I was reading The Weekly Genealogist from NEHGS today and their Survey results from last week were surprising to me. 61% of the respondents indicated they would be visiting a library, archive, historical society or cemetery to do research, but only 12% planned to attend a genealogical conference. Well surprise…you can do both this summer by planning to attend the Federation of Genealogical Societies Conference in Ft. Wayne, Indiana.
As genealogists we're always learning. The FGS conference has something for everyone whether you're a newbie or a long time researcher. If you're on the board of your local society, Wednesday is Society Day with sessions to help your society grow and prosper. In addition to all the wonderful sessions, you get to spend four days with over a thousand like-minded people (great if you have a family like mine that's not into dead people <g>). Check out the Program to see the broad spectrum of topics. I'll be presenting a lecture on Printed vs. Online Publishing for Societies (W110) at 11:00 on Wednesday and doing a Workshop Using Griffith’s Valuation to Identify Your Ancestors' Origins (F308) on Friday morning from 9 - 11:30. I also plan to attend a number of the sessions…here's the beginning of the schedule I'm working on.
I've got a couple of overlapping sessions (which always happens), so when I get to Ft. Wayne, I'll check the syllabus and see if one of the sessions is being recorded, then make my decision. Not all of the sessions are recorded, but even if you don't attend, you can purchase recordings of many of the sessions.
I haven't filled up all my entire schedule, because the other part of my time there will be filled with research in the Exhibits area and the Allen County Public Library (which is just a block down the street). All of the major software and database vendors will be there with large booths and plenty of people to answer questions. They will be doing short demonstrations of key features of their products, especially any new announcements. There will also be plenty of stuff to buy…books, magazines, technology products and just fun stuff!
And then there is the Library. Having the Conference in Ft. Wayne, which houses one of the largest genealogical collections outside of Salt Lake City is brilliant. The Library offers extended hours during the week of the conference, staying open until midnight on Wednesday - Friday! The collections of the library are not limited to Indiana or the United States, but include records from around the world. For example, the British Isles collection contains the 6" Ordnance Survey Maps for Ireland, a collection I normally work with at the Valuation Office in Dublin. Although not listed on their brochure, they also have O'Kief, Coshe Mang, Slieve Lougher, and Upper Blackwater in Ireland by Albert Eugene Casey, a must if you have ancestors from western Cork or Kerry.
So what are you waiting for? Early registration is available until 1 July, a $50 savings (more money to spend in the Exhibits area). Combine your research with an opportunity to improve your research skills and learn about new sources by attending the FGS conference.
There's still time to sign up for the Dublin Research Trip.