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2014 Lancaster Family History Conference

Say Cheese! Family History Through Photographs: Daguerreotypes to Digital

Saturday, April 26, 2014 8:30 AM –4:30 PM
Lancaster Host Resort & Conference Center

For 35 years, the Lancaster Family History Conference has brought beginning and advanced genealogists together. This year continues that tradition, providing nationally recognized researchers and quality resources conveniently located in Lancaster, Pennsylvania.

A picture is worth a thousand words, but what secrets do they keep? This years keynote features Maureen Taylor, “the nation’s foremost historical photo detective,” speaking on "Say Cheese! Family History and Photography."

This years conference features a variety of engaging seminars:

  • Identifying and Dating Photographs—Maureen Taylor
  • Finding Your Ancestors Through DNA - Which Test is Beset for Me?—Darvin L. Martin
  • Getting the Most from—Sabrina Petersen,
  • Beginner's Luck - A Primer for the Beginning Genealogist—James C. Landis
  • Genealogical CLues in Nineteenth Century Photographs—Maureen Taylor
  • What DNA Can Reveal about Our Health—Darvin L. Martin
  • How to Find the Unfindable—Sabrina Petersen, Ancestrycom
  • Philadelphia Research: Repositories and Records—James M. Beidler
  • House History: Researching a Historic Home at the Lancaster County Archives—John F. Bennawit, jr.
  • The Last Muster: The Revolutionary War Generation in Photographs—Maureen Taylor
  • Grave Concern: Mission to Preserve Graveyards—Grave Concern, inc., of Lancaster County
  • Letterpress to Digital: Using HIstorical Newspapers in Print, Microfilm, and Online—James M. Beidler
  • Genealogical Records of the Society of Friends—David R. Morrison
  • Pennsylvania German Gravestones: Art and History in Stone—Michael B. Emery, Museum Educator
  • How Does Ancestry Digitize—Digitizing and Archive—Sabrina Petersen,
  • The Use of Government Documents in Searching for Your Ancestors—Kathy Hale, Pennsylvania State Library

In addition, four field trips and three special discussion and work groups will be offered in the days leading up to the conference. Maureen Taylor will also be offering a limited number of photo consultations Attendees are encouraged to arrive early and take advantage of the Historical Society's great family history research library.


About Maureen Taylor

In 1978, Maureen Taylor fell in love at first sight–with a shiny metal photograph known as a daguerreotype.

The people looked real and touchable as if they could step out of the frame into the present. In a moment, all the history she had studied and the families she had researched came together. She knew this was not infatuation, but the real thing.

She has never looked back. As a photo curator, genealogist, and now as a writer and photo identification/preservation expert, Maureen focuses her work on family photography, history, and genealogy. 

Maureen Taylor is an internationally recognized expert on the intersection of history, genealogy, and photography. She has been featured in top media outlets, including The View, Better Homes & Gardens, the Boston Globe, Martha Stewart Living, MSNBC, New Morning (Hallmark Channel), Life Magazine, DIY: Scrapbooking, PBS Ancestors, Claritin’s Moment of Clarity, Creative Memories’ Lasting Moments, Dear Myrtle , and Satisfaction Magazine . Maureen is the author of a number of books, as well as a contributing editor to Family Tree Magazine .

First as a photo curator and editor, and now as a freelance writer and consultant, Maureen Taylor’s work primarily focuses on photographs. She helps people solve a range of photo-related mysteries from dating a Civil War-era daguerreotype to organizing gigabytes of family photos from a digital camera.

Maureen investigates photographs the way private eyes investigate cases. She discovers stories behind family pictures by following clues … a hat, the shape of a woman’s sleeve, or a sign in the background. Through her website,, Maureen offers practical, affordable advice on how to save and organize photos. She also writes about the latest photo-related topics, products, and media coverage on her Photo Detective bl

To Reserve
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  • Alternately, give us a call at (717) 393-9745. We accept credit card payments over the phone, Tuesday–Saturday, 8:30 AM–4:30 PM.

Field Trips

Conference participants get priority seating on four Lancaster Mennonite Historical Society field trips scheduled for Thursday and Friday before the conference. All tours depart from the Historical Society, 2215 Millstream Road, Lancaster (along Lincoln Highway East). Field trips are priced separately from the Lancaster Family History Conference. 

Lancaster County Archives, 

Unravel the mystery behind the unique collection of records kept at the Lancaster County Archives, which may be the key to finding your own family history. Join archivist John Bennawit as he explains the elaborate collection of courthouse records, their sources, their importance, and interpretation for genealogists. 

This trip provides an introduction to the beginner for searching traditional sources found within the archives. Find out how birth, marriage, death, and land records may hold vital information about your ancestors. Learn valuable research tips when examining a variety of records, and discover how to make connections to additional sources. Following the presentation, researchers are invited to a behind-the-scenes tour of the archives. Researchers will have the option to conduct their own research until noon with staff available for guidance. 

Cost: $20.00 per person.; tour limited to 15 people.

Thursday, April 24, 8:30 am – 12:30 pm:  Tour is full.

Friday, April 25, 8:30 am – 12:30 pm: Tour is full

Small-group and research seminars will be available at the Lancaster Mennonite Historical Society. Priority will be given to conference participants. 

Special Project Research Assistance, Friday, April 25, 10:00 am – noon

Steve Ness

The Society is a research center for Pennsylvania German, Mennonite, and Amish history; genealogy; and theology. It also holds a significant collection of genealogical and historical materials pertaining to southeastern Pennsylvania with a special focus on Lancaster County. Because many people–both Mennonites and non-Mennoniteshave Pennsylvania connections, the library and archives are used by researchers across the U.S. and Canada. 

To attend this session, you must provide an e-mail address and the surname on which you plan to research, either with your registration or in an e-mail to Peggy Erb ( by April 1. The Historical Society will optimise your research time by finding family Bibles, surname folders, and other resources in advance.

$25 small-group fee; limited to 12 people

Genealogical Roundtable Discussion: Case Studies, Friday, April 25, 1:00 pm – 3:00 pm

James M. Beidler

Benefit from – and contribute to – the experience of your peers in the special roundtable with genealogist James Beidler. Each participant will submit a thorny research problem for analysis and discussion. This session is recommended for genealogists working on an intermediate or advanced level.

To attend this session, you must submit a research question with your registration or in an e-mail to Peggy Erb ( by April 1.  

$25 small-group fee; limited to 15 people.

DNA Roundtable Discussion, Friday, April 25, 1:00 pm – 3:00 pm

Darvin L. Martin

What new information can be gleaned from your DNA test results, and what next steps can you take to enrich your family history?  Conference participants who have lab results from a genealogical DNA test are invited to ask questions of conference speaker Darvin Martin and dig deeper into their data with a small group of peers.

To attend this session, you must submit the results of your genealogical DNA test with your registration or in an e-mail to Peggy Erb ( by April 1. Provide an e-mail address on the registration form.

$25 small-group fee; limited to 15 people.

Class is now full.

Photograph Consultation, Friday, April 25, 3:00 pm – 5:00 pm

Maureen Taylor

Individual 15 minute sessions are available with Maureen Taylor. Please bring no more than three photos; and in addition to the original photographs, please bring photocopies for note-taking purposes.

$30 fee (payable directly to Maureen Taylor)

Sold out.

2014 Lancaster Family History Conference

Saturday conference with seminars, genealogy resources and buffet lunch.

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Lancaster Mennonite Historical Society
2215 Millstream Rd
Lancaster, PA 17602-1499
United States
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Phone: (717) 393-9745
Fax: (717) 393-8751

Open Tuesday-Saturday, 8:30 a.m.-4:30 p.m. Closed major holidays.
All facilities are accessible.

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