Educational Programs

We offer programs for a wide variety of audiences.  We can also customize a program, or create a new program to meet particular interests. 
Check out what programs we are currently presenting.

Genealogy Programs

(Fees for progams are $185 plus mileage unless otherwise noted)


Start Climbing Your Family Tree:  An Introduction to Genealogy for Beginners

Fee:  $280 plus mileage

This 90-minute program will introduce the process and sources for genealogical research for everyone, whether their roots stretch back to the Mayflower or their family first arrived in the United States in the twentieth century.

Diana Ross McCain and Carol R. Whitmer will explain the first steps for gathering information from family records and relatives, and recording it on charts.  They will introduce participants to the most useful online resources for the genealogist and explain what these websites contain and how to access and make use of them.  They will also debunk the belief that for genealogists "everything is on the Internet" and discuss the wealth of records still accessible only on microfilm or in libraries, archives, and historical societies.


Listen to the Dead:  Gravestones and Epitaphs for Family Historians

Tombstones, epitaphs, and cemetery records are rich sources of information for genealogists.  This presentation illustrates what monuments to the dead and the words on them reveal about a person and their family, and what clues they provide for further research.  Locating graveyard records will also be discussed.


Census Research for Starters

The United States Federal Census, taken every decade since 1790 is one of the first sources consulted by beginning genealogists, and one of the most content rich.  This presentation explains what each census contains, how to access the records, and, most importantly, how to get the most out of them.


City Directories:  An Overlooked Source for Genealogists and Historians

Directories of residents and businesses were published annually for hundreds of American cities from before the Civil War into the late twentieth century.  This presentation surveys the variety of information included in many city directories, from vital records to local business and church listings to engravings and advertisements, and their value to genealogists and historians.


Using the "Genes" in Genealogy:  An Introduction to DNA Testing as a Tool for Family History Research

You've had your DNA tested and gotten the results back...

Now, how do you use that information to learn more about your family history, in particular, your individual ancestors?

This presentation discussed the major firms offering DNA testing for genealogical purposes, the differences between each test, and the basic science behind the role DNA plays in heredity.  While DNA testing can identify hundreds or even thousands of potential genetic matches, it is sometimes difficult to determine exactly how those individuals are related.  Whitmer and McCain explain the differences between a "genealogical family tree" and a "genetic family tree", and how DNA testing results can be used in conjunction with traditional research methods for discovering unknown ancestors.


Genealogy and the Internet:  The Good, The Bad, and the Improbable

The Internet has been a tremendous blessing for genealogical researchers- but it is a mixed blessing.  The "Good" includes digital images of primary sources, vital, land, probate, military and church records easily accessible online.  However, there are countless examples  of "Bad" - unreliable indexes, unsourced (and incorrect) family trees, and just plain falsehoods.  And then there's the "Improbable"- women reported as bearing children at the age of 80, three different states given as the birthplace for the same individual.

This program discusses examples of the Good, the Bad, and the Improbable, and gives the researcher tools to critically analyze the information, no matter the source, and to build a family tree which is based on documented fact.


Writing and Publishing Your Family History- What You Need to Know

For every genealogist, there will come a time when writing and possibly publishing a family's story becomes important.  This program discusses how to turn the information collected on generations of ancestors into a readable narrative, and how to fully document the story so it serves as a reliable record.

Other Programs offered:

  • Intermediate and Advanced Courses in Genealogy
  • Hands-on with Genealogical Databases



Historical Programs


The Lymans of Lyman Orchards:  Historical Fiction as a Portal to the Past

This program explores how well-researched historical fiction can not only entertain, but inform.  Diana McCain, author of Thy Children's Children, a historical novel based on the true story of the first five generations of the Lyman family of Middlefield, Connecticut, provides an overview of the turbulent years between 1741 and 1871 covered in the novel.  She discusses how the novel accurately conveys the realities of life in Connecticut during that era, and highlights individual Lyman family members' role in events such as the American Revolution and the abolition movement.  Copes of Thy Children's Children will be available for purchase and autographing.


It Really Happened in Connecticut:  Amazing Yet True Tales from Our Past

Diana Ross McCain recounts a selection from more than 30 stories from the Nutmeg State's past included in her books It Happened in Connecticut and Mysteries and Legends of New England.  These astonishing, yet true tales of events scattered across more than 350 years of Connecticut history include witchcraft trials, a serial murderer, and the solitary yet beloved vagabond whose story remains a mystery 125 years after his death.

Following the presentation, copies of Diana's books will be available for purchase and autographs.

Genius, Grit, and Sacrifice:  Connecticut in the American Revolution

Connecticut supplied courage, daring, and ingenuity in abundance to the fight for American independence.  Diana Ross McCain presents a lively, compelling program on three examples of Connecticut's contribution to victory:  Brooklyn's fearless living legend Israel Putnam, who inspired civilians and soldiers alike;  Westbrook inventive genius David Bushnell, who created the Turtle, history's first submarine; and the courageous men and boys who defended, to the death, Groton's Fort Griswold against a British assault.  Diana draws on her book It Happened in Connecticut for these inspiring stories.  Copies of McCain's books will be available for purchase and autographing.


From the Kitchen to the Capitol:  A Trio of Feisty Connecticut Women

Connecticut women who revolutionized American cooking, defied a government that taxed them but denied them the vote, and who shattered a political glass ceiling are highlighted in this presentation.  Diana Ross McCain draws on her book It Happened in Connecticut for stories about remarkable Connecticut women from three different centuries.  Copies of McCain's books will be available for purchase and autographing.  A perfect Women's History Month program for March!

To schedule a program, please contact us at: