Celebrating 14 Years of Blogging: Reflecting Back and Looking Forward

Today marks the 14th anniversary of this blog!  It seems like yesterday since my first post on June 28, 2006!

When I created this blog, my goal was pretty simple: to share information about my two favorite topics: writing and genealogy! 

My second blog post detailed why I decided to name my blog “The Accidental Genealogist.” In it, I wrote:

“Here I’ll share my thoughts, experiences, profiles on some of my favorite ancestors, and other useful information for genealogists who like to write, as well as tips on writing and publishing for writers who happen to be genealogists.” 

A lot has happened in the genealogy world over the past 14 years both in my personal research and in my role as a writer and educator.  I have enjoyed sharing news about my personal goals, books, speaking engagements, research finds, travel to my ancestral villages, and more. I participated in Blog carnivals and challenges, and even created my own blogging prompt series “Fearless Females” in 2010 to help share stories of female ancestors in March during Women’s History Month. 

I have written about research challenges I have tackled and have also had the opportunity to connect with cousins and fellow researchers around the globe.  

On the professional side, I have shared posts about new databases [affiliate link], software, and other technology tools such as Scrivener [affiliate link] to help with the research process, and writing family history, and online education opportunities I provide with my own webinar bundles, and through Research, Write, Connect AcademyThe National Institute for Genealogical Studies, and Legacy Family Tree Webinars [affiliate link].

(See my post “Five Ways to Learn Virtually with The Accidental Genealogist“)

A Look Ahead

As a result of the  COVID-19 pandemic, all of my 2020 scheduled in-person appearances were either cancelled, rescheduled to virtual presentations, or postponed until 2021,  This has provided more time for me to look further into my family history, finish some writing projects, and develop more educational materials. 

As my research interests change and my business evolves, I recognize the importance of being able to pivot and try new things. I have plans to change my websites and newsletter, and I have a new blog in the works too. Stay tuned!

A Word of Thanks

Thank you to everyone who has commented on this blog over the years, contacted me via email, or approached me at a conference or speaking engagement to tell me how much they have enjoyed reading my posts.  I appreciate your encouragement and support.

[While I have turned off the comments function of this blog for now, readers are welcome to contact me through the contact form at the top of this page.] 

Copyright, 2020, Lisa A. Alzo

All Rights Reserved

[Thank you for supporting The Accidental Genealogist by purchasing any products mentioned above, which are a part of the income stream for my writing/genealogy business].


Mother’s Day Special: Save 40% on Courses at Research, Write, Connect

Looking to research or write about the special women in your life? 

Then, check out the special Mother’s Day sale and save 40% on all classes at Research, Write, Connect through Monday, 11 May 2020!  

All courses are self-paced with no set start or end dates so you can begin at a date and time that suits your schedule!
Use promo code MOM40 at checkout to claim your 40% savings!

Offer good until 11:59 p.m. Eastern Time on 11 May 2020.
  • The ABCs of DNA, regularly priced at $87.00 USD, now just $52.20 USD – click HERE to shop!
[Thank you for supporting The Accidental Genealogist by purchasing these products which are a part of the income stream for my writing/genealogy business]

Copyright 2020, Lisa A. Alzo
All Rights Reserved

Five Ways to Learn Virtually with The Accidental Genealogist

By now we are all trying to adjust to the “new normal” resulting from the COVID-19 outbreak. Social distancing, working from home, and closings/cancellations/reductions impacting just about every business sector. Like many professionals in my field, I am self-employed and I have seen several of my 2020 scheduled in-person appearances cancelled, rescheduled to virtual presentations, or postponed until 2021, which also means a decline in income. 

For many years I have worked as an educator developing online courses and presenting webinars.  During this time of self-quarantine, I will be increasing my virtual/digital offerings (watch this blog for announcements). 

For now, here are five ways you can learn from me online. Be sure to check out the special discounts!

1. Online Courses at Research, Write, Connect. Save 50% on any CURRENT genealogy or writing course available on my online site.  Click here to register or learn more. Use promo code HOME50 at checkout. Offer is good through 31 March 2020. [Offer does not apply to any new courses added after 18 March 2020]

2. Webinar Bundles:  Take 50% off all of my currently available webinar bundles. Topics include Writing Your Family History, Beginning Genealogy, Eastern European Research, Finding Female Ancestors, and more. Click here to learn more. Use promo code BUNDLE50.  Offer good through 31 March 2020. 

In addition, if you are a program chair for a society, library, or other educational group, feel free to contact me for bulk pricing options for purchasing the entire set of bundles to enable your members to watch these webinars either from behind your paid membership wall, or by private setup I can provide. 

3. Legacy Family Tree Webinars. I have been a presenter for Legacy Family Tree Webinars since 2011, and currently have 54 classes in their vast library. Also, I will be presenting “Timesaving Apps for Busy Genealogists” as a live webinar on 20 May 2020. Click here to register for free. For subscribers, you can watch my previous recorded webinars anytime. If you don’t have a webinar membership, now is the perfect time to sign up by clicking here (affiliate link). 

4. National Institute for Genealogical Studies. I have worked as an instructor for the National Institute for Genealogical Studies since 2003, and recently designed the Eastern European Research Certificate program. I will be hosting several free online chats on Eastern European Records on the following dates: Tuesday 12 May 2020 10:45 AM; Wednesday 19 August 6:45 PM; Sunday 22 November 2:45 PM. Click here to learn more about the National Institute’s certificate programs and specific courses.

5. Virtual Genealogical Association. I have presented webinars for the Virtual Genealogical Society on topics such as Eastern European Research and Writing Family History. I will present a live webinar “Finding Your Femme Fatales” on 9 May 2020.  Keep checking the website for registration information. You will need a membership ($20 USD per year) to watch any of the webinars or past recordings. 

Please subscribe to this blog or keep checking back for more learning opportunities.

[Thank you for your interest in my blog and products and your support through shopping the affiliate links. As a small business owner, I am grateful for your support!]


Which Female Ancestor Inspires You? Celebrate International Women’s Day and Share Her Story

Today (March 8th) is International Women’s Day–a global day celebrating the social, economic, cultural and political achievements of women. [See https://www.internationalwomensday.com].

I am grateful for all the women in my family tree whose stories inspire me every day.  Women who seemingly lived ordinary lives, but rose above difficult circumstances and challenges with extraordinary faith and determination. 

Here is a little video tribute I created using Animoto to honor some of my female ancestors.

Which female ancestor inspires you?  Consider sharing her story in a video tribute or a blog post during this month of March. 

If you would like to learn more about researching your female ancestors or writing their stories, I can help. 

Two Days Left! Save 40% on the Finding Your Female Ancestors Course 

Finding Your Female Ancestors available at Research, Write, Connect! 

This course is packed full of information from my 30+ years of researching female ancestors! 

Limited Time: Save 40% Off the Regular Price

Register today and save 40% off the regular price of $99 (now just $59.40 USD) View the full course outline here.

Use coupon code: FEARLESS40

Offer expires 10 March 2020 at 11:59 p.m. Eastern time!

Save 50%: Finding Your Female Ancestors (Volume I) Webinar Bundle

Through 31 March 2020 you can purchase my Finding Your Female Ancestors (Volume I) Webinar Bundle – a collection of three of my popular webinars – for 50% off the regular price (now just $9.95)

Offer expires Tuesday 31 March 2020 11:59 p.m. Eastern Time.  


Click here to purchase – use coupon code: MARCH2020

1. Ladies First: Finding Your Female Ancestors (webinar + handout)

2. Ten Ways to Tell Your Female Ancestors’ Stories (webinar + handout)

3. Three Slovak Women: Telling the Story of One Slovak-American Family Using Oral and Social History (webinar + handout)


Celebrating the 10th Anniversary of Fearless Females Blogging Prompts

It’s less than a week away…that special month for you to honor your female ancestors with the Fearless Females blogging prompts series.
Fearless Females Badge courtesy of Denise Levenick with edits by Lisa A. Alzo

In March 2010, I launched a series of 31 blogging prompts for celebrating and honoring the “fearless females” in our family trees. Many bloggers participated and I was asked if I planned on running them again. I’m happy to say that this series is still going strong and is back for another year.

So, to mark National Women’s History Month (beginning Sunday, March 1), I’m listing the 31 prompts below. 

Also, you can download the free badge above to use on your blog to indicate your participation. [A special thanks to my friend and colleague, Denise Levenick, The Family Curator, who created the original version of this badge especially for me for the 2016 edition of Fearless Females].

The theme for National Women’s History Month 2020 is Valiant Women of the Vote. The theme honors “the brave women who fought to win suffrage rights for women, and for the women who continue to fight for the voting rights of others.” So it is a perfect time to start writing about your valiant female ancestors.   

Watch this blog for other ideas, prompts, and tips to learn about your female ancestors, as well as special coupons for discounts on books, courses, or other products related to researching your female lines.


Fearless Females: 31 Blogging Prompts to Celebrate Women’s History Month

 You can choose to do some of the prompts, or all of them–there’s no pressure–it’s meant to be a fun exercise to focus on the women and make sure their stories are told!

[Group of young women reading in library of normal school, Washington, D.C.]Library of Congress, (Johnston, Frances Benjamin, 1864-1952, photographer.); REPRODUCTION NUMBER: LC-USZ62-100288 (b&w film copy neg.) DIGITAL ID: (b&w film copy neg.) cph 3c00288 http://hdl.loc.gov/loc.pnp/cph.3c00288]

Blogging Prompts

March 1 — Do you have a favorite female ancestor? One you are drawn to or want to learn more about? Write down some key facts you have already learned or what you would like to learn and outline your goals and potential sources you plan to check.

March 2 — Post a photo of one of your female ancestors. Who is in the photo? When was it taken? Why did you select this photo?

March 3 — Do you share a first name with one of your female ancestors? Perhaps you were named for your great-grandmother, or your name follows a particular naming pattern. If not, then list the most unique or unusual female first name you’ve come across in your family tree.

March 4 — Do you have marriage records for your grandparents or great-grandparents? Write a post about where they were married and when. Any family stories about the wedding day? Post a photo too if you have one.

March 5 — How did they meet? You’ve documented marriages, now, go back a bit. Do you know the story of how your parents met? Your grandparents?

March 6 — Describe an heirloom you may have inherited from a female ancestor (wedding ring or other jewelry, china, clothing, etc.) If you don’t have any, then write about a specific object you remember from your mother or grandmother, or aunt (a scarf, a hat, cooking utensil, furniture, etc.)

March 7 — Share a favorite recipe from your mother or grandmother’s kitchen. Why is this dish your favorite? If you don’t have one that’s been passed down, describe a favorite holiday or other meal you shared with your family.

March 8 — Did one of your female ancestors leave a diary, journal, or collection of letters? Share an entry or excerpt.

March 9 — Take a family document (baptismal certificate, passenger list, naturalization petition, etc.) and write a brief narrative using the information.

March 10 — What role did religion play in your family? How did your female ancestors practice their faith? If they did not, why didn’t they? Did you have any female ancestors who served their churches in some capacity?

March 11 — Did you have any female ancestors who died young or from tragic or unexpected circumstances? Describe and how did this affect the family?

March 12 — Working girl: Did your mother or grandmother work outside the home? What did she do? Describe her occupation.

March 13 — Moment of Strength: share a story where a female ancestor showed courage or strength in a difficult situation.

March 14 — Newsmakers? Did you have a female ancestor who made the news? Why? Was she famous or notorious? Did she appear in the social column?

March 15 — Write a six-word memoir tribute to one of your female ancestors.

March 16 — If you could have lunch with any female family member (living or dead) or any famous female who would it be and why? Where would you go? What would you eat?

March 17 — Social Butterfly? What social organizations or groups did your mother or grandmother belong to? Sewing circle, church group, fraternal benefit society or lodge? Describe her role in the group.

March 18 — Shining star: Did you have a female ancestor who had a special talent? Artist, singer, actress, athlete, seamstress, or other? Describe.

March 19 — Have you discovered a surprising fact about one of your female ancestors? What was it and how did you learn it? How did you feel when you found out?

March 20 — Is there a female ancestor who is your brick wall? Why? List possible sources for finding more information.

March 21 — Describe a tender moment one of your female ancestors shared with you or another family member.

March 22 — If a famous director wanted to make a movie about one of your female ancestors who would it be? What actress would you cast in the role and why?

March 23 — Create a timeline for a female ancestor using your favorite software program or an online timeline generator such as OurTimelines. Post an image of it or link to it.

March 24 — Do you share any physical resemblance or personality trait with one of your female ancestors? Who? What is it?

March 25 — Tell how a female ancestor interacted with her children. Was she loving or supportive? A disciplinarian? A bit of both?

March 26 — What education did your mother receive? Your grandmothers? Great-grandmothers? Note any advanced degrees or special achievements.

March 27 — Do you know the immigration story of one or more female ancestors? Do you have any passenger lists, passports, or other documentation? Interesting family stories?

March 28 — Do you remember your mother’s best friend? Your grandmother’s? How and where did they meet? How long were they friends? What activities did they share?

March 29 — Create a free Fold3 Memorial Page or a Genealogy Trading Card at Big Huge Labs for a female ancestor. Some of you may have created your own card back in September 2009 following Sheri Fenley’s post over at The Educated Genealogist. This time, the card is for your female ancestor. Tell us about who you’ve selected and why and then post a link to what you’ve created.

March 30 — Did you receive any advice or words of wisdom from your mother or another female ancestor?

March 31 — Pick one female ancestor and write a mini-profile (500 words or less).

BONUS: Take all of your postings and turn them into a memory or tribute booklet for future generations.

Post an entry on your Blog when you have created your tribute. Tell us how you did it (what format, how you printed it or digitized it, etc.).

Want Even More Prompts and Tips?

If you would like additional writing prompts and tips for researching and writing about your female ancestors, pick up a copy of my eBook Fearless Females: 31 Writing Prompts to Celebrate Women’s History. Click here to order a copy and get $2.00 off the purchase price with coupon code fearless2020 (coupon good through 31 March 2020 11:59 p.m. Eastern time).

Copyright, 2020, Lisa A. Alzo

All Rights Reserved

New Year’s Sale: Save 40% on All Courses at Research, Write, Connect

If one of your 2020 goals is to learn something new about genealogy, or how to write your family history, or use Scrivener writing software, then take advantage of the special New Year’s sale and save 40% on all classes at Research, Write, Connect through Monday, 6 January 2020!  

All courses are self-paced with no set start or end dates so you can begin at a date and time that suits your schedule!

Use promo code NEWYEAR40 at checkout to claim your 40% savings!

Offer good until 11:59 p.m. Eastern Time on 6 January 2020.
  • The ABCs of DNA, regularly priced at $87.00 USD, now just $52.20 USD – click HERE to shop!

Copyright 2020, Lisa A. Alzo
All Rights Reserved

Saying Farewell to 2019: My Year in Review

As another year comes to an end, it is time to look back at 2019 and move forward into 2020!  It has been a busy year for The Accidental Genealogist, and here is my review of my favorite moments and plans for 2020!

Last year, I chose the word “Simplify” as my word for the year. I carried through on this theme both in my personal and professional life.


My mantra throughout 2019 was “Declutter/Downsize”and I did this in a big way with the sale of our house! This had been a plan for many years, and the timing was just right in 2019. In preparation for the sale, we decluttered and parted with many personal belongings. It was so freeing to finally be rid of stuff we had been saving for many years.  So, I walk into 2020 without the burden of a house or unwanted items.  We found a temporary place to rent while my husband and I plan our next steps!


I simplified my professional life by letting go of projects and engagements that no longer serve or fulfill me. Much of this will manifest in 2020. 

There were a number of highs and lows associated with my work in 2019. I have chosen to release the negative and focus on the positive.


I built my online course site Research, Write, Connect by adding several new courses on writing and genealogy throughout the year.  I also finished writing many courses for the Eastern European Genealogy Certificate for the National Institute for Genealogical Studies


I continued writing magazine articles and blog posts and worked on a few more projects of my own.  

Conferences and Webinars:  

Because of the crazy pace of my life this year, I don’t have a full tally of all the presentations I gave in 2019 but my calendar was quite busy with conferences and webinars. I expanded my international speaking resume by speaking at MyHeritage Live in Amsterdam in September and RootsTech London in October.  I presented a number of webinars for Legacy Family Tree Webinars, the Virtual Genealogical Association, and many genealogical societies/organizations. 

Family History Research:

In 2019 I had an opportunity to visit Slovakia for the third time! I did not blog about this trip because I basically went along as an observer and not a researcher. The trip was not something I had planned, but came about because I was heading to London for RootsTech and some family members decided they wanted to join me. We visited with cousins in London. My cousin J wanted to search for his paternal grandparents’ villages and so we ended up flying from London to Kosice for a few days, While there, we did tour his ancestral villages (Čičava and Vojčice)  and also had a chance to visit with our Alzo family in Kučín

Roman Catholic Church Kučín, Slovakia 2019 (Lisa A. Alzo

We also visited the village of Poša and had a chance to meet the mayor who shared with me some information to help break down a genealogy brickwall for my paternal grandmother’s side of the family.

View from cemetery, Poša, Slovakia (Lisa A. Alzo)

2020:  Let’s Go!

I have selected the word “transform” as my word for 2020. 

From the Oxford Online Dictionary:


“make a thorough or dramatic change in the form, appearance, or character of.”

While 2019 was a year to simplify various aspects of my life and work, 2020 is the year I plan to make some big changes including where I live and what type of work I do. While I don’t have all the specifics in place, I can say that I will be doing more creating/writing and online teaching, and virtual presentations. and less traveling/speaking at in-person conferences/events. 

I am also planning some changes for this blog and my blogging in general. Stay tuned!

I would like to extend a special thank you to my readers for your continued support in 2019. 

I wish you all good things for 2020!

Copyright 2019, Lisa A. Alzo, All Rights Reserved


Special Sale: Save 50% on All Courses at Research Write Connect

Now through Monday, December 2, 2019, save 50% on ALL courses at Research, Write, Connect

Take advantage of the lowest prices of the year to learn genealogy and writing at your own pace!

Writing courses include:

The Write Stuff: Telling the Story (now just $74.50) – click here to learn more!

The Write Stuff: Advancing the Story (now $74.50) – click here to learn more!

The Write Stuff: Selling the Story (now just $84.50) – click here to learn more!

Mastering Scrivener 101 (now just $89.50 ) – click here to learn more!

Genealogy Courses include:

The ABCs of DNA (now just $43.50) – click here to learn more!

Discovering Genealogy (now just $43.50) – click here to learn more!

Finding Your Female Ancestors (now just $49.50) – click here to learn more!

All courses are self-paced with NO START OR END DATES. Work through the course when it is convenient for you on your own schedule.

Click here to purchase now. Use coupon code THANKS50 at checkout. Offer expires Monday 2 December 2019 at 11:59 p.m. Eastern Time.

[Offer NOT valid on past purchases].

Thank you for supporting The Accidental Genealogist. 

Copyright 2019, Lisa A. Alzo
All Rights Reserved


Black Friday Sale: Save on Legacy Family Tree Webinar Memberships

This holiday, give yourself the gift of genealogy education! Now through 2 December 2019, you can save 50% on a Legacy Family Tree Webinar Membership.

You can learn from leading experts in the genealogy field all from the comfort of your own home! A Webinar membership provides 24/7 access to 1,000+ full-length genealogy classes PLUS all 4,600+ pages of instructors’ handouts. Regularly $49.95 now just $24.98 (new memberships only). Click here to save now!

I have presented 48 webinars for Legacy to date on a number of different topics, including Eastern European Genealogy, Writing Your Family History, Immigration, and how to use tools such as Scrivener and Trello. You can view all of my webinar titles here.

In addition, you can also take 50% off Legacy Family Tree software during this sale.

Click here to take advantage of this offer before 2 December 2019. 

Copyright 2019, Lisa A. Alzo
All Rights Reserved

[Disclosure: As a Legacy Family Tree affiliate I will receive a small commission for each webinar membership purchased. This does not increase the cost to you.Thank you for supporting The Accidental Genealogist].


Back to School Sale – Save 40% on All Courses at Research, Write, Connect

As August comes to an end, students are heading back to school. If you are looking to learn something new about genealogy, or how to write your family history, or use Scrivener writing software, then take advantage of the special back to school sale and save 40% on all classes at Research, Write, Connect through Tuesday, 3 September 2019!  

All courses are self-paced with no set start or end dates so you can begin at a date and time that suits your schedule!

Use promo code LEARN40 at checkout to claim your 40% savings!

Offer good until 11:59 p.m. Eastern Time on 3 September 2019.

  • The ABCs of DNA, regularly priced at $87.00 USD, now just $52.20 USD – click HERE to shop!

Copyright 2019, Lisa A. Alzo
All Rights Reserved