FEEFHS announces an Eastern European Family History Conference

The following announcement was written by the Foundation for East European Family History Studies:

feefhs_logoPerhaps the best-kept secret in Salt Lake City is a small, personalized conference on how to do research on Eastern European ancestors. Hosted annually by the Foundation for East European Family History Studies (FEEFHS), the conference is a bit more like a workshop – with intentionally small class sizes to allow sufficient attention to individual questions and needs. The 2016 conference will be held 8 -12 August 2016 at the Plaza Hotel in Salt Lake City.

This year’s program is country-research-rich, with a full 3-day track on German research, and extended Polish, Russian, and Austro-Hungarian research tracks. Class instruction levels include getting started research in a specific east European country (assuming a foundational knowledge of genealogical research), as well as more in-depth topics and unique record sources for advanced researchers. Optional consultations are available on a first-come, first-served basis.

Society of Australian Genealogists Issues a Call for Papers for the 15th Australasian Congress on Genealogy and Heraldry

SydneyHarbour2018-2The Society of Australian Genealogists will host the 15th Australasian Congress on Genealogy and Heraldry at the International Convention Centre in Darling Harbour, Sydney, Australia on 9-12 March 2018. The theme of the Congress is Bridging the Past and Future. Four days of lectures, workshops and exhibitions.

The Call for Speakers has been issued and closes on 31 October 2016. For further information, see and

German-American Genealogical Partnership issues Call for Presentations for 2017 International Conference

The following announcement was written by the German-American Genealogical Partnership:

MINNEAPOLIS, Minn.—The German-American Genealogical Partnership, a growing international organization of genealogical societies, has issued a Call for Presentations for its inaugural international conference, set for July 28-29, 2017, in Minneapolis, Minn.

Prospective speakers may submit up to six 60-minute presentations for consideration. Individuals, co-speakers and panels are invited. To submit presentations, visit

The deadline for submission is July 31.

The Family History Library Announces 2nd Annual Free Block Party

The following announcement was written by the Family History Library and the Church History Museum of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints:

Salt Lake City, Utah (June 5, 2016)–The Family History Library and the Church History Museum of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints will be sponsoring the second annual Family History Block Party on Saturday, June 11, 2016, in downtown Salt Lake City featuring indoor and outdoor activities for the entire family. The event will run from 10:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. on West Temple Street from North Temple to South Temple which will be closed to thru traffic. There is no charge to attend, and all activities are family-friendly. The first block party was held last year in 2015 in conjunction with A.J. Jacobs’ global family reunion and was a great success.

Announcing the Australian History & Genealogy Expo 2016

A major event for all history, genealogy and heritage enthusiasts will be held later this year in Adelaide, SA, Australia. This national expo promises to be a low cost major exhibition (70 exhibitors) and program of 80+ talks from 30 speakers – and more.

The following announcement was written by the folks at Unlock the Past:

Adelaide, South Australia, 25 May 2016 – History and genealogy company, Unlock the Past, invites all history, heritage and genealogy enthusiasts to attend its 8th history & genealogy expo. It will be held in Adelaide over two days, Friday and Saturday 7–8 Oct 2016, at Immanuel College, Novar Gardens SA.

The 2016 expo is the first ever national expo in Australia. It will appeal to anyone interested in family, local and social history and heritage in South Australia especially, but to all Australians.

It is a unique opportunity to see many societies, libraries and commercial product and service suppliers in one place and to learn from the presentations offered. The exhibition will feature about 70 exhibitors from several states covering a wide range of history, heritage and genealogy interests. Hear 30 expert presenters from five states and New Zealand. The expo is also an opportunity to mingle and network with other like- minded attendees and people who have been working in the industry for many years.

International Germanic Genealogy Conference 2017 in Minneapolis

A new conference will be held next year in Minneapolis, Minnesota. What makes this conference unusual is that it is being organized through an international partnership of societies across the United States and Europe.

The following invitation was written by the Germanic Genealogy Society (Minnesota):

IGGC 2017

RE: 2017 International Germanic Genealogy Conference—July 28-29, 2017 Hosted in

Minneapolis, Minnesota

Dear friend in genealogy—

May 2016

National Genealogical Society Announces Grand Rapids, Michigan, as the Site for 2018 NGS Family History Conference

The following announcement was written by the folks at the National Genealogical Society:

ARLINGTON, VA, 10 May 2016—National Genealogical Society (NGS) President, Jordan Jones, announced the 2018 NGS Family History Conference will be held at DeVos Place in Grand Rapids, Michigan, 2‒5 May 2018.

DeVos Place, Grand Rapids

Devos Place, Grand Rapids

NGS selected Grand Rapids for its significant historical importance as a city centrally located between all the Great Lakes. In the nineteenth century, the Great Lakes were major, strategic waterways that helped Americans moving West and immigrants coming from overseas through Canada to settle and develop the Midwest. Cheap land, mining, and the timber industry made the area attractive. The combination of water power from the rivers and rapids, together with access to grain and lumber, encouraged manufacturing and industry, including breweries, furniture, and cereal. Entrepreneurs flourished as Michigan became the center for the automobile industry for seventy-five years, encouraging migration from the south and attracting an influx of new immigrants in search of jobs and the American dream.

2016 NGS Conference in Ft. Lauderdale is a Success

NOTE: My pictures are available at

The 2016 NGS Conference in the States closed on Saturday. I was at the conference and must say that I enjoyed it. The conference included four days of presentations, workshops, luncheons, events, and an exhibits hall with a large number of genealogy vendors in attendance.

Presentations were made on a wide variety of topics, including federal records, the law and genealogy, methodology, analysis and problem solving, military and land records, DNA, BCG Skillbuilding, and the use of technology.

NGS States Concerns About HB 2 Impact on Their 2017 Raleigh Conference

The national news media has been full of stories in recent weeks about North Carolina’s controversial new law, called HB 2. In short, the law allows and even encourages discrimination against LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender) individuals. Even the U.S. Justice Department officials are on record as stating the law violates the U.S. Civil Rights Act and Title IX – a finding that could jeopardize billions in federal education funding. You can read more about that issue at

Many people, myself included, are boycotting North Carolina businesses until the law can be repealed and full civil rights are restored to all citizens.

The National Genealogical Society got caught in a quandary. The Society had already committed to holding its 2017 conference in Raleigh, North Carolina before the law was enacted. Canceling the plans at this time would mean the violation of contractual commitments, probably resulting in thousands of dollars in financial penalties. Another problem is that finding and planning a new venue is difficult to impossible with only twelve months’ notice.

This left the senior management of the National Genealogical Society with a dilemma: how to hold a conference that will “ensure Raleigh is a safe and welcoming location for all of our 2017 conference attendees.” Now the NGS managers have published a statement, available at

NGS States Concerns About HB 2 Impact on Their 2017 Raleigh Conference

National Genealogical Society Presents Awards Honoring Excellence in Newsletter Editorship and Service to NGS

OK, if I may “toot my own horn” just a bit, I received a very pleasant surprise today during the opening ceremony of the National Genealogical Society’s annul conference in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. I received an award. Actually, the award was presented to two people: myself and Cyndi Ingle, publisher of Cyndi’s List. If I am to share an award with anyone, I am proud to share it with Cyndi, a person whose work I have admired for years.

I never expected any such recognition. I was in the back of the room taking notes. When I heard my own name mentioned, I froze and stopped taking notes. I never knew what NGS President Jordan Jones said after that until I read the announcement later in the day.

A number of other people received special awards today as well. Here is the announcement sent today by the National Genealogical Society:

NGS 2016 Family History Conference Next Week in Fort Lauderdale

What will probably be the second-largest genealogy conference of the year in the US will occur next week in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. The National Genealogical Society’s 2016 Family History Conference will attract genealogists from all over the United States, along with quite a few from other countries, to the four-day conference with more than 150 lectures on a wide range of topics.


The conference will be held at the Greater Ft. Lauderdale/Broward County Convention Center, 1950 Eisenhower Blvd, Fort Lauderdale, FL 33316. I attended a non-genealogy conference in the same convention center a few years ago and can report that it is an excellent facility for an event of this size. It is a modern convention center (with numerous wi-fi hotspots) that has plenty of parking. It is surrounded by a number of excellent hotels and restaurants within walking distance. Hotels are listed in the conference brochure at

No EOGN Dinner at the NGS 2016 Family History Conference Next Week in Fort Lauderdale

With reluctance, I have decided to not hold a dinner for EOGN readers after this year’s NGS conference in Fort Lauderdale, and I will probably hold very few such dinners in the future.

For years, I have sponsored dinners at the end of major genealogy conferences in the US. Every year, doing so has become harder and more expensive. Attempting to find banquet facilities in new and strange (to me) cities has become a challenge. In years past, I always looked for a place for about 25 genealogists to have dinner together. In recent years that number has grown to 75 to 125 attendees and sometimes even more. Finding a place available for a crowd of that size on a Saturday evening has proven difficult!

Another problem is price. Of course, inflation happens everywhere, but it seems to happen faster in banquet facilities than elsewhere. Years ago, such a dinner might cost $25 per person. Today, the price for a modest meal runs from $60 to $80 per person, and I have heard of even higher prices in a few places. To be blunt, I am embarrassed to ask people to pay that much for a meal.

A contributing factor is my age: I still try to be a high-energy person; but all the running around, planning, and various other activities at conferences is starting to wear me down. Perhaps it is time to pass the baton to someone else.

Sadly, with one exception, I have decided to not hold any more EOGN dinners after the genealogy conferences.

The one exception is RootsTech, held every winter in Salt Lake City.

FGS 2016 Conference Registration Is Now Open

The following announcement was written by the folks at the Federation of Genealogical Societies:

FGS-2016-Logo-TransparentRegister now for “Time Travel: Centuries of Memories” in Springfield, IL

April 25, 2016 – Austin, TX. The Federation of Genealogical Societies (FGS) announces that online registration is now open for the 2016 FGS National Conference, “Time Travel: Centuries of Memories” to be held August 31 — September 3, 2016, in Springfield, IL, and locally hosted by the Illinois State Genealogical Society. Register by July 1, 2016, for the early-bird discount at

Celebrating 40 years since the founding of FGS, each day of the conference is full of sessions aimed at strengthening attendees’ research skills no matter what level or area of interest they may have.

“Returning to our Illinois roots for the FGS 2016 Conference to celebrate our 40th Anniversary in the state where FGS began is a dream come true,” says D. Joshua Taylor, FGS President. “With a solid educational program and a tremendous line-up of social events, this conference is not to be missed!”

Conference Highlights

Great Canadian Genealogy Summit to be held October 21-23, 2016

The following announcement was written by the organizers of the Great Canadian Genealogy Summit:

Great Canadian Genealogy SummitThe Great Canadian Genealogy Summit (CANGEN) pleased to announce their inaugural conference, to be held October 21-23, 2016, at the Courtyard by Marriott, Brampton.

The Summit showcases Canadian genealogists who have an expertise in the record sets relating to the early settlers of Canada.

On October 21, we have arranged a day at the Ontario Archives. And better still, for those with UEL ancestors who are mind boggled with the documentation required for your UEL application, former Dominion Genealogist Kathryn Lake Hogan will be offering a workshop with the at the Archives. She will share her expertise on what documentation is required and how to access the documents at the Archives.

Pennsylvania State Archives Announces the 2016 Archives Without Tears Workshop Schedule

Archives Without Tears is a two-day workshop for those who work with historical records. It will be held May 24 and 25 in Ulysses, Pennsylvania, then repeated again in Hollidaysburg, Pennsylvania on June 16 and 17. The workshop will be presented by the Pennsylvania State Archives in partnership with Pennsylvania Lumber Museum and with the Blair County Genealogical Society

The schedule for both events will be:

A Report and Pictures from Who Do You Think You Are? Live! in Birmingham, England

NOTE: Photos are available at

Who Do You Think You Are? Live! turned out to be almost exactly as expected. The hallways and aisles in the National Exhibition Centre (NEC), in Birmingham, England, were crowded with thousands of genealogists. I know it must have been a great event simply because I was so tired at the end of each day!


The annual Who Do You Think You Are? Live! event is the largest genealogy conference in the UK and I believe it is the second-largest in the world. (RootsTech in Salt Lake City appears to be the largest.) I never obtained a headcount of visitors to the Who Do You Think You Are? Live! but it obviously was in the many of thousands of family historians and others with an interest in history and in researching their family trees.

If a picture is worth a thousand words, I have the equivalent of about 72,000 words available at That is an online photo album containing many of the photos I took at the conference. It should give you a feel of the exhibits hall and “theatres” at the conference.

NGS Releases Mobile App for 2016 Family History Conference

The following announcement was written by the (US) National Genealogical Society:

NGS_mobileappARLINGTON, VA, 11 APRIL 2016—The National Genealogical Society (NGS) announces the release of its mobile app for the NGS 2016 Family History Conference, which will be held 4‒7 May 2016, in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. The app is available for iOS, Android, Blackberry, Windows Phone, and web-enabled devices. To download the free NGS mobile app, go to

With the NGS 2016 mobile app, you can:

  • Stay organized with up-to-the-minute exhibitor, speaker, and event information
  • Sync the app across all of your devices with Multi-Device Sync
  • Receive important real-time communications from NGS
  • Build a personalized schedule with times and locations of sessions
  • Locate and bookmark exhibitors on the convention center maps
  • Take notes and download event handouts and presentations
  • Rate and comment on the sessions you attend
  • Find attendees and connect with your colleagues through Friends
  • Stay in-the-know and join in on social media with #NGS2016GEN
  • And much, much more!

Who Do You Think You Are? Live! in Birmingham, England – Day 0

The Who Do You Think You Are? Live! conference in Birmingham, England Day #1 will start tomorrow, April 6 at 9:30 AM British Summer Time. So, if tomorrow is Day #1, then today must be day #0, right?

In any case, I arrived in Birmingham about 6:30 this morning after a red-eye flight from New York City. After getting a bit of sleep in an airport hotel, I wandered over to the National Exhibition Centre (NEC) in the afternoon to see how the set-up for the show is progressing. I managed to sneak in without the required badge needed for pre-show set-up (Shhhh! Don’t tell anyone!) and found the place was a beehive of activity.

I will post a few photos in this article and more photos tomorrow once the show opens. Want to see what an exhibit stand looks like before the show opens? Here is the Ancestry stand as it existed this afternoon as a “work in progress:”


On the Road Again, This Time to Birmingham, England

I managed to stay home for 7 weeks after my last trip, perhaps a new record for me. However, I am embarking on a number of trips in the next few weeks.

By the time you read this message, I should either be over the Atlantic or possibly already arrived at my destination of Birmingham, England. I’ll be attending the Who Do You Think You Are? Live! conference on 7 through 9 April. More than 10,000 visitors are expected at this year’s event. I wrote about the conference earlier at As I wrote in that article, “The show will be packed with more than 120 exhibitors showing their products and services. Attendees also will have access to leading genealogical experts, informative workshops, archives and museums, major online resources, and the largest gathering anywhere of family history societies.” You can also read a lot more in the conference web site at

2017 FGS National Conference Call for Presentation Proposals

The following announcement was written by the Federation of Genealogical Societies:

Deadline for Submissions is 1 June 2016


March 7, 2016 – Austin, TX. The Federation of Genealogical Societies (FGS) announces that presentation proposals are now being received for its 2017 Conference, “Building Bridges to the Past,” to be held in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania August 30 – September 2, 2017. The conference will be held in cooperation with the Western Pennsylvania Genealogical Society as local host. The deadline for submission of presentation proposals is Wednesday, 1 June 2016.

“Building Bridges to the Past” references not only the many bridges in Pittsburgh, but the bridges between old world and new, as well as our journeys to discover our past. Topics related to methodology and research skills are always welcomed, in addition to content-specific areas, such as: