Monday, September 12, 2011

FGS 2011 Conference Review

I invited Darcie M. Hind Posz, a friend from my APG chapter and the ProGen Study Group, to write a review of the FGS conference as a guest author on my blog. I wish I could have attended the conference, and appreciate her sharing her perspective.

Darcie writes:

It was reported that approximately 2100 people were attending by Saturday.  Five countries and 48 states were represented, including Alaska and Hawaii.  This is a great success for FGS and ISGS whom have been working diligently for over 18 months! Bravo to the FGS President, Co-Chairs, ISGS, FGS Board and all for putting together one of the best conferences I have attended! 

There were so many wonderful lectures that are now accessible to those who could not make it to Illinois: individual lectures can be purchased from Fleetwood On-Site in CD-ROM format or MP3 for $10 - $15, or you can own the whole conference for $379!

One presentation of interest for me was the “Plenary Session: How Will Our Society Survive? Do We Alter, Mutate, Modify, Shift or Switch?” presented by David Rencher.  FGS is 35 years old now but by 2011, 1/3 of the charter societies that belonged to FGS in 1975 are out of business.  I found this statistic startling.  But examples were given of how these societies can become sustainable; one was that, because these societies possess knowledge and the desire to share it, they must look at various formats of sharing, be it FaceBook, websites, or e-newsletters.  Also, these societies should have a board that reflects their members: both distance members and local members could enhance their society. 

A new award, the Genealogy Tourism award, was presented to the first recipient, Curt B. Witcher.  This award recognizes those whom serve “the interest of the genealogical community by their efforts in promoting genealogical tourism.”  The entire presentation can be read at:

The ProGen study group dinner was held at Bennigans on Tuesday evening and most attended the APG Round Table after.  The President of APG reported that UK membership has gone up 24%!  The APG booth at the IAJGS Conference in August was also mentioned.  The night’s lively roundtable discussion was led by Mark Lowe onThose Difficult Situations. . .how do I come out smelling like a rose.”

I attended An Old Fashioned Prairie Social on Wednesday evening.  The period music was lovely, Lincoln and wife looked a little too real and I enjoyed Geneopardy so much! 

Some of my favorite lectures included:
  • Scott Simkins’ Saturday discussion on conservation.  He had mentioned some Japanese preservation techniques that I will be looking into. 
  • Paula Stuart-Warren’s Native American discussion had some wonderful methodology. 
  • Lisa Alzo’s “Writing a Family History Step by Step,” encouraged me to add 15 minutes a day to write my family history.  Just the push I needed!
  • Melinde Lutz Byrne’s mentoring presentation was fantastic and was just the motivation I needed to hunker down and focus on a specific genealogical plan for my future. 
  • Tom Jones did a new presentation on correlation: Solid Gold!  If you can get the MP3 for this presentation, do so!
  • Linda Geiger’s presentation on Territorial Papers and Kris Rzepczynski’s 1890 gap presentations were great also! 
The level of skill for the presentations (Beginner, Intermediate, Advanced) were on the conference guide, which was helpful in choosing which to attend.  In the future, more advanced options and workshops would be of interest. 

I am sure I am leaving out something, but if you are on Twitter, there should be a timeline for hashtag #FGS2011.  Those official bloggers kept us all up to speed on events! 

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