FGS Conference Round Up

This year’s FGS Conference was very successful. I heard there were about 1500 people attending and sometimes in the library it seemed like a lot more.

My friend Nancy and I traveled down to Fort Wayne on August 15th. We had research we wanted to do in the ACPL. My research plan was over 40 pages long. We spent all day Friday and Saturday in the library. We went to O’Donnell’s Irish Pub for dinner on Thursday and Saturday night and found a lovely pizza place on Friday night. The first two mornings we got a free breakfast buffet at the hotel.

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Sunday was a bit of a down day as the library was closed. Still we made good use of it. It was a late start to the day and we had breakfast at Cindy’s Diner. This is a tiny place with only about 15 stools. We started the day with “Garbage Eggs” which had eggs, ham, cheese, onion and potato. This big breakfast meant we didn’t really need to stop for lunch. The people at Cindy’s were so friendly and the food was great.

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Then it was off to the shops. We visited a couple of malls and Walmart where we picked up some things to use for breakfast in the hotel not to mention a few other items. We went back to the room to work on our research plans for the next day and had a quiet evening.

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Monday was spent in the library doing research. Tuesday was the FGS Librarian’s Day conference and it was held in the Allen County Public Library. We took a little time off on Tuesday to go and do a tour of DeBrand Chocolates. They are a local business and provide tours of their chocolate factory. It was delicious and I left with a purchase or two.

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Tuesday night I attended the FamilySearch bloggers dinner. I love this event as I get to catch up with old friends and meet new ones. Wednesday is Society day and I attended two lectures. I spent a little more time in the library but it was starting to get very busy. At the end of the day I had finished my research plan so I was pleased.

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Starting Wednesday night the library was open until midnight for three days. It was very full and they had started adding extra tables and chairs on Tuesday. The librarians and volunteers were fantastic with the patrons and how they kept up with reshelving all those books I don’t know. Wednesday finished with the Opening Social.

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There were long lines and it felt a little slow at times but we chatted to everyone in line and that made the time go quickly. The band at the social were “The Jug Huffers.” They were very entertaining.

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The Opening Social was held in the botanical conservatory and you could wander around the outdoor gardens.

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Thursday was the official start of the conference with the Opening Plenary. I will never listen to early rock and roll in the same way again. Marketplace opened at 9:30 and was open until 7:30 pm.

“The War of 1812 Pension and Bounty Land Files in the National Archives are being digitized and placed online for free.” This is a project being done by FGS in conjunction with Fold3, Ancestry.com and the National Archives. They had a goal to raise $20,000 in donations from the conference registrations and selling raffle tickets. The FGS would double what was raised and then Ancestry.com would double that number. After all the counting was done they had raised $23,000 by the end of the conference. FGS doubled that to $46,000 and Ancestry.com doubled that to $92,000.

In the Conference Guide they say that to digitize two images costs one dollar. So if my math is right that means they should be able to digitize about 184,000 images. I hope the pension file you are looking for is part of that group. These images can be viewed for free on Fold3.

The FGS Ambassadors got together to have a picture taken. It was taken by Tina Lyons who worked tirelessly and I hope got a good rest on Sunday. Linda McCauley was the official photographer and she has shared this photograph with the FGS Ambassadors.

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I really enjoy genealogy conferences. I would attend all of them if my time and budget allowed. It is great to meet new people and catch up with friends. At every conference I learn something new. This year I attended the NGS and FGS conferences in the United States and this allowed me to do research in the top two genealogy libraries in North America. I also attended the Ontario Genealogical Society conference this year. OGS is my local conference and fun to attend. This year I presented three lectures at the conference.

Next year the FGS Conference is being held in San Antonio Texas. I would love to go as I’ve never been to Texas and have heard San Antonio is a lovely city.

See you all there.

©2013 – Blair Archival Research All Rights Reserved

FGS Conference – Saturday – The Final Day

It was another early start as I attended the 8 am lecture with Harold Henderson, CG presenting “Three Ways to Improve Your Speaking Ideas.” This was a very informative lecture and I will be implementing some of these ideas.

Next was “Creating Family Histories for Future Generations” with Thomas W. Jones, PhD., CG, CGL, FASG, FUGA, FNGS. If you ever get the chance to hear Tom Jones speak you must take advantage of it. His first piece of advice was not to go looking for ancestors but to focus on the people you have around you now and collect as much information from them as possible while you can.

“Finding the Inner Light: Researching Our Quaker Ancestors” by Diana VanSkiver Gagel, MA, OGSF was great. I have Quaker ancestors and while a lot of this lecture was focused on the United States I still learned a lot about how the Quakers worshiped and collected records.

I didn’t attend a luncheon lecture today so I went out for a walk and found something nearby.

The afternoon lecture series started with “Speak, Write, and Publish Safely: Staying Out of Copyright Trouble” with Judy G. Russell, JD, CG, CGL. Some aspects of copyright law are different between Canada and the US but the majority of it is the same. This lecture provided a lot of food for thought.

“Researching Irish Ancestors Online” with Marie E. Daly was interesting. I knew most of it already but you never know when you may find out something new.

The conference ended with Paul Milner and his lecture “English Parish Registers: How to Access, Use and Interpret.” This was a good lecture and as usual Paul started off the lecture a little early so that people could ask some questions. Paul is a lively speaker which is great during the last session on the last day as we are all a little blurry eyed and tired.

©2013 – Blair Archival Research All Rights Reserved

FGS Conference – Friday – Lectures and “Journey Through the Generations with Our Veterans”

It was another early start this morning. The whole experience of conference is lectures, early and late nights, and catching up with old friends and making new.

My first lecture of the day was “Effective Use of ScotlandsPeople Website” with Paul Milner. As usual, Paul did not disappoint. It was a very informative lecture.

The next lecture was “Mapping the Past: Navigating Your Family History with Maps” with Donald Hubbard, PhD. This was a very interesting lecture and it presented different ways to use maps in your family history.

Then it was on to “Image Organization Made Easy” with Eric Curtis M. Basir. This lecture was full and I was interested in learning more because organizing my digital files is on my “to do list” and I want to do it right the first time.

Now it is time for lunch. I attended the Association of Professional Genealogists Luncheon with John Philip Colletta, PhD. John presented “The Keepers and I: Tales of Accessing Historical Sources.” John always does a great job. His presentation was entertaining and distinctive not to mention his slide show was exceptional. His new version of PowerPoint did the job. You had to be there.

In the afternoon I attended three lectures. The first was “Using Your Word Processor to Create a Publication” with Pamela Boyer Sayre, CG, CGL.

The one I really wanted to see was “Evernote for Every Genealogist” with Cyndi Ingle Howells. I am just getting started with Evernote and this helped a great deal. This lecture had an unusual start because just before it was to begin the fire alarm went off in the convention centre and we all filed into the street. Even with that interruption Cyndi did a great job. I really need to start using Evernote more.

The last was “Tips and Tools for Planning and Tracking Research” with Debbie Parker Wayne, CG.

Tonight was the ACPL/ACGSI Evening at the Library and the presentation was “Journey Through the Generations with our Veterans.” This event was sponsored by FamilySearch.

©2013 – Blair Archival Research All Rights Reserved

FGS Conference – Thursday – Marketplace Opening

It was an early start this morning. The Plenary Session started at 8 am. It opened with the Old Fort Color Guard trooping in the colours. They also escorted us to the Marketplace after the Plenary. The session started with awards and news from FGS. FGS and Rootstech will be presented concurrently in March 2015 in Salt Lake City. FGS will also have a smaller conference in the Fall.

We got a four minute sneak peak of the new PBS production Genealogy Roadshow. It looks great and I can’t wait until it starts on September 23rd.

After the announcements it was time for the lecture called “Happy Birthday, Sweet Sixty: The Roots of Rock & Roll and 1950s America” and the speaker was Richard Aquilla, PhD. He looked at the messages that were found in Rock & Roll music in the first ten years. Rock & Roll was born sixty years ago this year. He showed a record label for Neil Sedaka’s “Happy Birthday, Sweet Sixteen” and it got a cheer from the audience. It was interesting because some of the topics he pointed out in early Rock & Roll, such as, objectifying women, is a criticism heard about today’s rap songs. I will never listen to the music in the same way again.

FGS is raising money for the War of 1812 Pension Records Project. They are raising money to digitize the documents and make them free online at Fold3. Between now and the end of the conference they hope to raise $20,000 and $9,000 had already be raised by donations at the time of registration. Ancestry will match dollar for dollar any money raised between now and FGS 2014 in San Antonio Texas.

Over 800,000 images are available online and that represents 10% of the documents. They have raised 30% of the fund raising goal to date.

On Thursday I attended two lectures. The first was “DNA Testing for Genealogy: The Basics” presented by Robert D. McLaren and “Going Nuclear: DNA Discoveries to Trace All Lines of Descent” presented by Debbie Parker Wayne, CG. I now feel I know a little bit more about DNA.

At lunch time I attended a lunch sponsored by the International Society for British Genealogy and Family History (ISBGFH). Audrey Collins from the National Archives in England presented “There and Back Again: Your British Ancestors on the Move.” Audrey is a great speaker and if you get a chance to attend one of her lectures you won’t be disappointed.

The rest of the day I spent in the Marketplace going around to all the different vendors and seeing what they had on offer. I checked out some societies and asked a question at the Indiana Historical Society. They were extremely helpful and I am hopeful they will help me solve a mystery with a Scottish ancestor.

It was late opening at the Marketplace and there were many draws held during 6:30 and 7:30. Congratulations to all the lucky winners.

Now it is time to get my things together for tomorrow.

©2013 – Blair Archival Research All Rights Reserved

FGS Conference – Wednesday – Society Day & Opening Social

Wednesday at the FGS Conference is focused on Societies and all the lectures are concentrated on helping societies to tweak and improve their services. I find the Society Day lectures to be helpful to anyone running a genealogy business. As a result I attended two lectures on Wednesday. The first was “Creating Master Databases from Local Genealogical Resources” by Dana Ann Palmer, CG. It was very informative and I will be using some of her tips in my local history projects.

The other lecture was “Avoiding the Pitfalls of a Society-Sponsored Research Trip” presented by Billie Stone Fogarty, MEd. This lecture provided societies with tips on whether or not to sponsor a research trip.

In the evening we attended the FGS Opening Social at Foellinger-Freimann Botanical Conservatory that was sponsored by Findmypast.com. It took a long time to get in but everyone in line was chatting and getting to know each other. There were jazz and country performers in a couple of areas around the conservatory. They served some light nibbles which were very tasty.

Then it was back to our room to get ready for the early start the next day.

©2013 – Blair Archival Research All Rights Reserved

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