Megan's Talks

If your group, society, television or radio show is interested in having Megan speak, please review this current program list for topics that may be of interest to you. Megan is available for interviews, individual lectures or all-day events (usually four lectures). If you'd like additional information, please contact us briefly outlining what you're looking for and likely dates of your event. Thanks!

Megan via Skype
(great alternative for one-talk engagements)
Want to take advantage of Megan's expertise for a talk without booking her for a full day? This "Megan via Skype" option may be the perfect fit for you. You can book Megan to present any of her talks remotely, via Skype. Please note that technical requirements for this option include: the latest version of Skype, high-speed Internet access, a projector and audio capabilities. Please contact us for more information.

Hey, America, Your Roots Are Showing

Hey, America, Your Roots Are Showing Topics

Each of these talks features a handful of stories from the book
clustered into customized topics.

Select the one that's best suited for your audience —
or pick them all as part of an all-day event!

Cases That Made My Brain Hurt
(good candidate for banquets, keynotes and last talk of the day)
How could brothers also be uncle and nephew? How did Facebook help solve an Egyptian genealogy case in just a week? How did a pair of tombstones in Ohio point the way to Barack Obama's Irish roots? And could there be any families with a pair of centenarians who knew each other and lived in four centuries between the two of them? Come and hear!

Neglected History
It's remarkable how much of our history has been ignored or distorted, but with a little patience and healthy dose of curiosity, any of us can ferret out the truth! Megan walks audience members through a handful of cases she's been involved with, ranging from finding the proper resting place for a tombstone discovered on a Manhattan sidewalk (and its surprising connection to a Yiddish language cookbook) to figuring out who would be king of America today if George Washington had been king instead of president.

Cold Cases: Genealogists, Coroners and the FBI
With over a decade's experience working forensics cases for the U.S. Army, Megan realized that "reverse genealogy" techniques could be used to help others seeking to find living people associated with past events or deceased individuals. This provoked her to cold-call several coroners' offices to volunteer her services. Come hear how her individual efforts snowballed into the creation of Unclaimed Persons, a virtual group of genealogists that's cracked hundreds of cases since 2008, and peek behind the scenes at some of her most challenging cases with medical examiners, the FBI and NCIS.

Michelle Obama's Roots
Megan shares how and why she researched the First Lady's ancestry and what she discovered along the way. The talk highlights Mrs. Obama's multi-cultural, seriously Southern (11 states), and Great Migration heritage, including the story of Dolphus T. Shields and his mother, Melvina McGruder, that was featured on the front page of the New York Times.

Annie Moore of Ellis Island: A Case of Historical Identity Theft
(good candidate for banquets, keynotes and last talk of the day)
An Irish lass, Annie Moore, tripped down a gangplank and into the pages of history in 1892 when she became the first immigrant to arrive at Ellis Island. But less than a century later, an Illinois-born Annie Moore had somehow taken her place and was celebrated in song, statue and literature. That all ended when some stubborn genealogists decided to use their sleuthing skills to seek out the right Annie. Come learn how she and her true descendants reclaimed their rightful place in history when their reunion was featured on the front page of the New York Times.

Giving Back: A Look at 10+ Years of Genealogy Grants
Since May of 2000, Megan has been awarding a grant for a genealogical project every month. In this talk, she explains the application process and shares the history of the program, as well as a behind-the-scenes peek at how winners are selected. A number of recipients over the years and across the world are also highlighted.

Trace Your Roots with DNA
Over the past decade, genetic genealogy has graduated from pioneering research to one more tool in our family history arsenal, but just as the number of us taking DNA tests has grown, so have our genetic options. Come hear one of the co-authors of Trace Your Roots with DNA discuss how Y-DNA and mtDNA testing can be used to shed light on the paternal and maternal branches of your family tree, as well as how new (in many respects, revolutionary), autosomal tests can reveal previously unknown facets hidden anywhere in your family's past. (P.S. Talk delivered in plain English!)

Note:  If you're concerned that your audience will find topics like DNA dry or overly technical, you can view our 'Report Card' with ratings and feedback from actual attendees.

Reverse Genealogy: Techniques for Finding Your Lost Loved Ones
Although genealogy is at its heart the study of long-deceased ancestors, connecting with living relatives has become almost as important to many family historians. Some seek living kin in an effort to track down family photos; others do it to find family history playmates, plan reunions or identify DNA project participants. Whatever the motivation, one of the most addicting aspects of genealogy is the thrill of finding distant cousins, or in some cases, parents, children or siblings. But this "reverse genealogy" (working from the past to the present) has its own special challenges and requires the researcher to be part genealogist and part private investigator. This presentation covers proven techniques for tracing 20th and 21st century friends and relatives from the past to the present.

Find That Obituary! Online Newspaper Research
(makes a good pairing with Reverse Genealogy above)
The last couple of years have given us an amazing array of searchable online newspaper resources - both historical and contemporary (and some of them even digitized!). Come learn how to tap into this treasure trove of information - especially those elusive and detail-filled obituaries.

Remembering Our Ancestors
(good candidate for banquets, keynotes and last talk of the day)
The author of Honoring Our Ancestors and In Search of Our Ancestors shares favorite stories from both books. Let yourself be amused, amazed and touched by stories of the many creative ways people have developed to pay tribute to those who came before us, as well as tales of how some stubborn brick walls have come tumbling down in the most unexpected ways. You'll leave convinced that our ancestors want to be found as much as we want to find them, and equipped with some creative ways to pay tribute to them. (note: makes a great luncheon, banquet or end-of-day talk)

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Hey, America, Your Roots Are Showing


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