Federation of Genealogical Societies Conference

Three weeks ago I had the opportunity to attend the Federation of Genealogical Societies Conference in Knoxville Tennessee. This was the fifth FGS conference I have attended. Conferences are a great resource. They offer the opportunity to learn something new practically on an hourly basis.

You also get to meet some great people. I stopped by the booth for the Illinois State Genealogical Society who are hosting the conference next year in Springfield Illinois. This provided me with the pleasure of meeting Thomas MacEntee of Geneabloggers and as a result I am now officially a Geneablogger.

It helped that the bloggers at the conference were wearing beads and had a Geneablogger ribbon attached to their nametags. So when I saw someone with the beads or ribbon I asked about their blog. One such person was Greta Koehl of Greta’s Genealogy Blog.

The array of speakers and topics provided lots of new learning experiences. Of course, at least once, there is always a time when there are two great lectures that you want to attend but they are on at the same time. It is very frustrating to have to choose. Thankfully there is also a back up plan of purchasing a recording of some sessions. You have to hope that one of the two that you are interested in will be recorded.

The Exhibitors Hall is always a great place to find new items, meet people and just have a good old browse. I met Bev and Lew of Fun Stuff for Genealogists. I picked up a cross stitch pattern for a family tree. They had shirts, sweatshirts, mouse pads, charts and other things too numerous to mention. You can check out their website to find out more.

I had never been in Knoxville before so Wednesday was a day that provided for a tour of the city. They have a trolley service that is free within the city and thankfully is also air conditioned. It was very hot in Tennessee but then we have been having a similar summer here as well. A walking tour of the old city provided some interesting architecture and the East Tennessee Historical Centre was a wealth of information. I really enjoyed the exhibition of the Appalachian people through photographs, recordings and artifacts.

If you get the chance to go to a genealogy conference either the Ontario Genealogy Society Conference, National Genealogical Society Conference or the Federation of Genealogical Societies Conference I would highly recommend the experience. You never know what you will learn or who you may meet at a conference.

©2010 – Blair Archival Research

Salt Lake City, Computerized Family History and Genealogy Conference, National Genealogical Society Conference and Ontario Genealogical Society Conference

Whew! It has been a dizzying month!

It started with my first trip to Salt Lake City which is a trip I have always wanted to make. The preparations began late last year when I started going through all my family history data and creating my “To Do List” which was made easier by my genealogy computer program. My “To Do List” was 38 pages long and I completed every item on that list during my 11 days in Salt Lake City.

The opportunity to do research in the Family History Library is something I would recommend everyone endeavour to do at least once. I spent all of my time on floor B2 which is the British research floor. This includes England, Wales, Scotland, Ireland, Australia and New Zealand. I had microfilms, microfiche and books relating to these countries available at my finger tips. Some I had to order ahead of time from the Vault but they were waiting for me when I arrived.

Everyone was so friendly and helpful. A smile and a greeting awaited me as I arrived and left the library every day. It was open every day but Sunday so the obvious thing to do is to take a tour of the city on Sunday. It started with a performance by the Mormon Tabernacle Choir. A sight to behold and a sound to hear, then a tour of the city from mountain top to valley. We even did a tour of the Great Salt Lake in the afternoon.

Brigham Young University was holding a conference called Computerized Family History and Genealogy which they normally hold in Provo but thankfully because of the large numbers of people attending the National Genealogical Society conference they decided to hold it in Salt Lake City. As a result I got the chance to attend this two day event. They introduced me to so much technology that I do not know if I will be able to keep up with it all.

The NGS conference started on Wednesday so there was more new information and announcements as well as meeting old friends and new. The attendance numbers were approximately 2700 which were great. The marketplace had an additional section this time; it covered genealogy technology and is known as GENTECH.

There was a special event on Thursday night “A Celebration of Family History” held at the LDS Conference Centre. The Mormon Tabernacle Choir performed. I will say for me the highlight was the vignette of the Clan McCloud and then moving into the bag pipes and the hymn Amazing Grace. It brought tears to my eyes. David McCullough also spoke very eloquently about history and family. You can view pictures and the video vignettes here.

Ten days after I got home was the start of the OGS conference. During this time I did the final preparation work on my presentations. I was a speaker at this conference as well as an attendee.

I had the privilege of speaking at the Ontario Library Association pre conference day and at the OGS conference. The Ontario Chapter of the Association of Professional Genealogists was holding an Ask a Professional free consultation service and a panel discussion both of which I participated in. Again there was more new information, announcements, meeting old friends and new.

This conference finished a week ago Sunday and I am still trying to catch up with everything including my sleep. One thing is certain; I want to go back to Salt Lake City and the Family History Library!

©2010 – Blair Archival Research

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