Florida State Genealogical Society
Florida State Genealogical Society

FSGS Speakers Bureau: Susan Lewis Well

4958 Oak Run Drive
Sarasota, FL 34243
Fax: (941)-358-7360

Areas of Expertise

  • Basic Genealogy: 
  • English Research Basics
  • U.S. Land Records
Lecture Topics:
  • Getting Started - Learn the steps for a successful search for your ancestors. What tools are available to find information and then organize it? (Note: Emphasis can be placed on your group’s interest in census, military or immigration records.)
  • Should I Climb My Family Tree?:  Have you wondered if your Grandma’s memories and stories were true? Discover your family’s story and how it fits into America’s history. If you like jigsaw puzzles and collect anything from stamps to antiques, you will love genealogy. The talk will cover getting started by making a plan, organizing what you already know, and finding new information. (Note: Geared to a non-genealogy group.)
  • If You Don’t Write a Book: Final Projects without Prose - Of course, you want family and friends to know the details of your research. Not everyone wants to write a book or has an audience to read one. Learn about using timelines instead of prose. Find projects such as indexing to benefit the genealogy or the greater community.
  • Genealogical Info Hiding in Plain Site: If you have ever gone to a web site to find immigration information and instead found a great explanation of the U.S. Census, you know that not everything is ‘where it should be.’ Add to your list of favorites a few great sites that I found in some surprising places.
Land Records
  • Deeds: An Insider’s View:  A land records office has a rhythm to the days and weeks, and seasons to the year. The speaker has twenty-five years of experience in real estate and is ready to share how genealogists can use the nature of the land records office to their advantage. Learn what information to expect from a deed and how to extract the relevant facts from the unfamiliar wording.
  •  Other topics: Accessing Deeds Online; Reading a Deed’s Legal Description
Basic English Research
  • English Research Basics: Poor Relief and Other Parish Chest Records: Parishes were responsible for the poor from the time of Henry VIII. In the early 1800’s, parishes were linked into Poor Law Unions which administered a workhouse and the other anti-poverty programs in an area. Before 1834, records of efforts to help the poor were kept in each parish chest along with other community records of interest to genealogists.
  • English Research Basics: Non-Anglican Church Records- If your ancestors did not adhere to the teachings of the Church of England, you may have a challenging time finding their records before civil registration in 1837.  Learn what the clues are that you are looking for Non-Anglican ancestors.
  • Using A Large Ethnic Web Sites: Almost all ethnic groups and nationalities have a genealogical website with information geared to the American researcher.  Learn how to get the most out of genuki.org.uk.  (Note: A talk could be geared to jewishgen.org or germanroots.com) 
  • Calvin Coolidge: At Home in Northampton. Northampton, Mass.: The Forbes Library, 2009
  • “Anson Wolcott Moves West,” Der Brief, Newsletter of the Historical Society of the North German Settlements in Western New York, November/December 2007
  • “A Rather Remarkable Memorial Card,” The Norfolk Ancestor, Volume 3 Part 7, September 2003
S.Well Genealogy at www.susansgeni.blogspot.com
(Posts about land records and English research)
Previous Speaking Engagements: 
  • Ohio State Genealog:y Society, Annual Conference, Cincinnati, Ohio
  • South Bay Genealogy Society, Ruskin, Florida
  • Genealogy Society of Sarasota
  • Lakewood Ranch Genealogy Club
  • Englewood Genealogy Society
  • Council on Aging, Senior Center, Northampton, Massachusetts
  • Forbes Library, Northampton, Massachusetts
  • Willing to travel up to 100 miles
  • Meals and travel expenses must be compensated
  • November through April
Biographical Sketch
Susan Well has been researching her family since 1994. She is on the Board of Directors of the Genealogical Society of Sarasota and co-leader of their United Kingdom Special Interest Group. She teaches genealogy at the Lifelong Learning Academy in Sarasota/Bradenton, Florida. She is the author of the local history book about the homes, neighbors and landlords of Silent Cal titled, Calvin Coolidge: At Home in Northampton. After graduating from Cornell University and getting a masters in adult education from Springfield (MA) College, Well taught in secondary schools and adult education programs before a long career in real estate sales and appraisal.