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Star researcher to speak at Pinellas event

Special correspondent
Published:   |   Updated: July 12, 2013 at 01:37 AM

One of the genealogy community's most public faces will be the star attraction at the Pinellas County Genealogy Society's 2011 annual conference.

Megan Smolenyak has appeared on "Good Morning America," "Today," National Public Radio and the BBC's "Breakfast."

She has worked on some fascinating genealogy projects, including ferreting out the true story of Annie Moore, the first immigrant through Ellis Island; tracing Barack Obama's roots to Ireland; and helping the U.S. Army locate family members of soldiers still unaccounted for, from World War II to Vietnam.

Smolenyak also helped figure out who would be king of the United States today if George Washington had been crowned instead of elected. Check it out at http://tinyurl.com/qnlszs.

The conference begins at 9 a.m. Feb. 11 at the Largo Public Library, 120 Central Park Drive, Largo. Register by Feb. 2; information is available online at http://tinyurl.com/3yk32pv.

Smolenyak will present four lectures: "Trace Your Rots with DNA"; "Reverse Genealogy: Techniques for Finding Your Lost Loved Ones"; "Find the Obituary! Online Newspaper Research"; and "Cold Cases: Genealogists, Coroners and the FBI."

Registration is $42 for members, $47 for non-members and includes a continental breakfast, coffee and soft drinks, catered lunch and door prizes.

One of the toughest things about genealogical research is shedding a 21st-century mindset to search for 18th- or 19th-century ancestors. Sometimes a map for the period can help.

FamilyHistory101.com offers links to many kinds of maps but among the most helpful are the rotating boundary county maps at www.familyhistory101.com/maps.html#census.

The first map shows a state as it looked the year it gained statehood. With clicks of the "play" button, the map changes every year until the counties reach their current configuration.

The National Genealogical Society's annual Family History Conference will be held in Charleston, S.C., in the spring. This is an easy eight-hour drive from Tampa, so gather your friends and take a carload. It's fun and educational.

It will be held at the North Charleston Convention Center May 11 through 14. Registration opened last week at www.ngsgenealogy.org/cs/attendee_registration. In a sign of how popular this event is, the official conference hotel has sold out its rooms. Luckily, the society blocked rooms in other hotels within walking distance.

I suggest making hotel reservations now. See what's available at www.ngsgenealogy.org/cs/accommodations.

Per image fees are the same for both formats. The archives deliver the digital copies via CD or DVD rather than email. The records are in PDF format.

Go to http://tinyurl.com/2slr6f to get more details on ordering record copies.

These pages can be accessed at the following addresses: Immigration Records Headings at http://tinyurl.com/IRheadings and Immigration Records Indexes at http://tinyurl.com/IRindexes.

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