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Lectures and Courses

Foundations of Genealogy I
Getting Started and Doing It Right the First Time

Foundations of Genealogy I, an 8-week course for family historians and genealogists seeking to become more effective and efficient researchers.

During each course session, registrants will learn the skills and explore the resources necessary to build a solid foundation in genealogy research. Ms. Cruice will explore how to conduct proper research, discuss the advantages/disadvantages of online genealogy resources, examine which historical records can reveal the most about researchers’ family histories, and more.

Over the 8-week course, registrants will learn proven research methods to root out their most elusive ancestors, as well as how to document research findings with reliable evidence.

For beginner and experienced genealogists alike, Foundations of Genealogy I is designed to equip researchers with the fundamental knowledge and expertise to develop new skills on their own, wherever their research may take them – whether online or in person at libraries and archives.


Foundations of Genealogy II

Develop and strengthen your genealogy skills! This 8-week class is intended for those who already have some familiarity and experience with family history research.

Topics covered include: An introduction to genealogical research using DNA, how to research record groups available for families and individuals living in the 1800s, understanding the naturalization process and its impact on genealogical research, maximizing the resources available at historical societies and how to locate hidden manuscript collections, and utilizing federal and state records to uncover family history.

Practicum sessions are also included in the class, so you can test your newly-acquired research skills by creating an action plan for a research problem. One class session will be dedicated to expanding attendees’ knowledge of records and resources available at HSP.

This 8-week class is intended for those who already have some familiarity and experience with family history research. Completion of Foundations of Genealogy I course, or equivalent competency, is recommended.

Foundations 1
Foundations 2

Why Should Anyone Believe Your Research? – Building a Genealogy Proof Argument

How you support your family research findings is the difference between genealogy and mythology. We will demystify the Genealogy Proof Standard and discuss its five components. You will learn how to put together evidence to provide a soundly reasoned, coherently written conclusion. We will explore the different types of written conclusions and how the complexity of the genealogy research dictates which type of written conclusion is necessary for true genealogical proof. Lastly, we will look at several case studies to see how to build genealogy proof statements, proof summaries, and proof arguments.

Building a Genealogical Proof

Making the Most of Indirect Evidence: Forming Sound Genealogical Conclusions

Many researchers miss clues and pieces of information that could allow them to discover family members and their relationship to other family members. In this program we will look at case studies in order to examine the more sophisticated issues of genealogical source evaluation. We will look at the research methods necessary to extract all the information contained in genealogical sources. We will explore how to assemble and combine pieces of information from various sources to form sound genealogical conclusions and maximize indirect evidence.

Indirect Evidence

Researching 17th and 18th Century Records – When Records are Scarce

As you progress with your family history, researching becomes harder as certain record sets become less frequent and eventually cease. Learn what are the most prevalent and reliable record groups for researching in the 17th and 18th Centuries and how to extract vital record information from other available sources.

Researching 17th and 18th Century Records

Gedcoms and Photos: Uploading to

We all use, but how many of us use it to its’ full potential?Uploading photographs and personal family documents to can make your family tree come to life. However, it can be confusing when you have not done it before. We will discuss the ways you can enhance your family tree on so it will be more personal and interesting to you and other family members. We will go through the media uploading process step by step. Also, we will discuss how to use GEDcoms so you can share your family tree with other people.

Gedcoms and Photos

Mastering the Full Power of is one of the most popular and valued genealogical tools in the world.  Understanding and maximizing its usefulness, and keeping up with Ancestry’s changing content and format, is essential in order to efficiently search and record your family's history.  In this lecture you will learn tips and search strategies to help you become a more effective family researcher. Information in this lecture is applicable for all versions of home subscriptions, and versions used in libraries or in Family History Centers.

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Finding the Elusive Ancestor

No matter where, or who, you are researching this lecture will show you ways to find your most difficult family members. Sydney F. Cruice Dixon, a professional genealogist, will explain practices to help you to become a more efficient and effective family researcher and reveal proven research methods to root out your most elusive ancestors.

Finding the Elusive Ancestor

Philadelphia Research: Not for Philadelphia Only

The Philadelphia region has amazing genealogical and historical resources. Are you taking full advantage of all libraries, repositories, and collections in this area? Sydney F. Cruice, a professional genealogist will take you on a tour of these valuable repositories and highlight their genealogical assets.

Philadelphia Research: Not for Philadelphia Only

Finding Your Way Through Immigration and Naturalization Records

The United States is a country of immigrants - almost everyone’s family immigrated to this country. Therefore, it is necessary to understand the immigration and naturalization laws and processes so you are better able to find your family in the records. We will discuss passenger lists and how they changed over the years so you will know what to look for and where to find it and we will explore different websites that can help you discover the routes your family traveled to come to this country.

Exploring Immigration

Using Probate and Estate Records to Raise the Dead

Probate and Estate records are one of the most important record groups when conducting family research. They often reveal clues to the previous generations and they include names of the current heirs. They can provide the names of married daughters, as well as siblings and nieces and nephews. A full investigation of probate records can lead to other valuable genealogy sources like: land records, guardianship records and tax records. We will explore where to find these records and how to interpret all of their valuable clues. We will discuss how to use these records with other record groups and solve your most difficult family mysteries.

Using Propbate and Estate Records

Using Land Records for Genealogy Research

Land records are one of the most valuable genealogy resources. However, many family historians over look these records because they don't realize how much genealogical information they can contain. Discover the difference between County, State and Federal land records. Learn where to access these different land records and find out how to extract all the rich family information they hold. 

Using Land Records
Old German Newspaper

Noteworthy Newspaper Strategies

Sometimes newspapers are the only remaining evidence…They can answer genealogical questions when no other records are available. Learn the major newspaper websites and how to find the names of the newspapers published during the time and location of your ancestor. Hear about newspaper research strategies that can help uncover your family’s past events. Newspapers are one of the most overlooked genealogical resources – treasures waiting to be discovered!

Noteworthy Newspaper Strategies

Metes and Bounds Land Records – How to Plat Your Ancestor’s Land

Land records are one of the most valuable record groups for genealogy research. We will explore where to find them and go through the different parts of a deed with special attention to the land description. We will also learn how to plat a Metes and Bounds land description and discuss ways of anchoring the land plat to historic maps.

Metes and Bounds and Plats, Oh My!

Best Strategies for City, County, & Business Directories

Many researchers miss clues and pieces of information that could allow them to discover family members and their relationship to other family members. In this program we will look at case studies in order to examine the more sophisticated issues of genealogical source evaluation. We will look at the research methods necessary to extract all the information contained in genealogical sources. We will explore how to assemble and combine pieces of information from various sources to form sound genealogical conclusions and maximize indirect evidence.

Best Strategies for City, County, & Business Directories
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How to Research Military Records and Uncover their Genealogical Treasures and Stories

In this course you will learn the who, what, where, when, why and how of researching your ancestor's military service and histories. The lecture covers and explains the benefits, and how to navigate some of the difficulties of researching at the National Archives in Washington, D.C.

How to Research Military Records

Building Your Family Tree – Genealogy 101

Are you ready to put together your family’s genealogy? This presentation will provide an excellent starting point for researching your genealogical roots. In this lecture, you will look at the top genealogy websites and discover which historical records can reveal the most about your family’s past. Participants will learn proven methods to root out their most elusive ancestors, and how they can continue to develop new genealogy research skills on their own.

Building Your Family Tree
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 Getting the Most out of Archives, Libraries and Repositories

Knowing which archives, courthouses, and libraries to use for your family research can be difficult and intimidating. Then, figuring out your way through the vast array of books, manuscripts, and files to get to the information you seek can be completely overwhelming. This presentation discusses the different types of repositories for genealogy research. You will discover the best strategies to efficiently find the family information you need and learn tips on the best ways to get help from archivists, librarians, and county clerks. Learn how to develop a game plan even before you walk through the door of the research facility. 

Archives, Libraries and Repositories

Researching Your Irish Ancestors

Researching Irish ancestors can be a challenge. However, there are ways around the record loss of the Emerald Isle. Discover the record sets that can be used in place of the documents burned in the Irish Civil War Fire of 1922. Learn the best process for Irish research to get the maximum results for your research hours. And explore the free online websites that reveal where your Irish ancestors lived.

Researchimh Your Irish Ancestors
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An Introduction to Using DNA with Your Genealogy Research

DNA can be a valuable genealogical tool. However, you need to understand how it can be applied to your family research and understand DNA’s limitations. We will discuss the different types of DNA, the various tests, and the genealogy questions each test type can answer.

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Analyzing Documents and Sources for Genealogical Research

In order to conduct quality genealogical research, it is critical to completely understand the documents and sources that your ancestors left behind. However, many researchers only focus on the data in a record that answers their immediate interest. At best, this hasty research practice misses other valuable pieces of information, and, at worst, this behavior may cause the researcher to completely misinterpret the information contained in the source. In this program we will discuss the key elements of genealogical sources, information, and evidence. We will break down the necessary methods to properly analyze and interrupt the information contained in your family's records. We will also discuss how the storage of a record can affect the credibility of its contents.

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Exploring Philadelphia’s Rich Immigration History and Resources

Philadelphia has long served as a gateway for immigrants coming to the new world. This program will explore the various waves of immigrants to Philadelphia and the surrounding areas. It will look at the immigration patterns of the different ethnic groups: Dutch, Swedes, English, German, etc., and track how their religious practices left valuable records to aid in researching
their travels. It will discuss strategies for finding passenger lists and naturalization records.Various Philadelphia research resources will be discussed - revealing both online and in person genealogy resources.

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Demystifying Genealogy Source Citations

Citing your sources for family research is the difference between genealogy and Mythology. It is critical to use source citations if you want your research to be taken seriously. In this program we will discuss the different elements of a genealogy source citation. And since genealogy research requires many different types of sources, from family jewelry to needlepoint samplers, we will look at the different types of citations and how to construct them.

Image by Bob Smith – Resources of the Church of the Latter-Day Saints

Maximize the LDS resources without going to Salt Lake City. Learn to navigate the LDS website and uncover all the information this website contains. Learn how the LDS Family History Centers can help break through brick walls with their huge collection of international records.

U. S. Census Records- Extracting Everything Possible

Census Records are one of the first record sets used when building a family tree, but many researchers don’t know enough about this source to maximize the data contained in these records. Learn strategies to locate the missing, destroyed, misspelled and overlooked in these incredible government documents. Discover their hidden bits of information that can help provide answers, to your family mysteries. Explore the data reported in the U. S. Non-population Census Schedules, and where to find these amazing, but often over looked, documents. Examine the collection details behind Federal Census so you can better interpret, and utilize, all the information contained in these valuable sources. Learn the method to combine the data in the 1790-1840 Federal Censuses to reveal the birth years for the unnamed individuals in these under used census years.

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The Basics of Genealogy Research –
The Four Elements, the Proof Standard and the Necessary Documents

When one is first starting genealogy research it is very easy to get caught up in the thrill of the hunt. Sometimes the joy of discovery can lead us down the path of ancestor gathering and reckless record keeping. It is critical that a family historian look at the big research picture and use proven genealogy methods and practices. If not, an overly zealous family historian may find themselves having to make many corrections later on, or even, having to rebuild an entire family tree. During this program we will discuss the four elements of genealogy, the Genealogy Proof Standard, and the documents necessary to make sure you are conducting solid family research the first time.

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Furthering Your Genealogy Education

Your genealogy education is a never-ending process. We will discuss conferences and institutes that can help you expand your genealogy knowledge. Also, we will explore various organizations and websites that offer free courses and guides to help you to explore new genealogy resources.

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Just Google It! Using Google to Discover Your Roots

Learn all the different way Google can be used to help you with your genealogy research. From finding elusive books and records to finding your family’s homestead. We will explore: Google Search, Google Images, Google Maps, Google Books, Google Translate, Google Shopping, Google Newspapers, and Google Doc – all of these elements of Google can move your genealogy research forward.

Pillars of Justice

How the Law Impacts Your Genealogy Research - Government Records

The law impacts every area of genealogical research. We will learn about different legal systems. We will discuss the various levels of government and their corresponding courts systems. We will explore resources and websites that will help you find Federal and State statues and records.

Learn How Use Geographic Information Systems for Genealogy Research

We will explore several geographic information systems including the Greater Philadelphia GeoHistory Network. We will discuss the various genealogy applications for Geographic Information Systems - from overlaying historical maps onto contemporary maps to geographically tracking the progression of historical events. Learn how Geographic Information Systems allow genealogists to visualize family data geographically and store and analyze this information to reveal family clues and trends. Using these systems can enable the researcher to find graves, land parcels, reconstruct neighborhoods and locate a specific structures or cemeteries.

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Mapping Out Your Family History with Maps

Many family historians do not include maps as part of their genealogy tool box. Sometimes maps can answer genealogy questions that documents can’t. Learn what maps should always be consulted when researching your family's history. Explore free websites that have thousands of historic maps that can be researched and downloaded.  Learn strategies to use maps with other genealogy resources to solve the most difficult genealogy brick walls. 

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The Miracles and Sins of Church and Cemetery Records

Church and cemetery records are the top resource for vital record information for family research. They exceed state and municipal records, since churches and cemeteries started collecting this information long before our government agencies. However, trying to access these records can be difficult and very frustrating. We will discuss how you can examine many of these records without involving their religious creators, and we will explore the best strategies when you do have to go through the religious organizations to examine these valuable materials.

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Organizing Genealogy Information and Correlating Evidence

Clear genealogy reporting requires the researcher to sift through many different types of records and sources and correlate all the evidence into a coherently written and soundly reasoned genealogical conclusion. In this program we will look at methods and practices that can help you to organize your research findings and help enable you to see family patterns and identify your ancestor’s life events.

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Sharing and Reporting Your Family’s History and 
The Ethics Involved with Sensitive Family Discoveries

Sharing and reporting your family history can be intimidating and overwhelming. What is the best way to communicate all the information you have worked so hard to find? Is there a correct way to report your findings? What are the ethics of reporting newly found family secrets? Particularly, with DNA tests revealing surprise family relationships, how do you handle these complicated discoveries? In this program, we will explore the various ways to share your research with others. We will discuss the ethical issues of when and how to report sensitive family findings.

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Skeletons in the Closet and Treasures in the Attic – 
The Value of Family Stories and Oral History

All families have secrets and mysteries.  Uncovering them can be informative, interesting, and fun.  Learn how gathering family stories can help you better understand and appreciate your relatives past and present. Although they are hidden, family stories may impact your daily life and determine some of your family’s present-day values. Discover the power of oral history and learn how to get people to reveal family stories directly or indirectly. Hear how a single historic document can help explain family dynamics and behavior, and reveal the truth and fiction behind family legends.

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Vital Records: The Backbone of Genealogy

Vital records can be the backbone of family research and history.  Sydney F. Cruice, a professional genealogist, will teach what vital records are, where and how to access these valuable resources, and what you can substitute when government records don’t exist or are insufficient. 

For upcoming presentations, courses, and lectures, please see the upcoming events tab.

To book a lecture or appearance, please reach out via the contact information provided and I will be happy to assist you.

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