Tag Archives: conference

FGS Week was a Success!

I know this is going to come out a little bit late to my readers… but frankly, I was exhausted after the Federation of Genealogical Societies (FGS) conference that took place in Washington DC. I serve as the VP of Membership for the organization and so that came with some responsibilities. I was in charge of the Society Showcase area. Despite a few minor hiccups in the beginning, we got it all looking good! I worked the FGS booth quite a bit, I also volunteered at booths for the Association of Professional Genealogists (APG) and the Board for Certification of Genealogists (BCG). I was able to attend three lectures!

The big news out of this conference was the planned merger between FGS and the National Genealogical Society (NGS). NGS’s general focus is on genealogy education, methodology, their scholarly journal, and other aspects for the individual genealogist. FGS’s focus has been on society management and support. Both have held national conferences and focus on Records Preservation and Access (RPAC). To read the official press release, click here.

Personally, I am excited about the merger. As a board member, I have seen our strengths and weaknesses and believe that we can be supportive to each other rather than separate and competitive entities. I believe cooperation and collaboration is the direction we need to move toward. Helping each other and coming together rather than having a separation in the field. I often found that there were people who were “team FGS” or “team NGS” rather than seeing the two as complementary. So I do think this will be good for the field.

However, I don’t have a crystal ball and don’t really know what the future holds. Time will tell, for sure.

FGS Conference Events, Register by Friday!

I am so excited to attend the Federation of Genealogical Societies (FGS) Conference in Washington DC, August 21-24. Registration ends this Friday, August 2nd so get registered!

There is still room at the conference hotel (Omni Shoreham) for an incredible $169 (a steal for D.C.) which is good for a few days before and after the conference (see the conference website for complete details). If you want to do some research at the Library of Congress, the Daughters of the American Revolution library, or the National Archives, this is a fantastic opportunity! If you have never been to one of these repositories, there are several guided tours that still have space available, as well as a tour of the National Museum of African American History & Culture. Check this page for more information.

In addition, this conference is different from previous FGS conferences. The society management topics are woven throughout the entire 4-day conference allowing you more choices in each time slot.

The Friday night event sounds fantastic, “Swing Back to the 30s with Your Ancestors” where you can represent one of your 1930s ancestors with live jazz playing in the background! Personally, I am excited for some of the luncheon speakers! There are still a few tickets left for those as well.

I will be speaking on Thursday, once on the society management topic “Create an Attractive Education Plan for Your Society” (T-217), once on research methodology “Unfamiliar Territory: Researching in a New (to you) Geographic Area” (T-232), and I’ll be participating in “Ask FGS! Panel with FGS Leaders” (T-247) with other members of FGS leadership.

This incredible opportunity is coming up quickly and I hope to see you there!

It’s National Genealogical Society Conference Week!

This week I am attending the NGS Conference and am so excited to participate! My schedule is quite full this time! First, I am attending the BCG Education Fund’s “Putting Skills to Work” day to refresh and update my skills.

During the conference I am presenting three lectures:

  • Session W154, Wednesday, 4PM, “Breaking New Ground: Creating a Locality Guide for New Research Areas”
  • Session F328, Friday, 11AM, “How’d You Find That?!? Tips for Locating Obscure or Hidden Records”
  • Session S421, Saturday, 11AM, “Family History Piecework: An Approach to Writing” (BCG Skillbuilding Lecture)

Working at the booths for the Federation of Genealogical Societies (FGS), the Association of Professional Genealogists, and the Board for Certification of Genealogists is also on my agenda.

Beyond this, I am looking forward to new and exciting “things” in the exhibit hall, learning new techniques at lectures, and catching up with old friends and making new.

FGS Conference Registration is Open

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Another great conference opened registration this week. This time it is the Federation of Genealogical Societies’ annual conference, that will be held in Fort Wayne, Indiana, home of the Allen County Public Library! This conference is taking place August 22-25, 2018. You can read more about it at the conference website. The full program has also been released and can be viewed here.

APG PMC Registration Open

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The Association of Professional Genealogists opened registration for the Professional Management Conference taking place in Kansas City, Missouri from  October 4-6, 2018. You can register and reserve a hotel room by visiting the APG conference website.

APG also announced the dates and locations for the 2019 PMC which will be held in Salt Lake City at the Hotel RL from September 19-21, 2019. This is also APG’s 40th Anniversary and there’s sure to be plenty of celebrating so mark your calendars!

Audio Recordings from NGS 2018

Audio recordings of many of the NGS lectures are available for sale and download at PlaybackNGS. There were many fantastic sessions, some I made it to, some I missed due to speaking or other obligations, and so I’m compiling my list right now.

7780-banner2If you couldn’t make it to NGS (or even if you did) this is a great way to hear some fantastic lectures.

I do have three lectures available if you are interested:

  • The Third Coast: How the Great Lakes Shaped America (W144)
  • Casting the Net: Denominational, Ethnic, and Specialized Newspapers (S443)
  • Using PERSI Like a Pro (S451)

I thought Grand Rapids, Michigan and this NGS conference was one of the best I’ve been to. The level of education, the exhibit hall, and the city offerings were fantastic.

Next year’s NGS is 8-11 May 2019 in St. Charles, Missouri. And 2020 will be 20-23 May in Salt Lake City, Utah. Mark your calendars!

BCG Putting Skills to Work 2018

I’ve been in Grand Rapids, Michigan since Tuesday when I attended the Board for Certification of Genealogists (BCG) Education Fund’s “Putting Skills to Work” class. What an excellent day! The time was split between two classes.

Connie Lenzen’s class “Planning and Executing Reasonably Exhaustive Research: Or How to Ensure a Successful Hunt” discussed research questions and plans. I have to say that I was quickly reminded of what I should be doing everyday. I get so excited for the research that I forget to focus, slow down, and set forth a path for my search.

Tom Jones made us think about “Citing All Kinds of Online Sources.” This class focused only on sources you find online and really made us look at all of the layers that an online source might have. The original source, the microfilmed version, the scan of the microfilm, an original digitization in color, previously published or not, and so on. We worked through many example citations as a class and discussed each of the parts.

The level of interactive instruction that one gets at a BCG “Putting Skills to Work” class is incredible. If you are interested in certification, are already on the clock, or are already certified, it doesn’t matter. These classes are wonderful examples of hands-on, lecture with discussion with exercises, types of classes many of us enjoy and will benefit for our own continuing education.

The BCG Education Fund’s “Putting Skills to Work” occurs on the Tuesday before the National Genealogical Society Conference every year, so you will want to adjust your schedule accordingly. Next year’s schedule was announced at this years’ class, and will take place in St. Charles, Missouri on Tuesday May 7, 2019:

  • “Meeting Standards with Twenty-First Century Research Reports” with Melissa Johnson, CG
  • “Evidence Analysis: Theory, Practice, and the Real World” with Nancy A. Peters, CG, CGL

For more information on the BCG Education Fund, visit bcgedfund.org.

TxSGS Annual Conference Presentations

I can hardly believe that it is almost time for the Texas State Genealogical Society Annual Conference again! It seems like it wasn’t that long ago that I was speaking at last year’s conference, for the first time. Well, this year I will be speaking again! The conference will be held in Dallas at the Crowne Plaza, October 28-30.

Friday, October 28,  I will be presenting two lectures:
Ahead of the Times: Texas Newspaper Research (2-3pm)
Newspapers were daily snapshots of our ancestor’s lives; Texas newspapers are no exception. Examine the broad spectrum and history of Texas newspapers for genealogical research. Methods, techniques, and strategies for obtaining those items of interest will be demonstrated.

From Deeds to Dirt: Analyzing Research with Maps (5-6pm)
This program demonstrates skills needed to move from land descriptions in historical documents to maps depicting those locations in order to analyze and solve research problems.

Saturday, October 29,  I will present:
Who Lives Next Door? Using the FAN Club in your Research (2-3pm)
Untangle individuals of the same name and solve genealogical mysteries using the “FAN Club” principle. Methods to identify FAN Club members and case studies will be demonstrated.

I’m so honored to be speaking at a conference alongside some of my favorite colleagues and friends! Such talented genealogists and speakers attending are Judy Russell, Cyndi Ingle, Deborah Abbott, Lisa Louise Cooke, Rick Fogarty, Sara Gredler, Colleen Greene, Michael Strauss, Billie Fogarty, Kelvin Meyers, Teri Flack, Debbie Parker Wayne, Ari Wilkins, and at least twenty other speakers!

Early Bird registration is open through October 7, 2016. Don’t delay! This is sure to be one of the best state conferences yet.

Genealogical Preparedness – Part 2 – Time with a Professional

Time with a professional

PaperDocumentsPenHave you ever attended a genealogical event, conference, institute, or seminar where you had the opportunity to sign up for a personal consultation with the instructor or a professional genealogist? These are sometimes offered at events like a national conference or during week-long institutes. I recently participated in two such events that got me thinking about how to be prepared for such an opportunity. I was on the opposite sides of the desk for each event so I now have perspectives as both the participant and the professional.

In September, I attended my first ever course through the British Institute from the International Society for British Genealogy and Family History (ISBGF) [http://isbgfh.org]. I took the course on researching in England. I have done a lot of research in United States records on a particular family line leading back to England, but only recently decided to work on the family in more detail. However, I only have minimal experience in records created and kept in England, hence the need to take this class. One of the unique features of the British Institute is that since it is held in Salt Lake City, the instruction time takes place in the mornings and then the afternoon and evening hours can be spent utilizing what you’ve learned on your own research in the Family History Library. Also during those afternoon hours, you have the opportunity to sit down with the instructor(s) and receive a personal consultation; I had about 20 minutes to ask the instructors anything.

In October, I had the opportunity to participate in the “Ancestors Roadshow” giving free 15 minute consultations to members of the public as a part of the “Genealogy Lock-In” hosted by the Central Texas Genealogical Society in Waco, Texas. It was a fantastic event. I met a lot of new people in the Texas genealogical community and had a lot of fun helping a few lucky participants in the roadshow. As part of the roadshow, participants could fill out a questionnaire about research questions or problems they were having and then we (the professionals) were supposed to go over this with them and give suggestions for further research. The participants had the opportunity to fill this sheet out ahead of time. It was made available through a website advertising the service. They could also fill it out at the event and be assigned a time with a professional.

From both of these events, I realized that the person coming to the consultation could get so much more out of the short amount of time if they were a little more prepared. During the roadshow, I was handed the questionnaire and introduced to a person and then only had 15 minutes to help them with their questions. Most of the time, the questionnaire would list a person, perhaps their birth or death dates, maybe a location. They were asked to tell us where they had previously searched and/or give us a list of documents they had pertaining to the problem. Most participants didn’t write much down. Many wrote that they had searched Ancestry.com, which is not very specific at all. Ancestry contains a lot of material. When they got to sit across from me at the event, most of them spent a lot of time telling me their story rather than getting very specific about their problem. This took up most of the 15 minutes we had together. I was not much better as a participant when I had a chance to talk to the instructors at the British Institute. Honestly, I had not done much work yet on the family I was researching and should have spent more time analyzing what I had and preparing specific questions for the time I had with them.

My advice for anyone who has a chance to sit down with a professional for a quick consultation:

1. Decide what you want to ask – be focused.

2. Be specific – the time will go by fast

3. Know what you’ve already done and what documents you already have.

4. Keep the background story to a minimum. Don’t waste your precious time giving unnecessary information.

It is up to you to get the most out of the experience. The professional may be doing this as a volunteer (like I did at the roadshow) or as part of their overall fee (like the instructors at British Institute). You can’t expect one of these consultations to just give you the answer to your research problem. The time is too short. These consultations are designed to give participants guidance and maybe some ideas you hadn’t thought of or weren’t aware of.

I hope that these thoughts help you if the opportunity ever presents itself. I know I learned a lot about the process from both sides of the consultation table and will definitely be more prepared the next time.

Connections at Conferences

FGS2015_Logo_01Genealogical conferences, like the recent FGS 2014 conference in San Antonio, are as much about reuniting with far-flung friends and making connections with new ones as they are about the wonderful educational opportunities. Attending the high quality lectures invigorates me, renews my energy for finding ancestors and gives me new insights on projects I’m working on. Plus, I get a chance to visit a city that I’ve most likely never been to before. If you’ve never attended a conference, I encourage you to do it. The next national conference will be the FGS 2015 conference combined with RootsTech in February 2015.

I have the following tips for making good connections at conferences:

  • Don’t go alone. Plan to attend with a friend who has gone to a conference before, especially if you have never attended one yourself. They can show you the ropes and perhaps introduce you to some folks they’ve become acquainted with, breaking the ice for you.
  • Attend at least one luncheon. You will have the chance to sit at a meal with other genealogists and make new friends.
  • Talk to people in the exhibit hall, not only the vendors but also volunteers and other attendees.

    Overlooking the FGS 2014 Exhibit Hall
    Overlooking the FGS 2014 Exhibit Hall
  • Attend unusual lectures. Sometimes I attend lectures that are on topics I have no research projects in. I find I always have a good time and I definitely learn something new. Also, new methods are almost always applicable to any project and get you thinking about your work in a different way.
  • Go out to dinner with new people. Find a new friend or two (or seven) and go to dinner with them! This is one of the best ways to form new connections and see the city.
fgsfriends
clockwise from left, me, Jen Baldwin, Rorey Cathcart, Barry Kline and Deena Coutant

Over the years, I have made so many great friends by attending conferences and every time I attend, I make even more! Not only are these friends fun, but they can be very helpful in giving insights into your research, giving opinions on documents, taking classes with online or at institutes, or by sharing your finds with others who are interested. Consider making some new connections at the next conference!