Conferences

FGS 2016 Conference in Springfield, Illinois is a Success

I returned home late last night from the annual conference of the Federation of Genealogical Societies, co-sponsored by the local host, the Illinois State Genealogical Society. I have to say this was one of the better FGS conferences I have attended (and I have been to most of them for in the past 28 years). It wasn’t the biggest ever held but it was one of the better organized and better planned FGS events.

FGS_2016_Springfield_IL

I already wrote about the opening session in my earlier article at http://goo.gl/JkC9hF. That was followed by three days of presentations covering a wide variety of topics, an active exhibits hall, various luncheons, the conference banquet on Friday evening, and several workshops. Indeed, the Friday banquet perhaps was the best ever at an FGS conference. Games were played, including a mix of trivia questions and something that resembled a scavenger hunt (all held within the banquet hall). Thousands of dollars in prizes were awarded!

A Report from the FGS 2016 Opening Session

The opening session of the Federation of Genealogical Societies took place this morning in Springfield, Illinois in a crowded room containing hundreds of conference attendees. I took notes on the iPad but my typing ability is not fast enough to capture everything. Here is a bit of what I did record.

This shows some of the crowd at the opening session

This shows some of the crowd at the opening session

FGS President Josh Taylor offered opening remarks and a number of announcements. One announcement that was well received was that MyHeritage has become the Platinum Sponsor of FGS conferences for the next three years. This is a major financial commitment by vendor to financially support the genealogy community.

Paula Stuart-Warren made several award presentations, including:

FGS 2016 Awards Presented at the FGS 2016 National Conference

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

September 1, 2016

Federation of Genealogical Societies Presented Awards to Deserving Individuals and Organizations in the Genealogical Community at FGS 2016 Annual Conference

September 1, 2016 – Austin, TX. The Federation of Genealogical Societies (FGS) presented awards to fellow genealogists and organizations who provide excellent work, assist other genealogists, and aid in the preservation of records at this morning’s Keynote Session at the FGS 2016 National Conference, “Time Travel: Centuries of Memories,” in Springfield, Illinois.

Loretto (“Lou”) Szucs from Illinois was presented with the Rabbi Malcolm H. Stern Humanitarian Award for being a constant supporter and visionary for the genealogical community.

Judy Russell from New Jersey, also known as “The Legal Genealogist,” was presented with the Directors Award for her role as a leader within the genealogical community in helping to raise awareness and funds for the Preserve the Pensions project.

FamilySearch Celebrates the Federation of Genealogical Societies’ 40-year Anniversary​

The following announcement was written by the folks at FamilySearch:

Salt Lake City, UT and Springfield, IL, (31 August 2016)—As the Federation of Genealogical Societies’ (FGS) annual conference opens today in Springfield, Illinois, the nonprofit organization is also celebrating its 40th anniversary. FamilySearch International thanks and recognizes FGS for its significant contribution to the family history community and celebrates the success of its major joint projects over the decades and the ways those projects help people seeking their ancestors.

Federation of Genealogical Societies Announces Upcoming National Conferences for 2019 and 2020

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

Upcoming FGS National Genealogy and Family History Conferences To Be Held August 21-24, 2019 in Washington, D.C. and September 2-5, 2020 in Kansas City, Missouri

August 16, 2016 – Austin, TX. The Federation of Genealogical Societies (FGS) announces the FGS 2019 National Conference will be held August 21-24 in Washington, D.C., and the FGS 2020 National Conference will be held September 2-5 in Kansas City, Missouri.

Upcoming Conferences DC and KC Graphic

“We are extremely excited for all our upcoming conferences and look forward to visiting Washington, D.C., and Kansas City in future years,” says FGS President D. Joshua Taylor. “From 2016 to 2020, our conference venues are steeped in both history and research resources and make perfect settings for genealogists and family historians.”

Auckland Family History Expo in Pictures

I must admit that I had fun this past weekend. I had an opportunity to visit and to speak to the Auckland (New Zealand) Family History Expo. I found a very enthusiastic group of genealogists at this event.

Sponsored by the Auckland Council Libraries in cooperation with the New Zealand Society of Genealogists, this turned out to be a major genealogy conference. Approximately 500 people attended the Expo on Saturday and 350 were there on Sunday. Those are large numbers in a country with a smaller population! Many of the presentation rooms were full to maximum capacity and the exhibits hall was crowded almost all the time when there were no presentations in progress.

Registration Continues for British Institute

The following announcement was written by the folks who are organizing the 2016 British Institute:

ISBGFH

Looking to find your ancestors across the pond? Registration continues for the 2016 British Institute, which will be held 10–14 October 2016 at the Plaza Hotel in Salt Lake City, Utah. Don’t miss out on this amazing opportunity to learn about British Isles research from experts!

Courses with seating available include:

Southern California Genealogy Jamboree Call for Presentations

The following announcement was written by the folks at the Southern California Genealogy Jamboree:

2017-Jamboree

Call for Presentations to the 48th Annual Southern California Genealogy Jamboree Conference (Friday through Sunday, June 8 – 11, 2017 at the Los Angeles Marriott Burbank Airport Hotel, Burbank, California), the 5th Annual SCGS Genetic Genealogy Conference (Thursday, June 8, 2017), workshops throughout both conferences, AND, the 2017 Jamboree Extension Series Webinar program. Presentations will be accepted through the online portal July 15, 2016 – August 21, 2016.

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 http://www.congress2018.org.au/ and http://www.facebook.com/Congress2018.

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 www.ggsmn.org/cpage.php?pt=85.

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 http://goo.gl/iH8o8W

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 http://goo.gl/qdPS3U.

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 http://www.ngsgenealogy.org/cs/pressroom/ngs_concern:

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.

NGS-2016-Conference-Logo

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 http://conference.ngsgenealogy.org/wp-content/uploads/2015/11/2016-Registration-Brochure.pdf.

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.