Thursday, September 7, 2017

What can your society learn from the corporate world?

The September 2017 FGS webinar will feature Laurie Hermance-Moore, who will present "Borrowing Corporate Strategy Techniques for Your Society."
The webinar will address a variety of paths for a society to utilize the techniques of the corporate world. 
Many societies are at a crossroads: new competition from online genealogy sites and webinars, dwindling membership, and challenges in figuring out how to evolve activities. It’s time to stop and make a plan!
So why not borrow from the business world?
Marketing strategist and genealogist Laurie Hermance-Moore will show you techniques that are used by large companies to refine how they “go to market.” Learn how to align your society leadership to your vision for the future, your current mission, how you are positioning yourself against the competition, and identifying and prioritizing your target audiences.

Laurie has more than 15 years of experience in marketing, marketing research, strategic planning, and brand development. She provides coaching to professional genealogists and genealogy societies in marketing strategy, so they can craft their unique story, target their offerings to the right clients, and build their confidence in marketing.
The webinar will be held on September 21, 2017, at 7:00 p.m. Central Time, and will be recorded for viewing on the FGS website shortly after its conclusion. Please register in advance.

NEXT TIME: The topic for the October webinar will be “The Social Media Manager Role in Today's Society” presented by FGS Education Chair Jen Baldwin.

About the Webinar Series
Each month, the FGS Webinar Series will feature a new and interesting topic, ranging from recruitment and volunteer management to technology, publications, and working with your local tourism board.
Webinars are held on the 3rd Thursday of the month at 7:00 p.m. Central Time. Advance registration is required. Regular updates will be shared via the FGS Voice blog, FGS Voice Newsletter, and social media.
Speakers interested in presenting topics should contact Jen Baldwin, Education Chair, at
Are you looking for a rewarding and beneficial way to volunteer? The Education Committee at FGS could use your expertise. Please contact Jen Baldwin at

Monday, August 21, 2017

#FGS2017 Conference App Released

The mobile app for the FGS 2017 Genealogy Conference in Pittsburgh is now available!

With the app, you can keep your schedule, maps, list of speakers, and up-to-date information at your fingertips.  Plus, you can easily connect with fellow attendees.

Download the Guidebook App on your iOS or Android mobile device or you can even access it on your desktop or laptop!

Follow these detailed steps to download the app:

1.  Download Guidebook

  • Search for "Guidebook" in the Apple, Google, or Amazon app stores, OR
  • Navigate to on your device's web browser, OR
  • For desktop users or users with Windows Phones or non-Blackberry 10+ devices, navigate to in your web browser (at this time, we only offer a native Guidebook app for iOS, Android, Blackberry 10+, and Amazon Kindle).
Follow the prompts on your screen, and the app will download.

2. Download the FGS 2017 Guide

Now that you have the Guidebook app, it's time to download the guide for FGS 2017! Open up the Guidebook app on your device to get started. Note: Internet access is required for this step.
  • Use the Search box to type in "FGS 2017" (without the quotes) in the guide bar at the top.
  • Tap the download button.
If you accidentally download the wrong guide, no worries! From the "My Guides" screen, tap the guide you wish to delete until you get a message that says "Unsync [name of guide]?" and press OK.

Note: After you delete the guide, it will appear at the end of the "Guides For You" lineup in case you accidentally deleted it or would like to access it again soon.

Desktop, Windows, non-Blackberry 10 users

On your phone's web browser (Chrome, Internet Explorer, etc.), type in

Click on the search bar below "Select a Category". Type in "FGS 2017" (without the quotes), and tap on "Search" or "Return" in the bottom right of your keyboard. View the results, and click on your event to download!

Note: If you are able to download a native app for your phone, a small "Get the Guidebook app" banner will appear at the top of your screen. Click this to download the native app.

3. Open and explore the FGS 2017 Conference Guide!

For more detailed instructions for downloading and navigating the FGS 2017 Guidebook App, visit:

Online Registration Deadline

Online registration for FGS 2017 ends at midnight EDT on August 21, so don't delay!

Tuesday, August 15, 2017

August webinar to discuss the Nominating Committee

In the August, 2017 FGS webinar, we will invite David Rencher, CG, CGL, to present on "The Nominating Committee."

In order to maintain a healthy organization, we must all put great value in this piece of the society puzzle. David Rencher will provide an in-depth look at the role of this important committee in your genealogy society, and its impact on the organization’s longevity.

All of the issues and challenges facing your society may be solved with a successful nominating committee. This program will help you to learn to assess your own needs and find qualified candidates to grow your society – you need more than warm bodies!

The webinar will be conducted on August 17, 2017 at 7:00pm Central time. Please register in advance. The webinar will be recorded and will be available for viewing on the FGS website shortly after its conclusion. September's topic will be Borrowing Corporate Strategy Techniques for Your Society - this is a must-see presentation! 

Each month, the FGS Webinar Series will feature a new and interesting topic, ranging from recruitment and volunteer management to technology, publications, and working with your local tourism board. 

Registration will be necessary, and regular updates will be shared via the FGS Voice blogFGS Voice Newsletter, and social media. Webinars will occur every 3rd Thursday of the month.

Speakers interested in presenting topics should contact Jen Baldwin, Education Chair, at

Are you looking for a rewarding and beneficial way to volunteer? The Education Committee at FGS could use your expertise. Please contact Jen Baldwin at

Update: Did you miss the live webinar?  You can watch the recording here.

Tuesday, August 1, 2017

Document Conservation Resumes for War of 1812 Pension Files

Message from the President

Today, the Federation of Genealogical Societies (FGS) announced the resumption of conservation of the War of 1812 Pension Files.

The Federation of Genealogical Societies (FGS) is pleased to announce National Archives staff have recently resumed document conservation of the War of 1812 Pension files covering surnames M(Moore)-Q. Document conservation is the essential first step in digitizing these files. Our digitization partner,, has scheduled image capture of these newly conserved documents to begin the second week of September 2017. As capture resumes, new images will be added to on a rolling basis. The Federation and the dedicated volunteers of the Preserve the Pensions project have worked tirelessly for well over a year to negotiate a resolution to the work stoppage. This portion of the project plan is expected to be completed by third quarter 2018.
Many in our community have expressed frustration with the lack of new information on the status of the Preserve the Pensions project, ongoing negotiations and the safety of donated funds. As incoming President, I had an obligation to hold any response to those concerns until I could evaluate the history, speak candidly with the Preserve the Pensions team and meet with our partners. From the outside, and with perfect hindsight, it is easy to see a few opportunities missed to share more with you, our supporters. I stand behind the Preserve the Pensions team even so. They have worked incredibly hard to bring this unprecedented fundraising and preservation effort this far.

As frustrating as it may be to hear, FGS is limited in how much it can share with the community at large regarding ongoing negotiations with partners. As an organization, we most certainly may not reveal the internal discussions between our partners. That simple fact of business leaves you, our funding supporters, at times without satisfactory answers to your questions. While I will do everything in my power as FGS President to keep you apprised going forward, I will likely never satisfy your questions completely. With that in mind, and with the current project plan in place, I am able to share with you a very brief outline of events.

A security incident at the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) facility in St. Louis led to a work stoppage of digitization projects for security review. This incident was unrelated to the Preserve the Pensions project in Washington D.C., however, our project was impacted.  The Federal bureaucracy is a slow-moving beast, as many of us have experienced outside of genealogy.   The completed review led to new security and project protocols. These protocols imposed new cost, space, and completion date constraints on the project. Neither conservation nor digitization could resume without a renegotiated project plan. These negotiations were difficult and time-consuming as each partner fought for their organization’s priorities. Ultimately, each partner compromised where they could to bring this important preservation project back online. The negotiations, however, are not over. The project plan above is a test of both the new project protocols and the compromises each of us made. It is a proof of concept. As this new project plan is put into practice, NARA,, and FGS will continue to work together to evaluate the process with an eye towards negotiating the project plan for the final phase of conservation and digitization of surnames R-Z.

I can assure you, the funds you have so generously contributed to this effort are secure. In accordance with Generally Accepted Accounting Principles (GAAP), funds donated for a specific purpose must be separate from general operating funds. Your donations were deposited into a restricted fund. Any monies FGS provided for matching campaigns were moved from our operating capital into this restricted fund. Digitization and other project expenses were spent from the restricted fund.

While the total value of the project was originally projected to be $3.456 million, FGS was responsible for raising only half that amount - $1.728 million - due to the very generous match by This valuation was based on a projected 7.2 million pages in the War of 1812 Pensions collection at a total cost of $0.48 per page image. The new project plan has added to the total cost of the Preserve the Pensions project.  However, the number of images for the first half of the collection was less than originally expected.  We anticipate this trend will continue in the second half of the collection. Therefore, FGS stands by its decision to close community fundraising for the project.

On behalf of the board of the Federation and the dedicated volunteers of the Preserve the Pensions team, I have heard and acknowledge your concerns. Your support of this project has been both overwhelming and inspirational. As a first of its kind effort to crowdfund preservation of a genealogically-valuable collection, there was no roadmap. The Preserve the Pensions team is dedicated to seeing this project through until the very last page of the very last pension is online. We will evaluate the successes and shortcomings of the project as implemented before proceeding to a new project. In the meantime, we will work to regain your trust by being as forthcoming as the realities of these sensitive negotiations will allow.

FGS remains grateful to the community for your contributions; this project would not have been successful without the energy of all of you behind us. I welcome your questions or concerns at

--Rorey Cathcart, FGS President
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