Monday, December 27, 2010

Matt Wright Appointed Editor of FGS FORUM

The Federation of Genealogical Societies (FGS) Selects Family History and Publishing Expert to Head its Electronic Quarterly Magazine

December 27, 2010 – Austin, TX. The Federation of Genealogical Societies (FGS) today announces the appointment of Matt Wright as Editor of its electronic quarterly magazine, the FGS FORUM.

For the past 15 years, Wright has worked professionally in the publishing industry producing magazines, journals, books, and electronic newsletters. Matt graduated cum laude from Brigham Young University (BYU) in 1996 with a degree in Communications and currently works at BYU, where he builds online courses in the University’s distance education department.

During his career, Matt has also worked for,, Utah Business magazine, and USATODAY® online, among other organizations and groups. He currently also works as editor of APGQ, the quarterly journal of the Association of Professional Genealogists.

With the helpful encouragement of a genealogist-father, Raymond S. Wright, III, Matt has participated in family history research on his own, and for others, for over 20 years. His more recent involvement has been focused on producing genealogy publications.

Beginning with the Spring 2011 issue of the FGS FORUM, Matt Wright takes over the editor duties from Sandra Hargreaves Luebking who announced her retirement in October 2010 after serving as editor for the past 25 years. During that period, Luebking built FGS FORUM into one of the most popular genealogy-related quarterlies available.

The member genealogical societies of FGS, as well as the entire genealogical community, look forward to working with Matt in his new position as editor of the FGS FORUM.

About the Federation of Genealogical Societies (FGS)

The Federation of Genealogical Societies (FGS) was founded in 1976 and represents the members of hundreds of genealogical societies. FGS links the genealogical community by helping genealogical societies strengthen and grow through resources available online, FGS Forum magazine (filled with articles pertaining to society management and genealogical news), and Society Strategy Series papers, covering topics about effectively operating a genealogical society. FGS also links the genealogical community through its annual conference -- four days of excellent lectures, including one full day devoted to society management topics. To learn more visit

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Great Gift Idea for Your Genealogist Friends!

Are you having a tough time figuring out the perfect gift to give your genealogy friends? It isn't so difficult after all. Give them a gift that they will enjoy all year long. Give them a membership in your local genealogy society.

A genealogy society membership gives your friends access to all of the meetings and educational programs throughout the year. If the society produces newsletters or journals, these publications can keep them up-to-date with happenings in the genealogical community. Your friends can also get involved in society projects. But most of all, they will make new friends with others who share the excitement of genealogy.

Don't worry if they already have a society membership. You can give them an year's extension for their membership. Just talk with your local society's treasurer to make it happen and to obtain a gift notification.

You can locate society contact information at FGS Society Hall at Simply go to the web address, select a state, and click the Search Society Hall button. A list of societies will be displayed in name order. Societies that are FGS members are denoted with the FGS logo at the left. Click on the society and follow the links to either their website or to email their contact person.

You can't go wrong with a gift of a genealogical society membership! And let your family know that it's a great gift for you too!

Monday, December 6, 2010

The TechSoup's On - Do You Have Your Bowl?

Are you familiar with Did you know that as a qualified non-profit organization, your genealogical society can acccess not only low-cost or free software and office equipment through TechSoup, but also donations of free items?

TechSoup partners include most major technology companies and providers including Microsoft, Adobe, Cisco, Symantec and more. Products available include Windows, Office 2010, anti-virus software and even Go-To-Meeting as well as basic office equipment.

Register Your Organization
Before you can begin ordering items and services, your genealogical society must register and be approved through a rigorous process. You will need to create an account at TechSoup with a login and password, provide basic information about your organization, and also provide a copy of your 501(c)(3) qualification letter from the Internal Revenue Service.

Once approved - the process normally takes about two weeks - you will be able to designate one or more persons in your society who can make product and purchasing decisions at TechSoup.

Get Products
Qualifying for TechSoup is the difficult part and shopping is the fun part. If you have ever wanted to bring your society into the 21st century from a technology standpoint, then taking advantage of TechSoup, its community and its services requires your attention. Don't pass up this opportunity!

You can follow TechSoup at its Facebook page and on Twitter.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Data Backups for Genealogical Societies

For many genealogists and family historians, the first day of each month is Data Backup Day as popularized by several genealogy-related websites and even magazines. But how much consideration have you, as a genealogical society leader or member, given to ensuring that your society's data is secure?

Data Backup and Data Succession
A quick review of what we mean when we use the terms Data Backup and Data Succession:
  • Data Backup means taking any digital data, whether it is emails, website files or other items and creating a backup copy.
  • Data Succession means the ability for access to and management of data to be passed on to other society leaders and board members.
Here are some issues that genealogical societies should be confronting in terms of data backup and data succession, and sooner rather than later:
  • Society website administration: is your Webmaster the only person with the password to the society website for purposes of adding new information, making changes, etc.?
  • Society data: if your society is not backing up its data on a regular basis, how will you restore years of work by your members and volunteers? Will you need to scan and re-index documents manually?
  • Society website data: what if your website host were to go belly-up? Would you be able to set up a new website or blog quickly using backed up data?
  • Disaster recovery: If your society's building or space were flooded or hit by fire, how quickly could you get set up at a new location?
Don’t think that one or more of these issues can’t affect your genealogical society. Recently there have been instances of society buildings damaged by leaky roofs, fire and more. One society had their Webmaster leave the group after a disagreement and wouldn’t relinquish access to the website.

The intent of this post is not to scare you as a society leader or board member but to get your group to think of solutions and to put into place a plan of action.
  • Update your society’s policies and procedures. Spell out clearly not only the responsibilities of the Webmaster, but also who is to serve as a backup, where login credentials and passwords are to be stored etc.
  • Create a disaster recovery plan. Just as you would have in a business, your society should prepare a plan in case one or more disasters strike. Consider what it would take to set up a new location, a new website, etc.
  • Backup your data NOW. Don’t delay! If resources are tight, see if a society member can donate an old external hard drive. Also, there are many free resources for data backup including DropBox which provides up to 2GB of free online storage.
Any society can take steps to better manage and back-up all of its data including website data. Most if not all of the resources are free and within reach of every society. Make sure that the topic is discussed with your board and make plans in 2011 to have a data backup plan!

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Thomas MacEntee Joins the FGS Voice Team

FGS is proud to announce that Thomas MacEntee, social media and technology expert in the genealogy community, will be bringing his talents and ideas to the FGS table beginning 1 December 2010. Thomas is the National Publicity Chair for the FGS 2011 conference “Pathways to the Heartland." He will also assist FGS in marketing its services, publications, educational offerings, and events to genealogical societies and to individual genealogists. Look for new FGS social media initiatives in the upcoming weeks including Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and other social media applications. Thomas is the author of GeneaBloggers ( and the principal of High-Definition Genealogy, a company providing services to the genealogy and family history community including market research, consulting, education, and more.

We’re very pleased to have Thomas on the FGS team!

Monday, November 15, 2010

Accessible Archives© Goes Social

Malvern, PA (November 15, 2010) - Applying the social media technologies of the 21st century to its collection of 18th and 19th century databases, Accessible Archives, Inc., announces the launch of its Social Media program as a service for its friends and clients. This will provide the Accessible Archives community with an opportunity to engage with one another, share content, and ask questions.

Accessible Archives will initially be on the following social networking platforms:

* Accessible Archives’ new blog will provide information on new content, search features, and topics of interest to the Accessible Archives community, such as early American history, African-American history, the Civil War, and genealogical records, all in full text. The blog will also provide an opportunity for users to contribute comments, as well as asking and answer questions of common interest.
* You can access Accessible Archives’ new Facebook page by searching for “Accessible Archives” on Facebook or by clicking on the Facebook button on the Accessible Archives home page. The Accessible Archives Facebook page is for customers who like to use Facebook and wish to share comments and information on Accessible Archives’ coverage or other topics of interest. We will also be adding images and photographic material to our photo albums. If you are a Facebook user please visit our page and become a fan.
* Our Twitter account will be publishing announcements on new content and features. We will also be following other Twitter accounts of Social Media influencers and authorities who provide rich sources of news on topics of interest to our customers. If you are a Twitter user please follow us.
* For those of you who use LinkedIn, our new LinkedIn page is found by searching for “Accessible Archives” on LinkedIn or by clicking on the LinkedIn icon on our home page.

We welcome participation by our long-term institutional and individual users, dedicated genealogists, and history societies. We look forward to communicating with the Accessible Archives community using these new platforms.

About Accessible Archives

Founded in 1990, Accessible Archives utilizes computer technology and a large team of conversion specialists to provide vast quantities of archived historical information previously available only in microformat, hard copy form or as images only. Diverse primary source materials reflecting broad views across American history and culture have been assembled into comprehensive databases. Developed by dedicated instructors and students of Americana, these databases allow access to the rich store of materials from leading books, newspapers and periodicals then current. Accessible Archives will continue to add titles covering important topics and time periods to assist scholars, professors, students, genealogists and historical societies in their pursuit of knowledge. Accessible Archives has retained Unlimited Priorities Corporation© as its exclusive sales and marketing agent.


Tom Nagy, COO
Accessible Archives, Inc.
866-296-1488 Fax: 610-725-1745

Iris L. Hanney, President
Unlimited Priorities Corporation
239-549-2384 Fax: 239-549-3168

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Free IRS Webinar for Tax-Exempt Organizations - November 18

The Internal Revenue Service is offering a free 45-minute webinar for newly-formed 501(c)(3)s--and established organizations that would like a refresher--on November 18, 2010, 2pm ET. Learn what tax-exempt organizations need to do to comply with IRS rules and keep their tax status in good standing. Register online.

Friday, October 29, 2010

FGS Election Results

The following individuals have been elected to new terms (beginning January 1, 2011) on the board of the Federation of Genealogical Societies:

President: Pat Oxley
VP Admin: Josh Taylor
Secretary: David Rencher

Bruce Buzbee
Bobbi King
Drew Smith
Paula Stuart-Warren

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Post Your Society's Event in the FGS Calendar

Did you know that the Federation of Genealogical Societies maintains a calendar? Yes indeed! It's another way for your genealogical society to advertise its all-day or multiple day events. Visit the FGS Calendar of Events website at You may submit your events in several ways. First, you can use the online form. Second, submissions may also be mailed to Ann L. Wells at FGS Calendar, PO Box 672, Crystal Lake, IL 60039-0672. You may also email sumissions to Include name and description of event, date, place, contact name and address, phone or fax number, or email.

What's even better is that your event will gain even better exposure through the FGS FORUM electronic magazine and in the FGS Voice electronic newsletter. Submit your event online (not by mail or email) in time to meet the publication deadline for the FGS FORUM (January 1 for mid-April; April 1 for mid-July; July 1 for mid-October; October 1 for mid-January) and your event will be included in the quarterly electronic magazine. The FGS Voice newsletter is produced at the end of every month. Information is taken from the FGS Voice blog throughout the month and the editor also gathers upcoming calendar information for inclusion in the newsletter.

This is a terrific way to extend the exposure of your society's conferences, symposia, and other all-day or multi-day events to the rest of the genealogical community. And it's FREE!

Check the FGS Events Calendar and see how many societies have been missing the boat advertising their events. Postings are open to both FGS member societies and non members!

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Tri-City (Richland, Washington) Genealogical Society Presents Pat Stamm in September 2011

Join us in "Building Ancestral Bridges" with Patricia Walls Stamm, CG, CGL at the Washington State Genealogical Society’s 2011 Annual Conference, hosted by Tri-City Genealogical Society. Details are being planned and session topics have not been finalized. Patricia Walls Stamm will be providing a Friday night event topic and three additional topics on Saturday. Other speakers will present at breakout sessions on Saturday. For more information in early 2011 and registration before the conference, visit

FGS Membership Dues Renewals Emailed This Week


The Federation of Genealogical Societies emailed its members this week to request dues renewals for 2011. The email was different this year in that it did not include a document requesting updates to our members' information. Instead, we provided a link to a PDF file for the renewal. We are actively inviting our members to send us the most current information about their societies. We will, in turn, update our membership database.

In addition, the information about your organization's address, primary contract address, and website address, will be updated in your Society Hall listing. (Your updates, too, will now update the FGS Membership Database.)

It is imperative that you update your Society Hall listing and/or email FGS at so that we have the best possible email contact information for you. We will also update the FGS FORUM database so that we can alert you when a new issue of the magazine is available and alert you to member services benefits.

Please send an email to if your primary contact person or your society delegate did not receive a membership renewal notice earlier this week. We'll re-send that to you.

You are very important to us! The Federation of Genealogical Societies is a very proactive organization, active in education, publications, preservation and access, and two-way electronic communications. We need your help too!

The FGS membership year runs from January 1st to December 31st. You don't want to miss out on existing benefits and the new benefits we have planned for 2011. Please get your annual FGS membership dues to FGS by December 31st. I can send you the FGS Membership Form if you would like to join. Please simply email me at

Together we can make a difference!

George G. Morgan
Vice President of Membership Services
Federation of Genealogical Societies

Friday, October 15, 2010

FGS Invites Applications for FORUM Editor

The Federation of Genealogical Societies issued a press release on 30 September 2010 announcing that it is accepting applications for the position of editor of its electronic quarterly magazine, the FGS FORUM.

We are very pleased that we have received inquiries for the position description from potential candidates! However, we sincerely invite interested persons to contact us for details about the editor position. We can provide those via email. Requests should be sent to Applicants may then submit a detailed résumé for consideration, along with several examples of publications for which they have been responsible as editor. These should be sent electronically to

Submissions should be received no later than November 1, 2010.

We are excited to hear from candidates and welcome submissions for the position. Questions can certainly be addressed to the FGS FORUM Application Review Committee at this address.

Thank you again for your interest and applications.

The FGS FORUM Application Review Committee

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Accessible Archives Offers Discount to FGS Member Societies

Malvern, PA (October 5, 2010)

Accessible Archives, Inc., an electronic publisher of primary source full-text historical databases, has announced the upcoming inclusion of materials from the six New England states to its current series, American County Histories to 1900. The additional information from these states will complement that contained in the original county collection of Mid-Atlantic states: Delaware, Maryland, New Jersey, New York and Pennsylvania. This makes Accessible Archives the primary source for County History materials.

Detailed coverage of local history, geology, geography, weather, family histories, health and vital statistics and lists of local participants in the Revolutionary and Civil Wars, is included. Information concerning government, the medical and legal professions, churches and ministers, industry and manufacturing, banking and insurance, schools and teachers, noted celebrations, fire departments and associations, cemeteries, transportation, roads and bridges, public officials and legislators, and many additional subject areas also may be researched.

Accessible Archives, Inc., also has signed an agreement with the University of Iowa to preserve in digital format a number of primary source publications from the Civil War era. Accessible Archives, Inc., has an extensive Civil War collection and is adding primary source content that consists of memoirs, pamphlets, and regimental histories from the Civil War holdings at the University of Iowa. The newly-added materials provide battle perspectives from both soldiers and generals, with additional accounts of Midwest action. Iowa provided more troops per capita than any other Union state, and these writings reflect the experiences of Iowa soldiers as they fought in nearly all the campaigns and major battles throughout the war years. The Second, 14th, 15th, Twentieth, Twenty-first and 22nd Iowa Infantry Brigades are represented here, along with the 2nd Iowa Cavalry and Crocker's Iowa Brigade. This compliments the Civil War Newspaper Collection, Soldier’s Perspective, General’s Perspective and Midwestern Perspective.

Access the genealogical library of diverse primary source materials contained in Accessible Archives Inc.’s online databases providing 175 years of American history and culture of the 18th and 19th centuries through full-text searches and digital images.

Available databases include:

African American Newspapers: 19th Century
American County Histories to 1900 :
I: Mid-Atlantic
II: New England
The Pennsylvania Gazette 1782-1800
Godey’s Lady’s Book 1830-1898
The Liberator 1831-1865
South Carolina Newspapers 1732-1780
The Virginia Gazette 1736-1780
The Civil War, 1855-1869
I: A Newspaper Perspective
II: The Soldiers’ Perspective
III: The Generals’ Perspective
IV: A Midwestern Perspective
V: Iowa’s Perspective

Our Offer to You

Act now to receive our Inaugural Subscription Discount. To qualify for a 50% discount you must be a genealogical or historical Society that employs 20 staff members or less. Act by February 15, 2011.

For further Information, or to receive a price quotation, please contact:
Phone: 301 203 4483

About Accessible Archives, Inc.

Founded in 1990, Accessible Archives utilizes computer technology to provide vast quantities of archived historical information previously available only in microformat. Diverse primary source materials reflecting broad views across American history and culture have been assembled into comprehensive databases. Developed by dedicated instructors and students of Americana, these databases allow access to the rich store of materials from leading newspapers, books and periodicals then current. Accessible Archives will continue to add titles covering important topics and time periods to assist scholars and students at all academic levels. Accessible Archives has retained Unlimited Priorities Corporation as its exclusive sales and marketing agent. To learn more about Accessible Archives click on URL link:

About Unlimited Priorities Corporation

Unlimited Priorities is attuned to the management requirements of companies in the information industry. We provide executive-level support services by utilizing a highly skilled group of professionals with abundant experience. Our practice specialties include Sales and Marketing, Business Development, Financial Services, Operations Management, Production, Information Technology, and Content Development and Licensing. Our new Archival Initiatives Division provides advice to libraries, historical societies and industry associations in selecting, distributing, and monetizing their valuable archival content. Our goal is to enhance our clients’ abilities to succeed, offering solutions that are realistic, practical, achievable and affordable. To learn more about Unlimited Priorities Corporation click on URL link:

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Fairfax Genealogical Society 2011-2012 Calls for Papers

The Fairfax Genealogical Society is accepting proposals for its General Meetings, Education Classes, Fall Fair, and Spring Conference for 2011-2012. All events are held in Fairfax County, which is in northern Virginia, just west of Washington, D.C. Please see the complete Calls for Papers at for the exact details and dates. All submissions must be received between 01 October 2010 and 01 February 2011.

Topics may include any genealogical subject such as court records, ethnic research, military records, methodology, migration, writing, colonial research, or beginning, intermediate, or advanced research. No preference is given to topics related to Virginia since many attendees are non-natives; however, Virginia topics are certainly welcome. We will consider proposals from a single speaker for both the Thursday night General Meeting and the following Saturday Education Class/Fall Fair/or Conference; topics do not have to be related. Proposals for remotely presented lectures (General Meetings and Education Classes, only) will be considered, but presenter is responsible for providing any services or software needed other than an Internet connection (i.e. GoToMeeting or similar services).

Speakers will receive an honorarium. Travel, per diem, board, and other expenses can NOT be provided and are the responsibility of the speaker.

The Fairfax Genealogical Society has over 500 members. General Meetings usually have over 100 people in attendance while Saturday Education Classes have 50-60. The Fall Fair normally has an attendance of 100-150 people. It also includes one or two book vendors and several informational booths from other societies or groups. For the last several years, attendance at the Spring Conference has been about 260. Also, there are usually 15-20 vendors selling books, software, and other items of interest to genealogists.

Exact dates, requirements, and submission guidelines are posted at Questions should be e-mailed to

Chuck Mason

Saturday, October 9, 2010

San Fernando Valley Genealogical Society Presents Gena Ortega

"Catholic Church Records" will be the topic of speaker, Gena Philibert Ortega at the San Fernando Valley Genealogical Society, at the October 15, 2010 meeting at 7:30 p.m. at the Meeting Room at the Chatsworth Train Station, 10038 Old Depot Road, Chatsworth, CA. Catholic Church records can provide a wealth of information as you trace an ancestor through time. Diocesan resources, online sites, and microfilmed resources, religious newspapers, Catholic fraternal organizations, and Catholic cemeteries will be covered.

Gena Philibert Ortega is the Genealogy Community Communications Director for FamilyLink. In this position she works as the newsletter editor for WorldVitalRecords and manages GenealogyWise. Gena serves as Vice-President for the Southern California Chapter of the Association of Professional Genealogists. She is also a Regional Director for the California State Genealogical Alliance.

Join us for this interesting and informative presentation. Visitors are welcome. Our programs are free, but donations are appreciated. Door prize drawing. You can also find us at the following web site: For information call John Lindsay at (818) 349-0878.

NYGBS Presents Dr. John Colletta at Nov. 6 Program

On Saturday, November 6th, the New York Genealogical and Biographical Society will present internationally known genealogist and author John Colletta, Ph.D. in a full-day program at the New York Public Library’s Stephen A. Schwarzman Building, Fifth Avenue at 42nd Street, New York, NY. Entertaining, knowledgeable and experienced, Dr. Colletta is based in Washington, D.C., where for 20 years he conducted workshops for the National Archives and taught courses for the Smithsonian Institution. Today he lectures nationally and is a faculty member of the Institute of Genealogy and Historical Research at Samford University and the Salt Lake Institute of Genealogy. His publications include the books They Came in Ships: A Guide to Finding Your Immigrant Ancestor's Arrival Records and Finding Italian Roots: The Complete Guide for Americans, as well as numerous how-to articles.

Dr. Colletta will give four lectures on the following topics: (1) Passenger Arrival Records (1820-1950s) – Advanced Problem Solving; (2) Naturalization Records (1790-1920s) – Advanced Problem Solving; (3) Turning Biographical Facts into Real Life Events: How to Build Historical Context, and (4) Breaking Through Brick Walls: Use Your HEAD. This is a wonderful opportunity for researchers of all levels to strengthen their skills and knowledge and to learn from one of the country’s most respected genealogists. Dr. Colletta describes his goal as “to help family historians optimize their efforts to uncover and write the stories of their forebears, and to enjoy all along the way the pleasure and humor of the journey.“

The program begins at 10:00 a.m. at the NYPL’s South Court Auditorium and will end by 4:30 p.m with a break for lunch on-your-own. Registration for NYG&B members is $60, non-members is $90. Register online at For additional information, contact Lauren Maehrlein, Director of Education, at 212-755-8532, ext. 211, or by e-mailing

Sunday, October 3, 2010

Celebrating October as Family History Month in Virginia

Both Robert F. McDonnell, Governor of Virginia, and Sharon Bulova, Chairman of the Board of Supervisors of Fairfax County, Virginia, have proclaimed October as Family History Month. Many thanks are due to Harold McClendon and the Mount Vernon Genealogical Society in Fairfax County for their extraordinary efforts to issue the proclamations and publicize October as Family History Month. Both Proclamations may be seen on the MVGS website, The Governor’s Proclamation is also posted at the Governor’s official website, . The proclamations are also on the Fairfax Genealogical Society’s website at and Both the Mount Vernon and Fairfax Societies are members of FGS.

Has your society done something special to celebrate October as Family History Month? Do you know the history or background for designating October as Family History Month? Let the FGS Voice know!

Gordon L. Erickson
Director, FGS

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

FGS Accepting Applications for FORUM Editor

For Immediate Release
Austin, Texas - September 30, 2010

The Federation of Genealogical Societies (FGS) today announces that it is accepting applications for the position of editor of its electronic quarterly magazine, the FGS FORUM.

The Federation is a non-profit organization founded in 1976 for the purpose of helping genealogical and historical societies and family associations strengthen and grow. The FGS FORUM is an important publication that supports the organization’s mission. The magazine is accessible in PDF format by individual subscribers and by two officers of each FGS member organization.

Requests for details about the editor position are available via email. Requests should be sent to Applicants may then submit a detailed résumé for consideration, along with several examples of publications for which they have been responsible as editor. These should be sent electronically to

Submissions should be received no later than November 1, 2010.

Contact: George G. Morgan
     (813) 205-3032

Monday, September 27, 2010

Florida Genealogical Society of Tampa Issues War of 1812 Challenge

The Florida Genealogical Society of Tampa, a member of the Federation of Genealogical Societies, held its annual Fall Seminar on Saturday, September 18th, 2010, featuring speaker Curt B. Witcher, the Federation's Vice-President for Development.  At the conclusion of Witcher's presentation on the use of military records for genealogical research, Witcher explained the War of 1812 "Preserve the Pensions" fund-raising project, and and its importance to the preservation and access of these tremendous, genealogically rich materials. He encouraged the audience to donate.

Drew Smith, President of the Florida Genealogical Society, responded by surprising Witcher with a check for $700 from the Florida Genealogical Society, representing $5 for every member of the Florida Genealogical Society.  Smith pointed out that the Florida Genealogical Society has, among the society's objectives, "to preserve historical records" and "to support access to public records."  As part of the presentation of the donation to the "Preserve the Pensions" fund, Smith challenged all other U.S. genealogical societies to make a comparable donation. 

The Federation of Genealogical Societies, in partnership with the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA), has a goal of raising $3.7 million to digitize the War of 1812 pension files and make them freely available to the general public at the NARA website.  Societies and individuals are strongly encouraged to donate to the fund.  More information can be found here.

Is your society up to the challenge? It's simple to donate to the "War of 1812 - Preserve the Pensions Fund." You can learn much more and see examples of these important records at You can learn more - and donate - at that page. Your society can simply write a check to "FGS-1812 Fund" and mail it to the Federation of Genealogical Societies, P.O. Box 200940, Austin, TX 78720-0940.

Help us get the word out! We invite you to view examples of the rich War of 1812 Pension files at and to help spread the word about this very important project by visiting images will be digitized and indexed, and they will be made available for free at ational Archives and Records Administration website for everyone to access.

You can help! Take the challenge back to your society, and make your personal donation today. Every donation helps make access to these great genealogical and historical records available to everyone!

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Fall 2010 Issue of Forum is Available

The Fall issue of the FGS FORUM is now available to subscribers and to to FGS Member Societies. This issue contains articles about the following subjects and more:

  • Locating Living Americans
  • Estate Planning for Genealogists
  • Your Society and Genealogy’s Primetime Debut
In addition, there are new columns with book reviews, news about family associations, Genealogy 2.0, and reports from the Records Preservation and Access Committee.

Get your latest copy of the FORUM today! Not a subscriber? You can still take advantage for a limited time on a great subscription deal: one year for $15 or two years for $25. Visit for more information and to order your subscription to this great magazine!

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Is Your Society Missing Out? (Check Your Society's Contact Info!)

The Federation of Genealogical Societies is quickly moving into the world of technology and away from the "on paper" world. The recent change of the FORUM to an online version, online balloting, the FGS Voice blog, the FGS Voice email newsletter, downloadable Society Strategy Series Papers, as well as the newly revised downloadable FGS Membership Handbook, allow us to make better use of funds and get current and important information out to member organizations much more quickly and efficiently.

But We Need YOUR Help!

The August 30, 2010 email announcement of the re-launch of Society Hall and the FGS Members Only area of the FGS website generated a high percentage of bounced emails. A whopping 16% of the emails sent to member contacts were returned as undeliverable.

Every FGS member organization should have received the email that was sent to the organization’s main contact and the listed delegate and therefore received the Login ID and Password for both the Members Only area of the FGS website and the newly re-launched Society Hall site.

A few days later, FGS sent another email with the link to the new electronic voting so that members could vote for FGS officers. Again, the numbers of bounced email was high.

Membership renewals will be sent out on or about October 1, 2010. If we do not have correct contact information for you, you may not receive your society's renewal notice, your society's membership might then expire, and you will no longer have access to the great benefits of FGS including the Members Only area of the website. You also may no longer be able to maintain your Society Hall entry, a valuable publicity facility for your society.

What YOU Can Do!

Please, check your contact information by going to the Members Only area of the FGS website at Please log in using the Login ID and Password sent to you recently. Then click on Update your society’s information. Check to make sure the email addresses and other information is correct. This will help us to make sure any correspondence FGS sends out will get to the right person. Are you an officer of your organization? If so, make sure the valuable information about FGS, including ID and password, is passed along to new officers when they are elected.

Don’t let your organization miss out!

FGS is actively working to improve the existing membership benefits and to develop new ones. Please keep your society's membership current and we can keep in touch with you!

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Federation of Genealogical Societies Uses Electronic Balloting for Annual Election

The Federation of Genealogical Societies is using electronic balloting for the first time for its 2010 annual elections. The election of FGS officers takes place each fall in accordance with its bylaws. Those bylaws, which can be found at, call for the distribution of the ballots by September 1 to the delegates of member genealogical societies, historical societies, and family associations. (Member libraries, archives, and associate members do not have delegates and are not entitled to vote in elections.) Ballots are to be returned by October 1.

This year's ballot is being distributed via email by midnight tonight to all delegates of record for all current societies as listed above. Delegates can make their selections for candidates for officer and board member positions electronically and immediately submit their ballots.

FGS has made the move to electronic balloting in order to streamline the process, eliminate the expenses of printing and mailing paper ballots, insure the timely and precise tabulation of votes, and help protect the environment.

We will share more information about the process of developing and implementing electronic balloting in coming months in both an article in the FGS FORUM electronic magazine and in a new Society Strategies Series paper.

Election results will be reported to the FGS President and Secretary by October 15th in accordance with the FGS Bylaws, and the results will be announced in this blog, in the FGS Voice newsletter, and in the FGS FORUM.

Monday, August 30, 2010

FGS Launches New Login and Password Information

The Federation of Genealogical Societies today launched a new Login ID and password system for its members. In response to members' requests, FGS has developed a new Login ID and password program that uses the same ID and password to access both the Members Only area of the FGS website and the newly re-launched Society Hall.

An email was sent to the primary contact and delegate for each FGS member organization in good standing today that email contains the organization's new Login ID and password. (Associate member organizations do not have delegates.) With this new information, you can access two important areas and take advantage of members-only benefits.

Members Only Area:
  • The Members Only area provides access to the electronic magazine, the FGS FORUM. Member societies receive two complimentary copies of this electronic magazine published quarterly in PDF format. The archive of electronic copies are available from 1989 to present
  • The archive of the FGS Voice, FGS' monthly electronic newsletter is available here.
  • The Society Strategies Series papers provide suggestions and instructions for the management of genealogical societies, historical societies, and family associations. These documents are free to members and are available in PDF format.
  • FGS offers a free review of societies' bylaws and make suggestions for changes and updates. Details about this service are available here.
  • Details about the FGS National Insurance Program for Genealogical Societies is also available here.
Society Hall:
FGS issued a press release on August 18, 2010, at the 2010 FGS Conference in Knoxville, Tennessee, about the re-launch of its Society Hall information service at its website. FGS members in good standing receive an enhanced listing for their organization that contains contact information, a link to its website, membership benefits, periodicals, publications, and other information. The new Login ID and password allow you to update and maintain your listing, thus providing you with yet another way to publicize your society or organization.

Members in good standing with up-to-date dues will continue to enjoy these benefits. If your genealogical society, historical society, family association, library, or genealogical vendor is not yet a member and is interested, please visit the Membership area of the FGS website at for more information and to join FGS.

New Society Strategies Series Paper Released

FGS has just released a new Society Strategies Series paper. The new paper, #S4-5, is titled "Bookkeeping 101" and was written by FGS Teasurer Cath Madden Trindle, CG. FGS Members can access the new paper at the Members Only area of the FGS website at

FGS is in the process of reviewing all of the Society Strategies Series papers and will be updating them as appropriate. We also have some new papers being created that address 21st century societies' issues. Watch the FGS Voice and the FGS website for announcements of these new papers.

Saturday, August 21, 2010

News from the FGS Conference: FGS Delegate of the Conference

The Federation of Genealogical Societies each year celebrates the delegates in attendance from its member societies by selection a Delegate of the Day for each day of the conference. Delegates enter a drawing for Delegate of the Day and each winner receives a certificate. This culminates on the last day of the conference with a drawing for Delegate of the Conference, and that delegate receives a certificate for a free registration to next year's FGS Conference for his or her society.

This year's winners are:

  • Delegate of the Day for Wednesday: Connie Olson of the Michigan Genealogical Council
  • Delegate of the Day for Thursday: Scott Fitzgerald of the East Texas Genealogical Society
  • Delegate of the Day for Friday: John B. Morehiser of the Jefferson Genealogical Society
  • Delegate of the Day for Saturday: Janice Forte of the Afro-American Genealogical & Historical Society of Chicago
  • Delegate of the Conference: John B. Morehiser of the Jefferson Genealogical Society
We congratulate all of our winners!

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Society Hall, the Online Directory of FGS Member Societies, Is Relaunched

The Federation of Genealogical Societies, a 501(c)(3) non-profit corporation headquartered in Austin, Texas, announces the re-launch today of the popular Society Hall at its website at

Society Hall is an informational database accessible on the Internet that can be used to locate FGS member organizations in the U.S. and abroad. This includes genealogical societies, historical societies, family associations, libraries, archives, and vendors serving the genealogical community. Thousands of people searching for information about these organizations visit Society Hall each month.

Every FGS Member society has a Society Hall listing at that it can edit and maintain. With the re-launching of the service, FGS has updated Society Hall listings with details from its member database. There are many fields that can be used to promote information about your organization. In addition to name, address, telephone, and email, a link can be added to the organization's website. Membership benefits and dues can be listed, as can periodicals and publications, a calendar of events, services, and pioneer/certification programs.

Member societies can access the site to edit their listing's content using an ID and password. FGS will be sending these to all Member Societies in good standing via email immediately following the conclusion of its 2010 Conference, being held this week in Knoxville, Tennessee. In addition, the ID and password will become the access key to the Members Only area of the FGS website and other content there. FGS has developed the single ID and password scheme in response to members' requests. previously hosted Society Hall at its site. FGS has now taken over hosting responsibilities for Society Hall at its own website.

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Two More Society Strategy Series Papers Go Online

FGS publishes its Society Strategies Series papers which offer suggestions and instructions for the successful management of genealogical societies, historical societies, and family associations.

Two papers have just been posted to the FGS Members Only webpage:
  • SI-28 - When Disciplinary Action Is Required: An Outline of Procedure
  • SI-29 - Delegate ABC’s

The Society Strategies Series papers are free to FGS Member organizations as one of the membership benefits. The papers are available as PDF file downloads from the Members Only webpage at the FGS website. Non-members may purchase copies for $2.00 each, plus shipping and handling, at the FGS Store at (A minimum order amount applies.)

FGS is in the process of reviewing and updating all the Society Strategies Series papers, and new topics will be added soon.

Thursday, August 12, 2010

New FGS Membership Handbook Now Online

The new Federation of Genealogical Societies Membership Handbook is now available online for member societies. The handbook contains everything you need to know about getting the most from your FGS membership.

FGS member societies can access the new handbook in PDF format at the Members Only area of the FGS website.

We know you'll find the completely updated handbook helpful!

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

FGS Conference - Delegate of the Day

Is your society a member of the Federation of Genealogical Societies? Click here for the list of member societies. Each member society appoints a Delegate to FGS and we hope that all Delegates participate in activities throughout the FGS Conference, but especially on Wednesday. You will learn a lot to take back home to your society’s board and members.

During the conference, FGS honors one Delegate each day. That Delegate of the Day receives a ribbon that they can wear during the conference and also receive a certificate. The Delegate of the Day is chosen from FGS Delegates who stop by the FGS booth in the Exhibit Hall and complete an entry form. Only one entry per Delegate is permitted.

The winning Delegate’s name and society name will be announced over the loudspeaker in the Exhibit Hall but, if you don’t hear that, check the display at the FGS booth in the Exhibit Hall on Thursday through Saturday to see if you are chosen.

On Saturday, a Delegate of the Conference will be drawn from the four daily winners. That Delegate of the Conference wins a free registration for their society for the 2011 Federation of Genealogical Societies and Illinois State Genealogical Society Conference in Springfield, Illinois, on September 7-10, 2011. 

FGS will also announce the names of these chosen Delegates and the name of their FGS member society on the FGS Voice blog, in the FGS Voice e-newsletter, FGS Forum, and in the FGS Conference News Blog. These announcements will include the website link for your society. It’s a great way to promote your organization both at and after the conference!

Friday, August 6, 2010

Have You Put Off Pre-Registering for Knoxville? Time's Almost Up!

If you've been procrastinating about pre-registering for the annual FGS Conference, the clock is ticking down to the last possible moments.  There's still a little time left to go to the online registration (at and register.  But Sunday, August 8 is the last day for pre-registration.

If you don't pre-register, you can still register at the door, but pre-registration means not only that you can skip the walk-in registration lines, but also that you can immediately view the online syllabus and print out any handouts for the sessions you plan to attend!  (Pre-registration also gives you a better chance at buying any remaining tickets to meals and other special events, which may not be available by the time you get to Knoxville.)

Monday, August 2, 2010

FGS Conference Syllabus Is Online

The syllabus for the FGS 2010 Conference is now available online for registered attendees. The syllabus contains each of the presenters' handouts, by session number, in PDF format. To access these materials, go to, sign in with your email address and the PIN you received when you registered. You'll see the full list of sessions, and you can download and print the individual handouts before you head to the conference.

Every registered attendee will receive a CD syllabus at registration. You can also order a full paper copy of the syllabus for $30 online through the registration area of the website. A few paper copies may be available for sale at the conference, but copies are limited.

Saturday, July 31, 2010

Is Your Society Still at Risk of Losing Its Non-Profit Status?

A very large number of U.S. non-profit organizations are still at serious risk of losing their non-profit status, and that includes a number of member societies of the Federation of Genealogical Societies. 

If you haven't done so already, please visit the following IRS site, see if your society is on its list, and look at the links at the bottom of the page that provide a Frequently Asked Questions file that will answer many of your basic questions about this issue.,,id=225889,00.html

Failure to act could result in your society's losing its status after October 15, and it may be an expensive, time-consuming process to reinstate your non-profit status.  So check the link, take appropriate actions, and sleep soundly!

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

There's still time to register for the FGS Conference in Knoxville, Tennessee, on August 18-21! This year's conference again has something for all levels of genealogists. Lectures, luncheons, a huge exhibit hall, and a bunch of special events. Check out the Conference Website at and the Conference Blog at

We're going to have a tremendous conference! Please join us in Knoxville in August!

Monday, July 26, 2010

Council of Irish Genealogical Organisations announces new members

Recently East Clare Heritage was welcomed as a full constituent member of CIGO. Formed in 1989, ECH it is a not-for-profit voluntary group, with the primary objective of protecting, promoting and ultimately creating access to the heritage of East Clare. Also welcomed as a new associate ‘overseas’ member was the Genealogical Society of Victoria, Australia.

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Nathan Murphy Receives Mosher Award from BCG Education Fund

The Donald Mosher Award was presented at the 2010 National Genealogical Society Conference in Salt Lake City, Utah, to Nathan W. Murphy, MA, AG, for his paper "The Devon Seafaring Origins of William Byrd's Mother's Family: Grace (Stegge) Byrd of London, England, Thomas Segge of Westover Parish, Charles City County, Virginia, and Captain Abraham Reed of Charles City County, Virginia; Including Additional Details about His Father John Byrd's Career as a London Goldsmith."

The happy recipient commented that the $500 award will be applied toward completing his Ph.D on colonial immigration to Maryland and Virginia. Read more about Nathan:

The Mosher Award, established in 2001 by Merrill Hill Mosher, CG, in honor of her late husband, rewards scholarly research on colonial Virginia. It is administered by the BCG Education Fund. The annual deadline for submission is 31 December. Mosher Award criteria is being updated; for the latest information, contact Kathy Gunter Sullivan (

Sunday, July 11, 2010

FGS 2010 Conference Door Prizes (Don't Miss Out!)

Pat Oxley, President of FGS (and who is also doing more volunteer duty as co-chair of this conference) sent more information on door prizes. Pat said "we are brimming not only with a plethora of educational lecture and workshops, but with fabulous door prizes at our 2010 FGS Conference".

As in past years, each PAID CONFERENCE ATTENDEE will receive 30 door prize tickets. These are special perforated sheets and you will need to fill out each of the tickets. You might consider making up some labels with your name, address, phone number, and email address as it will speed up the process and keep you from getting writer’s cramp! Throughout the Exhibit Hall hours you may put these tickets in the door prize boxes at the vendor booths where you hope to win the prize they offer. For the majority of these ticket winners, you do NOT need to be present to win a door prize from these vendors. During regular Exhibit Hall hours, door prizes winners will be announced, and the names of the winners will also be posted on a bulletin board at the back of the hall. Be sure to check the board often to see if you are a prize winner. If you are, please visit that vendor booth to claim your prize.

On Friday evening, we will be giving away several large prizes during our extended hours from 5 p.m. – 7 p.m.  During those two hours YOU MUST BE PRESENT TO WIN THESE LARGE PRIZES. Food will be for sale in the Exhibit Hall so you can have a bite for supper. The genealogy and history-related vendors will be open for browsing, questions, and, of course, for purchasing. What genealogist goes home from these conferences without purchasing a membership, CD, book, map, or other item?

So if you are present during those two hours on Friday evening what might you win?  A few hints  about some of the prizes:  A five-night genealogy cruise for two people, three World Deluxe memberships to, a week at the Salt Lake Plaza hotel, and many more. You will want to be present for this big event.

At 7:00 p.m. the Exhibit Hall closes and we will have a parade to another area in the convention center to kick off the reception for the War of 1812 Preserve the Pensions Project. Click here and here to learn more about the reception. You will receive one special color raffle ticket with your PAID conference registration. That gives you ONE chance to win the BIGGEST door prize of the night which is generously being given by our friends at FamilySearch. This is a trip to Salt Lake City complete with 2 Delta plane tickets, a week at the Salt Lake Plaza Hotel, two $200 food cards, and two $50 copy cards. You will receive additional chances to win this prize by donating to the War of 1812 Project up until the time of the drawing. For every $10 you donate you will receive another ticket. If you donated with your conference registration, those tickets will be included in your registration packet. The drawing will be held at the reception and again, YOU MUST BE PRESENT TO WIN. Before the reception begins, donations can be made at the Federation of Genealogical Societies' booth.

We look forward to seeing you at the conference and we want it to not only be an educational experience for you, but one filled with fun, prizes, new friends, seeing your old friends, and many happy memories.

Saturday, July 10, 2010

Alabama Genealogical Society, Montgomery, October 2

The Alabama Genealogical Society's Fall Seminar, "Soldiers, Settlers and Brick Walls," presented by Robert Scott Davis, professional genealogist, author, and lecturer, will be held on Saturday, 2 October 2010, at the Alabama Department of Archives and History in Montgomery, Alabama. The four lectures will cover: (1) The Strange World of Revolutionary War Records for the Old South, (2) Creditors, Soldiers, Homesteaders, Federal Lands in the Old Southwest, (3) Gone for a Soldier: Military Records of Georgia and the Old Southwest, (4) What You Might Do When You Hit a Brick Wall. For more information see: or e-mail

Friday, July 2, 2010

FGS Society Hall is Coming Back Soon!

The Federation of Genealogical Societies is pleased to announce that it will be relaunching its Society Hall site later this month at the FGS website at FGS Society Hall is a Web-based information facility that was graciously hosted by at its site for a number of years. However, we decided to move it to the FGS website and to substantially update the contents available there.

Society Hall allows FGS member societies to create and maintain a substantial informational listing in a central location that allows people to search for and access details about their society. Information that can be included are name, incorporation date, website, email and telephone contact information, officers, FGS delegate name, membership dues, publications, a calendar of events, and more.

We will be loading information from the FGS membership database into the new Society Hall, and will notify our current member societies via email of their login ID and password so that they can access and update their information.

At the same time, we will be changing the login ID and password to access the Members Only area of the FGS website. We will make the login access to that area identical to Society Hall, thus eliminating the need to keep track of multiple login information!

We will also be publishing an instructional handbook about effectively updating and using Society Hall. It will be placed in the Members Only area as a PDF file, and member societies can download and print a copy.

We're very excited to be reinstating and updating Society Hall! Look for an announcement in the FGS Voice blog and in the FGS Voice newsletter. If you don't get the Voice newsletter, everyone can subscribe. Simply send an email to You'll receive an invitation email. Just reply to confirm your invitation and you'll start receiving the newsletter the next time it is published.

We're working hard to add more value to your membership!

Wednesday, June 30, 2010

FGS FORUM Summer 2010 issue available

The Summer issue of the FGS FORUM is now ready for subscribers to view online at Not a subscriber? View a free issue at and check out the special $15/$25 offer now!

Summer's 60-page issue is bursting with good information. "An Urban-Friendly Resource," "Recovering Family History Through Memories," and "New Source for UK Research" are just three of the articles aimed at avid researchers. Society officers will appreciate "Using a Wiki to Preserve a Society's Knowledge Base." These and other articles are joined by our regular feature columns by professionals Linda McCleary, Christine Rose, Randy Seaver, and Curt Witcher. All this plus 13 (yes, 13) pages of book reviews edited by Paul Milner.

This is one of our best issues yet. Enjoy!

Friday, June 25, 2010

FGS Annual Meeting Notice

The Annual Meeting of the Federation of Genealogical Societies will be held Wednesday, August 18, 2010, at 9:00 AM in conjunction with the FGS 2010 Conference at the Knoxville Convention and Exhibition Center, 701 Henley Street, Knoxville, TN 37902.  This meeting will be held in Ballroom E immediately following the Focus on Societies Opening Session with Curt Witcher.

Monday, June 21, 2010

2010 FGS Conference - Spotlight on Societies

As another membership benefit, genealogical societies that belong to FGS are eligible to participate in Spotlight on Societies at the 2010 FGS Conference in Knoxville, Tennessee. Spotlight on Societies will be a "display only" section of free tables inside the Exhibit Hall. If societies wish to make sales, they must reserve a regular exhibit booth. Please ship your display materials and brochures to arrive between August 1 and August 10, 2010. This is a great way to let conference attendees and those from other societies learn about the neat things your society is doing, pick up a membership brochure or see some examples of your activities. If you wish to have any of the items returned, you must arrange for someone to pick up whatever is left by 5pm on Saturday, August 21st.

To send boxes via UPS or FED EX:
ETHS - FGS Society Brochures
601 S. Gay St.
Knoxville, TN 37902

To send padded envelopes via US Mail:
ETHS - FGS Society Brochures
P.O. Box 1629
Knoxville, TN 37901-1619

Saturday, June 19, 2010

Nominations for FGS 2010 Youth Award - Deadline July 15

The FGS Outreach Committee is accepting nominations for the FGS 2010 Youth Award. This award honors volunteers under the age of eighteen who have made significant contributions to an FGS member society.

Award recipients receive recognition during the FGS conference, a complimentary registration to the FGS 2010 conference, a write-up in FGS FORUM and a package of exciting genealogical materials from various genealogical vendors.

Nominees must be affiliated with an FGS member society, and be eighteen or younger as of July 15, 2010.

Nominations should include the following:
  • Society’s name and contact information, including the name of the society president and/or FGS delegate.
  • Brief description of the youth’s contribution to your society.
  • Youth's name and contact information
Nominations should be submitted via e-mail to by July 15, 2010. The award will be presented during the opening session of the FGS 2010 Conference in Knoxville, Tennessee.

Sunday, June 6, 2010

Deb Deal Receives 2010 Sheppard Prize

Deborah Lichtner Deal of Chandlersville, Ohio, has been selected the 2010 recipient of the Walter Lee Sheppard Jr. Prize,  bestowed annually upon a genealogist who demonstrates sound practices and exceptional potential. Candidates for the award are drawn from the Advanced Research Methodology and Evidence Analysis track (Track 4) at Samford University's Institute of Genealogy and Historical Research. The stipend awarded to the recipient covers the preliminary and final application fees for individuals pursuing certification by the Board for Certification of Genealogists.

Past recipients of the prize include Teri Tillman, CG, of Natchez, Mississippi; and Phil Burnett Adderly, CG, of Shreveport, Louisiana.

Ms. Deal is a member of the Ohio Genealogical Society Board of Trustees, chairperson of the OGS Summer Workshop, the 2010 OGS conference exhibit chair, and OGS historian. She is a past president of the Muskingum County Chapter of OGS and has served as its chapter newsletter editor, cemetery
chairman, and library volunteer coordinator. Additionally, she is vice-president of the Morgan County Genealogical Society and a member of APG, NGS, NEHGS, and other genealogical organizations.

The Samford University IGHR and the Board for Certification of Genealogists (BCG) were both founded in 1964 by a cadre of genealogical educators seeking to advance the professionalism of the field. Across the decades, BCG has co-sponsored the IGHR; and a significant number of Board-certified genealogists have been its course coordinators and instructors.

The prize itself memorializes the late Walter Lee Sheppard Jr., one of the twentieth century's leading genealogical scholars whose example strongly promoted sound reasoning and careful analysis in all genealogical specialties. As a mentor, his discerning eye could be counted upon to identify a missed source or clue in compiled work, thereby strengthening a colleague's conclusions. A founder and president of BCG, Lee was also a fellow and president of the American Society of Genealogists, the National Genealogical Society, the Genealogical Society of Pennsylvania, and other bodies; and in 2007, he was elected to the National Genealogy Hall of Fame.

The Sheppard Prize is privately funded by an IGHR Track 4 graduate, for whom Lee acted as mentor and patron. The prize has no affiliation with the Board for Certification of Genealogists itself.

Elizabeth Shown Mills, CG, CGL, FASG
Course Coordinator, Track 4
Advanced Research Methodology & Evidence Analysis
Samford University Institute of Genealogy & Historical Research

Friday, June 4, 2010

Archivist of the U.S. to Speak at FGS Luncheon at Conference in Knoxville

FGS is pleased to announce that the Archivist of the United States, David Ferriero, will be speaking at our FGS Focus on Societies Luncheon on Wednesday, August 18th. If you have already registered, you can still purchase a ticket -- this luncheon is open to everyone! Mr. Ferriero will be speaking on the Citizen-Archivist and about the War of 1812 Digitization Project and will also have a question and answer period. We wish to thank Mr. Ransom H. Love and the FamilySearch team for graciously welcoming the Archivist to speak in their place at this luncheon. To register for the conference and to add this luncheon, click here.

Following the FGS Luncheon, the Archivist will be joining Librarians Day to speak with the Librarians and Archivists who have gathered for that event. Spots in Librarians Day are filling very quickly. ProQuest, our Librarians Day sponsor, has graciously opened that event to a larger audience, but once these reservations are filled we will need to start a wait list. To register for the Wednesday Librarians Day and to see the program, click here.

David S. Ferriero Biography

David S. Ferriero was sworn in as 10th Archivist of the United States on November 13, 2009.

Previously, Mr. Ferriero served as the Andrew W. Mellon Director of the New York Public Libraries (NYPL).  In this position he was part of the leadership team responsible for integrating the four research libraries and 87 branch libraries into one seamless service for users; and he was in charge of collection strategy; conservation; digital experience and strategy; reference and research services; and education, programming, and exhibitions.

Before joining the NYPL in 2004, Mr. Ferriero served in top positions at two of the nation's major academic libraries, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in Cambridge, MA, and Duke University in Durham, NC. 

Mr. Ferriero earned his bachelor's and master's degrees in English literature from Northeastern University in Boston and a master's degree from the Simmons College of Library and Information Science, also in Boston. He served in the Navy during the Vietnam War.

Monday, May 31, 2010

Genealogical Society of Bergen County, Paramus, NJ, June 5

The Genealogical Society of Bergen County (New Jersey) presents "Google Your Family Tree and More", from 9am to 1pm at Bergen Community College (Moses Family Meeting and Training Technology Center), 400 Paramus Road.  Dan Lynch, author of Google Your Family Tree, will present "Google Your Family Tree" (9:15am-10:45am) and "Organizing for Efficiency" (11am-12:30pm).  There will be book vendors and "Coffee And".  Cost is $18.  For more information, visit

Saturday, May 22, 2010

Ozarks Genealogical Society, Springfield, Missouri, September 10-11

The Ozarks Genealogical Society will have its 30th annual conference, “Researching with a Southern Accent,” on Sept. 10-11 at the Clarion Hotel in Springfield, Mo. J. Mark Lowe, nationally known genealogical researcher and educator, will be the featured speaker. His lectures will focus on Southern research in the areas of Kentucky and Northern Carolina. He will also provide guidance for online research. The conference begins the evening of Sept. 10 and continues Sept. 11. In addition to sessions presented by J. Mark Lowe, there will be mini-sessions on a variety of genealogical topics for guiding beginners and seasoned researchers on their quest for knowledge. Registration also includes lunch and a vendor showcase. The conference is open to the public. Registration is $45 until August 27. Visit for additional information.

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Preserve the Pensions! - Digitizing the War of 1812 Pension Files


The Federation of Genealogical Societies Launches National Fundraiser, Preserve the Pensions!, to Digitize the War of 1812 Pension Files

SALT LAKE CITY — With the approaching bicentennial of the War of 1812, the Federation of Genealogical Societies, a non-profit genealogical organization headquartered in Austin, Texas, is pleased to announce a national fund-raising initiative to raise $3.7 million to digitize of the War of 1812 pension files. The digitization process will enable online access by historians and family researchers to the memories and biographies of those who fought to protect our nation’s independence. This announcement is being made at the start of the National Genealogical Society’s 2010 conference, an event that will draw more than two thousand genealogists to Salt Lake City, Utah.

The War of 1812, often referred to as America’s second war for independence, significantly shaped this country’s identity both internationally and domestically. Many remember the War of 1812 as the war that give us "The Star-Spangled Banner” and the burning of the White House. Some of the great leaders of our country, including three presidents, took part in this conflict. Nearly 300,000 men served, including members of at least eighteen Native American tribes.

The pension records for the War of 1812 consist of more than 7.2 million documents in 180,000 files. The National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) receives more than three thousand requests per year for War of 1812 pensions, placing them among the most requested sets of records. Digitizing these valuable records will preserve the originals by removing them from continued heavy use. It will also make the images of the records much more widely available. NARA reports these important historical records already have been conserved and readied for digitization, so scanning could start as soon as funds are received. With the cost for digitizing and saving a single page from a pension file being fifty cents, supporters will see progress from the earliest days of the fund-raising initiative.

Genealogists, historians, and scholars of military history have long appreciated the value of pension files. A typical pension file may contain documents that describe a veteran’s service as well as why he, his widow, or his dependents qualify for a pension. In the cases of widows’ and dependents’ filings, there are typically a number of documents proving the claimant is related to the veteran. The testimony of a veteran’s comrades can provide unique and valuable data on what military life entailed, the rigors of everyday camp life, and details of particular skirmishes and battles. One may discover numerous details of an ancestor’s life in these pension files, some of which may be many dozens of pages long.

The Federation of Genealogical Societies is committed to projects that link the genealogical community and advance the cause of preserving records and making them more accessible. The Federation will be working with the genealogical and historical societies nation-wide, particularly in states where War of 1812 activities took place, as well as the many War of 1812 societies and bicentennial commissions, to raise awareness about this vital preservation and access project and to raise the funds necessary to complete the project.

Those interested in contributing to the Preserve the Pensions! Project or wanting additional information should contact the Federation of Genealogical Societies via their website at, or contact Curt Witcher at 260-421-1226 or

Sunday, April 25, 2010

TN, Johnson City, May 15, Watauga Association of Genealogists

The Watauga Association of Genealogists of NE TN and the Johnson City Public Library will host a workshop, "Beginning Genealogy for Ages 14 to 94." The classes will begin at 9:00 a.m. on Saturday, May 15, 2010 at the Johnson City Public Library Conference Room. Lunch is on your own and the classes will end at 4:00 p.m. There is no charge to attend the workshop, but pre-registration will aid in planning for the number of handouts. Call 283-0318 or email with your name and contact information (phone number &/or email address).

FGS Awards - Call for Submissions (deadline - June 1)

Do you know a person in your genealogical or historical society or library who has gone above and beyond to benefit the genealogical community with local, state, or national activities? Is there or are there a volunteer or volunteers you feel need special recognition? Has your society or a society produced a publication, done indexing, or cleaned up a cemetery or maybe even more?

Awards presented by the Federation of Genealogical Societies are intended to serve two purposes. First, they recognize and thank individuals and organizations who make significant contributions. Second, they illustrate the many things that can, and need, to be done, and provide examples and ideas on how we can accomplish similar goals.

Each year at the Federation of Genealogical Societies annual conference banquet, awards are given to societies and members of societies for outstanding or notable service to the genealogical community.

The Federation looks to you to nominate individuals or societies to receive these awards of recognition. You know the societies and the people who make up those societies. You know the activities/projects that an individual or society has successfully undertaken. These are the people, the societies, and the activities FGS is looking to offer gratitude to with these awards.

Please consider those that you know for an FGS award. Deadline for submission of awards for 2010 is 1 June 2010.

Following is a short description of the awards:

Certificate of Appreciation: Individual or organization in thanks for duty in exemplary or outstanding manner.

Award of Merit: Individual or organization for meritorious service or distinguished work in genealogy and family history.

President’s Citation: Individual or organization to whose contributions or service to FGS or the genealogical community are singled out for recognition by the FGS President.

Delegate Award: Individual Delegate of an FGS member society in recognition of exemplary service to FGS as a member of an FGS standing committee or as an active participant in an FGS project.

Distinguished Service Award: Individual or organizational recognition of outstanding service to FGS or to a member society. The organization must be a member of FGS, and the individual must be a member of an FGS member society.

Director’s Award: Individual or organizational recognition of both exceptional contributions to the field of genealogy and family history, and extra-mile efforts to promote good will and improve services.

George E. Williams Award: Individual with outstanding contributions within a single year to FGS, a member organization, or both.

David S. Vogels Award: Individual for recognition of outstanding career contributions to FGS.

Rabbi Malcolm H. Stern Humanitarian Award: To a rare individual for lifetime contributions and whose positive personal influence and example have fostered unity in the genealogical community, provided leadership to its individual members, and helped make family history a vital force in the community at large.

Archives Award: Individual or organizational recognition of exceptional contributions in the area of archival access, preservation, or services.

More information about the awards and a link to a submission form can be found at the FGS website

Awards deadline is 1 June 2010.

As Delegates we hope to hear from you! Thank you very much for your submissions.

The FGS Awards Committee:
Susan Kaufman
Bobbi King
Sandra Luebking
Gary Mokotoff

FGS Nominating Committee Seeks Nominees (deadline – June 15)

The FGS Nominating Committee is looking for a few good society members. The following positions will be filled in this year’s election:

  • President
  • Vice-President of Administration
  • Secretary
  • 4 Directors

The officer terms run 2 years while the Director posts are 3-year terms.

According to our FGS Bylaws, member societies can propose nominees in one of two ways:

  1. Member Societies may simply suggest nominees to be considered as potential candidates by the Nominating Committee.
  2. If a nominee whose nomination has been submitted by a Member Society in good standing is accompanied by the signed endorsement of five other delegates, along with the written consent of the nominee and a biographical sketch, that person shall be automatically included as a candidate on the ballot.

All nominations for the Board should be postmarked by an extended deadline of 15 June to be considered. Please direct all such nominations by postal mail to the FGS office; or by e-mail to Jana Broglin, nominating committee chair, at

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Great Lectures on the Cheap Using

Travel costs keep rising, but you'd still like to be able to host great programs at your local society's meetings by using the best speaker talent in the world. So how do you do it without breaking the bank?

The Southern California Genealogical Society is sponsoring a free webinar, presented by DearMYRTLE, on June 12. In this webinar, you'll learn how your society can use GoToWebinar at an inexpensive rate. Want to know more? You'll find details here.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Get Ready for the Holidays!

It's not too soon to start planning for the December holidays! They'll be here before you know it.

Consider promoting within your society the idea of giving a society membership as a holiday gift. We all know people who are thinking about getting involved with genealogy. Now is the time to consider helping those people to get started. Those people who are just thinking about genealogy or who may have attended one of your society's meetings may be ready to start the process!

Talk to your society's treasurer about buying a gift membership to your society for a year. You can purchase an annual membership and enclose the new membership card in a holiday card or a gift box. It's a tremendously thoughtful gift, and it also helps to draw you and your friend closer together.

2011 FGS/ISGS National Conference - Call for Lecture Proposals

We posted this announcement earlier, but we've had requests to re-post and remind people about the FGS 2011 Conference in Springfield, Illinois.

The Federation of Genealogical Societies and the Illinois State Genealogical Society are pleased to announce the official call for lecture proposals for our 2011 national conference, "Pathways to the Heartland," to be held in Springfield, Illinois, 7-10 September 2011. The conference will explore the resources of America's Heartland through a variety of regional and national topics aimed at engaging genealogists and family historians of all levels and experience. Topics relating to the Midwest, migration patterns, and religious and ethnic groups are encouraged. Wednesday, 7 September 2011, will include "Focus on Societies," with lectures, focus groups, and other special events devoted to assisting genealogical societies, lineage societies, historical societies, and family associations succeed and thrive in their activities.

The program committee is specifically seeking new and dynamic proposals that will provide exceptional and unique educational experiences for conference attendees.

Potential categories for submissions include:
  • Focus on Societies
  • Methodologies and Strategies
  • Migration/Immigration
  • Regions
  • Repositories
  • Record Types
  • Technology
  • Religious and Ethnic Groups
  • Midwestern Records
Speakers are strongly encouraged to submit multiple proposals (more than four) as most speakers, if selected, will provide a minimum of three lectures at the conference. There is no limit to the number of proposals a speaker may submit. Submission Requirements Submissions should be sent in PDF, Microsoft Word, or RTF format. File names should include your last name, first initial, and proposal topic (ex: SmithJ - Organization). Each submission must include:
  • Speaker(s) name
  • Speaker(s) contact information (including mailing address, phone, fax, e-mail).
  • Please add your website, if applicable.
  • Prior speaking experience (speakers who have not spoken at a national conference are encouraged to submit a video, audiotape, or CD recording of a recent lecture by mail).
  • Speaker(s) biography
  • Speaker(s) brief brochure biography (50 word maximum)
  • Lecture title (titles should not exceed 10 words: title your presentations carefully, as the title that is submitted is the title that will be used in the conference program).
  • Lecture brochure description (40 word maximum)
  • Lecture outline/summary
  • Lecture audio-visual requirements (FGS does NOT provide LCD/digital projectors, computers, or Internet access for speakers).
  • Intended audience level
Proposals must be sent electronically to no later than 15 May 2010. Additional Information Speakers will receive compensation according to the FGS Conference Speaker Policy at Camera-ready handouts are required for each lecture or workshop presentation and will be compiled in a syllabus distributed to conference participants. The deadline for submissions of syllabus materials is 1 April 2011. Guidelines for the formatting of the syllabus content will be sent to speakers. Invitations to speak will be issued in October 2010 and the deadline for acceptance and submission of a signed contract will be 1 November 2010.
If you are interested in more information about how to respond to this Call for Lecture Proposals, there's a great article in the Association of Professional Genealogists Quarterly (APGQ) titled Making Your Mark: Responding to Calls for Lecture Proposals, by George G. Morgan, in the March 2010 issue, Vol. XXV, Number 1.

Monday, April 12, 2010

Is Your Society Right with the IRS?

This is a reminder that EVERY non-profit society needs to file an information return with IRS no matter how small your budget is.

If your income is less than $25000 a year it is very easy to file a 990N. Go to the IRS website's Charities and non-profits page, for information on filing the different 990 returns.

To actually file a 990N return go to If you haven't filed a return before you will have to register. Have your FEIN in hand as well as current contact information. It's quick, easy and painless.

The consequences of not filing are not painless, however. This is the third year of the requirement. If a society does not file for three years they can lose their non-profit status. This might result in having to reapply for that status.

So, please take the time to file your return.

If you are not the person responsible for filing the return, but would like to make sure that it has been done, you can search on this page
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