Elizabeth Shown Mills to Present at NGS 2021 Live!

SESSION: NGS2104-LV-02 DATE & TIME: Wednesday, 19 May 2021 at 1:00 p.m.

Elizabeth Shown Mills, CG, CGL, FASG, FNGS, FUGA

Everyone has ancestors who seem to mysteriously appear and then spontaneously combust—existing nowhere except one census or a family Bible entry. Deeds, marriage bonds, tax rolls, will books, and other common records by which we trace people yield nothing but dead ends for these ancestors.

“Too poor to trace!” is the common conclusion. It’s also usually wrong. Many neglected sources include property-less men, women, and children. Targeted strategies can be used to develop clues, even from records that do not specifically name our ancestors. This session approaches the topic in three ways:

-It explores cultural and bureaucratic reasons why ancestors seem to be “too poor to trace,” adjusting our mindset into productive paths.

-It surveys dozens of record types where even the poor can be found.

-It demonstrates more than a dozen strategies by which we can weave a web of evidence around “poor” ancestors, in order to identify their parents and origins.

By the time this session ends, we promise, you’ll never again speak of “too poor to trace”!

BIO: Elizabeth Shown Mills, a pioneer in problem-solving methodology, is a former editor of the NGS Quarterly and a former president of both the American Society of Genealogists and the Board for Certification of Genealogists. Her sixteen books include the reference manual Evidence Explained, the historical novel Isle of Canes, the textbook Professional Genealogy: Preparation, Practice & Standards; and the delightful little Tips & Quips for the Family Historian featuring the wit and wisdom of dozens of today’s best-known genealogists.


To learn more about the NGS 2021 Virtual Family History Conference’s week-long events, 17-21 May, visit the conference website and download a copy of the program brochure. A discounted Early Bird registration fee is available through 15 March 2021.