Empire State Plaza Station

PO Box 2175

Albany, NY 12220-0175


Town of Colonie Library is  Closed Until Further Notice

Capital District Genealogical Society is now on Facebook and Twitter

Members can join our Facebook page today.


Our Twitter handle is CapDistGenSoc1.

Albany County

Columbia County

Fulton County

Greene County 

Montgomery County 

Rensselaer County

Saratoga County

Schenectady County

Schoharie County

Washington County

Counties Served

Capital District Genealogical Society

Judy G. Russell, JD, CG, CGL

The "Legal Genealogist"

Judy Russell will be our Keynote Speaker on the subject "After The Courthouse Burns: Rekindling Family History through DNA".  Catastrophic records loss due to fires and disasters at courthouses is a fact of life
for genealogists. When a disaster takes out birth, marriage, death, court, land and probate records all in one fell swoop, it may still be possible to light our family’s research fires — to rekindle our interest in our ancestral roots — using DNA

She will speak in the afternoon on the topic:  "Don’t Forget the Ladies: A Genealogist’s Guide to Women and the Law".  In early America, women were all too often the people who just weren’t there: not in the records, not in the censuses, not on juries, not in the voting booth. The common law relegated women to “protected” – second-class – status and understanding how they were treated under the law provides clues to finding their identities today.

The Legal Genealogist Judy G. Russell is a genealogist with a law degree. She writes, teaches and lectures on a wide variety of genealogical topics, ranging from using court records in family history to understanding DNA testing. A Colorado native with roots deep in the American south on her mother’s side and entirely in Germany on her father’s side, she holds a bachelor’s degree in journalism with a political science minor from George Washington University in Washington, D.C. and a law degree from Rutgers School of Law-Newark. Before she retired, she worked as a newspaper reporter, trade association writer, legal investigator, defense attorney, federal prosecutor, law editor and, for more than 20 years, was an adjunct member of the faculty at Rutgers Law School.

She is a member of the Association of Professional Genealogists, the National Genealogical Society and numerous state and regional genealogical societies. She has written for the National Genealogical Society Quarterly (from which she received the 2017 Award of Excellence), the National Genealogical Society Magazine, the FGS Forum, BCG’s OnBoard, and Family Tree Magazine, among other publications.

On the faculty of the Institute of Genealogy and Historical Research, the Salt Lake Institute of Genealogy, the Genealogical Research Institute of Pittsburgh, the Midwest African American Genealogy Institute, and the Genealogical Institute on Federal Records, she is a member of the Board of Trustees of the Board for Certification of Genealogists®, from which she holds credentials as a Certified Genealogist® and Certified Genealogical Lecturer℠. Her award-winning blog appears at The Legal Genealogist website https://www.legalgenealogist.com/blog/ .

Thomas W. Jones


Tom Jones will be speaking to the topics:  “The Jones Jinx: Tracing Common Surnames” . This case study will explain how missing, erroneous, and altered records were overcome to identify the parents of an orphan named Jones. Attendees will  learn research strategies that they can use to solve their own common-surname problems.  Also,  “Out-of-State Workarounds for In-State Record Shortages”. Thomas Greenfield owned no land. He left no record of his heirs. This case study describes the reconstruction of his family—two wives and eighteen children—from direct and indirect evidence in DNA and common and obscure records from national to local levels mostly from states where Thomas never lived.

Tom has been pursuing his ancestry since 1963. For the first twenty years he was clueless about what he was trying to accomplish and how to do it. When he started climbing the genealogy learning curve he repeatedly experienced the challenges, joys, and rewards of tracing ancestors reliably and fully understanding their lives. Tom eventually became an award-winning writer, board-certified genealogist, editor of the National Genealogical Society Quarterly, recipient of honors from genealogical organizations, and author of the textbooks Mastering Genealogical Proof and Mastering Genealogical Documentation. Using his nearly lifelong career in education as a springboard, he enjoys teaching at weeklong genealogy institutes, weekend seminars, and local, national, and international genealogy conferences.

Meryl Schumacker, CG

Meryl Schumacker will be presenting two lectures at our conference on  May 30, 2020: The first "Lets Make Trying New Things in Genealogy Less Scary" Going offline is a necessary step on the path to genealogical discoveries, but walking into an unfamiliar courthouse, research library, or even a genealogy conference can be downright scary. Learn tips to conquer your fear of the unknown and "level up" in your research. And the second "Strategies for Urban Research". Pinpoint the city dwellers in your family tree with methodologies and record types specific to New York's biggest cities. Learn to navigate urban geography, distinguish between same-name individuals, and work through census gaps and losses.

Meryl Schumacker is a Board-certified professional genealogist and founder of We Go Way Back LLC in Manhattan. Meryl specializes in New York City-area genealogy from the 17th century to the 20th century, genetic genealogy, and Jewish genealogy in the United States, Europe, and Central America. Formerly the genealogist for the New York Genealogical and Biographical Society, Meryl has compiled multigenerational family histories and located elusive ancestors for private clients, biographers, nonprofit institutions, and corporations. Her work has been published in the peer-reviewed journal, The New York Genealogical and Biographical Record, as well as NGS Magazine, the APG Quarterly, NGS Monthly, and the New York Researcher. In 2017, Meryl was awarded the Walter Lee Sheppard Jr. Prize and the Association of Professional Genealogists’ Young Professional Scholarship. She serves on the editorial staff for Onboard, published quarterly by the Board for Certification of Genealogists. Follow Meryl on Twitter, Instagram, and her blog.

Twitter: https://www.twitter.com/waybackgen.  
Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/wegowaybackllc 
Blog: https://www.waybackgen.com/whats-new