is the son of James Harrison Shane and Letty A. Day. John Lewis Shane states his parents are James and Anna Shane. Identifying two DNA matches revealed a potential of a 1/2 2nd cousin match not the expected third cousin match. Using newspaper accounts, marriage records, census records, prison records and court records, Teresa and the two matches hypothesize John Franklin Shane and John Lewis Shane are the same man. John Franklin also used aliases, including a cousin's name, to marry at least six women. The case is not ongoing and more questions are raised as new information is found. A surprise finding midway through the research will be revealed at the end of the session.

Marriages, Murder and Vigilanties: A Frontier Odyssey”, by Gail Blankenau – Do you have ancestors who lived on the frontier? While historians debunk the myth of a purely "wild and wooly" West, they reveal the rich tapestry of lives that characterized borderlands--places where record-keeping was spotty and social boundaries fluid. Amidst shifting borders, pioneer migration, and the ebb and flow of settlements, delve into the fascinating case study of Great Plains pioneer Harriet Gilbert Baker and her family. Blankenau will demonstrate an array of methods and sources to tackle tough research questions and uncover a dramatic story that was meant to stay hidden.

Saturday afternoon breakout session (#3), choose between:

Sharing Research with Non-Genies”, by Sue Schlichting – Learn how to creatively pass down your genealogical research and heirlooms to your family, including the reluctant ones!

Life in a Sod House & Solomon Butcher Photos” by Tammy Hendrickson – My presentation will cover some items that our pioneers faced and the housing choices with limited resources on the open prairie. This show will tell of the life of Solomon D. Butcher and his photographs from late 1800s an early 1900. Using thes photos and telling stories from our pioneers. Every homesteader place needed a place to live permanently, and get this land. The sod house was a major part of many places getting the patent to their homestead claim and the generations to follow. What was you ancestors first house, a soddy?

Registrations via mail must be postmarked by April 10, or register online here (see Conference page). Room reservations are not made with your conference registration. Please call the Ramada River’s Edge in Columbus at 402-164-1492 to reserve your room. If you have any questions, reach out to one of our board members. We are looking forward to seeing you in April!


December 30, 2023 By: Laura Mattingly
Looking Back - Looking Forward
Do you do a year-end review of your genealogy research? It can be helpful to look back and take note of your accomplishments. Maybe you were able to confidently add new generations to your tree. Maybe you got to meet a distant cousin in person for the first time or traveled to visit ancestral lands. Did you travel to do research in an archive or major genealogical library? Have you fully analyzed and written a conclusion for what you discovered? Did you connect with any distant cousins or collaborate with any of your DNA matches? What was your favorite new resource? 
Focus on the positive. If you didn’t find much in the way of new information, take note of what sources you eliminated. If you attended any conferences, seminars or watched any webinars, review the materials from them and determine any suggestions you haven’t acted on. 
In what way did you share your family history? How did you contribute to the genealogy world? Write about your ancestors and please consider submitting the articles for publication in the Nebraska Ancestree. Were you successful in making progress on your genealogy projects? Plan your time to work on them and you can be. 
Do you set goals for the coming year? Remember when setting goals to make them SMART – Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant and Time-Bound. Do you plan your research projects or trips? Contact the genealogical societies close to where your research is focused, see what you can learn from them.  
Line up some winter genealogy reading. Check the NSGS catalog under “Library” on the left. Members can borrow books for $4.00 each plus return shipping. See our list of "Publications for Sale". Or get a book you’ve wanted to read through an inter-library loan. Look online for free genealogy blogs and newsletters delivered by email.  
Try something new!
These are just a few things for you to think about here at year end. Our wish for you is a happy New Year filled with many new genealogical discoveries!