Warren Bittner

472 W. Saddlewood Cir.
Centerville, Utah 84014

Phone: 801 898-0165

Email: bittnerfw@gmail.com

Contact between 10:00 am to 9:00 pm Mountain Ti me




  • First place winner of National Genealogical Society 2012 Family History Writing Contest, “Without Land, Occupation, Rights, or Marriage Privilege: The Büttner Family from Germany to America.”
  • Chuck Knutsen Memorial Lecture. (Scheduled August 2012.) Federation of Genealogical Societies Annual Conference: Indians, Squatter, and Soldiers in the ‘Old Southwest.’ Birmingham, Alabama.
  • Birdie Monk Holsclaw Memorial Lecture (Scheduled May 2013.) National Genealogical Society, Conference in the States, Building New Bridges, Las Vegas, Nevada.


  • Research Methodology
  • German Genealogical Research
  • Gothic German Script
  • Big City Research
  • Federal Land Research
  • Writing Your Family History
  • German Immigrant Research
  • Beginning Research



  • German Research and the Law Learn how the laws in German territories and states affect families and family history research.
  • Document to Narrative: Writing to Engage your Reader.
    Learn tricks of good writing and how to turn dry documents into an interesting family story. As 1st Place winner of the National Genealogical Society 2012 Family History Writing contest, Mr. Bittner is particularly well suited to teach this interesting class.
  • Proof Arguments: How and Why?
    Why does a researcher need to write an argument to establish identity? How to do it? Why does it Matter? Proof Arguments are essential to convey research to the next generation.
  • Ten Genealogical Lessons I Learned the Hard Way.
    This light-hearted excursion into the mistakes of a novice researcher will entertain audiences of all levels of experience.
    • Death Records as a Starting Point.
      Study a death record with almost no information and follow the many subtle clues that lie beneath the surface.
    • Using the 1880 Census to Solve a 1770 Research Problem.
      Follow the subtle clues census records can provide and see an example of using the census to answer questions about a family 110 years before the census was taken.

    • Land on the Frontier: Hidden Treasures in Federal Land Case Files.
      Follow the trail of a farmer in Kansas who does not appear to own any land. Learn how to find federal land case files and see examples of the treasures that can be found in them.
    • Big City Research.
      A case study in America’s biggest city; Learn to find a needle in a haystack and maneuver in urban research.
    • Genealogical Journals: Learn Research from the Experts.
      Learn about the major genealogical journals and how to become a better researcher by studying their articles.
    • Finding Unusual Sources to Solve Brick Wall Problems.
      Learn to think “Outside the Box” to solve particularly difficult research problems.

    • Understanding and Researching Illegitimacy.
      See new light on nineteenth century morality. Follow a couple with three children born during a ten-year wait for marriage. You’ll be amazed to learn what happened. This lecture is based on Mr. Bittner's Master's Thesis, and also the material used in his award-winning article.
    • “Beat the Children with a Fresh Birch Stick So the Animals Don’t Get Worms” Reading for Historical Context.
      Read to understand your ancestors in their own world on their own terms. How to find books about the cultural, political, social, and occupational lives of your ancestors. See examples from some fascinating books.

    • Exhausting Research to Find an Impossible Immigrant
      See how the how the principle of “Reasonably Exhaustive Research” is used to find a “brick wall” immigrant family despite repeated dead ends and misleading clues.
    • Elusive Immigrant! The Search for Dora Lühr
      Follow the search for an immigrant who is not found where she is supposed to be and whose name is anything but certain. This lecture is based on the article published in National Genealogical Society Quarterly, September 2010, “Dora Lühr’s Hannover Origin: A Case of Conflicting Direct Evidence.

    • How German History Makes a Difference in Your Family History Research
      Two semesters of German history in an hour. Hold on to your seats!
    • German Historical Maps and Territories: You Can’t Do Research Without Them
      Learn about the historical boundary changes in Germany and how to find the records for various regions.
    • Occupations of our German ancestors
      Ash collectors, rat catchers and executioners: Find out what your ancestors Monday was like.
    • Is the Family History in Print?
      Learn the many sources of German family histories available in book and online format.
    • German Land Records
      Learn how land, rent, mortgage and feudal records provide genealogical information.
    • On-Site Research in German Archives
      An amazing number of untapped records survive in German archives. See examples of records packed full of information.
    • German Feudal Records
      Learn how German peasants were subject to feudal lords and the genealogical records that serfdom created.
    • Bads, Bergs, Burgs and Bachs
      Learn to solve challenging locality problems, map guides, reverse sorts, ect.
    • Meyer’s Gazetteer: Gateway to Germany
      See the layout and structure of the indispensable Meyer’s Gazetteer. Learn how to interpret its many abbreviations and why understanding levels of jurisdiction is essential.
    • German Marriage Laws and Customs
      Learn how German marriage laws changed 1500–1900, about tight marriage restrictions, and about marriage customs.

    • German Gothic Handwriting: Anyone Can Read It
      Have fun learning to read again in this two-hour class. Spend an hour learning the 29 upper-case letters and another hour learning the 32 lower-case letters and letter sets. Learn which letters are easily confused and how to distinguish them. This is a hands-on workshop with writing practice.
    • German Gothic Handwriting: In-Depth Reading and Writing Practice.
      Enjoy reading German Gothic script from different centuries. A hands-on workshop with writing practice to help solidify your newly acquired reading skills.
    • Introduction to German Church Books
      Learn the basic layout of Catholic and Protestant Records. See examples of baptismal, marriage, death, and confirmation entries. Learn to recognize the essential information.

      Lecture Series for Virtual Institute of Genealogical Research

    • Complex Evidence: What it is, How it Works, Why it Matters.
      Genealogists’ goal is to establish identity and prove relationships; complex evidence is the ONLY way to do this. Follow a case study of clues from multiple sources to solve a problem. German Research and the Law Learn how the laws in German territories and states affect families and family history research.
    • “The Web of Evidence: Proof and Disproof”: This session will cover examples of evidence analysis where an original source, with primary information is proven wrong, and an example of when quick conclusions led to wrong information.
    • “Proof Arguments: How and Why” Why does a researcher need to write an argument to establish identity? How to do it? Why does it Matter? Proof Arguments are essential to convey research to the next generation. This session will introduce written proof arguments. Examples will be taken from the previous two lectures. Published examples of proof arguments will be reviewed.
    • “Exhaustive Research, Evidence Analysis, and Genealogical Proof” This session is the case study of Dora Lühr, where exaustive research and evidence analysis lead to genealogical proof. Learn to prove an immigrant’s identity comparing U.S. and European data. Follow an immigrant not found where she is supposed to be and whose name is not what it is supposed to be.

  • Speaking Conditions:

    • Speaker provides PowerPoint presentations.
    • Speaker is prepared to provide own projector.
    • Speaker supplies camera-ready handouts.
    • Audio/video taping negotiable.
    • Will accept international, national, provincial, state and regional invitations
    • Speaker requires screen, table, extension cord, microphone, and a captivating audience.
    • Speaker expects honorarium, travel fees (economy class), lodging, plus airport pick-up and drop-off.
    • No home billeting, please
    • Provides presentations at all levels: basic, intermediate and advanced.
    • Will develop new lectures upon request.
    • Contact directly for current speaker fees.
    • All-day workshops available.
    • Expect a speaker contract.

    Previous Engagements:

    • National Genealogical Society Convention (2012, 2011, 2004).
    • Federation of Genealogical Societies Annual Conference (2012).
    • Salt Lake Institute of Genealogy (2012, 2011, 2010, 2006).
    • Southern California Genealogy Jamboree (2012, 2011).
    • Ohio Genealogical Society Conference (2012).
    • Brigham Young University, Conference on Family History and Genealogy (2012, 2011, 2010, 2009, 2004, 2002).
    • Family History Library, Patron Classas (2008, 2005, 2004, 2002, 2001).
    • Palatines to America—German Genealogy Society, National Convention, Keynote Speaker (2012).
    • Sacramento German Genealogy Society, Keynote Speaker (2012), Monthly Meeting (2011, 2010).
    • Mid-Atlantic Germanic Society, Keynote Speaker (2012).
    • Association of Professional Genealogists, Utah Chapter (2012, 2008).
    • Fairfax Genealogical Society, Spring Conference and Monthly Meeting. (2011).
    • German Interest Group, Keynote Speaker (Whitewater, Wisconsin: 2009).
    • Utah Genealogical Society Conference (2005, 2003).
    • Spokane Family History Fair (2006, 2005).
    • Farmington, Utah Family History Center Lecture Series (2008, 2007, 2004).
    • Annual Meeting of the American Association of Family and Consumer Sciences (San Diego, California: 2004).


    F. Warren Bittner, CGSM, is a genealogical researcher and lecturer, with thirty years of research experience. He holds a Master of Science degree in history from Utah State University, and a Bachelors of Science degree in Business from Brigham Young University. His master’s thesis looked at the social factors affecting illegitimacy in nineteenth-century Bavaria. He is fluent in Mandarin Chinese, and in 1989-1990 he studied Chinese at a graduate level at the Inter-University Program for Chinese Language Studies in Taipei, Taiwan, R.O.C.

    He is the owner of Ancestors Lost and Found, a small genealogical research firm. For six years he was the German Collection Manager for the Family History Library in Salt Lake City, where he coordinated contracts to microfilm and index records at 102 archives in seven countries and where he planned the German book acquisitions and internet publications. Before that he worked for four years in the extraction unit of the Family History Library, where he was coordinator of third-party indexing projects and where he developed and trained volunteers in Spanish indexing projects. He has also worked as a Reference Consultant at the Family History Library on both the U.S. and International reference counters. He has done research in more than fifty German archives and in more than forty U.S. archives and record repositories.

    In 2010 he was assistant director of the Salt Lake Institute of Genealogy and he is a former member of the board of directors for Utah Genealogical Association. He made several appearances on the PBS television series, Ancestors 2. He is a member of the Association of Professional Genealogists, the New York Genealogical and Biographical Society, the National Genealogical Society, Mid-Atlantic Germanic Society, and the Palatines to America, Colorado Chapter, and the Sacrament German Society. He is married to Nancy Ruth Christensen and is the father of three children.

    The information contained on this page is the sole responsibility of the member and is not endorsed by the Genealogical Speakers Guild.
    Copyright © 2015 Genealogical Speakers Guild, All Rights Reserved.