The following topics are designed as one-hour presentations either in-person or virtually.  I have other topics under development so do not hesitate to contact me if you do not see what you need here.

  • Grip, Grippe & the Spanish Lady: The 1918 Pandemic & Your Family Records

The influenza outbreak came in waves that lasted almost 3 years from mid-1918 through early 1920. This presentation will place the pandemic in context of when, why and where it occurred. This context provides genealogists with the best tools to search for records. The presentation covers what records exist, where to find them and a few surprising sources of information.

  • Researching Your Ancestor’s Brick & Mortar Can Help Break Down Your Brick Wall

Have an ancestor you just can't find?  Feel like you have tried everything? If that relative owned a business you might use business records, newspapers, maps and city directories to find your ancestors through their place of work.  Examples include tracing an ancestor through a receipt, company internal information and firm advertisements or photographs.

  • The Good, the Bad and the Guilty: Family Life in Newspapers

While most genealogists relish finding an obituary or marriage announcement, many overlook the rich history newspapers hold.  This presentation helps to locate online newspapers for your ancestor and provides tips on finding the fabric of your family's life in print.

  • City Directories: & Sanborn Maps: A Genealogist’s Guide

Sanborn maps were the Google maps of their day, providing detailed information for cities and towns across the United States. When combined with city directories they can be a powerful tool to find your ancestor through their place of business, their home and more!


In August 2018 I had the great honor to speak at the National World War One Museum and Memorial on the centennial of the outbreak of Spanish Influenza Pandemic and the US Government response to it.  The Museum recorded the event in Kansas City and you can find it here on YouTube.  I have spoken at a number of venues both large and small across the globe to groups who numbered as few as five to some that counted well over 100.  I would love to share my energy, enthusiasm and knowledge with your group about an historical or genealogical topic!  Contact me today.

First I want to share a bit of background about me. I began public speaking in 1986 when I discovered speech and debate in high school.  From that point on I was hooked on public speaking!  In my professional life I have spoken on a broad range of military history, local, regional and international issues and on community and personal resilience after devastating events. Below you will find a list of my recent speaking engagements.

Previous Genealogy Events

  1. Ten Ways Postcards Can Add Leaves to Your Family Tree. Missouri Virtual Family History Conference, Columbia, MO, August 6-7, 2021 (forthcoming via Zoom).
  2. Sanborn Maps, City Directories, and Newspapers: The Trifecta of Business Research. Missouri Virtual Family History Conference, Columbia, MO, August 6-7, 2021 (forthcoming via Zoom).
  3. Our Ancestors’ Experience During the 1918-1920 Influenza Pandemic. Genealogical Society of Central Missouri, May 1, 2021 [via Zoom].
  4. Kansas City’s Experience During the 1918-1920 Influenza Pandemic. Northland Genealogical Society (Kansas City, MO), Oct 3, 2020 [via Zoom].
  5. Sanborn Maps and City Directories. Alabama Family and Local History Workshop, Alabama Department of Archives & History, August 9, 2019.
  6. Newspapers and Genealogy: Getting the Most Out of Print Online. Missouri State Genealogical Society Conference, Columbia, MO, August 3, 2019.
  7. Was Your Family Affected by the Influenza Pandemic?  Ozarks Genealogical Society, The Library Center, Springfield, MO, April 1, 2019.
  8. Grip, Grippe and the Spanish Lady: The 1918 Pandemic and the U.S. Government Response. National World War One Museum & Memorial, Kansas City, MO, 12 August 2018. Available on YouTube.
  9. Grip, Grippe and the Spanish Lady: The 1918 Pandemic and Your Family Records. Missouri State Genealogical Association Conference, Columbia, MO, 10 August 2018.