NGS 2016 Family History Conference Call for Papers Closes 1 April 2015

The following announcement was written by the (U.S.) National Genealogical Society:

ARLINGTON, VA, 26 MARCH 2015—Time is running out to submit lecture proposals for the NGS 2016 Family History Conference. Speakers and sponsoring organizations must submit their proposals by 1 April 2015. The conference, entitled Exploring the Centuries: Footprints in Time, will be held 4–7 May 2016 in Fort Lauderdale, Florida.

The ethnic makeup of Florida is, and always has been, diverse. Native Americans—including Miccosukees, Choctaw, Creek, Timucua, and Calusa—lived throughout the area, which became known as La Florida after the arrival of Ponce de León in 1513. The Spanish were followed by other groups such as the French, British, Irish, German, and Greeks. The importation of African slaves also affected society in Florida as did the formation of the Seminole alliance. All of these people have left many footprints in time and a rich repository of records to trace our ancestry.

RootsTech 2015 Breaks all Attendance Records

The fifth annual RootsTech 2015 conference held last month in Salt lake City appears to have been the largest genealogy conference ever held with 23,918 attendees. Here is the announcement from FamilySearch:

The fifth annual RootsTech 2015 conference, hosted by FamilySearch, is officially in the record books as registering 23,918 attendees over three days, an 83% increase over 2014. And it’s not done yet as the world’s largest family history conference. There are already plans to deliver over 1,000 local family discovery day events throughout the remainder of 2015. It’s another indicator that family history continues to be a strong and growing interest not only in the United States, but internationally as well. Attendees to RootsTech 2015 came from far and wide, hailing from 49 states (West Virginia was the holdout) and 37 countries.

The popular conference’s formula for success included attracting well-known keynote speakers, such as former First Lady Laura Bush, Donny Osmond, Tan Le, and A. J. Jacobs, who shared inspiring family stories, and offering a rich combination of more than 500 classes, exhibits, demonstrations, and fun entertainment designed to appeal to multiple generations of family members and broad family history interests. Select sessions from RootsTech 2015 can be viewed for free at

National Genealogical Society Announces Live Streaming Broadcast — 2015 Family History Conference (St. Charles, Missouri 13–16 May 2015)

The following announcement was written by the (U.S.) National Genealogical Society:

Arlington, VA, 9 March 2015 —The National Genealogical Society (NGS) announces the live streaming of ten lectures from its 2015 Family History Conference, which will be held 13‒16 May 2015, in St. Charles, Missouri. NGS members and others across the United States and overseas, who are unable to attend the conference in person, are invited to sign up for these live streaming lectures. Details of the live streaming program can be found on the NGS Conference website at

NGS has selected some of the most popular topics and nationally known speakers for the two featured tracks. Registrants for live streaming can sign up for either track or the bundled package that includes both tracks.

Global Family Reunion Launches Crowdfunding Campaign to Unite World and Fight Alzheimer’s

The following announcement was written by the folks who are sponsoring the Global Family Reunion:

The Global Family Reunion has just launched a crowdfunding campaign with two not-so-minor goals: Unite the world and battle Alzheimer’s.

The Global Family Reunion will take place June 6, 2015, and aims to be the biggest, most inclusive and most entertaining family reunion in history. Everyone is invited. It will include presentations by celebrities, genealogists, and famous scientists, music, comedy, games, interactive exhibits and food. The main event will be held on the grounds of the world’s fair in New York, but there will be simultaneous parties around the world.

Genealogy Cruises versus Convention Centers

Several genealogy cruises take place every year. Cruising genealogists get to enjoy courses, software demonstrations, “how to” presentations describing the latest genealogy techniques, good food, gorgeous scenery, and adventurous shore excursions. What could be better?

Occasionally we hear claims that interest in genealogy is declining. These claims are based on the fact that attendance at some genealogy conferences is less than that of a few years ago. Yet everywhere else we look, we see proof of the opposite. The combined RootsTech and Federation of Genealogical Societies conferences attracted about 22,500 people this year. While it is held in the “genealogy Mecca” of Salt Lake City, that’s not bad for a mid-winter event! Who Do You Think You Are? Live! held in England every year typically attracts close to 15,000 attendees. The accompanying Who Do You Think You Are? television series about genealogy is popular in several countries around the world. Genealogy Roadshow and Finding Your Roots with Henry Louis Gates, Jr. are U.S. television shows that also attract millions of viewers.

Thousands of genealogy web sites also attest to the current level of interest. The number of genealogy programs available for mobile computing devices is increasing faster than ever before, and the latest growth is in cloud-based genealogy programs. Several of the software producers are reporting record sales. Finally, genealogy “theme cruises” attract more and more people every year.

I’d say that genealogy is alive and more popular than ever!

NERGC Early Bird Registration Expires Saturday 28 February 2015

The following announcement was written by the organizers of the New England Regional Genealogical Conference:

NERGC 2015 Navigating the Past: Sailing into the Future

Nearly 1,000 genealogists from around New England and beyond are making plans to attend the largest biennial genealogical conference in the northeast.

Save $30 with early bird registration.

Join the New England Genealogical Consortium, Inc in their 13th biennial conference which is being held April 15-18, 2015 at the Rhode Island Convention Center, Providence, Rhode Island.

Who Do You Think You Are? Live 2015 in Birmingham, England

One of the largest family history events held every year is the Who Do You Think You Are? Live! show, often abbreviated as WDYTYAL. It is normally held in London but the 2015 event is moving to Birmingham and will be held from April 16 to 18. I plan to be there and expect more than ten thousand other genealogists will be there as well.

Inspired by the very popular Who Do You Think You Are? TV series, the show will offer expert advice to help you uncover more information about your ancestors. While the focus obviously is on UK ancestry, genealogy records and advice can be found for many other countries as well. For instance, the Families In British India Society (FIBIS) always has a large and active exhibit. In the past, I have also seen exhibits from genealogy organizations devoted to German, Polish, Italian, and other ethnic origins.

International Congress of Genealogical and Heraldic Sciences to be held in Scotland

The 32nd International Congress of Genealogical and Heraldic Sciences will be held in Glasgow, Scotland, from Wednesday 10 August until Saturday 13 August 2016.

This appears to be the most prestigious congress in the field, organised under the auspices of the Academie Internationale de Genealogie and the Academie Internationale d’Héraldique. It is a biennial event, dedicated to topics of heraldic and genealogical interest, and bringing together scholars and other interested persons from around the world.

Midwest Family History Expo Call for Papers

The following announcement was written by the folks who produce the Midwest Family History Expo:

Now accepting proposals for presenting at our 4th annual Midwest Family History Expo to be held at the Holiday Inn in Kearney, Nebraska September 18-19, 2015.

Submission emphasis should focus on principles, strategies, and sources used in family history and genealogical research.

Desired topics include:

My Pictures from the RootsTech and FGS Conferences

RootsTech2015 and FGS conferencesI just uploaded a photo album of many of my photographs from the RootsTech 2015 and FGS combined conferences held in Salt Lake City last week. To get an idea of what it was like at the conferences, look at:

20,000+ Family Historians Under One Roof

Click on the above image to view a larger version.

When was the last time you saw more than 20,000 family historians under one roof? For those who were at RootsTech 2015, the answer is “February 14, 2015.”

In fact, there were huge crowds at the combined RootsTech and Federation of Genealogical Societies conferences all week. There were more than 12,000 people in the Salt Palace in Salt Lake City every day but the crowd became even bigger on Saturday with Family Discovery Day at RootsTech. This free one-day event was aimed primarily families and members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. It was for families and, indeed, dozens of children were in the hall throughout the day. That, plus the RootsTech conference plus the FGS conference, all being held at the same place, combined to make what was probably the biggest genealogy conference in the world.

The General Sessions speakers included:

StoryWorth Wins First Place at RootsTech Innovator Showdown

The following announcement was written by the folks at StoryWorth:

SALT LAKE CITY, Feb. 14, 2015StoryWorth, a San Francisco start up company that offers an email-based storytelling service, today swept the RootsTech Innovator Showdown, winning both first prize and the People’s Choice award, and claiming a purse of $15,000. RootsTech is a global conference hosted by FamilySearch.

The Innovator Showdown is the first-annual event where entrepreneurs from around the globe presented their web or mobile app on stage in front of a live audience, vying for a total of $25,000 in sponsor-contributed prize money.

Here is the Video I Told You About

In the February 12 edition of this newsletter, I wrote an article entitled Today’s Report from the RootsTech and FGS Conferences. The article is available at

Near the end of the article, I described the presentation made by one of the speakers:

“At the end of her talk, Tan Le received a standing ovation. I don’t think there was a dry eye in the house.

“I cannot possibly describe this talk properly. You HAVE to watch the video when it appears soon on You won’t forget it any time soon.”

The video is now available and I can only repeat, ” You HAVE to watch the video …”

2016 FGS National Conference Call for Presentation Proposals

The following announcement was written by the Federation of Genealogical Societies:

Deadline for Submissions is 10 April 2015

February 13, 2015 – Austin, TX. The Federation of Genealogical Societies (FGS) announces a Call for Presentation Proposals for the FGS 2016 Conference, “Time Travel: Centuries of Memories,” to be held in Springfield, Illinois, Aug 31 – Sept 3, 2016. The Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum are within walking distance of the Prairie Capital Convention Center, the conference venue. The conference will be held in cooperation with the Illinois State Genealogical Society as local host. The deadline for submission of presentation proposals is Friday, 10 April 2015.

Today’s Report from the RootsTech and FGS Conferences

Today was day #2 of the Federation of Genealogical Societies’ annual conference and day #1 of RootsTech. Both are being held in the Salt Palace in Salt Lake City. Combining two conferences into one is a daring experiment and, so far, it appears to be working well.

Today’s Keynote Session kicked off at 8:30 AM and included one of the most fascinating stories I have ever heard. More on that in a moment. When the Keynote Session ended, the Exhibits Hall opened for the first time and the mob surged in. “Mob” is the only word I can think of to describe the crowd.

This mob was not unruly or anything, but a sea of humanity filed out of the Keynote Session and walked a few steps to the Exhibits Hall. This is a huge convention center with large hallways but not wide enough to accommodate perhaps 10,000 people simultaneously. I tried to walk out at the end of the Keynote Session and encountered a wall of people moving slowly. It was similar to a traffic slowdown on an Interstate highway. I turned around, found a chair, pulled out my iPad, and worked on my email for perhaps ten minutes. By that time the traffic jam had almost disappeared. I then put the iPad away and walked to the Exhibits Hall at a normal walking pace.

The Innovation Summit and the First Day of the FGS Conference in Salt Lake City

The long-awaited combined conferences of RootsTech and of the Federation of Genealogical Societies started today. I have been to a lot of genealogy conferences in the past 27 years but this was an event I will not soon forget. And that’s after only one day!

Total attendance at these combined events is expected to be about 20,000 people. That will break down into about 12,000 paid attendees at the RootsTech and FGS conferences plus an additional 8,000 or so adolescents and their family members who are expected to attend a one-day Family Discovery Day on Saturday. In addition, many of the sessions are being videotaped and will later be shown to about 200,000 more people at various family history events around the world. The presentations are being translated into ten different languages.

RootsTech 2015 Schedule

Are you planning to attend RootsTech next week? If so, you might want to first check out the Conference Schedule at in order to plan for the presentations you wish to attend.

Even better, you might want to download the mobile app that is available for iPhone, iPad, Android, Blackberry and Windows Phone. Details may be found at For Android and Apple iOS (iPhone, iPad, iPod Touch), you can use the QR code to the left for quicker access to the RootsTech mobile app. For all other web-enabled devices, point your mobile browser to and you will be directed to the proper app version for your particular device.

Ontario Genealogical Society Conference Registration Goes Live

The following announcement was written by the folks at the Ontario Genealogical Society:

Online registration is now open for this year’s Ontario Genealogical Society annual conference, “Tracks through Time” from 29-31 May 2015 at Georgian College Campus, Barrie, ON, Canada.

The conference theme “Tracks through Time” originates from the 130th Anniversary of the completion of the Canadian Pacific Railway across Canada. Many family historians have their roots in the immigrant laborers who built this railway across our vast country. Other ancestors were tempted by the transportation routes and migration opportunities allowed by its completion. Still others worked for the railway company itself over the years to follow. As researchers, we “track” our family history through time in many ways, always attempting to ensure we are “tracking” the right people from the right line. The variations on “Tracks through Time” are endless.

Calling RootsTech Attendees: Ancestry Needs You!

The following announcement was written by the folks at

Ancestry depends on user input to help mold the future generation of their offerings. A range of opportunities are being planned here at RootsTech for participants to share their impressions of upcoming Ancestry features across multiple products. These will include both focus groups and individual interviews during the conference.

Preserve Your Family Documents and Photos at RootsTech 2015

RootsTech 2015 will be a 3-day event offering more than 200 classes; an expo hall of hundreds of exhibitors and sponsors, including interactive booths to assist in your family history journey; general sessions with well-known and inspiring speakers; and entertaining events at the end of each day. See my earlier article at for details.

One vendor in this year’s exhibits hall, EZ Photo-Scan, is inviting all attendees to bring their family pictures, documents, and any memorabilia that can be digitized, for free scanning on site.


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