Thursday, August 28, 2014

Book Your 2015 FGS Alaskan Cruise Cabin Today

Book Your 2015 FGS Alaskan Cruise Cabin Today!
Book Your 2015 FGS Alaskan Cruise Cabin Today!
Book your cabin now for the upcoming FGS Alaskan Cruise scheduled to set sail August 28, 2015. Cabins in the FGS block are available now and must be booked via cruise travel agent Susan Smith of Cruises Inc. at:

Cruise goers will enjoy 7 nights aboard Royal Caribbean’s luxurious Jewel of the Seas in the FGS’s maiden voyage of genealogy cruising. The Alaskan Cruise conference will feature over 20 sessions during sea days from an all-star cast of speakers - Elizabeth Shown Mills, David Rencher, Judy Russell, and D. Joshua Taylor. Activities include engaging social events, game nights, historic land excursions, and private dinner seating for fellowship with registered attendees. Twelve of the first 100 registrants will win individual consultations with the featured speakers. 

Cruise organizer and past FGS President Pat Oxley stated, “I hope everyone will come aboard with FGS on this new adventure where we combine the fun of cruising, the excitement of lectures by four top-notch speakers, and the splendor of Alaska, all packed into 7 days aboard a beautiful ship - it’s the perfect trifecta!”

The ports of call will include:
  • Seattle, Washington
  • Juneau, Alaska 
  • Skagway, Alaska
  • Victoria, British Columbia
Cruise goers will experience breathtaking views while cruising the Alaska Inside Passage and Tracy Arm Fjord. The FGS website has full details about the ports of call, pricing, and how to place cruise reservations.

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

2015 FGS Conference Registration is Open!

Register for #FGS2015 in Salt Lake City today!
Register for FGS 2015 in SLC today!
Registration is now open for the FGS 2015 national conference scheduled for February 11–14 in Salt Lake City, Utah. This highly anticipated genealogy event puts the FGS and RootsTech conferences under one roof at the Salt Palace Convention Center (SPCC).

Registration opens with a special early bird price of $139 for a full FGS conference registration. That pricing is available through September 12, 2014. Attend only FGS or add-on a full RootsTech pass for an additional $39. Register now at:

FGS President, D. Joshua Taylor, shares "FGS 2015 will undoubtedly be part of the largest family history event in North America. We are delighted to partner with RootsTech to bring the best of tradition and innovation to the family history community."

Conference Highlights
  • Conference Sessions: The program features lectures for genealogists of all experience levels. Attendees will learn from a variety of tracks including Tried and True Methods, The Most Useful Records Hidden in Plain Sight, Compiling Singular Records into Lively Stories, A Retro Look at Organizing and Planning, and Modern Access to Vintage Resources. See the full program and list of speakers at
  • General Sessions: Thursday, Friday, and Saturday mornings will kick off with a joint general session for all FGS and RootsTech attendees.  
  • Expo Hall: Both conferences will share an expo hall covering more than 120,000 square feet, which will offer at least 240 booth spaces and a Demo Theater featuring special vendor presentations.
  • Research Opportunity: The Family History Library is the reason that Salt Lake City is the dream destination of genealogists everywhere. The library is a located in walking distance of the Salt Palace Convention Center and the four conference hotels.  
  • Focus on Societies: Sessions on Wednesday, February 11, 2015 will give society leaders and volunteers ideas and tools to help societies promote themselves, increase membership, and develop sources of revenue.
  • Librarians’ Day: On Tuesday, February 10, 2015, ProQuest will sponsor a full pre-conference day of sessions designed for librarians, archivists, and other information professionals serving family history researchers.

Visit the FGS conference website at for additional details including links to the conference hotels. Watch for future announcements about general session speakers, special activities and more on the FGS Voice Blog at and through FGS social media channels (links available on the conference website).  

See you in Salt Lake City in February!  

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Societies: Selecting and Hiring a Genealogy Speaker

Societies: Selecting and Hiring a Genealogy Speaker
Societies: Selecting and Hiring a Genealogy Speaker
Maybe your society is hosting a workshop or conference.  Maybe your program chair has run out of ideas for the monthly meetings.  Have you considered hiring a genealogy speaker

Jean Hibben, CG, member of the Genealogical Speakers Guild discusses the ins and outs of finding and hiring the perfect speaker for your event. She also provides valuable insight into what it’s like to BE a speaker and the different things a speaker must consider when booking a speaking engagement (which - coincidentally - are things which a society should also consider when looking for a speaker!).

Tune in to get answers to these questions and more:

  • How far in advance should you book a speaker?
  • Should you require a contract?
  • What happens if your event gets canceled?
  • Who is responsible for the technology required for the speaker?

Listen to the archived broadcast of “Selecting and Hiring a Genealogy Speaker” on the BlogTalkRadio My Society channel by FGS or you can listen below:

Current History Podcasts at Blog Talk Radio with mysociety on BlogTalkRadio

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Sponsor a Celebrity Walker in the Preserve the Pension Fun Walk at #FGS2014

Preserve the Pensions Fun Walk
Which celebrity will you sponsor?
Thank you Judy Russell. Your promotion of the Preserve the Pensions Fun Walk and the generous offers of sponsorship you have received have inspired us.

We are changing things up!

Instead of a group walk, we have four sponsored walkers for you to choose from: Judy Russell of The Legal Genealogist, D. Joshua Taylor and Kenyatta Berry on behalf of Genealogy Roadshow and Ed Donakey of Family Search.

These four walkers will be competing for your sponsorship to see which of them can raise the most funds for the Preserve The Pensions campaign.

And while we hope those of you who intended to walk will get out and enjoy all that San Antonio has to offer, we ask that you commit to sponsoring one of our celebrity walkers instead.

Judy, Josh, Kenyatta and Ed will walk Saturday morning August 30th at 6:30am. (That’s right Judy, you’ll still have to get up early, that hasn’t changed!)

If you happen to be up at what Judy lovingly calls “oh dark thirty” I hope you’ll consider seeing them off from their starting point at the front of the Henry B Gonzales Convention Center.

Every dollar raised in support of our walkers goes directly to the Preserve The Pensions fund.  Every dollar is matched first by FGS, then again by Ancestry. Every $25.00 sponsorship becomes a $100.00 contribution to the preservation of this incredibly important collection of War of 1812 pensions.

Now all you have to decide is which of these four amazing individuals will get your support!

Show attendees, please stop by the Preserve The Pensions booth 506, 508.
Donate $25.00 to sponsor your favorite walker and pick up your T-Shirt.  (Shirts available while they last.)

For those not attending the show, please visit our donate page at

You’ll see a section marked “Honor and Tribute” where you can select the walker you’d like to sponsor. After the convention we’ll coordinate with you on T-shirt size and shipping.

Monday, August 18, 2014

A Society On the Grow

A Society On the Grow via
A Society On the Grow
Is your society suffering from declining membership? Are you looking for new and exciting ways to reach out to the community and increase your membership? Three years ago, the Utah Genealogical Association had a lofty goal: triple their membership by the end of the year. How could they possibly expect to meet that goal?

Learn how they took the time to get together and create a plan by using a Kaizen (a Japanese word meaning "continuous improvement") process, which utilizes the following steps:

1. Define your problem
2. Document your current situation
3. Visualize your ideal situation
4. Define measurement targets (how will you know you've reached your goal?)
5. Brainstorm solutions to your problem
6. Develop Kaizen plan
7. Implement your plan
8. Measure, record and compare results to targets
9. Prepare summary documents
10. Create short-term action plan, ongoing standards and sustaining plan

UGA past President Janet Hovorka and UGA Board Member Christy Fillerup explain how they plan to do it utilizing several different initiatives:

Education - recognized the need for intermediate/advanced genealogical education
Networking - putting researchers in touch with each other for collaboration opportunities
Flexibility - implemented virtual meetings for committee/chapter meetings across the state
Volunteerism - offered varied opportunities to utilize the diverse talents of its membership

You can hear the details in the archived broadcast of “A Society on the Grow” on the BlogTalkRadio My Society channel by FGS or you can listen below:

Listen To History Internet Radio Stations with mysociety on BlogTalkRadio

A Society on the Grow

Sunday, August 17, 2014

Join FGS at Genealogy Roadshow in St. Louis!

If you are in or around St. Louis, Missouri, this next weekend, August 23rd & 24th, consider coming by the taping of PBS' Genealogy Roadshow from 9am - 6pm. On Saturday, they will be taping at the St. Louis Central Library, and on Sunday they will be taping at Grand Hall at Union Station.

They have also invited local genealogical societies to have a table there. So, while you are there please stop by the Federation of Genealogical Societies' table, pick up a giveaway, and find out exclusive information about upcoming FGS events! Let's talk about how genealogical societies can help you with your family history research.

For more information about the Genealogy Roadshow - St. Louis venue, please visit the Genealogy Roadshow website.

We'll see you in St. Louis!

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Bringing Technology to Your Genealogy Society

Bringing Technology to Your Genealogy Society from
Bringing Technology to Your Genealogy Society
Several years ago, the Southern California Genealogical Society was more “home-grown” than “tech savvy.”  Fortunately, they had a couple of talented and enthusiastic folks among their ranks and they were first able to bring the society into the 20th century … and then into the 21st century.

Maybe your society is considering updating its image.  How do you figure out what to do first?  And next? 

Do you have a few reluctant luddites in your membership or on your board?  Find out how their nay-saying can be used to keep you on your toes!

Do you know if your members are reading your emails and/or publications?  Do you know how to measure your society’s effectiveness when reaching out to your membership and/or community?  Shouldn’t you?

Special thanks to Paula Hinkel, past President of SCGS (currently 2nd Vice President), for letting us peek behind the scenes and learn some valuable lessons from the mistakes SCGS made during this process and how the new technology enabled them to deliver more (and better) services to their members.

Listen to the archived FGS Bringing Technology to Your Society broadcast now below or on our BlogTalkRadio My Society Channel.

New History Internet Radio with mysociety on BlogTalkRadio

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

Bringing Genealogy Societies into the 21st Century

Bringing Genealogy Societies into the 21st Century
Are your members really enjoying themselves?
The face of genealogical societies is changing.  Gone are the days when societies were run like a coffee clatch or a book club.  Potential members are more tech savvy, have more “world experience,” and expect more for their money than a stale monthly meeting.  Maybe it’s time your society started asking the hard questions:
  •  In this busy world, people have less “free” time, so how do you make them want to spend time with your society? 
  • How can your society help people be successful? 
  • What are you offering your members in exchange for their dues?
  • Are you engaging with all of your members AND potential members? 
  • Are your members really enjoying themselves?
  • How can you run your society like a business without it feeling like one?

Curt B. Witcher (Senior Manager of Special Collections at the Allen County Public Library and founding president of the Indiana Genealogical Society) answers all of these questions and more in the archived broadcast of “Bringing Genealogy Societies Into the 21st Century” on the My Society online radio program by FGS or you can listen below:

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

Also consider attending Focus on Societies Day at the FGS 2014 conference in San Antonio on August 27th.  Beginning with a half-day workshop, David Rencher and Ed Donakey of FamilySearch will help you develop sound business strategies for your society’s future growth!  The Focus on Societies Luncheon provides an opportunity to meet and network with other society leaders.  Afternoon sessions will cover a variety of topics related to strategy, social media, and society projects.

~Jenny Lanctot
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