Wisconsin State Genealogical Society

2022 Gene-A-Rama

Telling Your Families Stories
Michael D. Lacopo D.V.M.
Friday & Saturday, March 25 & 26, 2022
Holiday Inn
4601 Calumet Avenue, Manitowoc, WI
Hosted by the

Please Note:  With regard to COVID,  we are going to be following local and/or county guidelines where the event is being held. Each individual needs to make the right choice for them as to whether they attend and the precautionary measures they take. If the WSGS Board feels the event should not take place in person, paid attendees will be notified and the event will go virtual. During these unknown times, flexibility is the new normal. We appreciate everyone understanding that WSGS will make decisions based on the situation at the time of the event. Thank you and please be safe.
Dr. Michael D. Lacopo was born and raised in northern Indiana surrounded by extended family always willing to tell tall tales. Intrigued by his maternal family’s claim to be kinfolk of Abraham Lincoln, and his paternal family’s stories of murder and mayhem, he took to genealogical research in 1980 to substantiate these family stories.
Genealogical research as a hobby was in its infancy in the 1980s. Combing libraries, archives, cemeteries and courthouses as a teenager, Michael gained the skills needed to become a keen researcher. His first major challenge in the world of research was tackled by finding his adopted mother’s birthparents in 1982. You can read about this adventure at his blog at Roots4U.blogspot.com with some engaging storytelling, plot twists and new findings!
Although a budding genealogist in the 1980s, Michael completed his doctorate in veterinary medicine in 1991, while still spending time honing his research skills. As befitting a doctor, Michael treats his genealogical research as he would medicine – carefully, methodically, and thoroughly. Several genealogical journal articles and publications appeared along the way. In 2013, Michael retired from his medical career to pursue genealogical research full-time as a profession.
He has contributed to numerous periodicals and has helped numerous people in their quests to locate their relatives – living and dead. He appeared in USA Today in 2000 discussing genealogy and the proposed destruction of the federal census tabulated in that year. His national lecturing began in Sacramento, CA, at the National Genealogical Society’s national conference in 2004, and has continued with several local, state, national, and international conference speaking engagements to this present day.
Michael's interests and strengths include genetic genealogy, methodology and problem-solving. Mennonite research, German and Swiss research, especially as it pertains to the 18th century immigration to America, among many other topics. He makes many trips throughout the Mid-Atlantic and Midwest states chasing ancestors in primary repositories and devotes a considerable amount of time to European research, being proficient in reading German script. Having ancestors from many geographic locales as well as immigrants spanning the 17th century to the 20th century, Michael has a wide variety of proficiencies. He believes that as genealogists we should tell the tales or our ancestors and is a vocal proponent for learning the social history that interweaves our ancestors into the fabric of the past.
In addition to his story-telling and educational blog, Michael’s presence can be found online at www.Roots4U.com, or for more up-to-date lecture and research information, at his Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/Roots4U.
Dr. Michael D. Lacopo Lectures
  • ‚ÄčThe Genealogist’s Quadfecta: In the age of digital databases and online resources, genealogists forget the four-pronged approach to research onsite: visiting the state Archives, Historical Society, Genealogical Society, and Library. Although the roles of each seem self-explanatory, digging deeper reveals treasure for your research!
  • Telling Their Story: Adding Character To Your Genealogical NarrativeThe lives of your ancestors were far more interesting than dates of birth, marriage, and death. Understanding the social history of your subject can enhance your narrative. Learn to use common genealogical record sources in a broader context. There’s a gripping story to tell! 
  • “I Am Poor, Obscure, Plain, and Little…” Researching the Invisible Ancestor: If your ancestors had little money, they did not buy and sell land, they did not leave wills or probates, they did not purchase stones for graves. How do you find them? This lecture will show you how!
  • Magnificent, Magical, Mesmerizing Manuscript Collections!These types of records form an enormous part of most archival collections, yet most genealogists grossly underutilize them. This lecture will help you locate them, understand what information they can yield and use them to break down brick walls!
  • “Hoosier Daddy?:  Tales of a Reluctant Blogger and How Blogs Can Enhance Your Genealogical Research: Your speaker started his blog, “Hoosier Daddy?” in February 2014 with intentions far different from what developed over the course of nearly two years of writing. Learn from his examples the various uses of Internet publishing for your genealogical research. The digital age has changed the face of genealogy, but there is more power to be unleashed beyond just scanning websites for data. Hone your skills as a writer, tell stories, compile your genealogy, share with others, and allow others researching the same families to find you. Take a journey with your lecturer into the blogosphere and learn how this resource can be means to breaking down your brick walls.

Also Featuring
Lee Grady
Institutional Records at the Wisconsin Historical Society
The Wisconsin Historical Society holds records of state and local government institutions that housed or cared for citizens of Wisconsin, including prisons, mental hospitals, poor houses, orphanages and schools. Archivist Lee Grady will talk about examples of these records and how genealogists use them to research their family histories. 
Lee Grady is Senior Reference Archivist at the Wisconsin Historical Society. He has master's degrees in American History, and Library and Information Studies from the University of Wisconsin–Madison.  He has been on the staff of the Historical Society for over 25 years and has a wide range of experience with the Society’s archival collections.
Karen Vincent Humiston
When Genealogy Meets History
We all live in history. Just as our lives have been impacted by wars, natural disasters, and the pandemic, our ancestors were also affected by events which shook the wider world. An understanding of historical context is invaluable as we discover and tell our families’ stories. In turn, genealogists can also contribute to a better understanding of historical events and the people involved. This presentation will explore how we can use our research skills to add to historical knowledge, both in terms of  our own ancestors and the wider community.
The Sky Was Brass, The Earth Was Ashes: The Great Peshtigo Fire
On October 8, 1871, the deadliest wildfire in United States history swept through a large part of northeastern Wisconsin. This presentation will explore the circumstances of the fire and the stories of some of the families caught up in it.
Karen Vincent Humiston is a long-time family historian who has spent several years researching the Great Peshtigo Fire and the families involved. Her book, The Sky Was Brass, The Earth Was Ashes: The Story of the Great Peshtigo Fire will be released later this year.
Russell Horton
How Much Can A Human Being Endure? Shell Shock in World War I
What was shell shock? Was it specific to World War I? Is it related to PTSD? How did shell shock affect the way that the US military treated soldiers in subsequent conflicts? Russ Horton from the Wisconsin Veterans Museum will address these questions and more as he examines the phenomenon of shell shock.
Russ Horton is the Reference and Outreach Archivist at the Wisconsin Veterans Museum. He received his bachelor’s degree in history from UW-Madison and his master’s degrees in history and library science from UW-Milwaukee. In his 20 years at the museum, he has helped thousands of genealogists find out more about the veteran in thCuteir family tree as well as learn about the context of their service. He has also helped countless researchers learn more about the contributions of Wisconsin men and women to American military history.
Anne Kasuboski, MLIS
Rich Man, Poor Man—and a House
What do a wealthy New Englander and a poor Polish immigrant have in common? A house that was an anomaly for its place and time, enduring to find its place on the state and national Register of Historic Places. Discover the circumstances that led to the decline of one family and the ascent of another in this story of a Green Lake County house that is slowly recovering its grandeur.
Anne Kasuboski, MLIS, holds a Genealogical Research Certificate from Boston University and is a graduate of the Progen (Professional Genealogy) program. In addition to WSHS, she is a member of the Association of Professional Genealogists, the National Genealogical Society, the Winnebagoland Genealogical Society, and currently serves as the President of the Bay Area Genealogical Society (Green Bay). She is retired from 35 years as a reference and government publications librarian at UW Green Bay and has conducted genealogical research for others for over twenty years, specializing in the Fox River Valley area of Wisconsin.

2022 Gene-A-Rama Agenda
Friday, March 25th
8:00 AM      Registration, Vendors Open
Karen Vincent Humiston, The Sky Was Brass, The Earth Was Ashes: The Great Peshtigo Fire
10:00 AM     President’s Welcome, WSGS Annual Business Meeting
10:30AM   Michael D Lacopo, DVM, The Genealogist’s Quadfecta
11:30AM    Lunch, Vendors Open
1:00 PM Lee Grady, Institutional Records at the Wisconsin Historical Society
2:00 PM Break, Vendors Open
2:30PM   Michael D Lacopo, DVM Telling Their Story: Adding Character To Your Genealogical Narrative
3:30PM     Break, Vendors Open
4:00PM    Anne Kasuboski, Rich Man, Poor Man – and a House
6:00PM    Evening Reception and Banquet
Michael D Lacopo, DVM, “Hoosier Daddy?:  Tales of a reluctant blogger and how blogs can enhance your genealogical research
Saturday, March 26th
8:00 AM      Registration, Vendors Open
9:00 AM   Russell Horton, How Much Can A Human Being Endure? Shell Shock in World War I
10:00 AM     Break, Vendors Open
10:30AM   Michael D Lacopo, DVM, “I Am Poor, Obscure, Plain, and Little…” Researching the Invisible Ancestor
11:30AM    Lunch, Vendors Open
1:00 PM Karen Vincent Humiston, When Genealogy Meets History
2:00 PM Break, Vendors Open
2:30PM   Michael D Lacopo, DVM, Magnificent, Magical, Mesmerizing Manuscript Collections!

Hotel Accommodations
Holiday Inn Manitowoc
4601 Calumet Avenue
Manitowoc, WI
Reservations: 920-682-6000
To receive the discounted room rate of $99.00 plus tax per night for a single/double queen room, please mention the group code WSGS1.  Reservations must be received by February 24, 2022, to ensure the conference rate. Reserve early as accommodations are based upon availability.

Registration fees are lower if postmarked by February 17. Please note that membership in an Affiliate Society does not qualify as WSGS membership.  You can become a member and pay the WSGS Rate at the time you register. ALL attendees will receive an e-mail confirmation.
No refunds will be given after February 17, 2022.
Meals are all pre-paid ticketed events and cannot be purchased after February 17 or onsite. Meals include coffee or  tea.
Friday Lunch ~ Buffet Lunch with Ham, Turkey, Roast Beef, Potato Salad, Pasta Salad, Lettuce, Tomatoes, Onions, Wisconsin Cheeses, Assorted Breads & condiments. $15.50
Friday Banquet Buffet ~ will be a buffet including Fresh Haddock with a Creamy Dill Sauce & Beef Bourguignonne served with Potatoes, Mixed Salad Greens, Fresh Vegetable Tray, Fresh Fruit Tray, Assorted Seasonal Salads, Seasonal Vegetables, Rolls & Butter. $21.50
Saturday Lunch ~ will be Chef Salad that includes Mixed Greens topped with Ham, Turkey, Swiss & Cheddar Cheeses, Tomatoes, Cucumbers, Black Olives & Hard-Boiled Eggs. $14.50
  Before February 17th Between February 18th and March 13th
Full 2-day Registration
     Regular Rate
     WSGS Rate
Friday or Saturday Only (Circle Friday or Saturday)
     Regular Rate
     WSGS Rate
     Friday lunch 
     Friday banquet
     Saturday lunch
WSGS Membership   
     Youth (Under 25)
     Print Newsletter
If you prefer to register via U.S. Mail, please print the attached registration form and mail it with your payment to the WSGS office:
WSGS Gene-A-Rama
PO Box 5106
Madison, WI 53705-0106
If you have ADA or special dietary requirements, please e-mail the office at wsgs@wsgs.org.