Calendar of Events

National Archives Virtual Genealogy Fair 2019

Find an Event

Seventh Annual Virtual Genealogy Fair

Every year, the National Archives hosts a free, virtual Genealogy Fair via live webcast on YouTube. The sessions offer family history research tools on Federal records for all skill levels. Join thousands of family historians participating during the live event. Attend free of charge and no reservation. The live event took place on October 23, 2019, 10 a.m.-4 p.m. eastern

Miss the event? View and download each presentation and handout after the event and at your convenience. Watch all six sessions on YouTube.

Session Handouts

  • Handouts for each presentation are available by clicking on the session names in the schedule below.


David S. Ferrierio

David S. Ferriero was confirmed as 10th Archivist of the United States on November 6, 2009. 

Welcoming Remarks Video

Skill Level: All     |     Video     |     Presentation Slides/Handout         

Session Description: Hit a snag in your research?  Bring your question to History Hub, the National Archives’ pioneering online platform for crowdsourced historical and genealogical research, where Archives staff and expert community members alike are waiting to lend their expertise. Learn about the capabilities of History Hub including how to search from the pool of existing questions, how to post your own question, how to sign up and join the community, see what our partner agencies are doing, and more.


Becky CollierRebecca L. Collier currently is serving as the Research Services Coordinator for History Hub and her office is located at the National Archives in College Park, MD. Prior to that, she worked in Textual Reference since 1985. Although she has knowledge about many of the records in the custody of the National Archives, she has the most expertise in 20th Century military topics, especially those pertaining to World War II and the Korean War. 

Ms. Collier compiled Reference Information Paper 103, National Archives Records Relating to the Korean War which won the Mid-Atlantic Regional Archives Conference (MARAC) Fredric M. Miller Finding Aid Award in 2004. She coordinated the editing of NARA’s Guide to Records Relating to U.S. Military Participation in World War II which won the Society of American Archivists C.F.W. Coker Award in 2009. And she wrote the descriptive pamphlets for 13 NARA microfilm publications as part of the Holocaust-Era Assets Project from 2001 to 2010. 

Ms. Collier received her M.A, in History and a Master of Accountancy from Bowling Green State University, OH, and a B.A. in History from Ohio Northern University, OH. Becky has served as Chair of the MARAC from July 2018 to June 2019.

Darren ColleDarren Cole is a Digital Engagement Specialist in the Web Branch of the Office of Innovation at the National Archives. In additional to providing technical and community management support for History Hub, he supports a number of online projects, including websites for and the National Archives Museum.  He previously managed the National Archives’ “Today’s Document” project, sharing NARA holdings from today in history across multiple social media channels.  In between other projects he enjoys developing animated GIFs from NARA’s wide array of holdings for the National Archives GIPHY channel.

Darren received his Ed.M. in Educational Technology from the Harvard Graduate School of Education, and a B.A. in History and English from Tufts University.

Kelly OsbornKelly Osborn is a community manager and web developer in the National Archives' Office of Innovation. Before coming to work at NARA, she was a web developer for the publishers of The Atlantic and Science Magazine, as well as the Smithsonian's American Art Museum. She has her masters in art history from American University. The program requires two theses; the one in her area -- American art -- was on feminism and performance art.

Skill Level: All     |     Video     |     Presentation Slides/Handout    

Session Description: Personal collections are valued for their importance to understanding family history. Do you know how to best preserve your treasured papers and heirlooms so they can by passed on? This sessions will provide tips and information on the care and storage of paper, books, photographs, as well as film, audio, and video. Providing the best environment and storage will allow family heirlooms to be available for generations, while understanding proper handling and copying can expand their availability and enjoyment with distant kin.


Sara HolmesSara Holmes started working at the National Archives in Preservation Programs at St. Louis in 2007. She is currently a Management and Program Analyst, but previously served as a Supervisory Preservation Specialist to oversee conservation work at St. Louis. Before coming to the National Archives, she was a conservator at Texas Tech University and the Missouri State Archives. Ms. Holmes has a Master’s in Library and Information Science with a Certificate of Advanced Study in Conservation of Library and Archival Materials from the University of Texas and a Master’s in History from the University of New Orleans. She is also a Certified Archivist and was selected as a member of the first cohort of the Archives Leadership Institute in 2008.  

Skill Level: Beginner & Experienced     |     Video     |     Presentation Slides     |     Handout         

Session Description: The breadth of immigration records available online and in archives can seem overwhelming. This session will identify what original records you can find at the National Archives and what you can discover online.  Records discussed will range from passport applications, naturalization documents, passenger arrival lists, and more!  Attendees will discover how immigration laws have changed over time and how the records that exist have been impacted by those laws; understand the different types of records available through the National Archives; and learn how to get started with research.


Elizabeth BurnesElizabeth Burnes is an Archivist for the National Archives at Kansas City who serves as NARA's Subject Matter Expert for Immigrant Records and is the lead archivist for Alien Files (A-Files) reference.  Prior to joining the National Archives staff she held positions at Harry S Truman National Historic Site, Missouri History Museum, Herman T. Pott National Inland Waterways Library, and Harry S. Truman Presidential Library and Museum.  She received a Bachelor’s degree in History at Truman State University, and a Master’s degree in History and Museum Studies at the University of Missouri-St. Louis.

Skill Level: All     |     Video     |     Presentation Slides     |     Handout    

Session 4 Description: In this session, archivist Nathaniel Patch offers a guide to discovering the story of your World War I Sailor and Marine using the Records of the National Archives. Although for the experienced to advanced researcher, beginners will learn where to access easily understood records (such as deck logs, war diaries, and unit records), and how to build on that information to find more material in complicated record series.


Nathaniel PatchNathaniel Patch has been employed at the National Archives for 17 years. He started at the National Archives Building in Washington, DC as a technician in 2002, and then moved to the National Archives at College Park, MD after joining the Navy Reference Team as an archives specialist in 2006.  He was promoted to archivist in 2014 while continuing to work with the Navy Reference Team.  Most recently, he was promoted in 2018 to Subject Matter Expert for Navy, Marine Corps, and Coast Guard topics. His interest is in naval warfare, and in particular, submarine warfare and US-Japanese relations 1894-1945.  He has lectured on topics including researching genealogy using World War I and World War II Navy records, on the Battle of Midway, and how to conduct archival research for Underwater Archaeology. In addition, Mr. Patch has written several articles on submarine warfare that were published in Prologue magazine and currently working on projects for other publications.   Mr. Patch  earned an M.A.  in Naval History from American Military University.

Skill Level: Experienced     |     Video     |     Presentation Slides/Handout

Session Description: Federally run schools for American Indian children first emerged in the mid-19th century and became a potent tool of cultural assimilation for decades, before slowly evolving alongside the general changes and improvements in Native American relations. This presentation will discuss the records of Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA) boarding and day schools, looking at both individual student case files as well as general administrative records, what was and was not saved, what can be found within them, and what privacy restrictions exist. Located at National Archives facilities across the country and often hidden within other BIA series, these records not only chronicle a student's academic career but often health, family, and life after school. General school records paint a portrait of school life and can further flesh out an individual's history at a particular school at a particular time.


Cody WhiteCody White has been an archivist with the National Archives at Denver since 2012 and was recently named Subject Matter Expert for Native American Related Records for the National Archives. He holds a Masters of Library and Information Science from the University of California Los Angeles and a BA in History from the University of Minnesota Twin Cities.

Skill Level: All     |     Video     |     Presentation Slides/Handout

Session Description: James Muhn explains the basic provisions of the Homestead Act and demonstrates how to research and interpret homestead documents found in Record Group 49, Records of the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) for family history research.  Learn about how relevant records such as tract books, public land entry case files, patents and other associated documents can be found and the information they can tell you. 


James Muhn has researched, written and lectured on federal land policy issues for 40 years. He worked for the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) for 20 years as its Land Law Historian. After leaving the agency, he provided consulting and expert witness services for another 20 years on Federal and Native American land, water and natural resources policy matters. He has given numerous lectures on Federal land policy and records to the BLM, U.S. Department of Justice, state historical societies and local history groups. He has also written on, and lectured about, women and homesteading. Mr. Muhn is currently working on a book about the administration of the Homestead Act and the myriad issues Government officials had to grapple with.

Ann CummingsAnn Cummings has served as the Executive for Research Services since December 2016. In this role, she is responsible for directing a program that acquires, preserves, and makes accessible the National Archives’ vast holdings of accessioned Federal records at fourteen locations nationwide. Since 2011, Ann served as the Access Coordinator responsible for Research Services’ archival operations in the Washington DC area. She holds a B.A. in History from Friends University in Wichita, Kansas and an M.A. in History from Wichita State University.

Closing Remarks Video


Genealogy Fairs & Series Past

Family TreeEvery year, the National Archives hosts a free, virtual Genealogy event live webcast on YouTube. The sessions offer family history research tools on Federal records for all skill levels. Join thousands of family historians participating during the live event. Attend free of charge and no reservation.

  - Watch previous session video recordings on YouTube

  - See past event web pages, posters, session videos, and handouts below. 


All events listed in the calendar are free unless noted.