Curious about your family history?

'A Meeting of Souls,' a painting by local artist Madeline Carol is the image for the 2011 National Genealogical Society Family History Conference.

Charlestonians who are interested in genealogy, but not registered for the National Genealogical Society's 2011 Family History Conference, can attend special Saturday sessions.

The conference, which takes place Wednesday through Saturday , is the largest of its kind in the country and expected to draw 2,000 people.

"Where the Past is Still Present," this year's conference, is hosted locally by the South Carolina Genealogical Society, and will take place at the Charleston Area Convention Center.

The Saturday workshops are designed to give local residents opportunities to acquire and sharpen genealogical research skills.

In addition, "The Hunley - Where Science and History Come Together to Tell Time," by Sen. Glenn McConnell, chairman of the Hunley Commission, takes place at 8 a.m. Saturday in S401.

The Saturday workshops in the conference program will be held in the exhibit hall and include the following:

"Genealogy 101: Getting Started With Family History," teaches how to begin researching, keep information organized and where to turn for more help.

The $50 session will cover print and electronic information sources, as well as interviewing family members. It takes place from 9:30 a.m. to 4 p.m.

"Genealogy 201: Working With Records," a half-day session, is designed for those with at least basic genealogical research skills. It will cover techniques and tips for using information from a range of sources. The $25 session covers evaluating and organizing information, and developing plans for future research. It takes place from 9 a.m. to noon.

Kids' Kamp for 8- to 16-year-olds will teach about researching family history through activities targeted to age groups. One session will focus on earning scouting's genealogical badges. The free program takes place from 9 a.m. to noon.

This year, a track called Family History Skills, has been added to the conference schedule for beginners. The remaining 11 tracks include skills building, military records, research methodology, ethnic research and religious records. Nearly two dozen of the conferences' 180-plus lecture sessions focus on the Southeast, about 10 of them on the Carolinas.

On-site conference registration is $210 for members; $245, for non-members; and $100 per day. Admission to the exhibit hall, open Wednesday, 9:30 a.m.-5 p.m.; Thursday, 9 a.m.-7 p.m.; Friday 9 a.m.-5 p.m.; and Saturday, 9 a.m.-3 p.m., is free. For more information, visit

Reach Wevonneda Minis at 937-5705.