Monday, April 25, 2016

2016 FGS Conference Registration Is Now Open!

2016 FGS Conference Registration Is Now Open! FGSConference.org

Register now for #FGS2016 "Time Travel: Centuries of Memories" in Springfield, IL.

Online registration is now open for the 2016 FGS National Conference, “Time Travel: Centuries of Memories” to be held August 31 — September 3, 2016, in Springfield, IL, and locally hosted by the Illinois State Genealogical Society. Register by July 1, 2016, for the early-bird discount at http://www.FGSConference.org.

Celebrating 40 years since the founding of FGS, each day of the conference is full of sessions aimed at strengthening attendees’ research skills no matter what level or area of interest they may have.

“Returning to our Illinois roots for the FGS 2016 Conference to celebrate our 40th Anniversary in the state where FGS began is a dream come true,” says D. Joshua Taylor, FGS President. “With a solid educational program and a tremendous line-up of social events, this conference is not to be missed!”

Conference Highlights
  • Conference Sessions: With over 160 sessions, 72 expert speakers from around the world, 10 luncheons with speakers, 7 workshops, and 2 interactive seminars, learning opportunities abound in the FGS 2016 Program. With strong daily tracks covering the U.S. Midwest (regional track), the United Kingdom (British Isles and Commonwealth track), and continental European research (ethnic track), attendees of all skill levels will learn a multitude of ways to uncover more about their family history.
  • Exhibit Hall: The large exhibit hall will feature the latest software, books, maps, databases and gadgets on the market for genealogists and family historians, as well as information about genealogical organizations. Located in the special Society Showcase area, representatives of FGS Member Societies will be on hand to demonstrate how their society can help attendees with their family history.
  • Special Events: With built-in networking opportunities, registrants can meet like-minded genealogists and family historians at FGS special events including “Farms & Families: Across the Decades” on Wednesday evening sponsored by FamilySearch and co-hosted by the Illinois State Genealogical Society and the Illinois State Historical Society; the “Meet & Greet” sponsored by Ancestry.com on Thursday evening; and the FGS 40th Anniversary Gala on Friday evening.
  • Focus on Societies: On Wednesday, August 31, 2016, sessions are jampacked with ideas and tools to help societies promote themselves, develop projects, increase membership, and leverage technology. The day kicks off with a plenary session that explores the opportunities and challenges facing societies today and showcases ways to facilitate the changes needed for societies to succeed and thrive.
  • Librarians’ Day: On Tuesday, August 30, 2016, ProQuest will sponsor a preconference fullday of sessions designed for librarians, archivists, and other information professionals serving family history researchers.
Platinum sponsors include leading family history companies Ancestry.com and FamilySearch. Other participating and supporting organizations include Findmypast, Internet Genealogy, Your Genealogy, Lexmark, Eneclann, Illinois State Genealogical Society, Illinois State Archives, Illinois State Historical Society, and more. Please visit the conference website for a complete listing of all sponsors and partners.

Also visit the conference website at http://www.FGSConference.org for additional details including links to conference hotels, research opportunities, and more. Keep up with conference news and announcements right here on the FGS Voice blog at http://voice.fgs.org/ and by subscribing to the FGS Voice Newsletter at http://fgs.org/cpage.php?pt=71.

We can't wait to see you in Springfield! Register now.

2016 FGS Conference Registration Is Now Open! FGSConference.org

Saturday, April 23, 2016

Selected FGS Focus On Societies Day Recordings Available Now

New Resource for FGS Member Societies!

To help society leaders improve their society management skills, FGS offers a whole day at national conferences every year devoted to societies for all society leaders (FGS members or not) and their members followed by three days of excellent genealogy and family history sessions and workshops — open to anyone and for all skill levels. 

In an effort to expand some of the society management learning opportunities to more of our FGS Member Societies and thanks to the generosity of our speakers, FGS is now able to provide access to selected "Focus on Societies" Day audio recordings of selected past national conferences to FGS Member Society leaders! 

The first series of selected FGS "Focus on Societies" Day audio recording sessions that are available in the Members-only Area of the FGS website come from our FGS 2014 National Conference, "Gone to Texas" in San Antonio, Texas. Take a look at the lineup:


  • Plenary Session and Strong Business Strategy = Sound Society Strategy, David E. Rencher and Ed Donakey — Run your society as successfully as a business. For all society delegates, members-at-large, and other interested parties.
  • Strategic Planning for Society Leaders, Jordan Jones — The National Genealogical Society recently completed a strategic planning process. Come hear the President of NGS discuss strategic planning and how your society might benefit from it.
  • Preparing for Change: Transition Planning and Your Society, D. Joshua Talyor — As new officers and committee members come into your society, it is essential that information is easily passed from one to the other. Learn ideas for planning transitions within your society (both the expected and unexpected).
  • Embracing Technology: Tools You Can Use Today to Move Your Society Into Virtual Space, Jen Baldwin and D. Joshua Taylor — Learn about a variety of tools available to create a more efficient and organized collaborative online presence for your society.
  • Is WordPress Right For My Society?, Randy W. Whited — It's not just for blogs anymore. The popular Content Management System (CMS), WordPress, powers about 20 percent of all websites. Learn more about the basics and extended capabilities of this tool and decide if it is right for you and your organization.
  • Innovative Programs: The How-To, Cindy Foreman — Society programs can become stale and repetitive. Identifying topics and finding speakers can be challenging. Come learn a system that will help you develop fresh, interesting resources and programs.
  • FGS Supports Member Societies (Sponsored by Dell), Ed Donakey — Learn how FGS supports societies and individuals by cooperating with for-profit and non-profit organizations to deliver tools and services for genealogists.
  • It Sometimes Takes Two: Partnering with Other Societies or Organizations, Sandra J. Crowley — Learn how your society or organization can identify potential projects and organizations to partner with to help you both achieve your goals.
  • Virtual Presentations for Genealogy Societies, Thomas MacEntee — Learn how you can expand your genealogy speaking opportunities to include virtual presentations from the comfort of your home or office.
  • Creating a Community Indexing Project, Thomas MacEntee — Learn the available options for taking a set of genealogy records, creating an index, and sharing it with the genealogy community.
  • The Dotted Line: Sign Before Other Steps, Paula Stuart-Warren — Handshake? Text message? Email? Available on__? Does this protect organizations, speakers, or researchers? Nope. No way. No how. Details need to be clear and agreed to by all parties. Leave this session prepared for the next event.
  • Volunteering from a Distance, Paula Stuart-Warren — Learn how you can expand your genealogy speaking opportunities to include virtual presentations from the comfort of your home or office.
  • Effective Advocacy, Teri E. Flack — Records are the lifeblood of genealogical research; however, their preservation and access continues to be threatened. Advocacy by the genealogical community, and your society in particular, can help mitigate the threats, but only if we act effectively.
  • Electronic Publishing Fundamentals for Society Leaders, Jordan Jones — Your society may publish books, journals, and newsletters on paper, as PDFs, or in e-book format. Whether your society already publishes electronically, or you?re only considering it, learn ways to do it successfully.

To start listening to and learning from the experts, FGS Member Society leaders just have to log-in now to the Members-only Area of the FGS Website and click on "Focus on Societies" in the menu! 


Don't forget! If you like these topics, you'll love the lineup of our "Focus on Societies" Day at the FGS 2016 National Conference, "Time Travel: Centuries of Memories" this year in Springfield, Illinois, August 31 — September 3, 2016, with plentiful built-in networking opportunities for all society leaders (FGS members or not) followed by three days of excellent genealogy and family history sessions, workshops, luncheons, and special events open to anyone with an inkling of finding more about their family history. Take a look at the program now. Registration opens soon!

FGS 2016 National Conference, Springfield, IL, August 31 - September 3, 2016 #FGS2016

Tuesday, March 22, 2016

Share Your Favorite Illinois Farm With the FGS 2016 Conference!


Submit a photo of your favorite Illinois farm!

"Farm in Central Illinois" Credit: Photographs in the Carol M. Highsmith Archive, Library of Congress, Prints and Photographs Division.
"Farm in Central Illinois" Credit: Photographs in the Carol M. Highsmith Archive, Library of Congress, Prints and Photographs Division.
During the 2016 FGS Conference, co-host Illinois State Genealogical Society will showcase Farms and Families: Across the Decades

This event, Wednesday, 31 August 2016, 7:00 p.m. will celebrate farms in Illinois, especially Centennial and Sesquicentennial farms. 

"Old-style wooden windmill in farmyard of Martin Myre's farm near Seneca, Illinois" Credit: Library of Congress
"Old-style wooden windmill in farmyard of Martin Myre's farm near Seneca, Illinois" Credit: Library of Congress.

ISGS also wants to celebrate the farms that are important to you by displaying photos of your favorite Illinois farm. The farm could be one you drive by everyday, one your ancestors lived on when they first settled in Illinois, or one they farmed. 

Send a photo, past or present, of a farm that matters to you, and all photos received will be displayed at the Wednesday evening event!

"Toluca (vicinity), Illinois. Farm landscape along the Atchison, Topeka and Santa Fe Railroad between Chicago and Chillicothe, Illinois" Credit: Library of Congress.
"Toluca (vicinity), Illinois. Farm landscape along the Atchison, Topeka and Santa Fe Railroad between Chicago and Chillicothe, Illinois" Credit: Library of Congress.


To submit a photo, email it to conferences@fgs.org. Please only send photos you hold the copyrights to and put “farm” in the subject line. Include your name, the location of the farm (county or township is fine) and any additional information you may have. 




Tuesday, March 15, 2016

Latest FORUM Issue Out: Researching in Libraries & Archives: The Dos & Don'ts, New Columns Forensic Genealogy and Beyond Boxes & Binders; and more!


It will officially be spring in a few days, but the Spring 2016 issue of FORUM is out today.

In "Researching in Libraries & Archives: The Dos & Don'ts," Melissa Barker, Certified Archivist, details best practices for getting the most out of your visits and contacts with repositories.

Janice Lovelace, PhD, discusses research approaches in "Breaking Through Brick Walls: 10 Strategies to Find Your African American Ancestors."

"Railroad Worker Ancestors & Their Records" by Paula Stuart-Warren, CG, FMGS, FUGA, takes a look at the wealth of records available for this occupation.


We are pleased to welcome three new members to the FORUM team with this issue. Michael S. Ramage, JD, CG, and Linda Coffin begin columns Forensic Genealogy and Beyond Boxes & Binders, respectively. And Melissa Barker takes over as the Reviews Editor. 

Included in this issue: the full FGS 2016 Conference Brochure, featuring details about the program, events, and more! 


And that's not all. Take a peek inside.

Table of Contents


3 ...... From the Editor

6 ...... President's Message: Bridging Tradition & Technology by D. Joshua Taylor, MA, MLS

8 ...... Researching in Libraries & Archives: The Dos & Don'ts by Melissa Barker

12 ...... Breaking Through Brick Walls, 10 Strategies to Find Your African American Ancestors by Janice Lovelace, PhD

16 ...... A Look Back at Past FGS Conferences by Linda McCauley

22 ...... Railroad Worker Ancestors & Their Records by Paula Stuart-Warren, CG, FMGS, FUGA

27 ...... FGS Charter Members

29 ...... Spotlight on Member Projects: Research Services, Volunteer Opportunities & More by Caroline Pointer

33 ...... Ethics & Standards: Not So Very Different by Judy G. Russell, JD, CG, CGL

36 ...... Next Generation: The Importance of Self-Editing by Shannon Combs-Bennett

38 ...... Forensic Genealogy: Forensic Genealogist versus Traditional Family Historian by Michael S. Ramage, JD, CG

40 ...... Beyond Boxes & Binders: Be the Ancestor Your Descendants Will Appreciate by Linda Coffin

42 ...... Records Preservation & Access: Preservation Projects, Online Records & More by Linda McCleary, MLS

45 ...... Reviews

How to access FORUM:

Current FGS Member Society Leadership: Sign-in now to start reading immediately or download it to read on your desktop or mobile device. (After signing in, click on FGS FORUM – Latest Issue in the sidebar.) Don't forget to renew your membership in order for your society's leadership to continue to access FORUM and its archives.

Current FGS FORUM subscribers (individuals): sign-in now to start reading immediately or download it to read on your desktop or mobile device. (After signing in, click on Volume 28 No. 1 to read.)

Who can subscribe to FORUM? Anyone. You don't have to be a member of a genealogical society in order to subscribe.

Not already a subscriber? You can subscribe today to FGS FORUM.

Genealogical Societies: If you are not a member society of the Federation of Genealogical Societies, become one today and let your society's leadership begin accessing FORUM and its 25+ year archives which is just one of the many benefits of FGS membership. Read more about how else FGS empowers Member Society Leaders to manage successful societies.


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