Past Meetings

  • 20 March 2021

    Membership virtual show and tell. Since we can’t all get together and socialize, here’s your chance to share and tell us about your family! We have done this in past years in person, and it has been a lot of fun!

    You can share any of the following:

    • Artifacts
    • Favorite finds
    • Heirlooms
    • Traditions
    • Family Secrets
    • Family Stories 

    This will be a Zoom event open to all members to show or tell your genealogy related story.  There are a few requirements to participate (anyone can watch)

    • You must have a computer with a camera and reliable internet service
    • You must sign up in advance
    • Time is limited to 3 – 5 minutes
    • You may show photos and documents from your computer as long as you have tested it in advance.
    • Participants must attend a test meeting (date to be announced)  prior to the actual meeting so we can be sure that all technology is working properly.

    To sign up, email:

    Give your name, topic, and approximate time of your presentation ( 3 – 5 minutes)

  • 20 February 2021


    Brief Description: JGS recently received an interesting research request to look into the life and relationships of a young woman born in Jacksonville in 1899. The person requesting the research is a descendant of the son of the young woman in question. The son was born in Jacksonville, but after the death of his mother was adopted in California. The research takes us on a journey from Jacksonville to Atlanta, Alaska, and California. It is an interesting story because there are many sources of information AND many voids in the document trail. Along the way we find dead ends, supposition, and family stories — but also many important events for which we find solid evidence of steps in the life of this young woman and her son. Ultimately, we are left with as many questions as answers, but also with a sense of the lives of the people involved and the many interesting twists and turns they experience. After the presentation Society members are invited to suggest other steps we might take to find answers to our questions.

    Speaker Bio: Joel Warner has been interested in genealogy from a young age. He still has a pedigree chart which he copied from his grandmother’s research at the age of 8, written in his third-grade penmanship. He spends much of his research time helping others get started in family history. He also likes to collect stories of those “coincidences” many genealogists experience when information comes together in the most unlikely circumstances. Joel and his wife Alzina are members of the Jacksonville Genealogy Society, The Southern Genealogist’s Exchange Society, and the planning committee of the North Florida Genealogy Conference. Alzina is a member of the Daughters of the American Revolution and the Daughters of the American Colonists.

  • 21 November 2020

    Speaker: C. Ann Staley, CG, CGL

    Topic: Slave Narratives: Telling the Story of Slavery and Families

               — Virtual Meeting —
    Please register for the presentation at
    After registering, you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the webinar.

    Brief Description: The WPA Federal Writers’ Project (FWP) of the late 1930s provides us with more than 2,300 first-person accounts of former slaves. This collection provides autobiographical experiences of the slavery institution. But how can we use this rich resource? Can they be relied upon? The slave narratives, with their autobiographical accounts, can provide insight into the institution, and rich context and clues for family research.

    Speaker Bio: Ann is an educator and consultant. Her specialties are Methodology, Research Sources, Computer Resources, Vital Records and their Sources, and Conference Planning. She is the author of several articles for the NGS Magazine and the co-author of the NGS Research in the States Series-Florida.

  • 17 October 2020

    Speaker: Michael John Neill

    Topic: What it Does Not Say

    Brief Description: Many times, a record only scratches the surface of what was going on when that record was created. This lecture looks at why a record was created and how state statute, common practice, economic situations, family issues, and other factors may be the “real story” behind any document. Also discusses how to determine (when possible) what those “unwritten” issues were.

    Speaker Bio: Michael John Neill has been researching his genealogy since the early 1980s. His roots lie in most US states east of the Mississippi, as well as the Midwest, and includes Mayflower immigrants and more recent arrivals. He has written on genealogical topics since the late 1980s and has lectured nationally at a wide variety of local, regional, and national conferences and workshops. He maintains five blogs including Genealogy Tip of the Day, Genealogy Search Tip, and Casefile Clues. Michael leads annual research trips to the Family History Library in Salt Lake City and the Allen County Public Library in Ft. Wayne, Indiana. He is a community college mathematics instructor with a master’s degree in mathematics.

  • 19 September 2020

    Speaker: Judy Fambrough-Billingsley

    Topic: “Researching, Writing and Publishing Your Family Legacy”

    Description: Judy shares her experience searching for her roots. She will share what she has learned about leveraging resources when researching your family tree, whether found on the Internet or offline, and how to verify the information you discover. Participants interested in writing their own biography or family history will receive plenty of ideas to help them create their own unique story in a way that they will be proud to share it. Judy will also offer helpful publishing and marketing tips when choosing to make it public. The discussion will also cover how to prepare yourself emotionally for what you might unexpectedly discover while doing your research.

    Bio: Judy was born in Germany shortly after the end of World War II and is the daughter of an African-American soldier and a German woman.  She was placed in an orphanage in Germany before being adopted by an American Couple.  Judy is the author of the book “Too Brown to Keep: A search for Love, Forgiveness, and Healing.”