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The settlers at Jamestown

Verifying Your Jamestowne Lineage

March 5, 12, 19, 2024
Live broadcasts: Tuesdays 6:00 – 7:30 p.m. ET
10% Member Discount

Jamestowne was the first permanent English settlement in the New World and had already been growing and developing for 13 years by the time the Mayflower landed in Massachusetts. While verifying lineage to settlers from either location is no easy task, it can be much harder to know where to start when it comes to tracing your Jamestowne ancestors. In this three-week online course, Executive Director of the Jamestowne Society Bonnie Hofmeyer and genealogist Ann Lawthers will discuss essential resources, record collections, research strategies, and historical context for verifying your connection to Jamestowne.

This course includes three 90-minute classes and exclusive access to handouts and recordings of each presentation. These recordings and all course materials will be available for the foreseeable future.

Bonnie Hofmeyer

Bonnie Hofmeyer has been the Executive Director for the Jamestowne Society since 2012. She writes articles for the Jamestowne Society Magazine and blogs for the Society Facebook page. Bonnie travels to Jamestowne Companies (chapters) to inform members about archaeology projects at James Fort and Records Conservation Projects. She was raised on her family farm in Charles City County, VA where she continues to live with her husband and two daughters. She graduated from Averett College where she received a BA in Psychology & Religion. She received a Master’s in Theology from the Baptist Theological Seminary at Richmond in 2002 with a concentration in Cross Cultural Missions.


Ann Lawthers served as a staff genealogist at American Ancestors for eight years before her recent retirement. Ann has lectured regularly at conferences, workshops, and meetings. She has developed many multi-week online and in-person seminars and lectures for American Ancestors. Ann focuses on New England and Mid-Atlantic research, and migration patterns. Secondary interests include the Southern Colonies and Atlantic Canada. She is a graduate of Wellesley College and the Harvard School of Public Health with degrees in Health Policy.

Image Credit: The Settlers at Jamestown 1876, by William Ludwell Sheppard. Courtesy of the New York Public Library Digital Collections.


March 5 - Class 1: Laying the Foundation: Getting Started with Jamestowne Research
Presented by Ann Lawthers

This first class explores the broader context surrounding Jamestowne lineage research, covering the history of the Virginia Company and Jamestowne. We will also discuss key resources for your research in 17th-century Virginia.

March 12 - Class 2: Identifying, Verifying, and Documenting Your Connection
Presented by Bonnie Hofmeyer

Now that we’ve explored the historical context and key resources for Jamestowne research, we’ll delve into qualifying ancestors. In this second session, we will discuss the criteria for qualifying ancestors for the Jamestowne Society and cover practical steps for verifying your Jamestowne connection, including getting organized, making the connection between each generation back to the qualifying ancestor, and applying to the Jamestowne Society.

March 19 - Class 3: Breaking Down Brick Walls in Jamestowne Research
Presented by Bonnie Hofmeyer

In this final class we’ll discuss strategies to use when you hit a brick wall and may need to create a proof argument. We’ll demonstrate these strategies by looking at several case studies