The annual conference of the U.S. Federation of Genealogical Societies in Boston ended on Saturday afternoon. About 2,000 attendees seemed to be smiling everywhere I looked. I know it was a great conference as I was exhausted. I must have had a good time!
My congratulations to Michael Leclerc, Susan Kaufman, and the many others for a job well done!
I found many new things at this year's conference. As I wrote in the Thursday/Friday report, the Exhibits Hall was full of vendors from all over the United States as well as others from Canada, England, Ireland, and one from Germany.
One thing that caught my eye was the list of three major conference corporate supporters. You could see the list on the sides of the book bags given to every paid attendee. Ancestry.com and ProQuest Information and Learning (the parent company of HeritageQuest Online) were both prominently listed, and both are well known to genealogy conference attendees. However, one new company name was also listed: 1837Online.
1837Online is well known in the U.K. as an online provider of birth, marriage, death, military, census, and migration records. I have seen the company's impressive display booths at past Society of Genealogists' conferences held in London. However, this is the first time I have seen the company at a U.S. conference. 1837online.com was prominent among the many U.K. and Irish vendors at this year's conference.
Looking at the vendors' booths, one thing became obvious: this is the year of maps! Everywhere I looked, I saw maps. There were vendors selling maps of England, maps showing homesteads in Ireland, books of maps in public land states, software that generates maps, and more. I will be writing about many of these and other products in the near future.
You can also find a full list of all the presentations made at this conference at http://guest.cvent.com/EVENTS/Info/Agenda.aspx?e=90b9dcf1-6262-466b-a5f1-3bb99d947c26
I was delighted to see one other change at this year's conference: audio recordings of some of the conference presentations. Some years ago, it was common to be able to purchase audio recordings on cassette tapes. These were recordings made of various presentations at the conferences. The price was in the neighborhood of about $10.00 per tape. You could purchase them at the conference or, after waiting a few days, by mail order. Of course, mail orders took a week or more for delivery. I used to listen to these tapes as I drove in my car.
Sales of the cassette tapes declined, as did the number of tape cassette players. It is now difficult to purchase an automobile with a tape cassette player since everyone wants CD players! The company that produced audiocassette tapes at the genealogy conferences has since faded from sight.
In contrast, audio recordings of some of this year's FGS presentations are available now. They are not available by mail order. Instead, you purchase them online via a safe and secure shopping cart system and then download them immediately. No more waiting a week or more for the mailman! You can download an audio file and then listen to it directly through your computer's speakers or headphones. You can also listen to them with an iPOD or other MP3 music player. Best of all is the price: instead of $10.00, these recordings only cost $1.99 each! You can now purchase five recordings for the same price you used to pay for one.
Faster, more convenient, and cheaper. That sounds like a winning combination for today's technology. You can see the list of available presentations and can also order them directly at http://stores.lulu.com/store.php?fAcctID=590224
I took many pictures at this year's FGS conference, most of them in the Exhibits Hall. You can find some of my pictures at http://blog.eogn.com/photos/fgs2006
Next year's FGS conference will be held August 15 to 18 in Fort Wayne, Indiana. I plan to be there. Will you?
The FGS folks are probably en route home right now, seeking some well-deserved rest and recuperation. Don't look for info about the 2007 conference for a while. However, details will eventually be posted at http://fgs.org/2007conf/FGS-2007.htm.