Seminar Topics


Historic photo books and materials

Maureen has a variety of seminar topics and keynote speech ideas that she has presented over the years, and below are groupings of many of these popular subjects.  To view the subjects within each category, click on the “+” sign to expand the text to show the listings underneath.  When booking a seminar or webinar with Maureen and you’re debating about which topic fits best, feel free to list a couple of talk titles to start and Maureen will guide you in finalizing the best one for your group. Keynote Addresses are distinct from other presentations and lectures, usually shorter in length.

Historic Photo Preservation

Preserving Family Photographs—1839 to the Present

From daguerreotypes to digital imaging dilemmas, this in-depth seminar covers everything a family photographer needs to know about caring for photographs. Topics include printing and sharing digital images, and how to safely label grandparents’ pictures.

Eight Steps to Preserving Your Family Photographs

Photo preservation basics from storage to labeling and everything in-between. Each step includes low-cost solutions that won’t bust your budget.

Kodak Moments and Technicolor Dreams: 20th-Century Photos and Films in the Family Archive

Images of 20th-century life range from black and white snapshots to DVDs. Learn to identify, preserve, and share recent photos and moving images in your family archive. This seminar includes an explanation of simple techniques to stop the destruction of color photos and low-cost storage solutions.

The Perfect P.O.P: Photo Organizing Plan 

Bring your photo organizing questions to this sharing session.  Basic photo organization will be explained in the first half of the lecture, the rest is open to audience participation.

  • Traditional Library Organization for the Real Stuff
  • Three Ways to Deal with Your Digital Photos? –download, caption/keyword and share

Telling Your Family's Story

Feasting with History: Family History and Food

My grandmother was a simple woman—she never learned to drive a car, rarely spoke about her life and left few mementos behind. Yet pieces of her daily existence still survive in her dishes and recipes.  This is a great way to tell the story of the women in your family tree.

Love and Loss in the Family Album: A Recipe for Finding the Truth

The chance discovery of a group of family letters untouched since the 1870s led to a tale of young love and tragedy.  In this step by step lecture you’ll learn how to put the pieces together in your own family story.

Got a Story to Tell? Writing Your Family Memoir and Self-Publishing   (This is a Workshop)

This lecture provides tips to guide you through the process, helps you ask the right questions and create a permanent family history memento. The outline of this program is:

  • Goal Setting: What Story Do you Want to Tell? (a life story, wars in the family, the immigration tale)
  • Asking the Right Questions
  • Encouraging the Reluctant Relative to Talk?
  • Interview Tools
  • Using Pictures
  • Final steps: Compiling the Family History Story.
  • Sharing it –in print or online

Going Digital

Beyond PhotoShop: Free Photo Apps for Genealogists

Whether you carry a smartphone or a tablet there are great apps out there to help you snap and edit pictures. Digital organization for all those photos is included. This covers taking contemporary family history photos to documenting a relative’s collection.

More Than A Pretty Face: Does Facial Recognition Software Work?

This lecture discusses how facial recognition works explores the myths and realities of this technology:

  • How it works: facial geometry
  • When is it effective?
  • Fakes and frauds: case studies gone wrong
  • Doppelgangers: who’s your look-alike
  • Software options: pros and cons
  • Demos

DAM: Digital Archive Management for Researchers

Cell phones, iPads, digital cameras and other devices are full of images and movies. Learn how to manage this digital overload without getting overwhelmed.

Google Images and Beyond

Add new photographs to your family album by learning a few basic search techniques. A single photo can connect you to new genealogical data and a network of information.

Right or Wrong: 6 Things You Need to Know About Picture Sharing Online

Upload, post, and share. Yet there are pitfalls of permissions, resolution and re-use. This seminar takes you through the steps of resolution rules, the dangers of right click copying, the ethics and safety of picture sharing, popular photo sharing platforms and citing your photos.

A Library at Your Fingertips: the Internet Archive ( and More)

Explore online libraries to discover new sources for your family history research. You won’t believe what’s out there!

Pinterest, Flickr, HistoryPin and Google +: Social Media and Family Photographs

Social media instantly connects us to our followers, but imagine harnessing that power to share your family photographs. This lecture presents an overview of website options and tips on how to utilize them.

Faces from Our Nation's Birth

The Last Muster: Photographs and Stories from the American Revolution

As unbelievable as it seems, many individuals who participated in the American Revolution lived beyond the advent of photography in 1839. Learn about the detective work involved in uncovering these “misplaced” pictures. Hear the stories of the men and women who were members of the first photographed generation.

Military Men, Pacifists and the Women They Loved: Tracking Down the Revolutionary War Generation

Tales of bravery, love, loss and financial hardship are chronicled in the lives of the Revolutionary War generation. Learn about the detective work involved in uncovering and verifying these “misplaced” pictures of these survivors and their life stories.

Photo Identification and Clues in Your Family's Photo Record

Buns, Beards, Bodices and Bustles: Understanding Ancestors Through Clothing 

Ancestral fashions and the industry that produced them left behind a fascinating legacy of images and information.

  • Paris fashion in America: north, south, east and west interpretations
  • Fashion icons from Charles Dickens to stage star Lillie Langtry
  • Fashion foibles and practical pastimes: how our ancestors designed and hand-crafted accessories.
  • What’s old is new and what’s new is old? Repeating fashion trends and how to read the clues
  • Labor records relating to hat, hair and accessory factories and home-work

Identifying and Dating Family Photographs

Audiences love this interactive lecture on discovering who’s who in their family pictures. They’ll learn 10 easy steps for naming those unidentified pictures tucked away in shoeboxes.

Nineteenth Century Photographs—Photos in the Family Album

Shiny metal daguerreotypes, brilliant blue cyanotypes and wacky candid snapshots are full of clues about your family if you know how to read the evidence. Extensive case studies show you how to uncover details in family photos and tell their story even if you know who’s who.

Discovering Genealogical Clues in 19th-Century Photographs

A single photograph can unlock a family mystery. The details are in the photographic clues. Pictures document births, deaths, marriages, and more. Use an image as genealogical proof by understanding the language of family photographs.

Reading Immigrant Clues in Photographs

Family historians often overlook the ethnic evidence sitting in their photo albums. Using case studies and examples, this special presentation illustrates how to read immigration clues in pictures taken in the United States and abroad. 

Research Documents and Strategies

Direct Your Research with City Directories

Browse the pages of various types of directories to discover where your ancestor worked, lived and played. City Directories are for more than family research. The details can help you fill in the blanks of an ancestor’s life, date a photograph or plot your relative on a map.

Keynote Address Topics

Keynote: Selfies, Mugshots and Instant Pictures: Early Photography and Your Family

Take a humorous tour of family photo history that’ll have you laughing and wondering what our ancestors were thinking.

Keynote: Your Family History by Way of a Photo

Explore the family tree of photo history and peer into the future of photography.

Keynote (or luncheon talk): Hair-steria and Mad as a Hatter — Celebrities and their Historical Look-alikes

A fun look at hairstyles and hats in family pictures with famous folks and present-day trend setters.

(NEW AND INTERACTIVE) Photo Jeopardy: Can You Pass the Test?   30 minutes – perfect for dinner or luncheon

A mixed format of images and questions, I pit audience members against each other to see who knows more about family photo history. Prizes are awarded for the best score.