Co-sponsored by the Allen County Genealogical Society of Indiana and the Allen County Public Library, this year's FGS conference promises to have something for everyone. Sessions will include a wide array of offerings from many of the nation's leading family history experts and genealogical and historical organizations. When looking at the schedule, I see many names of today’s best-known genealogy lecturers.
There is one item at the annual FGS conference that is different from other genealogy conferences. Since this is sponsored by an organization that is an "umbrella organization" of hundreds of genealogy societies, the first day (Wednesday) is devoted to topics of interest to society officers and members. Looking at the schedule, I see many presentations on Wednesday about making sure the society’s website is as diverse as its offerings and its membership, Twenty-First Century Strategies for Handling Society Correspondence, Creating Master Databases from Local Genealogical Resources, Finding and Keeping Volunteers, Saving Our Societies & Thriving in the 21st Century, Overcoming the “We Have Always Done it That Way” Syndrome, Organizing a Society Seminar or Conference, Electronic Publishing for Societies, and many other related topics. If you care about the future of your local society, I suggest you attend as many of these presentations as possible!
Presentations offered on Thursday, Friday, and Saturday will cover "traditional" genealogy topics, although I do see many titles listed that cover state-of-the-art technology being used in genealogy efforts. You can view the 2013 Conference Program Overview at https://www.fgsconference.org/program and a list of speakers and their scheduled presentations may be found at https://www.fgsconference.org/program/speakers/.
At any genealogy conference, the one place that attracts me the most is the exhibit hall. The 2013 FGS conference promises to have a large exhibit hall, featuring the latest software, books, maps, databases, and gadgets on the market for genealogists and family historians, as well as information about genealogical organizations. The exhibit hall in the Grand Wayne Convention Center will be closed on Wednesday, the first day of the conference. It will open Thursday morning after the Keynote Session and remain open to conference registrants and non-registrants until Saturday afternoon.
Yes, that is right: the exhibit hall is open to non-registrants! If you live in or are visiting the Fort Wayne area during August 21-24 and are unable to attend the conference or unwilling to pay the $240 registration fee ($100 for single day), you can still stop by and visit the exhibit hall at no charge.
A Society Showcase will be in full swing Thursday evening during extended hours. This will provide everyone an opportunity to visit with genealogical and historical societies from across the Midwest and the United States and discover how they can assist you with your research. The evening also will feature door prizes, special activities, and networking opportunities. All regular vendor booths will also be open that evening.
You can also find numerous other "special events," including tours of the Fort Wayne area on Tuesday, one-on-one consultations with an experienced genealogist, an evening social on Wednesday, the "Journey Through the Generations with Our Veterans," a special after-hours event at the library on Friday, August 23, extended research hours in The Genealogy Center, and even a Sunday Farewell Brunch. Again, more information is available on the conference web site at https://www.fgsconference.org/. Also, please note that hotel information is available at https://www.fgsconference.org/lodging/.
You can also find late-breaking news and changes about the conference in the FGS Conference News Blog at http://www.fgsconferenceblog.org/. If you are planning to attend this conference, I'd suggest you check this blog every day or two.
One of the events I enjoy the most at many of the larger genealogy conferences always happens after the conference is over: the Saturday evening dinner for readers of this newsletter. These events are usually not planned until the last minute. This year will be the same: I will PROBABLY host such a dinner but do not yet know where or any of the other details. However, if such a dinner is to be held, it will be announced in this newsletter shortly before the conference. Stay tuned!
Here is a question for anyone in or near Fort Wayne or anyone else who visits often: Can you recommend a place for the Saturday evening EOGN dinner? The restaurant or banquet facility must be able to accommodate 35 to 50 or even more guests on a Saturday evening, have good food at reasonable prices, and be within a short distance of the convention center. Within walking distance is best although we have occasionally "car pooled" to past events. If you have a suggestion, please post it in the comments section below.
See you in Fort Wayne!