My Experiences at the FGS Conference 2018 in Fort Wayne

This is a follow-up to my earlier article, Report from the FGS Conference 2018 in Fort Wayne – Day #1, at I spent four days last week attending the annual conference of the Federation of Genealogical Societies. It was co-hosted by the Allen County Public Library which is across the street from the great convention center in downtown Fort Wayne, Indiana.

Grand Wayne Convention Center

In short, the conference was well organized and I didn’t see any significant problems with the daily events. The weather was great, except for rain for a while on Saturday morning. Even that stopped before noontime, however. Hundreds of presentations about a wide variety of topics were made. I won’t list them all here simply because you can find all the information  about the presentations at: You can also find a list of all the exhibitors in a map of the exhibits hall at You can also find more information about last week’s conference in the FGS web site by starting at

I never did hear the final attendance figures but the number of attendees seemed to be a bit less than many previous years. I believe there were fewer exhibitors as well. Several of the major exhibitors had smaller display booths than I have seen in recent years. I am not surprised as I understand that attendance seems to be declining at genealogy conferences these days as well as at all sorts of other in-person events: sportsmens’ shows, home and garden shows, and many other events. I don’t believe genealogy events are immune from this trend.

I cannot describe all the many activities at this year’s conference. Instead, I will offer some photographs that I took in an attempt to give you a “flavor” of what it is like to be at a national conference.

Speaking of which, if you would like to attend the Federation of Genealogical Societies annual conference next year, mark your calendar now: August 21–24, 2019. The conference site is within easy distance of the National Archives, the Library of Congress, the DAR Library, and more. All of those are easily reached by Washington’s Metro subway system. Keep an eye on throughout the next year for updates.

Here are a few of my snapshots taken during the 2018 FGS conference:

One of my favorite genealogy speakers, Tony Burroughs, gave a great talk on this subject.

Here is Tony describing someone else’s family tree.

Sponsors of this year’s conference

The keynote speeches were streamed online

MyHeritage had a large and very active display presence

Want to attend a genealogy conference in Norway? No problem, as all the presentations will be in English!

DNA was everywhere at this conference!

Mark Olsen of Software MacKiev assists a customer with her Family Tree Maker software. Software MacKiev had a large presence at this year’s conference.

Charting Companion from Progeny Genealogy is a very popular and very powerful program used to create all sorts of genealogy charts. It is a available as a plug-in addition to Family Tree Maker as well as plug-ins for several other programs and also for use with GEDCOM files. And, yes, it even has some DNA charts.

Family Book Creator allows you to publish your research results in book format to preserve your hard work for succeeding generations. It is available as a plug-in for Family Tree Maker for Windows.

I spent some time with Kathryn Lake Hogan of Looking4Ancestors as I have Canadian ancestry.

Family Chart Masters always has an impressive display booth. 

Look at the size of that wall chart from Family Chart Masters! Wouldn’t you like to take one of those displaying your family’s ancestors to your next family reunion?

Geni provides powerful genealogy tools to help you grow your tree in a collaborative online tree with more than 185 million profiles

I need some help from Kelli Bergheimer and her “Mess on the Desk” organizational tools!

Here is one of Kelli’s guides to organizing your genealogy information. She has other guides for Evernote, web browsers, and more

Bruce Buzbee of RootsMagic as just one of the many presenters in Lisa Louise Cook’s “Genealogy Gems” booth

The L2 Scrollio Research Kit creates retractable and editable scrolls to display your family tree and research.

The L2 Scrollio Research Kit rolls up into like a window shade for easy carrying in a compact form. The kit includes fabric that is preprinted in a number of formats. You then manually add the information yourself.

The title alone doesn’t do justice to The Tapestree Family Tree! See the next picture.

Wouldn’t you like to have this “family tree” on your mantle?

The Virtual Genealogical Association is probably the fastest-growing genealogy society in the world and it’s online! See my earlier article at for the details.

FamilySearch had a major presence at the conference and was also a Platinum Sponsor

Juliana Szucs makes a presentation in the Ancestry display booth.

LivingDNA is a fast-growing DNA testing and family networking service.

Diahan Southard is one of the great DNA experts, authors, and lecturers of our time. I have heard her speak several times and have always been impressed. See for more information.

ArkivDigital is a great resource for anyone with Swedish roots.

Vivid-Pix is perhaps the most impressive photo enhancement and restoration product I have seen. It is available for Windows and Macintosh. I hope to write about this product in a future newsletter. Until then, see for more information.

Vivid-Pix software in action. The image on the left is the original photo. One mouseclick then created the photo on the right. The contrast was greatly reduced and color fading in the original photo was reversed.

Is this how your genealogy notes are organized?

MyHeritage hosted a bowling party on Friday evening, complete with personalized bowling shirts for all the attendees. Here Daniel Horowitz is bragging about his score as Chris Darrington looks on. Please don’t ask about my bowling score at this party!

Would you like to listen to a recording of this year’s conference presentations? Fleetwood Media has the recordings.



Awaiting your insights about Vivid Pix. I’ve already downloaded the free trial (don’t even have to enter $ info), and what I’ve seen so far has me hooked. They state my free trial is for a limited number of fixes. Thanks for bringing this wizard app to our attention!


Thanks from all of us sitting at home for showing us all the display booths. It is great that we get to see all the new items. I’m guessing there was no new bowling shirt for you Dick.
I too would love your review about Vivid Pix it looks very interesting.


    —> I’m guessing there was no new bowling shirt for you Dick.

    Uh, I got the shirt, as did everyone else who attended. I think it looks great. It’s just that I am not much of a bowler, as proven last week. (sigh) However, I must say that I had a good time at the party: food, bowling, and good company all in one place.


As a presenter, I couldn’t have gone ‘on with the show’ without Jeremy the wizard the IT expert in the red shirt in one of your photos! Grand Wayne Convention Center did a wonderful job! a HUGE thank you to the FGS conference committees for putting on such a successful conference.


Dick, it was a highlight of my walk through the exhibition hall to meet you and chat for a few minutes. Thank you so much for your time.
Dan Rooney


Thank you, DIck, for such an inviting photo tour, thanks to the organizers, exhibitors, presenters and attendees. Good people. Wish I had been there.


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