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GSBC Meetings, Special Events, and Classes

GSBC Meetings + Presentations
GSBC Meetings are held every 4th Monday of the month (except holidays and December). General Meetings include a brief business meeting. Meetings start promptly at 7pm in the Ridgewood Public Library Auditorium, 125 N. Maple Ave., Ridgewood, NJ. Phone (201) 670-5600 (see map, above), unless otherwise noted. Your membership dues directly supports this programming and allows us to host speakers on a wide variety of topics — thank you!

GSBC Special Events + Seminars
The GSBC holds several special events, including our day-long Annual Seminar and late-night RPL Lock-In—where genealogists can attend talks on a variety of subjects, collaborate on problems, and receive one-on-one research assistance. Additional event fee may apply. Discount for GSBC members.

GSBC Classes + Ridgewood Public Library Programs
The Bolger Heritage Center at the Ridgewood Public Library holds events on local history and genealogy-focused computer classes. Ridgewood residents and GSBC members receive a discount on these events. Included in the calendar below are RPL classes of interest to genealogists and local researchers. Please check the full RPL calendar for class information, fees, registration, cancellations, and for classes on other topics. All registration is through the Ridgewood Public Library calendar or by calling (201) 670-5600.

Additionally, the GSBC holds in-depth courses, for those 55 and older, at Bergen Community College, Institute for Learning and Retirement (BCC-ILR). Please check our calendar for registration dates, visit the BCC-ILR website, or contact BCC-ILR at 201-447-7156.

Below is our complete calendar showing all Meetings, Events, Seminars. Library Programs and Classes. Use the Category filter below to hide the events in a specific category.


Franklin’s Family in New Jersey @ Ridgewood Public Library
Jan 28 @ 7:00 pm – 9:00 pm

GSBC Annual Meeting + Presentation
Monday, 28 January, 7pm
Ridgewood Public Library—All Are Welcome

Franklin’s Family in New Jersey

Everyone knows the story of Benjamin Franklin’s son William, the last colonial governor of New Jersey. But this is not the only familial connection to the state. New Jerseyans have been members of his family since the 18th century. Their stories involved piecing together information from a myriad of sources both public and private so that they can be told.

Free and open to the public—all are welcome. 

Michael Leclerc, CG, is an internationally renowned genealogist. He has authored numerous articles for genealogy magazines and scholarly journals, and is a popular presenter at conferences and seminars around the world. He has appeared as an expert in major media, such as the Boston Globe, Huffington Post, the New York Times, and Time magazine.

Michael worked in a variety of capacities at the New England Historic Genealogical Society for 17 years. Among the major projects he oversaw was quadrupling the size of the microtext holdings; publication of 16 CDs; multiple versions of the website, including expansions to include searchable databases; collaborative efforts to produce displays on the Pilgrims for Plimoth Plantation; and multiple book and other publications. In 2012 he joined Mocavo as Chief Genealogist. After the successful sale of Mocavo to FindMyPast, Michael left there in 2015. He then started Genealogy Professor, where he works to provide intermediate and advanced educational opportunities to those researching their family history.

Class: Cemetery Research @ Ridgewood Public Library
Feb 11 @ 2:00 pm – 3:15 pm
Class: Intro to
Monday, 11 February, 2pm
Ridgewood Public Library Computer Room
Instructor: Joe Suplicki

What is beyond the site Find a Grave? In this class you'll learn about using cemetery transcriptions in your genealogy research, and the most effect way to visit cemeteries to gather information.

Registration and fee required ($5 Ridgewood residents and GSBC members; $10 visitors)
Please note that advanced registration is required and classes fill up quickly. Classes are small-scale sessions held at the RPL. Classes that do not receive sufficient advanced registration are subject to cancellation or rescheduling—so don’t delay to reserve your seat! Classes last from 1.0 to 1.5 hours depending on instructor and time for Q&A needed.
Finding Your Immigrant Ancestor @ Ridgewood Public Library
Feb 25 @ 7:00 pm – 9:00 pm

GSBC Annual Meeting + Presentation
Monday, 25 February, 7pm
Ridgewood Public Library—All Are Welcome

Finding Your Immigrant Ancestor

How do you find those ancestors who immigrated from the Old Country? Shipping manifests can contain valuable information about that ancestor and where they came from. And if we are unsure when they came to America, the naturalization papers and petitions can often fill that gap. Find out more about finding and interpreting these interesting records.

Free and open to the public—all are welcome. 

Fred Voss is a professional genealogical researcher, educator, and lecturer. He holds a Certificate of Genealogical Research from Boston University and frequently lectures at libraries and genealogical societies. Voss volunteers at Ellis Island, leading tours of the recently re-opened hospitals on the island’s South-side, and teaches genealogy at Bergen Community College in New Jersey. Voss graduated from Boston College with a B.A. in Mathematics. He has worked for 40+ years in the computer industry and spent the last 25 years specializing in Internet Security.

The Beauty of Cemeteries @ Wyckoff Public Library
Feb 26 @ 7:00 pm – 8:30 pm

February 26, 2019 @ 7:00 pm
Peggy Norris and Joe Suplicki
Wyckoff Public Library, 200 Woodland Ave., Wyckoff
Refreshments at 7:00 pm; Program begins at 7:30 pm and ends at 8:30 pm

The Beauty of Cemeteries

Local historians, Peggy Norris and Joe Suplicki will present a program focusing on century old—and older—local cemeteries and their importance for genealogy research and family ancestry discoveries. The program will also provide information on area cemeteries including the Union Cemetery in Wyckoff with headstones dating to the 1700s.

Class: Organizing Your Genealogical Records @ Ridgewood Public Library
Mar 21 @ 7:00 pm – 8:15 pm

Class: Organizing Your Genealogical Records
Thursday, 21 March, 7pm
Ridgewood Public Library Computer Lab
Instructor: Fred Voss

Successful genealogy takes skill, hard work, and luck. And it is so much easier if you are organized. We will talk about various approaches to organizing your files, photos, and papers, so that you can find them when you really need them. Remember, the best method of organizing for YOU is the one that you are most comfortable using.

Registration and small fee required ($5 for Ridgewood residents and GSBC members; $10 for visitors).

Register early—this class usually sells out!

Using the New Jersey Room at the Jersey City Free Public Library for Genealogical Research @ Ridgewood Public Library
Mar 25 @ 7:00 pm – 9:00 pm

GSBC Annual Meeting + Presentation
Monday, 25 March, 7 PM
Ridgewood Public Library—All Are Welcome

Using the New Jersey Room at the Jersey City Free Public Library for Genealogical Research

Hundreds of years before Ellis Island welcomed millions of immigrants from 1892 to 1954, the village of Bergen, the oldest municipality in New Jersey, was home to some of the earliest European settlers. Since then, Jersey City has welcomed families from around the world. Some spent only a short time there while others settled down for decades, over generations, in the Jersey City and greater Hudson County area.

The New Jersey Room contains collections about New Jersey with an emphasis on Jersey City and Hudson County. The collection, numbering about 20,000 volumes, includes both current and historical information. In addition to books, the New Jersey Room has a complete collection of all published Jersey City/Hoboken city directories dating from 1849 to 1925; an index for the Jersey Journal for the years 1912–1954 and 1969 to the present, a picture collection of over 13,000 images; hundreds of historic and contemporary maps; over 150 periodicals; manuscript collections; and several thousand topical files. A wide array of material—from 17th century handwritten documents to name-indexed Hudson County high school yearbooks (1,450 and counting)—awaits you.

Learn more about this important repository!

Free and open to the public—all are welcome. 

Cynthia Tosatto Harris has worked for the City of Jersey City since she was 21 years old and is still working for the City 45 years later. She was first a public schoolteacher at PS # 14 and 27. A second career began when she became Manager of the New Jersey Room of the Jersey City Free Public Library in 2001.

Find Your Family! GSBC Family History Day @ Ridgewood Public Library
Mar 30 all-day

GSBC Annual Meeting + Presentation
Saturday, 30 March 2019
Ridgewood Public Library—All Are Welcome


Find Your Family! GSBC Family History Day

Join the GSBC as we present a special day of family history fun and welcome new researchers to discover their family. Whether you are just beginning or have skills that need a boost—everyone is welcome. 

We’ll be announcing a program shortly, welcoming some of our most popular speakers and topics, and have a day of events for the whole family.

Save the date—details to come!

Free and open to the public—all are welcome. 


BCC ILR Course: Family History 101 @ Bergen Community College
Apr 3 @ 1:00 pm – 3:00 pm

Join GSBC for an exciting and informative course at the Institute for Learning in Retirement (ILR) at Bergen Community College (note that ILR is for those 55 and older). Registration opens in September (see links below) and classes may fill up fast. Contact the college at 201-447-7156 or for more information.

GSBC Spring Course at BCC ILR—Family History 101

How to get started researching your family, what are some of the different resources types available and where can you find them, and how to put it all together. Classes will be taught by GSBC Education Chair Fred Voss at Bergen Community College’s Institute for Learning in Retirement (55+). 

Dates: Five sessions, Wednesday April 3, 10, 17, 24, and May 1, 2019
Time: 1:00–3:00 pm
Instructor: Fred Voss; this course is sponsored by the Genealogical Society of Bergen County
Prerequisite: None
Online Catalog:

Registration Opens: Registration link to come (usually a month before classes begin) at or contact 201-447-7156

Information and registration via the ILR web site at

From the ILR Catalog

The ILR office is located in the Technology Education Center (TEC), Room TEC115. The TEC building is next to the Pitkin Education Center (Pitkin), main building. ILR courses are held in various classrooms on all campuses. Classroom locations are posted daily in Pitkin at the Welcome Counter by the Student Center entrance and the IT Help Desk by the Public Safety area as well as outside room TEC115. There is also a recorded, room assignment message updated every Sunday afternoon, call (201) 447-7156 then press 2 after the voice message begins.

ILR Registration
Registration will only be available about a month before the start of the course. Visit next choose the day and course that piques your interest, then click the registration button. Payment is by credit card only. The fall 2018 membership fee is $125.00. The ILR does not issue refunds.

Your membership fee entitles you to choose up to 4 courses.
** The ILR is very popular and space is limited, so please only sign up for classes you plan to attend and only attend classes for which you are registered. **

Through the Golden Door: Immigration After the Civil War @ Ridgewood Public Library
Apr 22 @ 7:00 pm – 9:00 pm

GSBC Annual Meeting + Presentation
Monday, 22 April, 7pm
Ridgewood Public Library—All Are Welcome

Through the Golden Door: Immigration After the Civil War

America’s doors were open to all before the Civil War, with few restrictions. Afterwards, the laws began tightening, with exclusions, quotas, even required visas. How did the immigration laws affect your ancestors who immigrated after the Civil War? What hoops did they have to jump through to enter America’s “golden door”?

Free and open to the public—all are welcome. 

Judy G. Russell, JD, CG, CGL