The annual conference of the (U.S.) Federation of Genealogical Societies got underway today under sunny skies in Austin, Texas. The Austin Convention Center is an excellent facility. It is newly renovated and actually much bigger than what this group needs. It is located in downtown Austin, within a block or two of several hotels and restaurants.
The first day of the FGS conferences are quite different from the remaining three days. Day #1 consists mostly of society support sessions. After all, this is a conference of genealogy societies. The first day includes topics such as producing publicity for your society, handling society correspondence, society budgeting, and building society Web sites, among others. The vendor hall is not open on the first day.
The second, third, and fourth days are more like other genealogy conferences. The vendor hall is open, and the seminars focus mostly on advanced genealogy research topics for individual genealogists. In fact, the keynote address is given on the second day.
I arrived at the conference site in mid-day today to find lots of old friends and many strangers wandering the halls and taking in lectures. The atmosphere is relaxed, and everyone seems to be smiling. Chatting briefly with a couple of the conference organizers, I found that advance ticket sales have gone well, and they expect a large turnout.
The keynote speech tomorrow morning will be delivered by Richard “Cactus” Pryor, who is often called the “Father of Texas Broadcasting.” He will present excerpts from the one-man show he wrote on J. Frank Dobie, the great professor who wrote 30 different books on the tales of Texas cowboys.
Shortly after Richard “Cactus” Pryor’s speech, the vendors’ hall will open, and I will be working in a booth there. In the daily newsletter reports of the next three days, I hope to write briefly about any new genealogy products or services that I find. I also plan on uploading a few pictures to the daily version of this newsletter on the Web site.