Public Programs


Maia’s Bookstore of Columbus, Ohio, sets up a store near the La Roche College cafeteria. The public is welcome to peruse the books at any time during GRIP weeks from Monday evening (until about 8:30 pm or so each night) through Friday lunchtime.

This display represents only a small amount of her total inventory. Take a look at all the unusual and useful genealogy, social history, children’s, maps, and other historical books of interest at


We wish to thank the following sponsoring societies for making the evening lectures available. Please visit their website through the links provided. Speaker biographies are available under the Faculty tab.

Lectures begin at 7 p.m. each evening and are held at the La Roche College campus (just follow the signs from the driveway at 9000 Babcock Blvd., Pittsburgh). They are free and open to the public. Come on over!


Monday, July 17, 2017: David Rencher, AG, CG, of Salt Lake City, Utah, “Using All the Features of FamilySearch” sponsored by FamilySearch. Learn the breadth and depth of the programs and features of the FamilySearch organization and website. The genealogical landscape has changed dramatically in the last decade – learn what FamilySearch has done to adapt.

Tuesday, July 18, 2017: Jay Fonkert, CG, of Minnesota, “Who’s on First? Merging and Separating Identities in Family History Research,” sponsored by the North Hills Genealogists. Merging or separating identities is a core genealogical problem. Sometimes we find a man/woman of the same name in several different places over time. Other times, we find two easily confounded people in the same place and time. A series of short case studies illustrate the importance of certain identity.

Thursday, July 20, 2017: Thomas W. Jones, Ph.D., CG, CGL, FASG, FUGA, FNGS, of New York, “The Jones Jinx: Tracing Common Surnames” sponsored by Western Pennsylvania Genealogical Society. This case study will explain how missing, erroneous, and altered records were overcome to identify the parents of an orphan named Jones. Attendees will learn research strategies that they can use to solve their own common-surname problems.

MAP OF LA ROCHE CAMPUS (9000 Babcock Blvd., Pittsburgh, PA):
Evening Lectures: Enter “classes” building on the map below and look for GRIP directional signs.


The Following were 2017 Evening Lectures:

Monday, June 26, 2017: Elissa Scalise Powell, CG, CGL, “Moravian Trails and Records” sponsored by Mid-Atlantic Germanic Society (MAGS). Eighteenth-century Moravians, originating in Pennsylvania, also settled Winston-Salem, North Carolina. Discover the records they left behind, which covered more than just their members. This lecture also celebrates the former president of MAGS and GRIP instructor John T. Humphrey, CG (1948-2012) who had Moravian ancestry, and was a seventh cousin of Elissa Powell’s.

Tuesday, June 27, 2017: Allison Ryall, MA, of Orlando, Florida, “DNA + Paper Trail = Case Solved!” sponsored by the North Hills Genealogists. Autosomal DNA is a common type of genetic testing that many TV commercials advertise, but it cannot stand alone and must be part of a traditional genealogy research in order to solve many brick-wall problems. Come learn how autosomal DNA (atDNA) testing combined with extensive paper research helped to discover the birth parents of an African-American woman who was adopted in Washington, PA, in the 1920s.

Thursday, June 29, 2017: Karen Stanbary, CG, of Chicago, Illinois, “DNA: A Power Tool in the Genealogist’s Tool Box” sponsored by Western Pennsylvania Genealogical Society. Learn the many different ways DNA test results can confirm and advance paper trail research.

The Following were 2016 Evening Lectures:

  • Monday, June 27, 2016: Lisa Arnold of, a 10th generation Quaker, sponsored by the North Hills Genealogists. “Quakers and their Records”
  • Tuesday, June 28, 2016: Marian L. Smith sponsored by Western Pennsylvania Genealogical Society. “Thinking Over Time:  Researching USCIS Records”
  • Thursday, June 30, 2016: F. Warren Bittner, CG, sponsored by Mid-Atlantic Germanic Society (MAGS). “Understanding Illegitimacy: The Bittner Bastards of Bavaria”
  • Monday, July 18, 2016: Diane Gravel, CG, sponsored by Western Pennsylvania Genealogical Society. “Justice of the Peace: Miscellany, Mischief, Marriages, and More!”
  • Tuesday, July 19, 2016: Thomas W. Jones, Ph.D., CG, CGL, FASG sponsored by the North Hills Genealogists. “Can a Complex Research Problem Be Solved Solely Online?”
  • Wednesday, July 20, 2016: Israel Pickholtz presented “Lessons in Jewish DNA – One Man´s Successes and What He Learned on the Journey.”
  • Thursday, July 21, 2016: Michael Hait, CG, sponsored by the Virtual Institute of Genealogical Research.”Finding and Using Online Legal Resources”

THE FOLLOWING WERE 2015 Evening Lectures:

  • Monday, June 29, 2015: “Finding American Women’s Voices through the Centuries: Letters, Journals, Newspapers, and Court Records” presented by Jane Wilcox and sponsored by the New York Genealogical and Biographical Society.
  • Tuesday, June 30, 2015: “How Old Did He Have to Be?” presented by Judy G. Russell, JD, CG, CGL and sponsored by the North Hills Genealogists.
  • Thursday, July 2, 2015: Rogues, Rascals & Rapscallions: The Family Black Sheep presented by Judy G. Russell, JD, CG, CGL, sponsored by the Western Pennsylvania Genealogical Society.
  • Monday, July 20, 2015: “Methods for Identifying the German Origins of American Immigrants” presented by Michael D. Lacopo, D.V.M., sponsored by the Mid-Atlantic Germanic Society (MAGS).
  • Tuesday, July 21, 2015: “How the Castle Garden Records Burned in the Ellis Island Fire” presented by Marian L. Smith of the National Archives, and sponsored by the North Hills Genealogists.
  • Thursday, July 23, 2015: “North Hills Road Show: Local History Collections – Digitized for you!” presented and sponsored by Amy Steele, Executive Director of Northland Public Library.

THE FOLLOWING WERE 2014 Evening Lectures:

  • Monday, 21 July 2014: DIVORCE RECORDS IN GENEALOGICAL RESEARCH presented by Pamela Stone Eagleson, CG, Sponsored by Western Pennsylvania Genealogical Society
  • Tuesday, 22 July 2014: EVALUATING WEB SITES presented by Cyndi Ingle of “”, Sponsored by North Hills Genealogists
  • Wednesday, 23 July 2014, 7 pm: THE MAKING OF ST. JOHN’S BIBLE presented by Sister Michele Bisbey, CDP, Ph. D., Sponsored by La Roche College
  • Wednesday, 23 July 2014, about 8 pm: SPECIAL CHALLENGES OF JEWISH RESEARCH presented by Israel Pickholtz.
  • Wednesday, 23 July 2014, 9 pm: WHO DO YOU THINK YOU ARE? Season Premiere. Group viewing of the show.
  • Thursday, 24 July 2014: USING NARA’s FINDING AIDS AND WEBSITE presented by Pam Boyer Sayre, CG, CGL, Sponsored by Genealogical Society of Pennsylvania

THE FOLLOWING WERE 2013 Evening Lectures:


  • MONDAY, July 23, 2012, 7:30 PM  “Telling the Tales: Writing Your Family Narrative” presented by Pamela Stone Eagleson, CG, Sponsored by the Great Lakes Chapter of the Association of Professional Genealogists
  • TUESDAY, July 24, 2012, 6:30 PM “Google Earth for Genealogists” presented by Pamela Boyer Sayre, CG, CGL, and Richard G. (Rick) Sayre, CG. Sponsored by the North Hills Genealogists.
  • WEDNESDAY, July 25, 2012, 6:30 PM “Pennsylvania Research” presented by Richard G. (Rick) Sayre, CG, Sponsored by the Western Pennsylvania Genealogical Society.
  • THURSDAY, July 26, 2012, 7:30 PM “Dating Your Family Photographs” by Bruce Klein of Photo Antiquities. Sponsored by the Genealogical Society of Pennsylvania.