Saturday was the fourth and final day of the annual conference of the U.S. Federation of Genealogical Societies (FGS) in Austin, Texas. The activities of the day were about the same as the previous days: presentations and seminars were held, sponsored lunches were held, and the Exhibitors' Hall remained busy much of the time. I also wandered around the Exhibitors' Hall a bit more than on previous days and found a number of new products that I had not seen before.
One of the simplest items that I found, as well as one of the most useful, was a pad of yellow "sticky" notes that have blank source citation forms printed on them. These things are so obvious and so simple that I had to ask, "Why didn't I think of that?" Well, I didn't; but luckily a clever person did, and these are now available from Fun Stuff for Genealogists. These pads are designed for you to take along to the library or the court house or to use at home. After making or receiving a photocopy of a book, photograph, web site, e-mail, court house record, or anything else you might find, simply fill out this tag and then stick it to your copy. This tag is like a sticky-note and can be removed. The sticky notes’ headings preprinted on the notes include: Title/Name, Author, Publisher/address, Date, Repository, Call #, Page etc., ISBN#, Web/E-mail address, and a large space for "Misc. info." When making a copy of a page in a bound book, you could first attach the sticky note to the page, and then make the photocopy that includes the citation information. You could attach the same sticky note to any other pages of the same book that you are photocopying, lest the copies get separated. When you finish, simply remove the note before reshelving. You now have no excuse to not "cite your sources." You can find more information at: http://www.funstuffforgenealogists.com
Ancestry.com had a large booth setup, as usual. Many products from Ancestry.com described in recent newsletters were on display. However, the newest item on display was the revised Red Book, just released last week. The Red Book lists repositories of information in counties and towns across America. Organized by state, the book easily directs you to information-rich resources in each area, including the following:
• Vital Records
• Census Records
• Background Sources
• Maps by William Dollarhide
• Land Records
• Probate Records
• Court Records
• Tax Records
• Cemetery Records
• Church Records
• Military Records
• Periodicals, Newspapers, and Manuscript Collections
• Archives, Libraries, and Societies
This 858–page, hardcover book belongs on the shelf of all serious genealogists researching ancestors in the U.S. The book is so new that I cannot yet find it on Ancestry.com's Web site. I am sure it will appear there within a few days. Any bookstore can order it for you if you specify ISBN 0916489477. I found it listed on Amazon.com for $49.95.
On Saturday, GenLine exhibited a brand new book entitled, Your Swedish Roots by Per Clemensson and Kjell Andersson. This book is so new that it wasn't available on Thursday and Friday; it only arrived in the GenLine booth on Saturday. Your Swedish Roots is an independent book that describes how to get started in researching your Swedish ancestry. The book is written for Americans who are not conversant in Swedish. Many of the book’s examples of how to find Swedish records use GenLine's extensive online databases. GenLine has a database of many parish records, some as early as 1688 and others as late as 1901, with the bulk of the available records being from the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. These records were recorded by parish priests every year and include detailed religious records that are, in effect, annual census records. Each person in each family is listed, along with information about age, religious education, and more. GenLine presently has the records of 2,100 out of the 2,500 Swedish parishes online, and the remaining 400 parishes will be added in coming months. GenLine is a commercial service. A 20-day evaluation subscription costs 199 Swedish kroner (approximately $27.00 in U.S. funds). Other subscriptions for longer periods are also available. If you have Swedish ancestry, you need this book, and you need to look GenLine at http://www.genline.com.
The Archive CD Books Project exists to make reproductions of old books, documents, and maps available on CD to genealogists and historians; and to co-operate with libraries, museums, and record offices in providing money to renovate old books in their collection; and to donate books to their collections, where they will be preserved for future generations. The company continually adds new books to the list of available publications. The U.S. division of the Archive CD Books Project exhibited at the FGS conference. You can see their products at http://www.archivecdbooks.us.
GenSmarts is an excellent genealogy software utility that uses artificial intelligence to analyze your existing genealogy file and produce research recommendations. It helps you generate and track “to do” lists, print worksheets to record your genealogy research results, and plan trips to libraries, court houses, etc. For online research, GenSmarts produces links that already have your ancestor’s name and specifics embedded, making it much easier to perform online record lookups. GenSmarts works directly with Family Tree Maker, PAF, Legacy, The Master Genealogist, RootsMagic, Ancestral Quest, and Ancestry Family Tree. The author of GenSmarts continuously adds new features. One recent addition adds non-USA coverage (primarily Canadian and U.K. sources so far, with others to come). The program now compares your genealogy database with FreeBMD.org and 1837online.com as well as FamilySearch.org and Ancestry.com databases. The program now also offers an interesting "kiosk mode;" this is designed mostly for libraries and family history centers so that they can use GenSmarts to generate queries and suggestions for patrons who do not have a genealogy database. The patron can enter name-date-place combinations one at a time as they query multiple online databases. (A GenSmarts software license is free to libraries and Family History Centers.) You can read more at http://www.gensmarts.com.
GenMerge is a stand-alone software utility that finds and merges duplicates in GEDCOM files. If you have received files from a distant cousin and have tried to merge that information into your own database, you know what a chore this can be! GenMerge is also an excellent tool for family societies that collect GEDCOM files from members. The use of GenMerge can reduce the labor required to merge files by 75% or perhaps even 90%. GenMerge preprocesses each family database to find problems, produces a detailed analysis of each database, and then will automatically find and merge only true duplicates. It also produces detailed reports on the merging process and finally produces a new GEDCOM file, leaving your original data unchanged. I hope to write more about GenMerge in a future newsletter. In the meantime, further details can be found at http://www.genmerge.com.
The above list and the reports from the previous days summarize some of the products that I found at the FGS conference in Austin. I am sure there were more; the above are simply some of the new or updated products that I noticed. You can find a list of all the vendors, along with e-mail addresses and links to their Web sites, at http://www.fgs.org/2004conf/conf-exhibitors.asp.
Pictures taken in the Exhibitors’ Hall on the final day can be found at http://eogn.typepad.com/photos/fgs2004day4. Click on any of the thumbnail-sized images to see the full size picture.