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Upcoming History, Genealogy, and Social Science Seminars

This list is of upcoming seminars only. Since most seminars meet more than once in a term, if a class has already met at least once, it will no longer show up on this list. To find a seminar that has already started or has finished, use the calendar and set the date range to include the seminar's starting date.

Saturday, March 7, 2015
An Introduction to DNA for Kinship
Led by Marsha Peterson-Maass

Seminar Description

Whether you have taken any DNA tests or not, this seminar will give you the information and tools to understand mtDNA, Y-DNA, and atDNA test results including haplogroups and ethnicity and cousin matches. We will also discuss options for kinship results and networking beyond the offerings of the three leading testing companies.

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Starting: Monday, March 9, 2015
Thursdays, March 19 - April 23
1865 - 1914: Remaking America, Birthing an Empire
Led by Brooke Heagerty

Seminar Description

The Civil War ended the old order in a violent conflagration. How was America to be remade? We will examine this remaking—a turbulent, violent struggle over vision, power, and the meaning of America. Topics include the growth of the new industrial order, the struggle to reshape America along more democratic lines, the creation of a new...


Saturday, March 14, 2015
With Firmness in the Right: The Moral History of the Civil War
Led by Joseph Harrington

Seminar Description

The American Civil War was as much a clash of moral visions as a fight over political doctrines or economic systems. In this seminar, participants will discuss how Northerners and Southerners saw the moral stakes of the conflict, and whether the ends, both as perceived and actually achieved by the combatants, justified the often ruthless...


Starting: Saturday, March 28, 2015
Saturdays, March 28 – May 2 (class will not meet April 4)
This class has been cancelled.
An Introduction to Western European Surnames
Led by Jack Shreve

Seminar Description

What mysteries of the past can be unlocked by your family’s last names? This seminar provides an introduction to the surnames of Western Europe, which derive from family lineage, occupations, nicknames, and placenames. In addition to a primary focus on English, French, German, Italian, and Spanish, we will touch on Jewish surnames, as well as...


Starting: Saturday, March 28, 2015
Saturdays, March 28 - May 23 (class will not meet April 4 or May 2)
Registration is full. Call (312) 255-3700 for the waitlist.
Best Addresses: Notable Residential Streets in Chicago
Led by Diane Dillon

Seminar Description

Through a series of walking tours, this seminar will explore some of Chicago’s “best addresses” —residential streets known for significant domestic architecture, notable residents, or historical events. Examples will be drawn from a variety of neighborhoods, including Prairie Avenue, the Gold Coast, Streeterville, Lake Shore...


Starting: Saturday, April 11, 2015
Saturdays, April 11 - May 2
Genetic Genealogy
Led by Karen Stanbary

Seminar Description

The use of DNA testing is exploding in the genealogy field. All genealogists know the frustration of being stymied when the paper trail ends or there is not enough evidence from existing documents to prove relationships. An analysis of DNA results, combined with traditional documentary research methods, can extend the reconstruction of your...