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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 Seminar + Special Event
The GSBC holds several special events, including our day-long Seminar and late-night GSBC-Ridgewood Public Library Lock-In—where genealogists can attend talks on a variety of subjects, collaborate on problems, socialize over a light supper, and receive one-on-one research assistance. Additional event fee may apply. Discount for GSBC members.

GSBC Classes + Genealogy Courses at Bergen Community College
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.


Silent Voices: Telling Stories of Your Female Immigrant Ancestors
Jan 25 @ 7:00 pm – 8:30 pm

GSBC General Meeting (Online!)
Silent Voices: Telling Stories of Your Female Immigrant Ancestors
Monday, 25 January @ 7pm (EST)
Free Online Webinar—All Experience Levels are Welcome

Presenter: Lisa Alzo

Most historical records have been created for and/or about men, making it more challenging to research and write about female ancestors. This session will include: effective ways to discover your female ancestors and how to document the important roles their lives played in culture/society;various methods for writing about your female ancestors (from short, informative bio sketches or profiles to writing a complete book); and a discussion of options for publishing your family history.


Lisa Ann Alzo, MFA earned a Master of Fine Arts degree in Nonfiction Writing from the University of Pittsburgh in 1997 and has been an avid genealogist for 26 years. She has published articles in Ancestry MagazineDiscovering Family History Magazine, Family Chronicle , Family Tree Magazine , Genealogical Computing, Reunions Magazine, NGSNews Magazine, Reunions Magazine, Western Pennsylvania History Magazine, FEEFHS Journal and Rocenka: Journal of the Czechoslovak Genealogical Society International, The Association of Professional Genealogists Quarterly. Alzo currently teaches online genealogy courses for Family Tree University and the National Institute for Genealogical Studies. She is the recipient of the 2002 Mary Zirin Prize given by the Association for Women in Slavic Studies to recognize the achievements of independent scholars, and is a frequently invited speaker for national conferences, genealogical and historical societies.

21st Century Italian Genealogy… with a New Jersey Focus
Feb 22 @ 7:00 pm – 8:30 pm

GSBC General Meeting (Online!)
21st Century Italian Genealogy… with a New Jersey focus
Monday, 22 February @ 7pm (EST)
Free Online Webinar—All Experience Levels are Welcome

Presented by Michael Cassara

There has never been a better time to do Italian genealogical research! With more and more records now available online, this talk provides a strong overview for the beginning researcher, while including some lesser-known resources that will be of interest to even the most advanced researchers. In addition to providing an overview of Italian research, Michael will offer a special spotlight on Italian-American research in New Jersey. With deep Paterson roots, Michael has conducted extensive research throughout the Garden State. New Jersey's rich and under-utilized resources for Italian-American genealogy will be explored, with content specifically customized for the GSBC.


Michael Cassara, has been pursuing genealogical research (for himself and others) for over twenty years. He is a member of the Genealogical Speakers Guild and is available to speak at genealogy conferences, society meetings, and other events. Based in New York City, he travels regularly to present on a number of different topics. Most recently he has presented at RootsTech, the largest family history conference in the world. In 2014 he presented one of his most popular lectures, “Putting Things in their Place: Paying it forward in the digital age” and he followed it up at RootsTech 2015 with a standing-room-only presentation on “21st Century Italian Genealogy.” Cassara’s 2016 RootsTech presentation, “Cemetery Crowdsourcing,” was filmed and is available for viewing on He is a member of the Association of Professional Genealogists (APG) and holds a Certificate in Genealogical Research from Boston University. He serves on the board of the Italian Genealogical Group, currently serving as its First Vice President. He blogs about genealogy at

Part Two: “Picturing” Your Research—Finding, Procuring, and Preserving Images (Revised, in two parts)
Mar 2 @ 2:00 pm – 3:30 pm

GSBC Extra
“Picturing” Your Research—Finding, Procuring, and Preserving Images (Revised, in two parts)
Monday, 8 March @ 2pm

Free Online Webinar—All Experience Levels are Welcome

Presented by Michelle D. Novak

Did you realize that you have a UNIQUE archive in your house right now? Your family photos! Your research can come alive with images but finding, scanning, and preserving them can be a daunting prospect. In this series, we’ll explore using images in your research—from the view of Michelle D. Novak, a brand designer, photographer, and Masters of Information candidate at Rutgers University. (P.S., It’s her favorite topic!)

Part one (Monday, 11 January @ 2pm) will focus on how to understand and preserve the images you may have lingering in your photo albums and shoeboxes. We’ll also look at ways to find images in online collections, how photos can bring deeper meaning to your research, introduce some archival supplies to preserve your originals for future generations, and look at how to connect with members of your family through with photos.
PART ONE will be available in the GSBC Members' section shortly after broadcast. 

Part two of this series (Monday, 8 March @ 2pm) will be all about scanning, retouching, and organizing images. Novak will walk us through how to scan images like a pro, some dos and don’ts of retouching, introduce some basic concepts to organize your images, and peek at some tools that can help you identify the people in them. It’s an exciting, ever-evolving world—and one that can bring your family research to life.

Michelle D. Novak is a brand designer at [MND] ( which serves finserv, education, and technology; genealogist; and teacher. She is a Master of Information student at Rutgers University, holds a BFA from RISD, and certificates from BU, Gen-Fed, and GRIP. Novak is Trustee and Webmaster for the Genealogical Society of Bergen County (GSBC) and a former Trustee of the Genealogical Society of New Jersey. She also serves as Project Administrator for the GSNJ-NJSA New Jersey Early Land Records Project (; Editor of the GSBC’s national award-winning newsletter, “The Archivist;” and is involved with numerous transcription, indexing, publicity, and digitization projects.