RootsTech Connect 2021 is FREE!

If you are involved in genealogy research in more than just a casual capacity you have probably heard of the RootsTech Conference that FamilySearch puts on in Salt Lake City every year.  It’s one of the biggest, if not the biggest, annual genealogy conferences in the world and it usually costs a good bit of cash to attend.  They often put on international genealogy conferences as well.  For example, there was one scheduled for next year in London that has been cancelled because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

But this year, for the first time, RootsTech is going virtual!  The conference will be held completely online from February 25th through February 27th, 2021, and here’s the really good news:  ITS COMPLETELY FREE! 

Interested?  We hope you are and that you don’t miss this terrific opportunity.  For more information and to register, follow this link:

Did we happen to mention it’s FREE???

Recent Stories of Interest

Headlines Told of a Baby Found Near Baltimore’s Penn Station.  New DNA Tests Offer an Answer to the Mystery

There’s No Such Thing as Family Secrets in the Age of 23andMe

The Uncertain Future of Places That Preserve America’s Past

A Palm Springs Man Was Separated from his Sister in 1946.  Here’s How They Finally Reconnected in 2020

Daughter Connects with Long Lost Father

Baby Jessica:  Infant Abandoned in a British Columbia Ditch Grows Up and Tracks Down Her Parents

Too Many Parents Don’t Share Their History with Curious Children, Readers Say:  “Why Didn’t They Tell Me More?”

“Its Lovely To Find Them.”  Offaly Siblings Find Long-Lost Relatives in New York

Separated for Decades, Long-Lost Connecticut and Massachusetts Siblings Reunited by Online DNA Testing

Vast Holocaust Database Goes Online


Cyndi’s List – Webinar Free Through September 16th.

Legacy Family Tree presented Cyndi Ingle discussing her website, Cyndi’s List, on September 9th and apologies for not getting it up before hand.  However you can watch the recorded version free from this link  until September 16.  If you are interested in learning about Cyndi’s List from the creator, be sure to check out this webinar.

Win a Trip to Ireland from the Irish Cultural Center of Western Massachusetts

The ICC has announced their annual Saint Brigid’s Day Raffle and the first prize is a trip for two to Ireland on one of the ICC’s group tours to Ireland in 2021.  The drawing for the winner(s) will take place at the ICC Trinity Pub on February 1st, but you don’t have to be present to win.  Raffle tickets are $20 each.

If you want to take a chance on winning a trip to the Old Sod, click here for more information:

You’ll find a link for the raffle ticket order form at the bottom of their announcement.

Using Bank Records in Family History Research – FREE American Ancestors Webinar

Historical bank records are an overlooked resource for family historians. When they survive, these records can provide information about an ancestor’s residence, occupation, family relationships, and even immigrant origins. And don’t assume that your ancestor was too poor to have had a bank account! Savings banks were established with those very individuals in mind. In this webinar, Genealogist Eileen Pironti will present a brief history of savings banks in the United States, how to locate these records, and what information is provided. She will focus on examples from the Emigrant Savings Bank, Freedman’s Savings and Trust, and Provident Institution for Savings.

The webinar takes place on Thursday, October 15th, from 3:00 to 4:00 pm EDT and it’s free.

Click here to register:   You can register right up until October 15th, prior to the beginning of the broadcast.

Northern New England Resources at American Ancestors – FREE Webinar

In the 17th and early 18th centuries, Maine (then part of Massachusetts), New Hampshire, and Vermont were considered frontier lands for the early New England colonists. Whether you are researching these states during the colonial period or present day, there are certain record sets and go-to resources that you should be aware of. This session will review various study projects, databases, manuscript items, and other resources available through American Ancestors that can assist you in researching northern New England.

This webinar takes place on Thursday, September 17th from 3:00 – 4:00 p.m EDT and it’s free.

Click here to register:  You can register right up to September 17th, prior to the beginning of the broadcast

Using U.S. Vital Records Substitutes – American Ancestors Webinar

We normally don’t provide free advertising for American Ancestors’ paid webinars because they are expensive, but we’re making an exception for this one because of the content.  This three week course teaches you how to search for vital records in the U.S., and discusses a number of vital records substitutes that can be used if you can’t find the original vital records, they were destroyed, or never existed at all.  Given the fact that we are all confined to home online research at this point, this webinar may be worth the expense for some of you.  The cost is $85 for all three sessions.  The live sessions take place on September 16th, September 23rd and September 30th from 6 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. EDT, but you can watch recorded versions through December 31th.  The training will be provided through the GoToTraining online application.

Click here for curriculum and to register:

Irish History Courses in September

The Irish Cultural Center is linking up with Irish historian Sean Murphy to present live, weekly online Irish history courses that will begin in September. The courses will be presented using Zoom which means you can participate from the comfort of your home.

Follow this link for more information:

Please contact Sean directly for information or to enroll in his course(s) – send an email to or call 508-790-0438.   

A Message from WMARE

August 1, 2020

Since the pandemic shows no sign of abating any time soon, we’ve been having some discussions about the short-term direction of Western Mass Roots. We have to assume that classroom training won’t be available to us for the foreseeable future and though we are seeing some cautious reopening of some libraries and city and town record offices, access remains limited for onsite research. Since we have largely been an “in person” group primarily focused on classroom training and publicizing local genealogy events via our newsletter, this leaves us with very little to do. Therefore, after an afternoon of brainstorming, we have decided to temporarily move our focus from “in-person” events to research.

So how will this work? Since there are just a few of us we have to pace ourselves to make sure that we don’t get overwhelmed and can actually fulfill any research requests that we receive. Obviously in the beginning our research will be done online, but we’ll expand into onsite research as facilities open and circumstances allow. We will start with our current mailing list, sending out an email with full details and a research request form to a dozen or so email addresses at a time, inviting people to submit their research requests. The email will include all the information needed to take advantage of our services, but here are general answers to some of the questions you may have:

How much will this cost? We will charge a flat fee of $25.00 per hour for research. You can purchase the research in blocks of time down to the 30 minute level. But here’s the catch: You won’t be paying us. Instead, we are going to ask that you donate your fee to a local charity that provides services to folks in Western Massachusetts. Our “payment” will be a copy of the receipt for your donation. We will provide a list of suggested charities in the forthcoming explanatory email mentioned earlier, but will also happily consider your favorite local charity as well. As a bonus, your donation may be tax deductible.

What will I receive for my donation? We will provide you with PDF copies of all documents we uncover including a PDF of any tree we construct during our research. If construction of a tree is involved, we will also provide you with a GEDCOM file which is the standard format for family tree files and which can be uploaded into most family tree software. A GEDCOM file can also be uploaded to, AncesTrees (from NEHGS), and to

When are you going to send your first email inviting research requests? We are hoping to begin by mid to late August.

So, no more genealogy research classes? Only for now. We plan to resume teaching again as soon as circumstances permit. That’s the core function of our group and we are anxious to resume classes as soon as we can. Until then, we hope we can be of service in a different way by helping folks with their personal research.

What about the WMARE monthly newsletter? We are still working on that one. Without classes or in-person genealogy related events taking place, there is very little to include in a newsletter at the present time. But we promise as soon as we decide on a temporary alternative we’ll let you know. Though we may revamp the format and content a bit depending on long-term circumstances, we have every intention of resuming our newsletter as soon as there is something worthwhile to include.

In the meantime, watch your inboxes for our research request form and explanatory email. We look forward to assisting many of you with your research.