Sunday, August 31, 2014

The Final Day - FGS2014

Since this was the final day of the conference, I started the day at the 8:30 with Craig Roberts Scott and his presentation of "Epidemics and Pandemics: Their Impact on our Research". Craig defined the differences between epidemic and pandemic and explained why we should consider these when people disappear from records for no apparent reason.  Knowing when and where these happened may shed some light on our brick walls.  You can Google for epidemics as well as check the CDC, National Archives Application Guide to Federal Records and Hooper's Medical Dictionary.  Craig is very knowledgeable and opened up a new area of research to me,

Craig Roberts Scott
Following Craig's I kept my seat in the same lecture room to listen to Amy Johnson Crow explain "Timelines: The Swiss Army Knife of Genealogical Tools.  Amy explained that using a database spreadsheet like Excel or the spreadsheet format in Google Drive allows more flexible sorting than the timesheet lists found in most genealogy software programs.  Dates should be entered as yyyy/mm/dd for maximum sorting capability.  With timelines you can more easily spot holes in your research.  Entering all the details you know may help to suggest areas for further research.
Amy Johnson Crowe

Following Amy's talk it was time for the lunch break.  I chose a box lunch with a beef, ham or turkey with cheese sandwich with chips, cookie, fruit and ice cold water.  With 2 different speakers to choose from, I attended the session with the presentation "From Texas With Love: Six Points for Spicing Up Your Family Stories"  presented by Juliana Szucs Smith and sponsored by the Genealogical Speakers Guild and International Society of Family History Writers.  Unfortunately I had to leave shortly after Juliana began speaking.  I had a vouluteer commitment at the Exhibit Hall.  I enjoyed what I heard and that it was very good by someone who was able to attend the entire luncheon.

Lisa Louise Cooke
Because of the timing of my Exhibit Hall the next session I attended was the 3:00 lecture with Lisa Louise Cooke on "Tap Into Your Inner Private Eye: Eight Strategies You Need To Find Living Relatives".  Lisa gave inside tips she learned in talking with Private Detectives she has visited with and explained the methods she used to find her husbands first cousin in an effort to learn more about her husband's father and grandfather.  Among other search engines she used Pipl, Spokeo, and Dogpile.  Don't forget social media as a finding aid.

The last session to the conference that I attended was with Thomas W Jones and
was about "Genealogical Documentation: The What, Why, Where, and How"  using examples of correct citations, Tom illustrated the creation of a correct and complete citation and also showed a simplified version of citing sources both digital and physical.
Thomas W Jones

Sigh - and now it is over!  Four days of awesome!  Thank you FGS and SAGHS for a great experience:  FGS2014!

Friday, August 29, 2014

Gone to Texas - FGS2014 Day 3

Today was the halfway point and the beginning of the end.  There are just too many choices and too little time!  Every day there are 42 speaker sessions and 4 workshops.  There are also 8 presentations in the Exhibit hall and 4 different luncheons with speakers!  How does one even begin to choose where to go.  The luncheons and Workshops are chosen at the time of registration but the rest you can pick and choose on a daily basis.

Today I got there early to catch Tom Jones speak on "Can a Complex Problem Be Solved Solely On Line"  Using a case study Tom showed how online records could be used to establish parentage and marriage but ti fill in all the details you would need to use some off line records.  In determining parentage one tip was to search the census before the birth to see if there was a likely family then.  George Edison was born in 1861 so the idea is to search the 1860 census in the reported birth place to see if there is a likely family there.  He also suggested to note place of birth and occupation. So the answer is Yes...But!
Elizabeth Shown Mills

Tom Jones

Next I attended Elizabeth Shown Mills session on "Sources and Citations Simplified: from memorabilia to Digital Data to DNA".  Elizabeth said that while the genealogy vendors have gotten the message about creating source citation templates, they haven't attached them to the family group sheets and we need to keep on the vendors about attaching source citations to the family group sheets even as a second page.  She commented that most people have a difficult time selecting a template.  To that end she said "look at what you are holding" is it a book, microfilm, a family heirloom?  That will help you determine the correct template and remember that a website is a publication.  We use citations to keep ourselves straight.

At lunchtime I attended the luncheon sponsored by the International Society for British Genealogy and Family History (ISBG&FH).  Paul Milner spoke about "The Messages our Ancestors Leave Behind" His talk covered the necessity of writing the stories of our ancestors and including the details of there lives to preserve the details of their lives.  His mantra of the talk was "But they never told me!"  At the end of his talk there was a drawing for a subscription to the ISBG&FH website and the the winner was Cyndi of CyndisList.
Cyndi and I
The last session I attended was "Guardianship: Look Closer at the Documents" with Cindy Foreman.  Cindy eaplained what the Guardianship documents are, why they might have been created, and where to find them.  Census records often reveal if someone in the household was blind, deaf. insane,  Guardianship might have been established for orphans, or others needing some kind of protection.  Even a widow under the age of 21 may have a guardian.  The guardian appointed usually had no financial interest in the case and was required to file an annual report.  Look to the probate files at the county level for guardianship levels.
Cindy Foreman
Finally I ended the day by working at the hospitality booth which mostly involved giving directions to the Exhibit Hall and manning the Lost and Found.

Thursday, August 28, 2014

FGS2014 - Day 2

Day 2 at the FGS conference began, for me,with the opening of the exhibit hall at 9:30.  I was on the second floor when it opened so I got an overhead shop of a small part of the hall.  There are a total of 87 booths in the hall ranging from Socities to bookshops to tech and internet vendors.  There are also 2 presentation stages in the hall with scheduled presenters.  The exhibit hall is open to anyone without charge and there are some nifty giveaways.  Dell Computers had 2 gb memory sticks or thumb drives and the FGS booth had an awesome pen that is also a stylus!  And of course the ribbons.  Ribbons are the currency of a genealogy conference.

Since I volunteered to work at the conference, I didn't go to any morning sessions.  Instead from 10:15 to 2:30 I sat at the ribbons table and passed out ribbons to those who were picking up their registration packets.  Everyone got the "I'm Connected" ribbon and those who were attending a FGS conference for the first time got a neon "First Time Attendee" ribbon.  We also had "War of 1812 Pension Preserver" ribbon for those who donated to the Preserve the Pensions drive.

After my shift was over, I wandered back to the exhibit hall and checked out some more booths.  I did run into several facebook genea friends and saw several members of my local genealogy group Schertz Cibolo Valley Area Genealogists.  Then it was time to head for the last two sessions of the day.

At 3:00 I went to the "Dead Men Talking: Using Probate and Estates to Solve Problems", part of the Records/Resources track, with Teri E Flack.  Teri spoke about how the probate process works and showed how it can be used to solve problems and determine relationships.  This would be especially useful with finding connections in the years before the 1850 census when relationships were not noted on the census returns.

At 4:30 it was time to visit the Methodology track and Judy G Russell.  Hew presentation "A Family for Isabella: Indirect Evidence from Texas Back to Mississippi" began by showing how evidence can be either Direct or Indirect depending on the question asked.  Then we saw using a combination of both types of evidence was used in a reasonably exhaustively search to find Isabella's family in records prior to 1840.  Even Isabella's children's death records were used in the search!

At 5:30 it was time to head back to the hotel for dinner and an adult beverage.

Tomorrow I will attend 2 morning sessions as well as a lunch presentation.  More fun to come!

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

FGS2014 - Society Day

I can't believe it has been a month since I last posted but life has been busy and I guess I've been a little busy.  Both life and genealogy have gotten in the way of blogging.

The Federation of Genealogy Societies Convention in San Antonio began yesterday with Library Day.  I did not attend but I have only heard positive responses to the presentations.

Today was Society Day and I missed the morning sessions arriving at lunch time.  Over lunch in the Bridge area, I caught up with Thomas MacEntee and Smallest Leaf.  There was a small concession stand with a variety of sandwiches, drinks, and snacks.  The bridge divides the two sides of the Henry B Gonzales Convention Center divides the two side of the Center with each side having 3 floors of meeting rooms.  With windows on each side and overhead skylights the area is open and bright.  Today it didn't seem very crowded but it was Society Day and there was a Focus on Societies luncheon and the luncheon also included the FGS Annual Business Meeting and Society Shout-Out.

After lunch it was time to choose the first of three afternoon sessions that were available.  The sessions followed six tracks:  Strategic Planning, Society Technology, Outreach and Education, Strategies for Success, Society Projects, and Advocacy and Legal Issues.

I chose the Society Projects "Creating a Community Indexing Projects" presented by Thomas MacEntee.  Thomas described the types of projects that would be suitable as well as scanning methods, using Excel and Google Drive for capturing data and how to share the completed project.

For the next session I attended the Society Technology presentation by Linda Woodward Geiger "Calling All Society Webmasters: Past, Present, and Future.  This was a very interactive session with lots of questions and responses.  Members of the audience all had different levels of experience.  We discussed the advantage of having a technical person and several editors or content providers.Another topic discussed was service providers and why own a domain name.

For the final session, I selected the Outreach & Education track and "Ten Tips for Marketing Your Society" with Marian Pierre-Smith.  One tip Marian pointed out that any marketing approach should reflect the mission of the Society.  The types of mission might be to reach members, to recruit members, and to become mote visible to the community.  Another suggestion was to consider working with another group in a combined workshop or seminar.

All three of the sessions were very well done and provied tons of inspiration to take back to our group.

I had dinner with five lovely women from  Texas and learned a lot about the DTR (Daughters of the Texas Republic).

Now it's time to select tomorrow's sessions and charge the electronics.