Fall Series

Thursday, September 2, 2021 at 7pm
Thursday, September 16, 2021 at 7pm

Thursday, September 30, 2021 at 7pm

Thursday, October 14, 2021 at 7pm

All workshops will be recorded.  Registered attendees not available to attend live, will receive the recording within 48 hours after the event.

About the Workshop Series

Maryland Public Television is partnering with the Maryland Genealogical Society to offer a beginner-to-intermediate genealogy workshop series this fall.  The series will consist of four bi-weekly sessions covering the topics of census records, vital records, immigration records, and African-American research.  The sessions will provide valuable information to help guide researchers as they dive into genealogy pursuits, and each will use Maryland examples.  Those who attend will receive a one-year membership to the Maryland Genealogical Society (MGS) -- not applicable to current MGS members. 

Questions? Email events@mpt.org.


Chris Haley

Chris Haley is Director of Research for the Study of the Legacy of Slavery in Maryland at the Maryland State Archives and Director of the Utopia Film Festival in Prince George's County. He is also co-director of the Capital Region Emmy nominated documentary, Unmarked, on the ongoing plight of often unknown burial sites of formerly enslaved and free African Americans. Chris has spoken on genealogy, African American history and self-empowerment on many occasions over the past twenty years in both the U.S. and Africa. The story of his DNA test that resulted in his discovery and reunion with relatives from the British Isles in 2009 was covered by innumerable news outlets including USA Today and the Huffington Post.

Debra A. Hoffman

Specializing in Maryland and German research, Debra A. Hoffman is a professional genealogist, owner of Hoffman Genealogical Services, and was the coordinator of the Maryland course at the Salt Lake Institute of Genealogy (SLIG) in 2020. She has a certificate in Family History from Brigham Young University, a Professional Learning Certificate in Genealogical Studies (PLCGS)-German Records and is a member of the Association of Professional Genealogists.

David Powell

David Powell was born in Baltimore City and has been researching his own family history for over 25 years. He is the current President of the Baltimore County Genealogical Society and was previously the Treasurer of that organization. He is also a member of the MGS and a member of its Board of Directors. Dave teaches genealogy courses at the Community College of Baltimore County and at local senior centers, libraries, and genealogy societies. He has given numerous talks on genealogy, DNA, and foreign research to various groups throughout Maryland. He has done extensive research in France, Scotland, Wales, England, Canada, Poland and the United States.

John Siemon

John Siemon is the President of the MGS and has been on its Executive Board since 2008. He recently coordinated a marriage indexing project for the society. John has been researching his own family history since 1997. His special interests are maps, the Civil War, and Baltimore history and genealogy. All of his family lines have been in Baltimore since 1865, and he has collected many references for researching Baltimore genealogy. He has written several articles for The MGS Journal and regularly provides assistance to queries in social media genealogy groups.


Part I – Census Records (Thursday, Sept 2 @7pm)

In the first session of this series, John Siemon will provide a brief introduction on starting your genealogy research. The remainder of the presentation will focus on building your family tree from census records. U.S. Census records are usually the first and best place to start building your tree and tracing back. While records are readily available, they can be overwhelming, and many new researchers miss key information that can hinder research. It will also include a demonstration of how to track a family line and learn a great deal of information about your ancestors.

Part II – Vital Records (Thursday, Sept 16 @7pm)

In this session presenter David Powell will cover vital records and how to research them. Techniques for finding birth records, marriage records, death records and other life events will be discussed. The Maryland State Archives, FamilySearch, and Ancestry websites will be used to demonstrate the research that can be performed. Newspaper archives can also be used to learn details about your family. Using civil records and church records to discover more about your ancestors will give you the “roots” to grow a vibrant and full family tree.

Part III - Immigration (Thursday, Sept 30 @7pm)

In this session, Debra A. Hoffman will discuss Maryland’s Port of Baltimore as one of the major entry points for immigrants to America and will cover its history and the sources available to document individuals who arrived through this port. Baltimore was a particularly important port for Germans entering the United States in the 1800s and many took advantage of the combined ship and rail ticket to go West. Additionally, some of Maryland’s lesser ports, such as Annapolis, will be discussed. Published and unpublished sources will be covered along with pertinent websites.

Part IV – African-American Research (Thursday, Oct 14 @7pm)

In the final session, Chris Haley will review challenges and methodologies involved with conducting African-American family history research, some examples of which he has only

recently discovered through the work of various interns with whom he has worked who are mining 1860 and 1870 federal census records. African-American research is not easy, but it is also not impossible. One has to persevere to succeed just as formerly enslaved and free Black people had to endure through centuries of legislative obstacles.


  • All registered attendees will receive access to the recording within 48 hours after each session. You are not required to attend each session live.

The MPT Foundation, Inc. is a nonprofit 501(c)(3). Your contribution supports MPT's service to children, education and the region. Thank you for your additional support.



I understand that my registration is non-refundable. If am unable to attend a session live, I will have access to the recorded event. I also understand that the complimentary Maryland Genealogical Society membership is for new MGS members only.


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