The annual conference of the U.S. National Genealogical Society opened yesterday (May 9, 2012) in downtown Cincinnati, Ohio.
The word "downtown" is a mixed blessing: it indicates the location is easily accessed by public transportation and has a number of excellent hotels within walking distance. Like the downtown areas of most other large cities in the eastern U.S., the word "downtown" also indicates that everything is expensive, including the same hotels, the restaurants, parking, and other necessities for those attending. It also is a very inconvenient commute for local genealogists who drive in daily to attend the conference. I am staying about 30 miles out in the suburbs in an RV resort. I got my introduction to Cincinnati's commuting problems on the opening day when the normal 30-minute commute required more than an hour!
The opening session started promptly at 8 AM. Well, I was told it started promptly as I was stuck in traffic at that moment. I arrived in the convention center about ten minutes later.
The Opening Session was sponsored by Archives.com and the company's Senior Director of Product, Joe Godfrey, spoke to the audience. I am sure the sponsorship and scheduling of his talk was made some time prior to the recent announcement of Archives.com being acquired by Ancestry.com. The timing of Joe's talk couldn't be better as he talked about the developments of the past few weeks.
Joe told the audience that, for some time, the two web sites will continue in the same mode as before. They will be two different brands, with two separate views of the same mission. If anything, Archives.com expects to accelerate the publishing of new records never available before online and many of which were not previously available on microfilm. The words I heard most clearly were, "Archives.com's vision is to make family history available easily and cheaply."
Joe's talk was followed by the keynote address delivered by Patricia Moseley Van Skaik who manages the genealogy collection at Cincinnati's Public Library. She talked about Genealogy Buried in a Photograph: Amazing Discoveries in the Cincinnati Panorama of 1848. She talked about a world-renowned daguerreotype, the Cincinnati Panorama of 1848. I already had a little knowledge of this photograph as I wrote about it almost two years go in an article at http://goo.gl/hPE3l. However, I was amazed when Patricia showed the audience what she and the experts at the The Public Library of Cincinnati & Hamilton County and at the George Eastman House in Rochester, New York have done.
Today's state-of-the art microscopy equipment was used to produce digital images from the 1848 Panorama. The results that Patricia displayed were amazing. (Click on the image to the right to view a larger sample from the daguerreotype.) I would never have believed a photograph taken in 1848 could contain such detailed images. Even the time displayed on a clock tower several miles away could be read. (It was ten minutes before two o'clock.) Buildings were easily identified and even individuals could be seen in the photos, although not clearly enough to be identified. Keep in mind the image to the right was taken by an 1848 camera two and a half miles away from these people.
On a humorous note, a pair of ladies' bloomers were clearly seen in the photographs taken from several miles away as they hung on a clothesline at one house. By searching in city directories and other documents of the era, library personnel were able to identify all the residents of the house at that time by full names. There apparently was one adult female in the household and the bloomers hanging on clothesline appeared to be adult-sized. When was the last time you went to a genealogy conference to see an image of your great-great-grandmother's underwear projected on a large screen to perhaps 2,000 people at the conference?
Seriously, that serves as an excellent example of the detail that was retrieved from these 164-year-old daguerreotype plates taken by Charles Fontayne and William S. Porter. You can learn more at http://1848.cincinnatilibrary.org/.
Following Patricia Moseley Van Skaik's talk, several announcements were made:
As previously announced, next year's NGS conference will be held in Las Vegas on 9-12 May. New announcements made in this year's opening session include:
The 2014 NGS Conference will be held in Richmond, Virginia on 7-10 May.
The 2015 NGS Conference held in St. Charles, Missouri on 13-16 May.
After the Opening Session ended, the crowd exited and went to the opening of the Exhibitors' Hall. The hall itself is huge. It first looked like there were fewer vendors than at past events. However, I was walked around I began to believe that was misleading: the "problem" is that the hall itself is much larger than that of most previous conferences and, in fact, the vendors are simply more spread out.
Final attendance figures won't be available until the end of the four-day conference. However, it looks to me like 2,000 to possibly 2,200 genealogy conference attendees were in the Duke Energy Center on Wednesday.
I must say the Duke Energy Center is a first-class convention center and is an excellent place to hold a genealogy conference, even if you do have to pay $4 for a soda at the snack bar. (OOOPS! There I go again, complaining about prices.)
I am including some pictures I took of the Exhibitors' Hall.
Michael Leclerc addresses a seminar on using Mocavo:
If you enjoyed this article, please share it with others. Tweet it, share it on Google+, Facebook or on your preferred social network.
Republishing of this article in newsletters, blogs, and elsewhere is allowed and encouraged, with a few minor restrictions. Details may be found at http://goo.gl/hoHH1.
Of course, if you haven’t done so already, you should join my email newsletter mailing list to stay current on my latest articles and announcements. You can also cancel at any time within seconds. I promise to never, ever send you any unrequested e-mail, other than newsletter updates.