SMCGS Seminars

           SMCGS - Spring Seminar 2018

 Registration is OPEN!   To register online, click here    To register by mail, and/or to download the seminar flyer, click here


  Forensic Genealogy


   California Research: Missions to Present



     Sheila Benedict


     • Forensic Genealogy: What it is and is not; Case Studies

    • California Research: Past and Present

                                              • California Historic Missions and their Records 


    Saturday, May 5, 2018 

       9:00 am – 3:00 pm


Professional genealogist Sheila Benedict brings to life her in-depth forensic, historic, and family genealogical experience through examples and case studies from courthouses to California missions. Sheila is the recipient of the National Genealogical Society Award of Merit and is the author of the NGS publication, “Research in California.” Please go to for more information.

     Early bird registration until Friday, April 27: 

          $45 Members.  $50 Non-members. $10 Lunch.  -> $55 After April 27 and Walk-ins. 

     Location: Menlo Park LDS Church - 1105 Valparaiso, Menlo Park

     Doors open at 8 am - Registration, Book Sales & Silent Auction

     Family History Center will be open during breaks, lunch and after the seminar

Sheila Benedict is a professional forensic and family history genealogist with 30 years of experience. She lectures at national, state, and local genealogical conferences regularly, e.g NGS and SCGS Jamboree, was a certified genealogist for many years, and taught genealogical courses at a community college. Sheila has extensive knowledge of the California Mission System having been the archivist and administrator for 17 years at Old Mission Santa Ines. She is the author of “Research in the States – California” for the NGS Research in the States series, and a member of the National Genealogical Society, Association of Professional Genealogists, the Society of California Archivists, Central California Paralegal Association, The American Irish Historical Society-Santa Barbara branch, and the American Association for State and Local History.

Seminar talks:

Introduction to Forensic genealogy: What it is and what it is not

What is Forensic Genealogy? This definition is that it is genealogical research done in cases where there are legal implications, such as probates and estates, guardianships, capital mitigations, immigration and citizenships, land issues, and much more. Kinship determination through due diligence research, including DNA, courthouses and their records, and many other records that family historians used regularly, will be discussed in a totally different way.

Case Studies in Forensic Genealogical Research

Discussion will include the education, training, and work experience required to work on forensic cases. Standards and ethics, genealogical proof standard. Further information about forensic genealogy will be discussed using source examples, such as DNA, courthouses, vital records, and case examples, such as adoptions, probates, trademark law, and dual citizenship. Using source materials familiar to genealogists, included will be examples of affidavits, legal briefs, and contracts.

California Research: Past and Present

California is a melting pot of ethnicities, religions, lifestyles, and economics. The history includes thousands of years inhabited by native people, explorers, gold miners, religious expeditions, Spanish and Mexican rule, land grants, taxation, migration patterns, and statehood. The history and records available from the past to the present will show these diversities and offer genealogists, in and out of the state, with insight into what is available in the repositories, usual and unusual, public and private, along with the records that can be found. Highlighted events include explorations, gold rush, earthquakes, land grant system, and much more.

California Historic Missions and Their Records

The historic California Missions and Presidios can be seen as a timeline of history and an invaluable part of California and national history. The records they maintained in the past, and still do, hold vital information for historians, genealogists, Catholic and non-Catholic researchers, and others. Land grants are just one layer of California history that will be explored, along with case examples of the records held, where they are located, and the important benefits to all researchers, in and out of California.

To Register online, click here

To Register by mail, and/or to download the seminar flyer, click here