Thursday, September 12, 2013

Genealogy Symposium in Sugar Land, October 26, 2013

In recognition of Family-History Month in October, Fort Bend County Libraries' Local History and Genealogy department will present the Second Annual Genealogy Symposium on Saturday, October 26 from 10:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., in the Large Meeting Room of the University Branch Library, located at 14010 University Blvd in Sugar Land, on the UH campus.

Long-time historian and genealogist, John A. Sellers, will share his knowledge, experience, and insight on a variety of topics designed to help family-history buffs explore different avenues of genealogical research. Registration will begin at 10:00 a.m., and different lectures will be presented throughout the day.

The first lecture, "Is Texas Part of the South?" will begin at 10:30 a.m. The background of the cultural origins of Texas has often been debated. What influences converged to give Texas its unique identity? Does Texas more closely resemble the Old South or the western frontier? Learn more about the history of Texas, the people and events that shaped its culture, and how this information can help family-history researchers. Various genealogical records and repositories in Texas will also be discussed.

At 11:45 a.m., Sellers will present "What Do You Mean, It Burned? Is All of Your Research Up in Smoke?" A researcher's worst fear is to learn that public records have been destroyed. Learn how to make the most of existing records, explore alternative sources, and modify research skills. Supplemental records that can be found beyond the courthouse will be discussed.

After a break for lunch on your own, the symposium will resume at 2:15 p.m. with the lecture, "Your Ancestors' Cousins and Their Value to Your Research." Hitting a dead end in family-history research does not necessarily mean the search is over. It may be time to branch out to the cousins on the family tree. Actual case-studies presented will demonstrate the value of collateral research. Learn how to incorporate time-lines and geographical studies to fill in gaps in genealogy research.

The final lecture of the day, "History's Role in Your Genealogical Pursuits," will begin at 3:30 .m. Social history - the history of everyday people and their lives - can provide colorful details to a genealogist's research. Learn how the history of places, events, and groups can help unlock genealogical puzzles.

Sellers is a fifth-generation Texan whose family roots run deep in Hopkins County in east Texas. He received his teaching certificate in History from Texas A&M University, Commerce, and has been lecturing since 1991. His genealogical research began in 1991, and he has become very familiar with courthouse records in several southern states over the years. An active member of the Hopkins County Genealogical Society, Sellers served on the organization's executive board for 15 years, and later as vice president and president. He has been on the faculty of Angelina College's Genealogy Conference in Lufkin since 1999, and has spoken nationally for the Federation of Genealogical Societies and the National Genealogical Society.

The program is free and open to the public. Seating is limited, however, and reservations are required. To register online at the library's website (, click on "Calendar," select "University Branch," and find the program. Participants may also register by calling the Local History and Genealogy Department at 281-341-2608.

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