If I had to sum up the sessions that I’ve attended so far here at the Federation of Genealogical Societies 2011 Conference
, it would be that it is imperative for today’s societies to meet their potential members where they are. Be relevant to them. If the younger generations are using today’s technology to communicate, then societies need to communicate with them using that same technology.
From Curt Witcher’s session on fundraising to D. Joshua Taylor’s session on Engaging 21sters to Lisa Alzo’s session on Immigrant Cluster Communities to Debra Mieszala’s session on The Curious Case of the Disappearing Dude [Captures your attention, doesn’t it?], one theme was apparent. It’s all about the story. We may have those in our families who are family group sheet "filler-outers", but most people want the story. That is what is captivating. Yes, as I mentioned in my blog post The Situation of Genealogy and Family History
, the details are important and what we, as genealogists, love, but the story is what gets them in the door ~ literally and figuratively.
Is today’s younger generation studying the aspects of the inter-relations of those peoples indigenous to the Atlantic Coast of New Jersey?
Are they anxiously sitting on the edge of their seats to see what happens next in the day-to-day activities of the descendants of the Acadians who settled in Atchafalaya River Basin in Louisiana and their obsession with collecting crocodilians?
Do they analyze every week the relationship between a rescuer of aged underwater timber and his co-workers?
Every week, do they analyze the physics of a semi-trailer truck trekking across temporary roads made of ice?
No. To all of the above.
They’re watching Jersey Shore
to see The Situation lift up his shirt to show off his six pack. In public. Again. Then doing a fist pump. Again.
They’re tuning into Ax Men
because they just love Swamp Man Logging, a.k.a., Shelby Stanga, and they were literally on the edge of their seats watching the episode where Shelby was really sweating it out when he couldn’t find any more logs to get enough money to take his faithful and loyal dog, Willy, to the vet when Willy was so very sick. And you could really tell how torn up about it Shelby was.
They’re watching Swamp People
and wondering how, on God’s green earth, the Landry brothers can pull those 12-foot ‘gators into those small (And I mean small.) boats without turning their boats over and becoming ‘gator bait themselves.
They're watching Ice Road Truckers
to see if those crazy truckers [They have to be crazy. No one sane would do what they do.] who haul freight across temporary ice roads in the dead of winter will plunge into the frigid waters of those lakes this week. And? How the heck do they get that underwater & under ice view of the trucks crossing up above. [Seriously. How do they do that? I’d hate to be the diver who has to set *that* camera up.]
Whether a person is being asked to join a genealogical society, whether a person or group is being asked to donate to a genealogical society’s project, or whether a person is being asked by their own family historian to contribute information or time to their family’s history, they’re all looking for one thing. A story. They probably just don’t realize it. Something that catches their eye. Something that makes them laugh. Something that makes them cry. Something that makes them shake their head and say, “Are you kidding me?”
And we, as genealogists, can give that to them. We can give them the stories that catch their eyes, that make them laugh, that make them cry, and make them shake their heads. [Sometimes all at the same time.]
So, why aren’t we doing it?
Better late than never. Here’s my non-fantasy (Cuz I’m actually going. Tomorrow, in fact.) fantasy picks for FGS2011 for Friday, September 9, 2011. I’ll tell you what, though, it’s getting harder and harder to pick which sessions I want to attend.
8:00AM ~ U.S. Territorial Papers, 1789-1873: Records of the Frontiersmen
with Linda Woodward Geiger, CG, CGL. You see, I have a 2nd great-grandmother with the surname Davis who had the audacity to marry a Smith between censuses. And this Smith? He died between the marriage and the next census. And then? Her father, Mr. Andrew J. Davis, is purported to be the son of Mr. Jacob Davis because there aren’t any other Davis’ around, but there’s no proof. And this all happens in Iowa and Indiana. You see my dilemma, yes? And let me just add that some DAR apps and some Winthrop Society apps [That’s right. Let’s hear it for the Massachusetts Bay Colonists.] are riding on me figuring it all out. You know, finding the proof? Yeah. It would be a Smith and Davis at the root of my problems. So Ms. Geiger, tell me all about these papers. Pretty please? With sugar on top?
9:30AM ~ Demystifying Eastern European Research
with Lisa A. Alzo. Okay, so I have this feeling ~ I don’t know why ~ that I’m going to need this info. You see, my 1st great-grandfather, John Marschall, was born in a small (And I mean, small.) village in Posen, Prussia, which is now located in Poland. He married a woman whose parents were German, and all of their children were baptized in the same Catholic German church in Galveston, Texas. The question is, “Was he German or was he Polish?” I have nothing saying one way or another. Yet. And since John Marschall is my Big Paw Paw’s dad, somehow I don’t think things will be straightforward. And? Why am I suddenly craving Polish sausage and German beer? Lisa, demystify away. [I can call her Lisa because I’ve met her and shared dinner with her. Okay, it was appetizers, but still.]
11AM ~ Researching Your Indian Wars Ancestor Before the Civil War
with Craig R. Scott, CG. Why this session? Why not? Pre-Civil War researching can be tricky. It’s less straightforward [even without Big Paw Paw], and these wars seem to get lost in the mix. Did my peeps participate in these wars? I dunno, but I’m going to find out with Mr. Scott’s help.
2PM ~ The Draper Papers: Research in This (In)famous Manuscript Collection
with James L. Hansen, FASG. I have quite a few ancestors and their wild and wooly relatives shaking it up between the French and Indian War and the War of 1812 in the “Trans-Allegheny West”. And? I want details. So Mr. Hansen, details please. And? Could you put emphasis on the infamous? I love a good story.
3:30PM ~ Family History in Your Cells: Using DNA for Genealogical Research
with Drew Smith, MLS. [Another Smith, I know.] I studied in school that cells were the building blocks of life. And it's true because my Biology teacher, Mr. White, said it was so. Therefore, it isn’t much of a stretch to think they contain stories. You know, family stories? So, how to find them? Besides dissecting, which I did in my Anatomy & Physiology class with Mrs. LaFever, I dunno. But I’m betting Mr. Smith knows.
5PM ~ Apps Galore for the Professional Genealogist
with Pamela Boyer Sayre, CG, CGL and Rick G. Sayre, CG. All I want for Christmas is an iPad. Those of you who follow me on Twitter (@FamilyStories
), know I love my iPhone. I mean, truly love my iPhone. Now? I want an iPad. [I know. I’m never satisfied. Who is? Don’t answer that.] And while I’ve been known to scour iTunes and the net for apps, have I missed one? I dunno. It’s possible. And I’m going find out in this session.
Visit the FGS 2011 Conference website
for more information about their 2011 conference, Pathways to the Heartland
Don’t you get tired of that look? That glazed-over look? That blank stare? You know, the look you get when, in response to a family history question from a family member, you start explaining in great detail how you were able to find that small (And I mean, small.) village in what is now Poland, but once was a part of the Prussian Empire, where your great-grandfather was born.
And what I have to say next is going to shock and even dismay you. So sit down and get comfortable before reading any further. Ready?
- They could care less about how you successfully – after years and years of searching and pulling your hair out – found the name of that small (And I mean, small.) village in Poland that your great-grandfather was born in.
- They don’t care that your great-grandfather no doubt repeated several times for the clerk the name of that small (And I mean, small.) village so that the clerk could phonetically (but incorrectly) spell it out on his declaration of intent to become a citizen of the United States.
- They don’t care that you spent days and days closing your eyes and sounding out the name of the small (I mean, small.) village trying to come up with possible spellings.
- They don’t care that you spent days and days Googling those silly spellings.
- They don’t care that you stared at his passport application and that blob of ink, that should have correctly identified that small (I mean, small.) village, did not once morph into perfectly shaped letters.
- They don’t care that you went through all the towns and cities that begin with the letter “G” listed in an index of a current European atlas hoping you can find one that sounds like the one phonetically spelled out on his declaration of intent.
- They don’t care that there are, like, a gazillion towns and cities in that index that start with the letter “G” or that you are practically blind now because of how small the type is in that index.
- They don’t care that you have spent countless hours poring over old maps online and offline looking for that small (I mean, small.) village.
- They don’t care that you bought a subscription to an historic map site so you could find that small (I mean, small.) village.
- They don’t care that you absolutely must have the name of that small (I mean, small.) village in order to go back any further.
- They don’t care that you queried on Twitter with a Twit Pic a Photoshop-enhanced copy of his passport application hoping that someone could see what you had not.
- They don’t care that you only received 2 responses, one of which was a good-hearted person from Germany who was unsuccessful at identifying that small (And I mean, small.) village.
- They don’t care that the second response led you to a site that led you to another site that had a database that allowed wild card searching of names of current and former cities and villages of the former Prussia and what is now Poland, where that small (And I mean, small) village was found.
- They don’t care that that village is so small (And I mean, small.) it probably only exists today because it’s an archaeological site.
Basically? They don’t care about all those details. And let’s face it. We do what we do because we love those details. We don’t just live in those details. We revel in them. For us, the difference between generations is in the details. The difference between failure and success is in those details.
And our loved ones? What do they care about? I’ll tell you what they care about.
- They care whether this same great-grandfather’s son, Big Paw Paw, fathered any other children with his many mistresses and/or wives.
- They want to know the details of Big Paw Paw’s will, and why he wrote it the way he did.
- They want to know why, if she’s still living, you haven’t contacted Big Paw Paw’s last mistress. (Awkward, much?)
- They want to see Big Paw Paw’s photos, and, wow, wasn’t he good looking?
- They want to know every last detail about each of Big Paw Paw’s divorces.
- They want to know why Big Paw Paw sued his sister.
- They want to know why Big Paw Paw was kicked out of his family.
- They want to know why Big Paw Paw was excommunicated from the Catholic Church.
That’s right. While you’ve been carefully crafting research work that would (in your dreams) be worthy of The History Channel
, your loved ones just want to know how the family compares to an episode of Jersey Shore
So what to do? Don’t force the details on your family. Give them what they want in the format they’ll appreciate. [Yes. Give them 'Snooki'
and 'The Situation.'
] Give them the stories, the photos as well as a chance to add to all of that in a way they can understand. By engaging family members in a non-technical way, you’re more likely to get their input, their stories, their rumors, their secrets, and – dare I say – their details that may be just what you need to find the parish your great-grandfather was more than likely baptized in near that small (And I mean, small) village ~ all without that glazed-over look in their eyes.
Are you going to the Federation of Genealogical Societies conference
next week in Springfield, IL? Join 1000memories.com Thursday morning, Sept. 8th at their Engaging Your Family in Genealogy
breakfast panel. I’ll be in attendance, but if that doesn’t do it for you [grin], D. Joshua Taylor (Co-chair 2011 FGS Conference), Dear Myrtle (Pat Richley), and Jonathan Good (Co-founder 1000memories) will be on the panel. Space is limited and you must RSVP. For more information please visit the 1000memories.com blog
Thursday, September 8th, marks the first day of regular lectures at FGS 2011. And I've finally made my picks. It was tough, though. But here it goes...
8:30-10Am ~ General Session
with David S. Ferriero
who will be delivering the keynote address.
11AM ~ Illinois Migration & Settlement Patterns
with Rev. Dr. David McDonald, CG ~ Here's a little known fact about me: I am both fascinated and addicted to migration patterns. It fascinates me the determination, courage, and ingenuity it took to migrate, and I feel victorious when I can narrow down how an ancestor got to a certain place. I mean, my ancestors never -in a million years- thought that I'd be tracking down, well, their tracks. So, if any sessions will be discussing migration, I will most certainly be there. [Unless someone asks me to go have coffee or to walk through the vendor exhibit hall with them, of course. ;) ]
2PM ~ Immigrant Cluster Communities: Past, Present, and Future
with Lisa A. Alzo
~ Unless you are a hermit who doesn't communicate with anyone in any manner, you deal with other people and, oftentimes, you deal with them repeatedly. And I'd venture to say that each person could tell just a little something about you. Something your descendants might want to know about you, just like the tidbits that you try to dig up about your ancestors. So, it makes sense to look at who your ancestors interacted with. I've written an article in Shades
on how to go about doing this, and I look forward to Lisa's presentation to see her perspective on this great method. [Plus? I've met Lisa. In person. And? She's so cool. Can't wait to hear her speak.]
3:30PM ~ The Curious Case of the Disappearing Dude
with Debra Mieszala, CG
~ Now, honestly? I had another session picked out because of the subject matter, but I'm easily distracted by an awesome title. And, hello?!? This title tells me Ms. Mieszala is creative. Well, at least with her presentation titles. However, as intended, she captured my attention. Something tells me her presentation will also captivate me. And? I'm so ready to be captivated. Really.
5PM ~ Migration Through Canals and Waterways
with Carol Smith, AG ~ Remember? Wherever migration is, I am. Looking forward to Ms. Smith's voyage through canals and waterways.
So. What sessions are y'all thinking about for Thursday, Sept. 8th, at FGS2011?
Visit the FGS 2011 Conference website
for more information about their 2011 conference, Pathways to the Heartland
Wednesday is all about Societies
I've personally come to the decision that it's time that I network the old fashioned way with flesh and blood people. Hard to believe, I know. But it's true.
You see, I'm tired of looking into people's eyes as I answer a family history question [that they
asked, mind you] and seeing that glazed-over look in their eyes. You know the one I'm taking about, right? That "I-must-have-been-out-of-my-ever-loving-mind-to-ask-this-question-How-did-I-know-she'd-take-the-ball-and-actually-run-with-it-This-is-what-I-get-for-being-polite" look. Yes, that look.
Likewise, I want to meet people who want to talk about local history. People who get excited about a document they found in the local courthouse, and then show it to me. Tell me how it fits into their family's history.
I wanna trade stories with someone whose family has been in this here parts since time began.
I wanna see the excitement in a young person's eyes when they finally realize they, too, have a part in history. That their family was a part of history.
I wanna be a part of a local group who wants to help their community find it's roots, wherever they may be.
I also want to help others with some of the skills that I've learned along the way. And I want others to share their skills with me.
All these reasons are why I joined a local society. And they are the reason I'm attending FGS2011. And they are the reason I'm so excited about the society session offerings at FGS2011 on Wednesday, September 7th. The following are my fantasy non-fantasy [Cuz I'm actually going.] picks for Wednesday:
8:30-9:15am ~ The Plenary Session [No. This is not going to be a talk about plants. "Plenary" is just a fancy word that means everyone's welcome to be there.] with David Rencher, AG, CG, FIGRS, FUGA
, & he will be speaking on "How Will Our Society Survive? Do We Alter, Mutate, Modify, Shift or Switch?" ~ I'm definitely going to this, folks. Hello? I just explained that I need a local place. Therefore, I want it to survive. Right? Besides, everyone's welcome to be there.;)
9:30am ~ "The Dollars and Cents of Fundraising" with Curt B. Witcher, MLS, FUGA, FIGS
~ Mr. Witcher could talk about the differences between types of tree bark, and I'd be there. He's that good. I've actually paid good money to see him talk. He's that good. He could sell heaters in the middle of summer to people living in Florida. He's that good. Plus? I'm interested in my local society surviving. That means funds. So? I'm there, Mr. Witcher. With bells on.
11:00am ~ "21st Century Marketing Techniques for Genealogists/Genealogical Societies" with Thomas MacEntee
founder of Geneabloggers.com
and owner of Hi-Definition Genealogy
~ I love Thomas. I love his ideas. I love to hear him talk. I always learn something new from him. Plus? I love marketing. My degree is in English, but my minor is in marketing. And you're probably not going to believe this, but I love social networking. Therefore, I'd like to know how I can help my local society put their best foot forward.
2:00pm ~ "Engaging a New Generation of Genealogists" with D. Joshua Taylor, MA, MLS
~ Now. You were paying attention above, right? You know, the part about young people and the community's roots? How are we going to keep our local societies alive if we don't
engage the "New Generation"? Mr. Taylor, I'm all ears.
3:30pm ~ "Finding and Keeping Volunteers" with Amy Johnson Crow, CG
~ Societies don't run themselves, and the same people can't do everything. Not only do we need to find volunteers, but we need to keep 'em around. Again. Not only do I want my local society to survive, but I want it to thrive. So, I'm there. And? I've communicated online with Ms. Crow several times. I can't wait to hear her speak! [See how I'm also converting an online person to an offline person? Social networking works, folks.]
5:00pm ~ "Brainstorming Session: Marketing Your Society" ~ I thought this would be kind of cool to attend and participate in. I like the idea of an unstructured session. Nothing like not putting up barriers so we can share new ideas. So. I hope it lives up to my hype. We'll see.
So. There you go. These are my picks for Wednesday at FGS2011. What are your picks? Even if you're not able to go, please take a look at the sessions here
and share in comments below what sessions you would like to attend, or if you are going, which ones you think you'll be attending on Wednesday. And most importantly, why?
Also, for more information about the FGS 2011 Conference in Springfield, IL, please visit their conference site
An Official Blogger for FGS2011
[Disclosure: I am an Official Blogger for the FGS 2011 Conference.]Doing it Old School Has Its Merits
I love technology. I love computers. I especially love my iPhone. But when it comes to planning stuff out, I prefer doing it old school – paper. And while FGS does provide an online Conference Program
of each day’s sessions, I believe the best way to view and plan out your conference must-go-to sessions is by accessing the FGS 2011 Conference’s brochure, downloading it, saving it and printing it out.
Why waste the paper and ink? After all, it’s a 16-page PDF document for goodness sakes. Well, each day’s lectures, luncheons, and activities are in a 2-page table format. Printing it out allows you to see everything for that day at a glance and make informed decisions. [Trust me. They have a lot of choices.] Steps To Access & Print the Conference Brochure
I stumbled upon this on their site, and thank God I did cuz making my non-fantasy fantasy picks [cuz I'm actually going] is going to be a whole lot easier with these day-by-day session grid table thingies.
Some Additional Tips & Thoughts
- Either access the PDF Conference Brochure by clicking here, OR you can go to the conference’s main page, click on the Media button, on the lefthand sidebar click on the FGS 2011 Conference Brochure button, and click on the PDF download button located in the middle of the page to begin the download.
- Once you download the brochure, you can view it, save it, and/or print it out. [I did all 3, but definitely print it out.]
- Once you print out all 16 pages, take the 2 pages that list each day’s schedule, flip the 1st page for each day over, and line it up with the correct day’s 2nd page so that you can fully read all your choices for each day.
- Each day is broken down into 7 tracks. The first day, Wednesday, is all about genealogical societies, Focus on Societies.
- The rest of the days of the conference [Thursday, Friday, and Saturday] are researcher-focused, and in the future FGS Conference Friday posts, I’ll go over my picks for those as well. [Just as soon as I decide.]
- Within each track, the sessions are organized across the 2 pages with the time of the session listed across the top and the name of the tracks listed going down on the left side. [See why you need to print it out? Hair, people. You don't want to pull out your hair trying to figure out if Thomas MacEntee's 21st Century Marketing Techniques for Genealogists/Genealogical Societies is at the same time as Lisa Alzo's Immigrant Cluster Communities: Past, Present, and Future. And BTW, they're not.] Now, if “all about genealogical societies” is your cup of tea, there are some exciting topics that will be discussed with some even more exciting speakers discussing them, and I’ll go over the tracks and my session picks for that day on next Friday’s FGS Conference post.
- And I’m not gonna lie to you. There are some tough decisions to make here for each day’s sessions, but don’t let that deter you. Also? Keep in mind that what you think you want to attend now may change once you’re there, and that’s okay. I mean, someone that you’ve been communicating online with might want to sit down and talk to you over a cup of coffee or tea. [For reals.] And if this happens, go for it. It’s part of the conference experience. ‘K?
So. How are you sorting out the FGS 2011Conference Sessions? Please feel free to share in Comments below.
What do you mean you haven’t registered yet? What are you waiting for? Their link for more info about registering and the conference overall is here
Next Friday's FGS Conference Post: What I Think Will Be My Non-Fantasy Fantasy Picks for Wednesday
While I'm still on my SCGS2011 Jamboree high, I thought I'd start mentioning the Federation of Genealogical Societies' 2011 Conference in Springfield, Illinois coming up in September, especially since I'm an Official Blogger for them. So. I've come up with some pros and cons, or stays and go's, if you will, to help you decide on whether you should stay at home like you do every year or whether you should go and have a fantastic time.
- If you stay at home, you'll get to read all the cool tweets and blog posts from all of us who decided to go.
- If you stay, you'll be able to finally clean out your garage.
- If you stay, you'll be able to research that family line again with that huge brick wall that you can't seem to scale, and still not scale it.
- If you stay, you can get caught up on that dirty laundry mound that could rival Mount Everest.
- If you stay, you can wash your car. Several times.
- If you stay, you can wash your hair and even play with some new styles for it.
- If you stay, you can continue to communicate with your online genealogy buddies [Well. The ones who decided to stay at home too.], and never get to meet the ones who decided to go. [What do we look like in person anyways?]
- If you stay, you can get all your old photos and documents scanned and digitally organized in between keeping up with all the conference tweeting.
- If you stay, you can read all the blog posts and related tweets about how great and awesome the conference was for weeks on end.
- If you stay, you can see all the you-had-to-be-there-to-understand-it-cuz-it's-an-inside-joke photos and not know what any of them mean.
- If you go, you can meet all those online genealogy peeps that you've been tweeting and blogging with so your family members will stop thinking your some online weirdo. [Or is that just me?]
- If you go, you can meet me. Am I the same in person as I am online? I dunno.
- If you go, you won't have "wrinkle hands" from washing your hair. And your car. Several times.
- If you go, you just might go to a session that teaches some new-found way to scale a brick wall, like the one you've been trying to scale. Or perhaps the session teaches you how to tear the dang thing down and haul off the brick debris.
- If you go, perhaps the Laundry Fairy will swoop in and do all your laundry for you. [Snort.]
- If you go, perhaps you'll learn how to start writing your family's history.
- If you go, perhaps you'll finally learn how to use German church records [Using German Church Records with Michael D. Lacapo, DVM.] so you can find who your 2nd Great-Grandfather's, John Jacob Jingleheimer Schmidt's, parents were.
- If you go, perhaps you'll learn all about the correct ways to restore your old photographs. [Photo Restoration from Start to Finish Demonstration with Eric Curtis Basir]
- If you go, all your blog readers and Twitter followers can read all about what a FAN-tabulous time you are having and/or had at FGS2011. [Make 'em green with envy.]
- If you go, you can be in on all the you-had-to-be-there-to-understand-it-cuz-it's-an-inside-joke photos. [Or perhaps you'll take the photos. Who knows? You won't unless you go.]
So should you stay or should you go?
Oh. You're asking ME? Well. Duh. Go.
For more details about FGS 2011, please visit the conference's FGS 2011 Website
as well as the FGS Conference Blog
. And don't take your sweet time about it either. Registration prices go up after July 1st. So get your groove on. Go.
Yup. You read correctly. I'm an Official Blogger for FGS2011!The Federation of Genealogical Societies Conference
this year ~ Pathways to the Heartland ~ is being held in Springfield, Illinois
September 7-10. That's right 4 jam-packed FAN-tabulous days of genealogy fun! Seriously? I was going over all the sessions last night that are available for this conference. And? My head hurts [in a good way] with all the opportunities for learning and networking. This is a must-see-must-attend-absolutely-gotta-be-there conference.
And if that doesn't get you there, then maybe this will. I will be there. Reporting. Interviewing. Dining. Networking. You know, the usual hard work.
BUT, what if you can't make it? Don't worry. I and this outstanding list of esteemed Official FGS Bloggers
will be blogging about the vendors, the food [Apparently, Amy Coffin over on her blog, We Tree
, will be scoring and blogging about some ~from what I hear~ fantastic bacon from a particular vendor.], the socials, the lectures, and, well, everything.
Now, in the months, weeks, and days leading up to FGS2011, I will be spotlighting on this blog and on my Family Stories
blog any conference news, interviews with planned conference lecturers & vendors, historical places to visit near the conference, and local resources for opportunities to research in and around Springfield.
At the conference, I will be Tweeting [ @FamilyStories
] and blogging conference news, interviews, photos, etc.
After the conference, I will be blogging my thoughts, meditations, and the like of the FGS2011 Conference. [And definitely more pics.]
Oh my. I'm gonna busy. [A good kinda busy.] I am so very excited and honored to have been chosen to be an Official Blogger for the FGS2011 Conference!
Now for the "legal business." In exchange for all of the above listed tasks, I am receiving the following from FGS:
- One full complimentary registration to the conference
- Media credentials
- Complimentary admission to the Old-Fashioned Prairie Social on Wednesday evening
- Off-Hour admission to the Exhibit Hall
- Use of space at the Media Hub
[O.K. Can I scream now? Aaaaaaack!!! Woo-hoo!!! This SO rocks!]
So, will I see you there? Goodness, I hope so.
Until then, keep an eye out for all the FGS2011 Conference news via my blogs, Family Stories
and/or For Your Family Story
, via Twitter
, and via Facebook