I got home late last night from the four-day conference held by the U.S. National Genealogical Society, co-sponsored by the Missouri State Genealogical Association, the Mid-Continent Public Library, the Northland Genealogical Society, the APG (Association of Professional Genealogists) Heartland Chapter, and the Johnson County, Kansas, Genealogical Society. It must have been a good conference as I am exhausted. I slept on the plane ride home and I slept today. That's my yardstick for measuring a conference's success!
The conference in Kansas City was held under sunny skies the entire time. Not that the weather mattered very much; most of the attendees never ventured outside. Those of us who stayed at the conference hotel were able to attend all the lectures and sessions, the Exhibitors' Hall and several restaurants without leaving the hotel. In addition, an elevated pedestrian tunnel connects the conference hotel with another nearby hotel and restaurants as well as a small shopping center with even more restaurants. It was a perfect location for a major conference.
I wrote earlier about the first day of the conference. I can now report that the following three days were about the same: sessions and presentations from 8:00 AM until into the evening, sponsored luncheons and more.
Here are a few of the things I noticed:
FamilySearch (the organization owned and operated by the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints) and FamilyLink announced a new partnership that will create a new and significantly improved card catalog for the Family History Library in Salt Lake City, the many local Family History Centers around the world, and individuals in their homes. The new catalog will contain all of the entries in the present catalog plus millions of new entries that will point to available digital sources. In most cases, those will be online images of original records. You can read more in my earlier report at http://blog.eogn.com/eastmans_online_genealogy/2008/05/day-1-of-ngs-co.html.
Incline Software demonstrated the next release of Ancestral Quest, a genealogy program for Windows. The new version will be ready for shipment later this summer and will include integration with New FamilySearch. The software installed in your PC will have the capability to search through roughly 1/2 billion records already in New FamilySearch, a number that is growing constantly. The software can find matches for people already in your database and then (optionally) import data from New FamilySearch or export your data TO New Family Search. Best of all, it does this one individual at a time, only after you examine each record and agree. In my mind, this is the only method to import or export data to online databases: one individual at a time. There should be no mass import or exports of hundreds of individuals, along with hundreds or thousand of errors. The AncestralQuest method only exchanges data after a careful human review and analysis of each record.
Perhaps the best thing of all is that Ancestral Quest uses standard Personal Ancestral File databases. You can open and use the one database in either Personal Ancestral File or in AncestrralQuest. Keep in mind that Personal Ancestral File, or PAF, is a "dead program:" it hasn't been updated in ages and the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints announced a long time ago that they will not update it ever again. PAF users can use AncestralQuest to perform functions not found in PAF, such as the interface with New FamilySearch, then switch back to PAF again for every-day work. However, I bet that most PAF users who do that will soon switch permanently to AncestralQuest in order to use its many advanced features.
Jim Killeen was mentioned in many news services a few weeks ago. Like many people, he searched for his own name on Google. He found several men of the same name. They included a cop, a swinger, an Irish priest, an engineer, a father of eight, an Aussie and a gambler. He then traveled the world to meet the men with whom he shared the name. Best of all, the Irish priest Jim Killeen is an Irish priest in the city where (Los Angeles) Jim Killeen's ancestors departed Ireland. (Los Angeles) Jim then brought all of the men to the United States to a meeting in Killeen (naturally!), Texas. Jim created a DVD about the experience. Jim (the one from Los Angeles) had a booth in the NGS Exhibitors Hall and was selling copies of his DVD. Here's a hint: you can see the same one-hour+ DVD for the next few days at http://www.youtube.com/v/SSAloy8LV7E&hl=en. It's a great video. It will be removed before long, however, so look for it now.
Attention New England researchers: Genealogical Publishing Company is now selling a printed "Females Index" to "Savage's Genealogical Dictionary of the Early Settlers of New England." If you have the original four volumes of this classic, you need the brand-new Females Index!
My Ancestors Found announced a new “Family History Phonebook.” It is a downloadable file that will list conferences and seminars, libraries, archives, media and publishing, retail and wholesale distributors, software solutions, web sites, support groups and more. You can read more in my earlier report at http://blog.eogn.com/eastmans_online_genealogy/2008/05/day-1-of-ngs-co.html.
I will also write future newsletter articles about some other things that I saw, including a nifty scanner that converts both microfilm and microfiche to scanned digital images.
Recently-retired Halvor Moorshead was seen wandering the conference with a big smile on his face. Until a few weeks ago, Halvor was CEO of Moorshead Publications, publishers of Family Chronicle magazine, History magazine, Internet Genealogy magazine, Discovering Family History magazine and numerous books. Halvor recently retired and sold the business to two employees: Ed Zapletal and Rick Cree. (See my earlier article at http://blog.eogn.com/eastmans_online_genealogy/2008/02/halvor-moorshea.html for details.) Halvor now plans to enjoy his retirement by occasionally lecturing at occasional conferences. In fact, I expect to see him in two weeks at the Ontario Genealogical Society's annual conference in London, Ontario. A dinner was held on Thursday evening in Halvor's honor.
More than 100 presentations were made, covering a wide variety of genealogy-related topics, including several at various lunches. You can see the complete list at http://www.ngsgenealogy.org/2008NGSRegistrationbrochure.pdf.
If I may offer a bit of shameless self-promotion, I will mention that I had the honor of speaking at the GENTECH luncheon at this year's NGS conference. I spoke on "New Partnerships in the Genealogical Community: The Good, the Bad, and the Unknown." The folks in the audience seemed to enjoyed it.
The NGS conference ended on Saturday with the society's annual meeting. President Jan Alpert was all smiles as she presided at the meeting. She knew that it had been a successful conference.
I believe the 2008 NGS conference in Kansas City was a success and I also suspect that the roughly 1,600 attendees would agree.
Would you like to attend a national conference of the National Genealogical Conference? The 2009 conference will be held 13-16 May 2009 in Raleigh, North Carolina and the 2010 conference will be held 28 April through 1 May, 2010 in Salt Lake City.
See you there!