Previous Programs

Regular Meetings

Pastfinders invites a speaker to its monthly meetings. The subject varies but generally covers history or genealogy. Program details of previous meetings may be found by clicking on the date in the table below. Members are encouraged to prepare and present a program on a subject of their choice.

1/10/02 Fred Wettering presented Intelligence in the Revolutionary War. 2/14/02 Robert H. Moody told us about the Sons of the American Revolution 3/14/02 The History of Clermont was presented by long time resident, Oakley Seaver
4/11/02 Tamra Butler, director of the Family History Center at the Mormon Church told us about the Center's genealogy programs and resources. 5/9/02 We held an Antiques Road show evening with Doug White of A-1 Auctions in Orlando appraising items brought in by members. Genealogy Class Loretta Kotzmoyer held a genealogy class on June 13, 2002 for beginners and experts alike. Bob Dill discussed computers in genealogy. We only cover the computer portion here.
9/12/02 We held a Round Robin where members related their genealogical experiences. 10/10/02 Thomas Brown came up with his version of Life in Clermont after which Pastfinders held its biennial election. 11/14/02 We watched a video tape of How to Find a Wife's Maiden Name by David Dearborn of the New England Historic Genealogical Society.
12/12/02 We held our annual Christmas Dinner at the Monarch Golf Course and were treated once again to an evening of appraisals by Doug White of A-1 Auctions. 1/09/03 Our member, Mary Page presented a program about an ancestor of hers who was returning from the Andersonville prision after the Civil War on the ship Sultana that exploded. Fascinating story. 2/13/03. Our member, Marilyn Knight presented a story of her search for ancestors that led through cemeteries until she found a gravestone for an ancestor who died in the War of 1812. Summary not yet available.
3/13/03 Our member, Dr.James Peacock gave us a presentation on preparing a genealogy and the importance of deeds in the research of one's ancestors. 4/10/03 Jan Carol Sabin, a local author gave us a presentation on creating a family history. Jan is a mystery writer and she suggested ways to write our life history and make it interesting. What would you like to know about your great grandparents? Those are the kinds of things to include. Watch for a more detailed update. 5/08/03 Old documents have handwriting that is not easy to interpret partly because the pen (quill) may make lines that are not always clear but mostly because letters were formed diferently during different periods of time. We watched a video on how to read Early American Handwriting.
9/11/03 Back from a summer break, members were eager to share their summer experiences 1/8/04 Lance Belcher, who previously portrayed a Civil War doctor, this time enlightened us with a very realistic presentation of a Civil War infantry man. Lance's knowledge of that period in our history is exceptional. 2/12/04 Old family pictures present a challenge to anyone trying to identify who everyone is. Dotty Dill provided us help in that direction with "Who Are These People", a repeat and update of a program done several years ago.
10/21/04 Middle school student Matthew Griffin entertained Pastfinders and guests with a presentation on the slaves who fled and joined the Seminole Nation as "Black Seminoles". 11/18/04 Judge Donna Miller, dressed as Abigail Adams, read letters from her husband John and letters that she had written to him while he served as a member of the Constitutional Convention in Philadelphia. Her emotions clearly showed how Abigail felt about events as they unfolded. 2/10/05 Bob Dill presented a program on Maps in Genealogy drawing on his and his wife's experiences in Nova Scotia and New England. Also covered were several Government sites and other sources of maps and map information.
10/13/05 Bob Dill presented a program on genealogy software dealing mostly with what's new in FamilyTreeMaker 2005.. There were a few extras at the end of the program. 1/12/06 We had a program that covered the CD that was created for Pastfinders and then proceeded to discuss methods for removing unwanted data and programs from your computer. 3/9/2006 Our member, Betty Morris gave us a great presentation on DNA especially as it relates to the inheritance of mental and physical disorders. There are valuable links to other sites here as well.
10/12/2006 Dr. Jim Peacock gave a presentation on records in general but with an emphasis on Court, Probate and Land Records. his presentation may seen by clicking the date, above. 2/8/2007 We met at the Family History Center and Director Terry Mason told us about what types of records are available and how to get them and he told us of the ambitious projects that the LDS Church has in store for the future. One project is indexing the 1900 census to make it free. 3/8/2007 Phil Cross give us an excellent presentation on Central Florida railroads with a large emphasis on south Lake County. Principal railroads were the Tavares and Gulf and the Orange Belt Railroads.
4/12/2007 Delores Walker and Janet Thomas told us about the South Lake County Historical Society's Oral History Program. They told us how it started, the equipment that they use, how they conduct interviews and what they learned at a recent Oral History Workshop. 10/11/2007 Judge Singletary's family has been in Florida a long time; his father's family came before the Civil War and his mother's just after. He had a lot to tell us about his family history and the great aunt that preserved so much history. 11/9/2007 Patricia Charpentier who conducts writing classes on genealogy told us about the benefits of preparing our own life story to leave for those that follow.
1/10/2008 Our member, Mary Joy Wells followed up on our November meeting where we learned about writing our family history with information on how to get it published. She told about what can be done at http://www.hardboundheritage.com .2/14/2008 Our member Jan Ciafilo, who writes mystery stories under the name of Jan Carol Sabin continued our discussion on writing and publishing. She discussed laws about writing, suggested some books and told of ways to market our product. 3/11/2008 We were rewarded with a repeat performance but high school student Matthew Griffin who told us about the run away slaves that joined with the Seminole Indians and became known as the Black Seminoles.
4/10/2008 We learned about the new joint use library being planned in conjunction with Lake Sumter College in a presentation given by our member and president of the Friends of the Library, Jody Close. We're going to have a lot more room. 5/8/2008 Amy Larner Giroux gave us a presentation on finding your ancestor's tombstone. She started with historic burial methods to present day methods of using GPS and the Internet to find cemeteries. Her handout for the presentation is included. 10/9/2008 Judge Singletary again told of of his family, this time concentrating on three brothers who were officers in the Civil War, one of being his great grandfather. It was a very well done presentation and he showed us copies of some of the numerous documents that he recived on the men from the National Archives.
11/13/2008 Elmer Spear, owner of Elmer's Library in Madison, Florida told us about his library that, he says, has more books on many subjects than the Orlando Library. Madison is a three hour ride north from Clermont. 1/8/2009 Dotty Dill presented How and Why Did They End Up in Podunk, the story of the migration across the US as a lead in to having members present how their families moved toward the west and south. 2/12/09 Norma Heffron read the story she had written about her mother's family from Ohio and illustrated it with a slide show. The family homes looked like and were called castles. A nice example of Writing Your Family's History.
4/9/2009 Bob Grenier, Lake County Historical Society member and author of two books about Florida's history -  "Woodlea: Life on the Lake of the Dancing Sunbeams" and "Florida's Forgotten Pioneer: May 14, 2009 Click the date for a our presentation of a review of our home page. Dot Wassmann who, because of circumstances didn't know anything about her family and started a search with very little to go on. An interesting story of putting the pieces together. October 8, 2009 We were presented a program on the invention of landed property, it's use in America to attract new settlers and it's sale by the Government to raise money and settle the West. Involved in this process was the creation of a standard for land dimensions and the proper way to measure it.
September 9, 2010 Betsy Ross visited Pastfinders and told us her life story. She also showed us how to create a five pointed star with one clip of the scissors. It was a very nice presentation and was enjoyed by all. October 14, 2010  Our member, Fred Wettering told us what characteristics in individuals may lead them to become spies against their own country. The list of traits that he discussed and some of the spies, past and recent are presented here.