Thursday, December 18, 2014

FGS 2015: Week Two Early Door Prize Winners!

FGS 2015 LogoWeek two winners of FGS early door prizes were drawn today and are listed below along with the prizes they won. Are you registered for the FGS 2015 conference? The final door prize drawing is next week. 

  • Leslie Carney – One-year MyHeritage Premium Plus and Data plan subscription
  • Diane O'Dell – 12-month FMP World subscription
  • Constance Taylor – subscription
  • Allison Singleton – Fold3 subscription
  • Karen Hermann – 12-month Mocavo subscription
  • Phyllis Lee – RootsMagic 7 Software and Book
  • Janet Taylor – County and Civil Registration Districts Map of England and Ireland from Findmypast
Congratulations to the winners!

FGS appreciates the generosity and support of Ancestry.comFindmypastMyHeritage, Mocavo, and RootsMagic.

Register today for FGS 2015 for an opportunity to win an early door prize. Additional prizes will be awarded on December 26. Deadline for entry is midnight PST December 24. Prizes will vary each week. 

Eligible entries will be those who have purchased a full four-day FGS 2015 conference registration through  (including registrations mailed to FGS) prior to each drawing deadline (excluding winners from previous weeks). 

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

FGSCruise2015: Destination Skagway

Skagway docks

When gold was discovered in the Klondike region of the Yukon Territory (just across the border from Alaska), it resulted in the historic Gold Rush of 1898. As thousands of gold-crazed adventurers sought the best starting point for their arduous trek, they found the deepest penetration possible by boat was at the northern tip of the Lynn Canal, where Skagway was born.

It wasn't long before the rough-and-tumble tent town was festooned with boardwalks, dance halls, inns and saloons. The majority of the town was built between 1897 and 1900, in lawless days full of hardened men.  During this time over 80 saloons sprang up, complete with ladies eager to serve the lonely Klondikers.  The town had its heyday for just a few years and then almost disappeared.

Now more than 100 years later, Skagway still retains the feel of those Gold Rush days. The immensely walkable and historic downtown has also largely been restored to its roots, complete with false-fronted buildings and wooden sidewalks.  Many of the wood buildings are original and have survived due to Skagway's climate, which is drier and sunnier than Ketchikan's maritime climate (some 375 miles south).

Klondike Goldrush 133

Skagway is home to the National Historical Park Visitor Center, housed in the train station for the White Pass and Yukon Route Railroad (WP&YR RR).  This train route hauled the ore from the Yukon Territory to the terminal at the Skagway Harbor, and offers tourists rides in restored rail cars.  The town also has its own visitor center housed in the Fraternal Order of the Arctic Brotherhood Hall, and interesting building adorned with driftwood.

Broadway Avenue, Arctic Brotherhood Hall, Skagway, Alaska

Walking tour maps are available to places such as Gold Rush Cemetery, and bicycle rentals are available to leisurely explore the downtown.  Helicopter tours give a bird's eye view of the landscape, including the Chilkoot Trail--an epic hike where many miners had to traverse many times with hundreds of pounds of gear.  

Other attractions include an ivory museum featuring unique Alaska Native art (legally carved by Native carvers).  Some of the local watering holes include the Red Onion Saloon, Moe's Frontier Bar, and The Skagway Fish Company.

Skagway aerial view

Whether or not the Klondikers struck it rich, they returned home to tell their tales of adventures and misfortunes--stories that have transcended the generations.  Plan to visit Skagway yourself so the ghosts of days past will give you your own story to tell!

The FGS 2015 Alaskan Cruise will offer a full genealogy conference during sea days that does not encroach on time to enjoy mainland excursions.  Register for the cruise at

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

FGS Award of Merit: Jim Dempsey of Ohio

FGS Award of Merit: Jim Dempsey of Ohio via
FGS Award of Merit: Jim Dempsey of HCGS.
At the 2014 FGS Conference in San Antonio, the Award of Merit was given to Jim Dempsey of Ohio. Jim is a member and volunteer with FGS member society, Hamilton County [Ohio] Genealogical Society. Jim built a working relationship with the county's Probate Court and Recorder's Office to preserve their historical records. For more than a year, Jim coordinated a huge project with FamilySearch to digitize thousands of county records. He works 40+ hours most weeks on this project and is always on the hunt for additional records to digitize. He recently expanded his efforts to include the Common Pleas court records.

Visit the society’s website at

Please consider nominating a deserving person, organization, or project for an award. Visit the FGS website and click on Awards for the details of each award category and the nomination form. Awards will be presented at various times during 2015 but if you are interested in a nomination for an award to be presented at the next FGS conference, the deadline is 1 January 2015. The next conference will be held 11-14 February 2015 in Salt Lake City in conjunction with RootsTech. Details are on the FGS website and everyone is welcome! Register now.

Focus on Genealogy Society Bylaws

Focus on Genealogy Society Bylaws via
Get ready for the new year!
2015 is almost here. You've got new board members, and lots of great ideas from your members. How do your old bylaws stand up to all these shiny new developments? Is it time to dust them off and see if they need updating?

So you're probably thinking, "pshh, why are bylaws important, anyway?" Because - among other reasons - even genealogy societies need structure. Otherwise, they will crumble into so much rubble. In this episode of FGS Radio - My Society, g
uest Roberta "Bobbi" King provides a more detailed response to that question (and many others)!

By the way ... did you know that FGS offers the services of its Bylaws Review Committee as a benefit to members? Whether you're starting your society from scratch or simply revising your bylaws to allow for recent technology, you'll want to take advantage of that service if your society is planning any revisions.

But FIRST, you'll want to get the Bylaws Workbook (2nd ed.) to plan and draft successful bylaws.

Listen to the archived broadcast of "Focus on Genealogy Society Bylaws" on the blogtalkradio My Society channel by FGS, or you can listen below:

Check Out History Podcasts at Blog Talk Radio with mysociety on BlogTalkRadio

For more information, check out these articles from our Society Strategy Series:

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