Wednesday, September 16, 2015

British Research, Genealogical Cold Cases, and Township Records ~ Classes on Day 4 at the BYU Conference on Family History & Genealogy

On the final day of the BYU Conference on Family History & Genealogy, I took three classes.

The first class I took was "Introduction to British Research." It was part of the British Research Track and was taught by Amy Harris, PhD, AG, who is a BYU Professor, and three of her students. This first class was taught by Kelsee Harris and was focused on British censuses and civil registration.

Introduction to British Research
Presenters for the British Track: Amy Harris - BYU Professor
and Three of Her Students
Presenter for this Class: Kelsee Jackson
Friday, July 31, 2015

The information presented in this class pertained to England, Scotland, and Wales. Some tips about British census records include the fact that like the United States federal censuses, British Censuses take place every ten years beginning in 1801. Unfortunately, the 1941 census was not taken due to WWII and the 1931 census was destroyed in a fire. Beginning with the 1841 census, every person in the household was listed by name.

British censuses records from 1841-1911 can be found at, and

Civil registration began in England and Wales on 1 July 1837. Indexes for the records can be found at Civil registration in Scotland began on 1 January 1855. Indexes for these records can be found at Some civil registration records for Scotland may also be found at

The next class I attended was "How To Reopen and Work a Genealogical Cold Case" by Lisa Louise Cooke. Lisa is a fantastic teacher!

How to Reopen and Work a Genealogical Cold Case
Presenter: Lisa Louise Cooke
Friday, July 31, 2015

Lisa shared several tips to help genealogists solve "genealogical cold cases" in our family trees.

First of all, we need to be prepared and organized. A great organizational tool Lisa mentioned is Evernote. I use Evernote and it really is wonderful. It syncs with my desktop computer, tablet and smartphone. I've used it in a variety of ways for my genealogy research. I've even created a notebook that contains the cousin connections I've made over the years through blogging, online trees, etc.

Another great tip Lisa talked about is the use of timelines. She shared the story of how using a timeline helped to solve the Maria Ridulph kidnapping and murder case. This was a 54-year old cold case that was reopened and solved because of a timeline. Lisa listed several timeline websites in her presentation. These include Timeline MakerTimegliderOur Time Lines, and Smart Draw. She also suggested we check out our genealogy software to see if it contains a timeline feature.

There were so many more wonderful tips that Lisa shared during her class. If you would like to hear Lisa present this same class, there is an opportunity to do so on October 17, 2015. She will be presenting her "How to Reopen and Work a Genealogical Cold Case" class, plus two additional classes, at the upcoming Fresno County Genealogical Society's 12th Annual Seminar on October 17th in Clovis, California. I shared the event flyer and the link for further information in a recent blog post.

The final class I took at the conference was titled "Treasures in Township Records" and was taught by Peggy Clemens Lauritzen, AG. She is a fabulous teacher.

Treasures in Township Records
Presenter: Peggy Clemens Lauritzen, AG
Friday, July 31, 2015

Peggy shared wonderful information about township records in her class. She listed the different types of township records as follows:
  • Stories of the village and township
  • Ordinances
  • School - deed leased to the township
  • Teacher's general registers
  • Poor records, and "warnings out"
  • Militia records
  • Road taxes
  • Marriage returns
  • Marks and brands
  • Civil suits and criminal suits
  • Wolf scalp and sparrow certificates
  • Building construction guidelines
During the class, Peggy showed an excerpt from Bloom Township History. A member of the class recognized her ancestor's name in the excerpt and now she knows where he was. Isn't that awesome!?

Peggy shared some helpful resources with the class including Earth PointThe Bureau of Land Management and Map of US. She also encouraged the use of the FamilySearch Wiki's articles on Rectangular SurveysMetes and Bounds, Land and Property, etc. as well as the United States Record Selection Table.

I will be sharing more about my experiences at the BYU Conference on Family History & Genealogy in a future post.

Thanks for reading!

© 2015 Copyright by Jana Last, All Rights Reserved


  1. Loved reading about Peggy's class!! Isn't she wonderful? I love that I get to see her so often...just not often enough!

    1. Peggy really is wonderful! Thank you for reading my post and for leaving your comment Amie! :)

  2. Jana, what a wonderful recap! I just loved being to share that week with so many of my genea-friends.

    And Amie, I love being around you, too!!! But, I agree. It's not often enough, even though we live so close.

    Thank you, Jana!

    1. Thank you Peggy! It was so wonderful to finally meet you in person at the conference and to attend two of your classes. You're a fantastic teacher!




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