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.
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.
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.
If you couldn’t make it to NGS (or even if you did) this is a great way to hear some fantastic lectures.
The National Genealogical Society’s Annual Conference is coming right up! I am honored to be going to present three lectures among a wide variety of very talented speakers. The conference is being held in Grand Rapids, Michigan from 2-5 May 2018. If you are unable to attend in person, NGS just announced their live stream schedule option. You can read the full release with sign-up instructions and fees here.
The schedule is as follows:
Thursday, 3 May 2018: Viewers will be able to stream five lectures from 9:00 a.m. through 5:00 p.m., including:
Reasonably Exhaustive Research of African American Ancestors who came out of Slavery—LaBrenda Garrett-Nelson, JD, LLM, CG®
The Price of Loyalism: American Loyalists in the Revolutionary War—Terry Koch-Bostic
The Y-DNA Test Should be Your Favorite—Diahan Southard
Your Cousins are Your Secret Weapon—Angie Bush
Native American DNA: Separating Fact from Fiction—Blaine Bettinger, PhD, JD
Friday, 4 May 2018: Five BCG Skillbuilding lectures will be live streamed from 8:00 a.m. through 5:00 p.m., including:
History, Records, and Context: Researching the Locations Your Ancestors Lived—Angela Packer McGhie, CG
Samuel Witter vs. Samuel Witter: Separating Same-Name Soldiers, War of 1812—Elizabeth Shown Mills, CG, CGLSM, FASG, FNGS, FUGA
Using Indirect and Negative Evidence to Prove Unrecorded Events—Thomas Wright Jones, PhD, CG, CGL, FASG, FNGS, FUGA
A Matter of Standards: DNA and the GPS—Judy G. Russell, JD, CG, CGL
Deeper Analysis: Techniques for Successful Problem Solving—Elissa Scalise Powell, CG, CGL
Details about the live stream program, plus additional conference recordings, can be found on the PlaybackNGS Website.
If you’d like to attend, but can’t make it in person, this is a wonderful opportunity to attend from home.
2018 Started with a BANG! I taught my first ever course at SLIG, co-coordinated with Kathryn Lake Hogan of Ontario, Canada. The course was “The Third Coast: Research in the Great Lakes Region.” It was a lot of fun and went very well. However, it was an intense process to prepare for such a large endeavor. Needless to say, I’m happy I did it and I’m equally happy that it’s done. And I will likely do it again in the future.
SLIG and a week of research at the FHL started this year for me, so I’m just now able to take a breath, take stock, and make plans for 2018 in terms of my speaking schedule and my own educational plans. My speaking schedule is light, which I chalk up to spending so much of my energy last year prepping for SLIG and not spending any time marketing myself or planning for 2018, with a few exceptions. I’m happy to have a bit of a break, however!
Here’s where I’m planning to be this coming year:
Beginning in April, I will be facilitating a discussion group on the topic of becoming a Certified Genealogist® hosted by Jill Morelli and the Seattle Genealogical Society. (For more information email: firstname.lastname@example.org)
National Genealogical Society Annual Conference, Grand Rapids, Michigan, May 2-5 where I am presenting: W144 “Third Coast: How the Great Lakes Shaped America”; S423 “Casting the Net: Denominational, Ethnic, and Specialized Newspaper Research”; S456 “Using PERSI Like a Pro”
International Society for British Genealogy and Family History (ISBGFH), Salt Lake City, Utah, October 15-19 where I will be taking “Researching Your Irish and Scots-Irish Ancestors” by Fintan Mullan and Gillian Hunt and my husband will be taking “Scottish Research: The Fundamentals and Beyond” with Paul Milner
There are some other items in the fall that are still materializing but this is what I have planned so far. I hope you make the investment to enhance your genealogical education plan with conferences and institutes. Nothing beats being in class with other genealogists!
And if your society is planning an all-day seminar, consider me for your speaker. I have a lot of topics to choose from. Check my Lecture Topics page for a complete list.
During 2012 I started and completed the National Genealogical Society’sAmerican Genealogy: A Home Study Course. Overall it was a great experience, taking me through many different record sets, repositories, methodologies and techniques many of whom I hadn’t fully utilized in my research. The course was very valuable to me in that it gave me a broader experience in these areas and taught me some different ways to organize and analyze my research.
The program does have a few drawbacks which I know the organization is aware of. First of all, it is all on CD. Therefore, there are no opportunities for updates to the lessons, links, etc. This did become a little frustrating when, after following the directions on the assignment, it was returned to be reworked because of a change I was unaware of. Secondly, the price was a little high for the actual return value… meaning, the grading is done by volunteers and therefore, some lessons weren’t returned for months after submitting them, which I think was pushing the limits since I did pay $475 for the graded option of the course. Third, the online list-serve was not archived, for which they had their reasons (I’m not sure I ever understood why) so if you asked a question, it may have been asked and answered a million times before. The overall tone on the list-serve was negative and after about a month, I unsubscribed because I found it challenging to read.
I attended the NGS conference in Cincinnati in May 2012, and attended a lunch-time review of upcoming changes to the program. They intend to put the course into an online format and update the lessons to match the technology of today. They gave us a preview and showed off many amazing features that will really improve this course. I think this is one of many benefits of being a member of the National Genealogical Society and I am excited to see changes and updates to the course. They didn’t have an exact timeline for this new platform so keep checking on it.