(Click on any image to see a larger picture.)
The annual conference of the Federation of Genealogical Societies continued today in Springfield, Illinois. (You can read my report of Day #1 at http://goo.gl/Wb68I and the report of Day #2 at http://goo.gl/zN1IC.) The conference continued today in much the same manner as the previous days.
One exception was the weather: the excellent autumn-like weather of Wednesday and Thursday was replaced by low hanging clouds, some wind, and occasional rain showers. However, it didn't seem to dampen the enthusiasm of the 2,000+ attendees.
Another negative was the free wi-fi access in the convention center. I wrote earlier about the great idea of providing free Internet access to vendors and attendees alike. I used the wi-fi Internet access on Wednesday and it worked well. I didn't use it at all on Thursday. Today, I found it was so slow as to be almost useless.
I don't know if the problem was caused by a technical glitch or simply by the fact that dozens of users were attempting to access the Internet simultaneously. Whatever the cause, connection speeds were glacial with time-out errors seen frequently. The convention center staff worked on the problem but apparently without success.
At many of the national genealogy conferences, Friday is "honor your ancestors" day when some attendees dress in the manner of some of their ancestors. I didn't see as many people dressed in different costumes today as I normally see on Fridays, but several men did honor their Scottish ancestry by wearing kilts. Here you can see Roger Moffat displaying a kilt of the Clan Moffat tartan. (nice legs, Roger!)
One feature that I especially appreciated was the Cyber Café, provided courtesy of RootsMagic. It was a great place to stop and check your email messages and for other computer tasks as well. Three computers and a laser printer were available. I saw something similar at RootsTech last February. I hope this concept of a Cyber Café catches on and becomes standard at other genealogy conferences.
I especially appreciated the heavily padded easy chairs in the Cyber Café. I could sleep in those chairs and nearly did so.
Of course, the vendors hall had many available products and services, from booksellers to the latest high tech devices. The ever-popular Flip-Pal portable scanner seemed be very popular at the conference. You can read my earlier article about the Flip-Pal at http://goo.gl/LPjiD and watch a video interview at http://goo.gl/ct8iV.
The presentations continued today as well, with eight simultneous tracks most all day long. Topics ranged from "Effective Search Techniques and Sound Research Practices on FamilySearch" to "Using City Directories" to "Fixing Faded Color Photos with Adobe Photoshop" to many other topics. A full list of all the presentations may be found at http://www.fgs.org/2011conference/.
Friday evening traditionally sees the conference banquet and tonight was no different. However, this time it was the FGS 35th Anniversary Celebration. "The Lincoln Family Album," was presented by a special guest, noted Lincoln scholar Harold Holzer. Harold Holzer is one of the country's leading authorities on Abraham Lincoln and the political culture of the Civil War era. A prolific writer and lecturer, and frequent guest on television, he was appointed co-chairman of the United States Abraham Lincoln Bicentennial Commission by President Clinton and in 2008 received the National Humanities Medal from President Bush.
Tomorrow will be the fourth and final day of the Federation of Genealogical Societies' conference. Tomorrow evening, shortly after the close of the conference, 52 readers of this newsletter are scheduled to ascend to the 29th floor of the Hilton Hotel for dinner while overlooking the city of Springfield. I am looking forward to both events.
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