Gail Blankenau

7424 Stevens Ridge Road
Lincoln, Nebraska 68516

Phone: 402-421-8501



  • Land records and how to use them
  • German parish records
  • Researching ancestors with common names
  • Internet research
  • Problem-solving techniques
  • Researching the poor and obscure
  • Dating and identifying 19th century photographs
  • Nebraska genealogy

  • Lectures:

  • Break Through Brick Walls Using Land Records
  • Follow the Land -- Land Records II
  • Introduction to German Parish Records
  • Digging Deeper in German Parish Records
  • Dating and Identifying Your 19th Century Photographs
  • Keeping Up with the Smiths...and Joneses
  • Rich Resources for Poor Ancestors
  • Stories in Stone -- Cemetery Research
  • Genealogy 101 -- Hunting and Gathering
  • Genealogy 102 -- The Journey
  • Going Dutch in the Digital Age
  • Tumbleweeds in the Window -- Women Homesteaders and Genealogy
  • Finding Your Germanic Ancestral Village
  • Family Migrations

  • Speaking Conditions:

  • All topics delivered with PowerPoint
  • May need microphone depending on size of audience
  • Will develop lectures on specific topics
  • Will travel
  • Home housing not accepted
  • Will provide hand-out masters for duplication

  • Previous Engagements:

    October 2009 Dating and Identifying Your 19th Century Photographs, Eastridge Presbyterian Church, Lincoln, Nebraska
    February 2010, Using Land Records, Platte Valley Kin Seekers and the Platte County Historical Society, Columbus, Nebraska
    February 18, 2010, Getting Students Published, Nebraska Association for the Gifted State Conference, Omaha, Nebraska
    September 2010, Platte Valley Kin Seekers, Columbus, Nebraska, Dating and Identifying your 18th Century Photos
    October 2010, Featured Speaker, Iowa State Genealogical Conference, Des Moines, Iowa
    October 2010, National Homestead Monument, Family History Month speaker, Beatrice, Nebraska.
    October 28, 2010, Featured Speaker, Cass County Historical Society annual meeting, Dating and Identifying your 18th Century Photos
    November 2010, Using Land Records, Lincoln-Lancaster County Genealogical Society, Union College Auditorium, Lincoln, Nebraska
    May 6-7, 2011, Main Speaker for the Nebraska State Genealogical Society Conference, in Nebraska City, Nebraska—Introduction to German Parish Records, Keeping up with the Joneses..and Smiths, Break Through Using Land Records, Rich Resources for Poor Ancestors, Dating and Identifying you 19th-Century Photographs
    July 15-16, 2011—Main Speaker at Homestead National Monument two-day land records conference, Beatrice, Nebraska.
    September 17, 2011-Dating and Identifying your 19th-Century Photographs, Omaha Public Libraries
    October 1, 2011 All-Day seminar, Genealogy 101 & 102 and consulting, Cass County Historical Museum, Plattsmouth, Nebraska
    May 8, 2012, Stories in Stone, Cemetery Research, Lincoln-Lancaster County Genealogical Society, Union College, Lincoln, Nebraska.
    August 18, 2012, Keeping up with the Smiths...and Joneses, Omaha Public Library, Main Branch, Omaha, Nebraska.
    June 22, 2013, Break Through Brick Walls Using Land Records, Omaha Public Library, Summer genealogy series, Omaha, Nebraska.
    July 12-13, 2013, Tumbleweeds in the Window - Women Homesteaders and Genealogy; Who's Hiding in Your Drawer? (Two-hour), National Homestead Monument Land Records and Genealogy Symposium, Beatrice, Nebraska.
    March 25, 2014, Keeping up with the Smiths...and Joneses -- Forth Worth Genealogical Society, Fort Worth, Texas.

    Upcoming Events:

    April 1, 2014, Beginning Genealogy 101 -- The Bluffs Center, Council Bluffs, Iowa. June 28, 2014, Using German Parish Records -- seminar, Greater Omaha Genealogical Society, German Interest Group, Omaha Nebraska.
    July 12, 2014, Using German Parish Records (Part 1), International Convention of the American Historical Society of Germans from Russia, Lincoln, Nebraska.
    July 19, 2014, Rich Resources for Poor Ancestors, Omaha Public Library Summer Genealogy Series, Omaha, Nebraska
    October 16, 2014, Tumbleweeds in the Window -- Women Homesteaders, Nebraska Museum of History Brown Bag Lecture Series, Lincoln, Nebraska.


    Gail Blankenau is an experienced genealogist and photo historian who shares her research and advice in such well-known periodicals as the New England Historical and Genealogical Register, Everton's Genealogical Helper, and Family Chronicle magazine. Genealogists who crave unique perspectives and a fresh point of view will find new inspiration and ideas in her engaging and high-energy presentations.

    Lecture Descriptions:

    Your research hitting any walls? It may be that you need to expand your quest to land records. In Break Through Brick Walls Using Land Records, Gail Blankenau will guide you through the different kinds of land records, and help you to prioritize and identify what she calls high-value targets. Blankenau relates that she has solved more brick walls using land records than any other method.

    Follow the Land This presentation can build on Break Through Brick Wall Using Land Records or stand alone for your more intermediate to advanced researchers. Topics include leaseholds, warrants, surveys, grants, homesteading and other special situations you may encounter.

    For those with German ancestry, German parish records can be a veritable gold mine. In Introduction to German Parish Records, Gail Blankenau will walk you through finding the parish, common terminology, working with German script, and a case study demonstrating the kind and quality of information you'll find.

    Digging Deeper in German Parish Records will look in more depth at these records, including issues such as consanguinity, illegitimacy, marrying the farm, confirmation records, navigating without an index and more.

    If you have a drawer or box full of old family photos, Dating and Identifying Your 19th-Century Photos will bring your ancestral images into focus. Learn how to use power combinations of image type, fashions, photographers and your family tree to reveal the who, when and sometimes even the where in those intriguing faces.

    If you are stymied by your ancestors with common names, you will want to see, Keeping Up with the Smiths...and Joneses. Although these families present special problems, there are techniques you can use to zero in on your ancestor as an individual, no matter what his or her name was.

    Rich Resources for Poor Ancestors, Don’t give up on your less-fortunate forebears. This lecture explores special record sets that will help you to track your impoverished ancestors—including poorhouse records, tax lists, warnings out, court records and more.

    Walk through beautiful places of rest with Stories in Stone – Cemetery Research. This lecture covers a wide range of topics, including finding the death date, locating cemeteries, church records, interment records, gravestone art, and smart tombstones.

    Genealogy 101 and Genealogy 102 can be done separately or together to introduce newbies to the wonderful world of genealogy. A case-study approach introduces participants to collecting information, documentation, sources and how to use what they find, with step-by-step examples.

    Going Dutch in the Digital Age: Researchers with Dutch ancestry are in luck. Our cousins in the Netherlands love genealogy and digital resources abound. This lecture shows a variety of resources and websites that are online—and most of them are free.

    Tumbleweeds in the Window - Women Homesteaders and Genealogy The 1862 Homestead Act provided women heads of family with a unique opportunity to own land in their own name. This in-depth, hands-on workshop will walk participants through three case studies of remarkable women--women whose life circumstances and homesteading goals were vastly different, but who shared even more--dream of independence they made a reality.



    Some Descendants of Nathaniel Mead of Greenwich, Connecticut, through his son Josiah Mead (ca. 1701-ca. 1771), New England Genealogical and Historical Register, Vol. 163 (January 2009): p. 33-38; Vol. 163 (April 2009): p. 145-155; Vol. 163 (July 2009): p. 213-218.

    Abraham Daniels Family Bible with annotations, Ohio Genealogical Society Quarterly, Vol. 48, No. 3, (Sep 2009), p. 161-162.

    Sergeant John Smith of Rhode Island, with Descendants in Early Ohio, The Genealogist, Vol. 26, No. 1, (Spring 2012), p. 3-23.


    Rich Resources for Poor Ancestors, Family Chronicle, (Nov/Dec 2009), Moorshead Ltd.
    Using German Parish Records, Everton's Genealogical Helper, (Jan 2009), Logan UT, Everton Publishers.
    Signature Style, Family Chronicle, (Mar/Apr 2009), Moorshead Ltd., Canada.
    When the Irises Bloom, Family Chronicle, (Jul/Aug 2009), Moorshead Ltd.,Canada.
    Keeping Up with the Smiths, Family Chronicle, (Sep/Oct 2009), Moorshead Ltd., Canada.
    19th-Century Photos-How to Spot a Copy, Family Chronicle, (Nov/Dec 2009), Moorshead, Ltd., Canada.
    April Fools: Genealogy Style!, Family Chronicle, (Mar/Apr 2010), Moorshead Ltd., Canada.
    Portraits from the Past, Internet Genealogy, (Apr/May 2010), Moorshead Ltd., Canada.

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