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.
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!
I returned from a fantastic week at the Genealogical Research Institute of Pittsburgh (GRIP) where I had the pleasure of taking “Advanced DNA” from Blaine Bettinger, Angie Bush, and Karen Stanbury, CG. I learned a lot and I learned I already knew a lot which is almost just as important when you are trying to build your confidence in your DNA analysis skills! GRIP has a fantastic line-up for July as well as their 2020 courses published. It’s one of my favorite institutes!
I have some exciting things planned for the rest of my year that I wanted to share:
SLIG Virtual “Intermediate Foundations,” Online, Coordinated by Sara Scribner, CG, Tuesdays September 10 – November 19, 11-2:15 Mountain. I will be teaching one class, but this is a fantastic opportunity if you need to get some of those intermediate-level foundations under your belt.
Wisconsin Genealogical Society Webinar, “Steamers, Schooners, and Tugs: Shipping on the Great Lakes.” Tuesday November 19 at 7pm Central. To register, visit this link: https://wsgs.org/cpage.php?pt=286
Phew! I’m tired just thinking about it. I hope to see you at at least one of these events. Be sure to say hi if you see me about.
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.
Genealogical 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.
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.
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!
[Author’s note: I recently relocated with my family to a suburb of Austin, Texas. Yes, I am now experiencing the sweltering heat, the suffocating humidity and the excitement of learning about a new area. But we bought a house with a pool so I will have a chance to survive! Thus, this post came out a little later than I expected. I am without internet access (except for time spent at my local Starbucks) so getting my online life back together is going to take a little while, but bear with me and thanks for reading!]
Last week the Federation of Genealogical Societies hosted their annual conference in San Antonio, TX which has to have been my favorite conference so far. And not necessarily for the reasons you might think. Here are my three favorite things from the FGS conference:
One of the most exciting research tools I learned more about at this conference are the advances being made with PERSI by Find My Past (FMP). They are working to make it this elusive index more accessible to researchers. PERSI stands for the PERiodical Source Index which indexes genealogical society publications, both small and large, and contains 2.5 million indexed articles from 8k publications. The Find My Past website states:
“The PERiodical Source Index (PERSI) enables you to easily locate key information about people and places. It contains over 2.5 million entries from thousands of historical, genealogical and ethnic publications, making it an invaluable, comprehensive family history resource.”
So far 21k page have been digitized and are available to view on the site! The index is free to use with a registered account (free) and pages ordered through the ACPL. The available images can be viewed online with a FMP subscription.
FMP is focused on connecting with editors and copyright owners, not only to obtain new content but to get permission to digitize images from those items already indexed in PERSI. FMP also wants to know what geographical areas and publications you are most interested in seeing digitized next. Click here to fill out the survey!
[https://www.surveymonkey.com/s/persisurvey] To contact FMP for more information, to disucss the copyright of your society’s material or find out about firstname.lastname@example.org
PERSI is a resource not to be overlooked. Articles about ancestors, geographic locations, and other topics of interest were published in genealogical journals all across the United States. Without PERSI it would be impossible to know just where to look for that article that might hold the key you need in your research.
2. Preserve the Pensions
What a fun time I had watching how much support given to sponsor a “celebrity” walker! The celebs got up and walked to the Alamo at 6:30 am, before the sun even came up! Judy Russell, Joshua Taylor, Kenyatta Berry and Ed Donakey competed to see who could earn the most donations for the walk. As of Saturday afternoon, the donations from the credit card portion of the campaign were as follows:
These numbers do not include all of the cash and checks supplied by generous conference attendees. Stay tuned to the Preserve the Pension site for more updates.
3. After Hours
After hours socializing is one of my favorite times during conferences. It is a time to relax, talk with friends that you only get to see once or twice each year, and make new connections. I enjoy the time I get to spend developing deeper friendships and learning about my awesome colleagues!
Until next time, friends!
4. The Lectures
Of course all of the lectures I attended were outstanding. Since you can’t attend ALL of the lectures at a large national conference, I rely heavily on the conference recordings to pick up the sessions I wasn’t able to attend. Conference recordings are a great thing to keep in your car for long trips or for running errands. You can purchase conference recordings through Fleetwood Onsite Conference Recordings. My favorite in-person lectures were from J. Mark Lowe, Craig R. Scott, Rev. David McDonald, Elizabeth Shown Mills, Dr. Thomas Jones, and Judy G. Russell.
If you have never had a chance to attend a national conference, it is something you should do at least once. But like potato chips, once you have one you just can’t stop! I’ll see you at the next one!
I have just arrived in San Antonio for the FGS (Federation of Genealogical Societies) Annual Conference. I am excited to be here in Texas this year not only for the conference, but to learn more about the state I will soon call home. That’s right, Genealogy Pants’ home office will be relocating to Austin, Texas next week!
I am excited to learn more about the rich history of this state, see new sights, eat different food, experience a new climate (hot, I know it will be hot) and make some new genealogy friends. This evening I had the pleasure to attend the FGS Delegate’s reception and meet several genealogists who live in the area of my new home.
The conference begins tomorrow with the Focus on Societies Day. Thursday, along with many great-sounding sessions, the exhibit hall will open. I am looking forward to examining all of the Texas-related booths, seeing new publications and products, meeting up with old and new friends, and just generally having a good time! I am also looking forward to supporting the Preserve the Pensions campaign to raise the funds to digitize the War of 1812 pensions.
With all of the fun I anticipate this week, I will be too distracted to worry too much about my upcoming move!