9th Annual Genealogy Conference and Cruise
The largest family history conference on the seas!

Hosted by Wholly Genes, Inc.
October 17-25, 2013

Introduction | The Speakers | The Itinerary | The Ship | Pricing | Discussion Forum


Approximately 17 hours of genealogy and technology lectures are completely software-neutral and presented by the preeminent experts in their fields

Non-competing time is set aside for TMG users who want to learn how to make the best use of that software's features and companion products.

Join us for an educational and fun-filled voyage to Maine and Canada while we learn about genealogical research methods, sources, tools, and technologies from some of the foremost experts in those fields.

You'll be among friends (old and new) and fellow researchers from around the world as you soak up new knowledge and skills through a lecture series that rivals any regional or national genealogy conference - but at one remarkably-low price that includes all meals, taxes, port charges, onboard entertainment, and conference events.

As popular as our lecture series is, many veterans of our conference value something else even more. That is the opportunity to share a meal with a world-class genealogist or to schedule one-on-one time to discuss their specific research challenges. Come armed with your records and be prepared to hear about new resources, repositories, and finding aids that will help you to break down those brick walls. Some people find these private consultations alone to be worth the trip.

Bring your spouse/companion who will find plenty to do on board while you enhance your research skills. Then spend the meals, evenings, and port days together for a truly memorable vacation!

What could be better than a cruise to Maine, Nova Scotia and New Brunswich ... and a first-class genealogy conference all rolled into one?

This event is nearly always sold out so register early to avoid missing your chance to join us!



The Speakers (Click on a name to read a longer biography for each speaker)

Continuing our tradition, this year's conference offers an all-star lineup of speakers:

David E. Rencher, AG, CG, FIGRS, FUGA

Chief Genealogical Officer for FamilySearch
Secretary of FGS
Vice President of ISBGFH
Instructor for the British Institute
Course Coordinator and Instructor at IGHR
Past President of UGA

Expert on Irish research, research methodology, and the Family History Library and related resources.


Judy G. Russell, CG, CGL

Professional Genealogist and Attorney
Lecturer, Educator, and Writer.
Blogger: The Legal Genealogist
Adjunct Faculty Member at Rutgers Law School

Expert on the law and its
effect on genealogical issues.


Laura Prescott

Past President of APG
Consultant at Fold3.com and Newspapers.com

Expert on nline resources, working with manuscript collections, and fitting technology to genealogy.

Rick Sayre, MA, CG
Professional researcher, lecturer, and author.
Course Coordinator and Instructor at IGHR
Instructor at SLIG

Expert on land records,
military records,
mapping tools, urban research,
and government documents.

Pam Boyer Sayre, CG, CGL
Professional researcher, lecturer, and writer.
Course Coordinator and Instructor at IGHR
Instructor at SLIG
Former NGS Director of Education and Publications
Former Board Member of

Expert on U.S. National
Archives (NARA) and computer tools.


Craig Scott, MA, CG
Certified genealogist, publisher,
and popular speaker.
Lecturer at
Board Member of
Member of the Editorial Board of NGS
Former Board Member of VGS and MGS

Expert on military records and printed genealogical resources.

Although the conference is sponsored by Wholly Genes, Inc., all of the lectures by the speakers above are completely software-neutral and targeted toward family researchers like you.

Non-competing time is set aside for users of The Master Genealogist (TMG) who want to learn how to make the best use of that software's features and companion products. Software presentations will be made by Bob Velke (President of Wholly Genes, Inc.). TMG Technical Support representatives and many other TMG experts will also be on hand to answer your specific questions. Our annual conference is the only time that you will find so many TMG experts in one place!


The Lectures

The following lectures will be presented:

David E. Rencher, AG, CG, FIGRS, FUGA
"Chasing the Poor and the Landless" - Defining the landless and alternate record sources is crucial for identifying the poorest of the poor. The records of the Irish poor are voluminous, but scattered throughout the country. This session helps you understand where and how to approach this particular type of problem.
"Methodology for Irish Immigration and Emigration" - This session identifies specific strategies and methodologies for solving Irish immigration and emigration problems. A number of new tools, including country-wide indexes and DNA technology open new methods for solving complex problems.
"FamilySearch Future and Vision" - FamilySearch is focusing on bringing more people to family history and creating an experience that appeals to the novice as well as the expert. Learn where FamilySearch is headed and what to expect on the FamilySearch website.
Judy Russell, CG, CGL
"Don't Forget the Ladies - A Genealogist's Guide to Women and the Law" - In early America, women were all too often the people who just weren't there: not in the records, not in the censuses, not on juries, not in the voting booth. The common law relegated women to “protected” – second-class – status and understanding how they were treated under the law provides clues to finding their identities today.
"Where There Is -- or Isn't -- a Will" - Where there's a will, there's a probate. And often when there isn't a will, there's still a probate. Understanding the process and finding the records created when our ancestors died can help break through those brick walls.
"Beyond X and Y: The Promise and Pitfalls of Autosomal DNA" - Folks have been doing YDNA and mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) testing for some time. But those tests are gender-limited. YDNA only tells you about your paternal line: your father's father's father. And mtDNA only tells you about your maternal line: your mother's mother's mother. But there's another type of DNA testing now. Autosomal DNA testing is the new kid on the block. Learn more about this exciting addition to the toolkit of 21st century genealogists. What's in it for you, and how can you make the most of this test?
Laura Prescott
"loc.gov: Using Our Nation's Library Online" - One of the most rewarding, yet overlooked, free resources online is loc.gov, the website for Library of Congress. Explore maps, diaries, books, manuscripts, photos, and many more treasures from our nation’s history. It’s much cheaper than a trip to Washington, DC, yet more rewarding than many of the sites genealogists typically use, as it provides a dimension of social history to your research. Visits to loc.gov will immerse you in U.S. history, with national treasures as the lure.
"The Rest of the Story: Using Manuscripts to Create a Family History" - Manuscripts, memorabilia, and artifacts stored within the special collections departments of libraries, museums, and universities around the nation are some of the most underused resources available to genealogists. These are resources not found online, although references to them can be discovered there, and some repositories are making efforts to digitize them. Probing special collections requires more energy, time, and patience than the average genealogist is accustomed to, but the rewards are often beyond expectations. Participants will learn how to be productive in identifying appropriate collections, what to expect during a visit, and how to use the resources most effectively. Particular examples, some humorous, some disappointing, some triumphant, will be elaborated upon.
"Timelines:  Placing Your Heritage in Historical Perspective" - This topic stresses the importance of placing ancestors within their historical, social, and political environment. Events and customs shaped their lives. If we understand where they fit in and the circumstances that impacted their lives, we understand a little more about who they were, where they lived, what they did, and how they interacted with colleagues, peers, and relations. Some genealogy software programs have basic timeline potential. Excel spreadsheets, basic word processing programs, and mapping software can also add to a better understanding of a person's place in history. All these possibilities will be reviewed and applied.
Rick Sayre, MA, CG
"The Latest in Land Records" - A thorough examination of the U.S. General Land Office (GLO) website as it nears maturity will reveal the millions of land records accessible from this site. Learn about the latest offerings related to land from FamilySearch. The Library of Congress has made the scanning of land ownership maps its number-one priority—see how these maps can help in your research. New websites such as HistoryGeo.com and Historic Mapworks are some examples to be explored.
"The Latest in Online Mapping Tools" - Learn about the exploding world of online mapping tools. The major map websites, David Rumsey.com and the Library of
Congress to name just two, continue to add maps of use to genealogists. Rumsey is up to 37,000 maps online—all in high resolution and downloadable. Map applications (Geographic Information Systems) abound that can help us find ancestral homelands. Ask About Ireland, English Jurisdictions, and city applications for Pittsburgh and Cleveland are examples. Other tools highlighted include DeedMapper, IrfanView, Newberry Library’s Atlas of Historical County Boundaries, and more.
"Cool Tools for the Cemetery" - Attendees will discover tools to capture and record headstone information. Locate cemeteries and graves and put them on an appropriate map or digital device. Understand the differences of popular websites - Billion Graves, Find a Grave, and Internment.net. Explore the various websites that record military deaths, to include the Veterans Administration grave locator, the American Battle Monuments Commission, and the new ANC Explorer developed by Arlington National Cemetery.
Pam Sayre, CG, CGL
"Tech Toys and Tools" (2hrs) - Today’s technology often uses an integrated approach that
enables sharing of your e-mail, address book, family tree, todo lists, and more among your desktop computer, smartphone, and tablet. If you feel left behind when others rave about their new device and the cool programs or apps they use, this two-hour session is for you!
"I'd Kill for a New England Ancestor" - Whether your ancestor is a biscuit-eating Tennessee farmer or an Indian pudding aficionado from Maine, whether his records can be found in the county courthouse or the town hall, there are patterns that can help you find the right ancestor. There are some major differences in researching rural Southern ancestors and those blessed with New England ancestry. This session explores some of those differences and how they affect research, from dialects to food and counties to towns.
Craig Scott, MA, CG
"Pension Ledgers: An Interesting Census" - Pension ledgers provide access to pension payment vouchers, last and final payment vouchers and information about the movement of pensioners from pension agency to pension agency.
"Quaker Migration" - There are specific patterns of migration of Quaker families out of Pennsylvania to the south and west, from the south to the northwest as a function of time period and for a variety of reasons.
"Finding Aids in the National Archives" - Finding Aids may be the easiest way to learn of and how to access materials in the National Archives. They appear in a variety of forms and practices. Using them will make your research more efficient and less expensive.

The lecture schedule is available for download here.

Other Events

All speakers will be available for a limited number of one-on-ones (private 15-minute consultations) and hosted breakfasts (casual meals at a table of eight). Other special events are also planned, including two cocktail parties, the ever-popular late-night "Brick Wall" group discussions with Craig Scott, and more.


SPECIAL: An optional research trip to the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) in Washington D.C. is also being planned by Craig Scott for attendees who will arrive in the Baltimore area by Monday, October 14th.


On four Wednesday evenings prior to the conference (Sept. 18, Sept. 25, Oct. 2, and Oct. 9 at 9pm EDT), Craig will conduct online meetings about how to make the most of the resources at the National Archives. For those who arrive at the pre-conference hotel by Monday evening (Oct. 14th), he will also have an in-person evening session for those who missed one or more of the online meetings. He will then be hosting all-day field trips to D.C. on the two days prior to the cruise (Tues 15th, and Wed 16th) during which he will be available for one-on-one consultations at NARA.


Space is limited and the cost is $60 per person (or $30 per day) which includes attendance to the preceding online meetings and Craig's expert advice throughout the day. There will be a modest additional fee (perhaps $15 per person each way) for door-to-door bus service which is being arranged from the conference hotel in Columbia, Maryland to the research entrance at the National Archives. You'll be on your own for meals but there is a cafeteria at NARA and many other options in D.C., of course. Optional travel within D.C. (e.g., to the DAR and/or LOC) is available by subway but that cost is also not included.


Attendees may register for one or two days in D.C.


Guided field trips to Annapolis and the Gettysburg battlefield on Oct 14th, 15th, and 16th are also being considered for spouses or other interested cruise participants. The cost is $30 per person per day excluding meals.


Registration for all of these special events is independent of the conference/cruise. If you would like to participate in the field trips to D.C., Annapolis, or Gettysburg, please write to cruise@whollygenes.com.



The Itinerary

Journey with us to New England and two of the Eastern provinces of Canada. Spend your port days exploring the local sites, wandering the street markets, or soaking up the local color. You can go on a nature expedition, take an historic tour, go lobster fishing and seal watching, or choose from a long list of other optional guided shore excursions.



Port of Call



Thurs, Oct 17

Baltimore, Maryland


4:00 pm

Fri, Oct18

At Sea

All Day

Sat, Oct 19

Portland, Maine

11:30 am

7:00 pm

Sun, Oct 20

Bar Harbor, Maine

8:00 am

6:00 pm

Mon, Oct 21 Saint John, New Brunswick, Canada
7:00 am
4:00 pm

Tue, Oct 22

Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada

10:00 am

7:00 pm

Wed, Oct 23

At Sea

All Day

Thurs, Oct 24

At Sea

All Day

Fri, Oct 25 Baltimore, Maryland
7:00 am


The Ship

The Grandeur of the Seas is a Vision Class ship that owned by Royal Caribbean and has a capacity of 2446 guests and 760 crew member. It was completely remodeled and refurbished in 2012 and now includes the latest amenities such as flat-screen TVs, a full-service spa, outdoor movie screen, and a seemingly endless choice of bars and restaurants.

In addition to the Main Dining Room with waiters and multi-course meals, there is the Windjammer Cafe, Solarium Cafe, Park Cafe, Viking Crown Lounge, room service, and other dining options. $pecialty restaurants include a steakhouse, and Italian restaurant, and an Asian restaurant.*


Sporting and exercise venues include two pools (including an adults-only retreat), four additional whirlpools, an outdoor jogging track, a rock-climbing wall, and more.


A long list of entertainment options includes a broadway-style theater, lounge entertainers, a casino, and a variety of duty-free boutiques.


And for those who can't stand to be out of touch, there's an Internet Cafe, as well as wireless Internet in staterooms and throughout the ship.

The youth, toodler, and infant-care programs keep children engaged, entertained, and occupied.

* Specialty dining restaurants and late-night room service will incur a cover charge.

Helpful Links


Prices start at $1099.67 (inside cabin, double occupancy) subject to availability. That includes food, port fees and taxes, shipboard entertainment, and attendance to all conference lectures and group events. The price does NOT include travel to/from Baltimore, alcohol, tips, optional trip insurance, or optional guided shore excursions.

The ship has a very limited quantity of balcony staterooms so those are priced at a premium. But the ocean-view cabins have a large bay window (not just a porthole) and are very reasonably priced.

A pre- and post-cruise hotel is available at group rates for those who want them. Roommate-matching assistance may also be available. Please see our Seeking Roommate forum or tell the travel agent if you need help finding a roommate.

Cabin type
per person*
(as of 19 Apr 2013)
Inside Cabin $1099.67
Inside Cabin (single occ.) $1697.67
Ocean View $1395.67
Ocean View (single occ.) $2284.67
Balconies and suites Please contact Julie as described to the right.

Except as noted, all prices are based on double occupancy. Other accommodation choices may be available. Contact our Cruise Web agent for details.


Travel insurance is available at a group rate and may cover the cancellation fee under certain conditions.

To make your reservation, download this registration form:

Then print it and send the completed form to our group travel agent by fax (240-487-0153) or scan and email it to Juliea@cruiseweb.com.

If you do not get a confirmation within 24 hours (or you have any other questions or concerns), please call The Cruise Web toll free between 9am and 5pm Eastern (M-F) at 1-800-377-9383 and press "2" for the special Wholly Genes reservation hotline.

During business hours, a bank of operators is standing by but the reservation line is expected to be busy at times. If you are asked to leave a message, your place in line will be preserved and an operator will return your call.

My Cart

Your shopping cart is empty.