Connie Lenzen

10411 SW 41st Avenue
Portland, Oregon 97219

Phone: 503-244-4357


Contact between 8:00 a.m to 8:00 p.m US Pacific




2010; NGS President's Citation for Outstanding and Continuing Contributions to the Society
2006; International Society of Family History Writers and Editors for the original unpublished research story, "The Ghost of Thomas G. O'Connor, a Portland Policeman."
2004; International Society of Family History Writers and Editors for the newspaper column, "Cold Trail? It is All Relative."
2003; International Society of Family History Writers and Editors for the original unpublished research story, "The Shady Side of the Miller Family."
1995; NGS Award of Excellence for the article "Proving a Maternal Line, the case of Frances B. Whitney."


Abstracting Workshop (two hours) If you make a photocopy of every record you found that might be — or might someday become — important to your research, your hobby could quickly break your budget, and you would need to rent a good-sized warehouse for your files. Abstracting produces a concise note, one that nevertheless produces the kind of high-quality information you need to identify your ancestors and their relationships accurately.

Artifacts and Your Genealogy Artifacts are a window into a person's past. They are a vital source of information about our ancestors. When we go to the next level and research those artifacts, we often uncover hidden clues that lead us to a new understanding about our ancestor. Sometimes we even find their relatives.
Censuses: How to Find Them and How to Squeeze Every Bit of Information From Them Censuses are one of the first "real" documents that genealogists seek out. They can tell the composition of a family, successive places of residence, approximate birth dates, the state or country of birth, approximate marriage dates, the number of children born to a mother, the immigration and naturalization of foreign-born persons, occupations, value of property owned, home ownership, military service, education and disabilities.
Church Records for Genealogists Church records were usually made by a witness to an event and close in time to the event. As a result, they are some of the very best genealogical records available. This lecture explains what you can expect to find in church records and how to locate them. Examples are given.
Family Traditions: the Search for the Truth Family traditions are one of the least reliable genealogical sources. Sometimes, they are the only lead a person has. Learn how to evaluate family traditions and to verify them with documentary evidence. This session appeals to everyone who has been told a story that seemed to be too good to be true.
Genealogy 101 This class is for people who have tried to find their ancestors but are stuck. Most people use the Internet to find genealogical sources, and this class leans heavily on Internet sources. However, archives, libraries, and other genealogical repositories are not left out because that is where the good stuff can be found.
Gone to See the Elephant: The Oregon Trail Sights along the Oregon Trail were so fantastic that the travelers often said they were off to see the elephant—another fantastic sight. Topics covered: background, statistics, travel on the Trail, what the emigrants found, biographies, how to find records for your Trail ancestor.
I Know They Existed, But I Can't Find Them; Twentieth Century Research Genealogists have one, two, or three generations of ancestors to track through the 20th century; a century marked by an emphasis on privacy and the closure of records. What do you do if grandpa and grandma did not leave information about the family's birthplace? Or, what do you do if you don't even know grandpa and grandma's names? Where do you turn after you have exhausted your home records, your relatives have told you everything they know, and those elusive folks didn't leave tracks on the Internet?
Illustrating Family History When You Have No Photos A picture is worth a thousand words, but we do not always have a photo of our ancestors. If we can not see their image, then we look for images that show their possessions, where they lived, and their surroundings. We show the physical landscape where they lived. By doing this, we illustrate their life and take them out of the shadows.
Just the Facts, But Where Did You Get Them? Cite Your Sources Do you want to avoid those moments when you can't recall where you found something? Learn how to cite and document your sources to avoid the embarrassment that comes when a correspondent asks you to explain why you have different information than they do.
Location, Location, Location Many of your research questions can be answered when you place your people on the land. That is easier said than done. How do you figure out where they lived, and how do you find a map? If this is something you want to do, this lecture is just what you need.
Lost Parents: Adoption Research Adoption searchers are usually working in 20th century records; a period marked by closure of records and privacy issues. The whole genealogical research strategy is used to locate a birth parent.
Naturalization Records for Genealogists Learn who were the immigrants, the laws and steps in the naturalization process, and how to research naturalization records.
Newspaper Research Will Rogers said, "Well, all I know is just what I read in the papers." What we find in newspapers can enrich our genealogy. Newspapers are a window into our ancestor’s lives. They contain marriage notices, death and funeral notices, gossip items, probate notices, and more.
Oregon Resources for Genealogists An introduction to Oregon resources with an emphasis on where to find the records in print, on microfilm, the Internet, and onsite.
Passenger Records for Genealogists Passenger lists were not intended to be genealogical documents, but they are an important source for information about our immigrant ancestor. They were created to keep track of people on the move. They have been made for all ships that came to America between 1565 and 1954. They were compiled at the port of embarkation, at ports of call along the route, at the port of arrival, in newspapers at the port of departure, and in newspapers at cities of arrival. Some were required by law, others are private recordings.
Probate Research; Follow the Money . . . From the first permanent settlement in America, people made wills. Courts were established to handle the disposition of property after death, either with or without a will. Laws differ slightly from state to state, but once you learn about the probate process, you can apply your knowledge to work the system.
Proving A Maternal Line When Grandma Didn't Tell Us Who Were Her Parents Tracing women is a challenge for genealogists.The research goes beyond censuses, probates, and deeds. Bits and pieces of evidence must be ferreted out and compiled into indirect proof of parentage. This case history shows how to find an ancestress' parents by researching the men in her life.
Research Plan: What Do I Do Next? Whether you start with a family journal or a death certificate, you have to plan your next research steps. Learn how to use your existing records as stepping stones to more information.
Researching the People Who Lived in Historic and Not So Historic Places In Oregon, most of our historic places were built in the 19th and 20th centuries. That means we are researching people for whom there may be living memory and for whom the documents that were created around them are possibly still in existence. These documents may be published ones, but there is a great possibility they are in manuscript collections. Learn how to find both.
Searching For The Immigrant Roots Learn how to tie together shreds of evidence gathered from family traditions, censuses, vital records, immigration and naturalization records, local histories, and religious records to provide clues to extend the immigrant family back another generation.
So You Want to Join a Lineage Society? Membership in lineage societies honors our immigrant ancestor, our first settler, or our ethnic heritage. Learn how to prepare an application that will be accepted.
The Taxing Details: Tax Records For Genealogists The census taker may have skipped your ancestor, but the tax man rarely did. Tax records provide information on what your ancestor owned, how old he was, where his land was located, suggest clues as to his relatives, and tell you when he arrived or left an area. They confer form and substance to the individual.
Vital Records on the Web The genealogical information found in vital records constitutes the backbone of a genealogy or family history. Learn what they contain and how to find them.

Speaking Conditions:

Audio taping for personal use permitted
No video taping
Masters provided for handouts
Power Point presentations; has own projector
Need projection screen, speaker's podium, table adjacent to the podium, extension cords

Previous Engagements:

Clark County Genealogical Society Spring Conference, 2011
National Genealogical Society's Conference in the States, 2001-2010
Genealogical Council of Oregon Conference, 2002, 2004, 2008, 2010


Connie Lenzen became interested in genealogy when her grandmother brought some old diaries down from the attic and asked if she had ever seen what was in them. The diaries opened up a world of mystery and intrigue. They led her to discover the fascination of placing ancestors in time and place, and history became a real entity. This led to research trips to county courthouses and cemeteries. The children were often in the back seat, and they learned about picnicking in cemeteries. A granddaughter has now caught the cemetery bug, and her science fair project was on the effect of acid rain on white marble tombstones. It won the "best science project" award.
Connie is a past Board for Certification of Genealogists trustee and past president. She is a past National Genealogical Society Director and was awarded the NGS President's Citation for Outstanding and Continuing Contributions to the Society. She was awarded the 1995 Award of Excellence from the National Genealogical Society Quarterly for her article "Proving a Maternal Line, the case of Frances B. Whitney."
At the local level, she is a past president of the Genealogical Forum of Oregon (GFO) and is on their Education Committee. She was the Local Arrangements co-chair for the 2001 National Genealogical Society conference in Portland, Oregon, the Program Chair for the 2002 and 2004 Genealogical Council of Oregon (GCO) conference in Salem, and the general chair for the 2008 and 2010 GCO conference in Eugene. She is past president of the Oregon Chapter Association of Professional Genealogists.

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