VGA 2022 Conference: “The Importance of Collateral Research” by Sheila Benedict

This presentation will be on Saturday, November 12th at 10:15am Eastern. Click here to view the full conference schedule:

Program Description:
If your direct ancestral line stops and you think you cannot go on, collateral research, often called clustering, may resolve the problem. Collateral relatives share the same ancestry but not always the same direct line of descent. Researching those relatives, along with those that lived and worked within the same community could add new dimension to your genealogy and family history. Two synonyms for collateral are parallel and auxiliary. Discussion includes collateral research both parallel and auxiliary, familiar documents, and DNA.

Do not confuse collateral/cluster research with collateral/conflicting evidence. Collateral evidence contradicts other evidence while collateral/cluster research uses other than direct ancestors hoping they lead to back to the direct line.

Speaker Bio:
Sheila Benedict has a BA, Political Science; French minor; emphasis on pre-law, completed post-Graduate courses in history, social sciences, archival basics and management, Spanish, and paralegal studies. Her genealogical education includes courses at the Forensic Genealogy Institute, IGHR, NGS, NIGR, now Gen-Fed), SLIG, and others.

She was archivist/administrator at Old Mission Santa Inés 2001 – 2018, oversaw the museum collection, archives, and grant writer. She has been a self-employed Genealogical, Historical, and Forensic Genealogist since 1992; taught beginning and intermediate genealogy and oral history techniques at a local community college; lectured at NGS and FGS, genealogical and historical societies, and museums. She is the coordinator of the SCGS Jamboree Roundtables and runs the Irish research table.

Sheila has researched Irish records both in the USA and Ireland, English records both in the USA and Great Britain; Catholic and other religious records, and extensive research on California history, Spanish and Mexican Land Grants, Gold Rush, Native Californians, the railroad, migration patterns, and other important western USA topics.

She wrote the California book for the National Genealogical Society’s “Research in the States” series launched at the May 2015 NGS Conference. She has had several articles published in the CAFG Forensic Genealogy newsletter, National Genealogical Society Magazine, the Organization for Legal Associates eMagazine; writes a monthly genealogy column for a local newspaper, and an occasional review editor for the scholarly publication, NGSQ and others. She recently wrote a book review for the Association of Professional Genealogists Quarterly and an article on Ground Penetrating Radar and Forensic Canines.

Her memberships include the Association of Professional Genealogists, current president of the APG Writer’s SIG, past president of the APG Virtual Chapter, board member of the Genealogical Speaker’s Guild, and Life Member of the National Genealogical Society and the Santa Barbara County [CA] Genealogical Society. She is also a member of the Southern California Genealogical Society, San Luis Obispo County [CA] Genealogical Society, American Irish Historical Association – Santa Barbara Branch, The Irish Ancestral Research Association (TIARA), Utah Genealogical Association, Virtual Genealogy Association, and the California Genealogical Society.

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