Classes and Events

Class and Event Schedule 2015

Unless otherwise noted: pre-registration is required so there will be an adequate number of handouts; all classes and events are OPEN TO THE PUBLIC and are at the IGS Library, 628 E Grand Ave,  515 276-0287.

Descriptions are below the schedule. $5 for IGS members and $10 for non-members

Lunch and Learn (L/L) – bring your lunch and learn something new at the same time.

Nov 1, Sunday1:30 pm - 3:30 pmOrphan TrainsColleen Bradford KrantzFree open to public
Nov 4, Wednoon - 1:00 pmNaturalization
Lunch & Learn
Theresa Liewer$5 members
$10 non-members
Nov 7, Saturday1:30 pm - 3:30 pmBeginning GenealogyJennifer BarsettiFree
Nov 9, Monday6:30 pm - 8:30 pmRoundtableMembers Only
Nov 14, Saturday9:30 am - 4:30 pmSwedish DayKathy Meade from ArkivDigital$40 members or $50 non-members.
Lunch included
Nov 21, Saturday10:30 am - 12:30 pmBecome a Legal Eagle! Law and GenealogyAlice Hoyt Veen$5 members
$10 non-members
Nov 21, Saturday1:30 pm - 3:30 pmBeginning Swedish ResearchDonna Anderson$5 members
$10 non-members
Dec 12, Saturday10:30 am - 12:30 pmBeginning GenealogyTheresa LiewerFree
Dec 12, Saturday1:30 pm - 3:30 pmInternet GenealogyTheresa Liewer$5 members
$10 non-members
Dec 14, Monday6:30 pm - 8:30 pmDo Overs, Research Plans and Brick Wall BustingMembers Only
Jan 1, 2016, Fridaynoon to 4:00 pmMembers only research dayMembers Only


Become a Legal Eagle! Law and Genealogy

21 November 2015 10:30 a.m.

What’s a relict? What does escheat mean? Why didn’t my great-grandmother inherit the farm when great-grandpa died? Understanding legal terminology and historical law is a necessary part of deciphering the records genealogists study and leads to a deeper understanding of our ancestors, their motivations and actions. This class introduces basic legal terminology and examines historical legal conventions. We’ll look at a few historical laws commonly encountered in genealogical research and identify resources for locating laws specific to your ancestor’s life and times. Preregistration required. Cost: $5 IGS members/$10 non-members.


Beginning Genealogy

Find out how easy it is to get started in this popular and fascinating pursuit.  Your family has a story to tell. Learn the basics to begin your journey of discovery for your family history project. Open to the public – FREE, preregistration is required.




Genealogical Proof Standard I

IGS instructor Linda Greethurst teams up with Certified Genealogist Alice Hoyt Veen to present a series of five classes introducing the Genealogical Proof Standard (GPS) and how to apply it to genealogical research situations.
Goals: to help dedicated beginners understand and apply sound genealogical principles to their new projects and inspire them to reach higher in their goals; to provide experienced researchers with tools that take their projects to new levels of discovery, understanding, and excellence.
What is the GPS? Quite simply, it is a TOOL, comprised of fundamentally sound research STANDARDS, that can be applied to any genealogical question. The application PROCESS involves five basic STEPS. Completion of those five steps helps you reach a well-reasoned CONCLUSION about your research question.
Learn the basics for using this exciting, powerful tool:
Understand what is meant by a “reasonably exhaustive search.” Gain critical thinking skills in analyzing sources and learn basic source-citation requirements. Identify and resolve conflicting evidence through comparison and correlation techniques. Learn how to concisely and credibly share your conclusions with others.
Classroom instruction includes hands-on activities and application examples. Take home assignments will let participants apply what they’ve learned to their personal research. Classes will be challenging and thought-provoking but user-friendly: perfection is not expected.
Participants must have some genealogical research experience or have completed the IGS “Introduction to Genealogy” class. Participants registered for the full class series are requested to commit to attending every class.


Instructors: Linda Greethurst and Alice Hoyt Veen, CG

The 5-part GPS series is comprised of one 2-hour class per month beginning in June and running through October 2015. Sessions meet on Saturdays, 10:30 a.m., IGS meeting room:

October 17:      Final class wrap-up and sharing

Book Genealogical Proof Standard: Building a Solid Case, 4th ed., by Christine Rose. Class size limited to 12 participants.


Iowa Research Series

16 January 2016  1:30 pm  – 3:30 pm  Between Two Rivers: Territorial Iowa to Statehood

From the time of the Louisiana Purchase in 1803 until Iowa attained statehood in 1846, the “land between two rivers” has played its part in the settlement of the great American Frontier. Although legal settlement did not officially begin until 1833, the land was populated with Native Americans and trailblazing pioneers before that date and boomed in the years that followed. Documentary evidence for these earliest inhabitants can be challenging to locate, but rewarding in its discovery. We’ll examine a timeline of migration and settlement in Iowa’s earliest years, discuss Iowa’s territorial population and identify territorial records and resources. Preregistration required. Cost: $5 IGS members/$10 non-members.

20 February 2016  1:30 pm  – 3:30 pm  Prairie Patchwork: Iowa’s Ethnic Heritage

Iowa’s history is patterned by a colorful patchwork of ethnic immigration & settlement. These diverse groups have been instrumental in the development of Iowa from its earliest years to the present. We’ll explore who these ethnic groups were and what motivated them to choose Iowa. Discussion includes patterns of settlement and the resources available for exploring Iowa’s ethnic heritage. Preregistration required. Cost: $5 IGS members/$10 non-members.

19 March 2016  1:30 pm  – 3:30 pm  Iowans Go to War

Since its earliest settlement, Iowans have answered their nation’s call to arms. This class explores a timeline of U.S. military conflicts and the role Iowans have played in defending their country. Discussion includes sources and resources unique to Iowans’ service history. Preregistration required. Cost: $5 IGS members/$10 non-members.


Land Record Series

“The land is the only thing in the world worth working for, worth fighting for, worth dying for, because it’s the only thing that lasts”…..Gerald O’Hara, Gone with the Wind, by Margaret Mitchell.

16 January 2016  10:30 am  – 12:30 pm  Basics of Land records Research: On Solid Ground

Many of our ancestors were strongly motivated by the desire to acquire property, yet family historians often avoid land ownership research. Identifying and understanding the documents associated with your ancestor’s real property is an essential step in understanding your family and can help solve genealogical puzzles. This class explores basic techniques for locating federal, state & local land records and identifies different types of records associated with land ownership. Discussion includes commonly used historic land transaction terminology, and how to understand and use land records for family research. Preregistration required. Cost: $5 IGS members/$10 non-members.

20 February 2016  10:30 am  – 12:30 pm  Land Research: Metes & Bounds – Over Hill, Over Dale…

The thirteen original states and seven state-land states used a land survey system known as “metes & bounds.” Property lines tended to be irregular and defined by geographical landmarks. Understanding the basics of metes & bounds methods is essential to unraveling your ancestors’ land records. This class provides hands-on practice reading and platting metes & bound property descriptions. Discussion includes basic terminology associated with metes & bounds, and how to use these irregular-shaped tracts to help solve genealogical puzzles. Preregistration required. Cost: $5 IGS members/$10 non-members.

19 March 2016  10:30 am  – 12:30 pm  Land Research: Rectangular Survey System – Fair & Square

Federal lands have been surveyed and distributed according to a “rectangular” or “cadastral” survey system since 1785. If your ancestor patented public domain land, chances are his property was surveyed using this method, and probably was later sold or divided in much the same manner. Class content includes basic terminology associated with the rectangular survey system and hands-on practice reading and platting property descriptions. We’ll explore how to use land tracts to help solve genealogical puzzles. Preregistration required. Cost: $5 IGS members/$10 non-members.

16 April 2016  10:30 am  – 12:30 pm  tentative Maps: Putting the Past in its Place

Maps are a rich resource for family historians. They help us visualize the spaces our ancestors inhabited and offer clues to their movements, property ownership and lifestyles. This class introduces basic map studies for genealogical research. Learn map terminology and identify the types of maps most commonly used in historical and genealogical research and explore online and offline map resources. Preregistration required. Cost: $5 IGS members/$10 non-members.

Members Only

11 January 2016  6:30 pm  Source Documentation and Citation – Keep Calm & Cite Your Sources!

Keeping track of information sources is an important step in the research process, and it’s not as difficult as you might think. Learn the basics for documenting the sources you access for family information and why documentation is necessary. Discussion includes the key elements needed for inclusion in source documentation and how to construct a standard source citation. The presentation includes includes simple, practical examples and step-by-step practice.




4 November 2015  12 Noon  Lunch and Learn Series

How did your ancestors become a “naturalized” citizen? Where can naturalization records be found?


Swedish Day

14 November 2015 9:30 a.m. – presented by Kathy Meade from ArkivDigital

There will be three sessions:

Have Swedish Roots and Don’t Know How to get started?
Using Swedish Church Records—A Case Study
Swedish Records Online with Arkiv Digital

Kathy Meade has been assisting persons with their Swedish research for more than ten years. She is the North American representative for ArkivDigital. She has given many presentations on Swedish genealogy throughout the country as well as written genealogy articles for the Nordstjernan newspaper. Kathy serves on the advisory board for the Nordic Family Genealogy Center at the Swedish American Museum in Chicago and volunteers at the Arlington Heights Memorial Library helping patrons with their Swedish research.

In Kathy’s previous life, she worked for more than 20 years in the information technology sector including six years in Sweden and Norway where she learned to read both Swedish and Norwegian. Kathy has a degree in History from the University of San Francisco.

Cost is $40 for members and includes lunch – non-members is $50.00 and includes lunch+


State Census Records: Genealogical Jewels

17 October 2015 1:30 p.m.

Thirty-seven states have enumerated their citizens in years separate from the federal census. Iowa has conducted sixteen statewide censuses and was included in several territorial counts. These genealogical jewels fill the gaps between federal decennial years and provide a wealth of information about your family. Learn which states have extant records, how to access these jewels and what information you might discover. Preregistration required. Cost: $5 IGS members/$10 non-members.