Wednesday, November 26, 2014

All I Want for Christmas Is…an Alaskan Cruise!

We have all been the recipient of boring or downright bad gifts. Probably not on purpose, but it happens. People have good intentions. They want to remember family and friends with a gift during the holiday season. However, most people either lack the funds or imagination to be a really good gift giver. What can be done about this situation? Communicate! Share ideas with family and friends on what you really want for the holidays—the FGS genealogy cruise to Alaska!

Hopefully most of your family and friends know that you are interested in genealogy (if they don’t know, how and why are you keeping it a secret???). A lot of people have an Alaskan cruise on their bucket list. Why not tell everyone that instead of socks or bath gels what you really want is money towards a genealogy cruise to Alaska (2 for 1!)

All I Want for Christmas Alaskan Cruise! via
::shaking:: Is it an Alaskan Cruise?
How can you spread the word without seeming rude and ungrateful? One way is to use social media. With social media being so prevalent in most of our lives, it is easy to share a wish list with those around us. Many people post the top ten items they want on Facebook or Instagram. Also feel free to tell people face-to-face. Have an open and frank discussion about it.

Another approach would be to agree to not give gifts this year. A few years ago, my in-laws all agreed that it was getting ridiculous spending so much time and money to give gifts that weren’t needed or wanted. We now use the money that we would have spent on extended family to get something that our immediate family really needs or wants. Another year my immediate family pooled our money and went on a trip over Christmas. Best decision ever! Not only did I not have to decorate, there was no shopping, wrapping or extra food to prepare. It really was a great Christmas.  

Hopefully this year instead of fighting the crowds on Black Friday, you find yourself making reservations to join FGS on a fabulous cruise to Alaska!

Visit to learn more or book your reservation.

—Cherie Bush, Social Activities Coordinator, FGS 2015 Alaskan Cruise

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

New Year, New Board Members

New Year, New Board Members via
Many local genealogical and historical societies are electing (or re-electing) board members this month. Sitting on a society board is a lot of work. It's hard enough to get volunteers to step up, so how can we make the transition easier for them so they don't run away screaming before the beginning of the year?

Need ideas for for making the transition from one board to the next less painful for everyone involved?  Guest Polly Fitzgerald Kimmitt, CG provides some ideas for that — like writing a mission statement and a brief history of the organization for the new people to review or creating standing rules for day-to-day operations. Also included are ideas for smoothing the interaction between new and pre-existing board members.

Listen to the archived broadcast of "New Year, New Board Members" on the blogtalkradio My Society channel by FGS, or you can listen below:

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

Want to know more?  Check out these topics from our Society Strategy Series:

How to Run an Election
Installation of Officers
Boardsmanship! Nine Principles

Also, check out one of our latest blog posts on the ins and outs of a well-crafted Mission Statement from FGS Director Cherie Bush:

Genealogy Societies: A Case for Creating a Mission Statement

Monday, November 24, 2014

A Virtual Tour of the Family History Library

The FGS 2015 conference is fewer than three months away and many attendees are already starting to dream about visiting the Family History Library while they are in Salt Lake City.

The Family History Library, which houses the world’s largest collection of family history materials, is within walking distance of the Salt Palace Convention Center and many conference hotels.  Some attendees will add a few days to their trip, either before or after the conference, while others may prefer to schedule some research time on conference days.

Library Hours

Normal hours for the library are:

Monday: 8 AM to 5 PM
Tuesday through Friday: 8 AM to 9 PM
Saturday: 9 AM to 5 PM
Sunday: Closed

The library will will be open 8 AM to 5 PM on Presidents Day (Monday, February 16) for those who are planning to research after the conference is over.

Library Layout

There are five floors: three aboveground levels and two basement levels.

Each floor has computers available for patron use, with access to the FamilySearch website, including the FHL Catalog, FamilySearch databases, and the major commercial databases. Restrooms are also available on each floor. Printers, copiers, and scanners can be found throughout the library.

The Main Floor, which is where you enter the library from the outside, has a reference desk where you can ask questions and buy a copy card (necessary if you want to make print copies from books or microfilm). There is a vending area, in case you want to grab a snack without leaving the library. There are also lockers, so that you can store your coat and other items that aren’t needed while researching.

There is also a new “Discovery Area” on the Main Floor. You can bring photos and documents from home and scan them using them using photo scanning equipment. Family Story booths in the Discovery Area allow you to make video and audio recordings and save them to a flash drive (2 GB flash drive recommended).

Repeat Library visitors will notice some changes to the B1, B2, and second floors. These floors have had reference desks in the past, but are being renovated to include new consultation areas. The B1 International floor, for example, now has separate consultation areas to assist patrons with European, Nordic, and Latin American research.

Finding Research Materials at the Library

Each floor is dedicated to a particular type of research material.

Third Floor:  US Books and Maps
Second Floor:  US and Canada Microfilms
Main Floor:  Family History and Canada Books
Basement 1: International
Basement 2: British Isles
3rd Floor: US and Canada Books
3rd Floor – US and Canada Books
The books in the Family History section on the Main floor are compiled genealogies, shelved in alphabetical order by surname. However, these books are being digitized and placed online at FamilySearch, so if you don’t find the book you are looking for, it may have been pulled off the shelf for digitization.

The other floors (as well as the Canada Books section on the Main floor) house locality books and/or microfilms. These include local history books, abstracts and transcripts, or images of original records for the locality.
2nd Floor: US and Canada Microfilm
2nd Floor – US and Canada Microfilm
Not all microfilm rolls are housed at the library. Be sure to review the FamilySearch Catalog ahead of time for any microfilm roll you may want to view.  Any items labelled “vault” must be ordered and can take up to three days to arrive, so it is better to pre-order those.

How to Get Help at the Library

Volunteers are available on each floor to answer questions. You can also sign up for a consultation with a research specialist.  A recent innovation allows you to continue researching while waiting for your consultation; you will receive a “restaurant-style” pager that will notify you when the research specialist is available to meet with you.

Close proximity to the Family History Library is only one of many reasons to attend the FGS 2015 conference. Have you registered yet? If not, check out the full program and register today.
FGS 2015 Logo

Friday, November 21, 2014

FGS 2014 Awards: The Inaugural Technology Advances Award Recipient

FGS 2014 Awards: The Inaugural Technology Advances Award Recipient via
The Federation of Genealogical Societies (FGS) presents awards for excellence in a variety of areas related to genealogy and history. At the recent FGS conference in San Antonio, Texas, an array of awards were presented and accompanied by a Power Point presentation extolling the reasons for the awards. Over the next several weeks, watch this blog for postings about the specific individuals and organizations who were the recipients.

FGS was pleased to present its inaugural Technology Advances Award to in recognition of an innovative product that enhances the genetic genealogy experience. GEDmatch is a free website that allows us many ways to compare and analyze our autosomal DNA results from different companies and ​with that of fellow DNA testers. There are other components of the website that do require a small fee but the basic comparisons may be done at no charge.

Curtis Rogers and John Olson, the Co-Administrators of GEDmatch, acknowledged the award with these words:

“We are thrilled, and humbled by this award from an organization so long established and recognized as the Federation of Genealogical Societies.  It is an indication to us that our efforts are achieving some success in reaching our goal of helping family history seekers by providing useful genealogical tools. It is all about people.”

They further said “we know that our volunteers, while few in number, will be equally honored and encouraged to continue improving GEDmatch. Please thank your Awards Committee and membership for this strong endorsement of our activities.”

If you or your genealogical or historical organization is interested in nominating a person or project for an award, please visit FGS Awards.

Awards will be presented at various times during 2015 but if you are interested in a nomination for an award to be presented at the next FGS conference, the deadline is 1 January 2015. Full details and a nomination form are on the FGS website. The next conference will be held 11-14 February 2015 in Salt Lake City in conjunction with RootsTech. Details are on the FGS website and everyone is welcome!

Genealogy Societies: A Case for Creating a Mission Statement

Why write a mission statement?
Genealogy Societies: A Case for Creating a Mission Statement via
Why write a mission statement?

Don’t people know what you do? After all, the name of your organization spells out who you are, right? Maybe not. A mission statement explains an organization’s purpose, direction and reason for existence. When a mission statement is clear and concise, it can not only let others know who you are and what you do, but also motivate and inspire your members.

Mission statements outline the organization's purpose and main objectives. The statements are set in the present tense and explain why you exist, both to members of the organization and to people outside it. A mission statement can be highly motivating when conveyed clearly and with intent. This is also very helpful when collaborating with members. It can help them stay focused on accomplishing the goals of the organization.

Some reasons & excuses for no mission statement

So if having a clear mission statement is good, why do so many organizations not have them or have poorly written ones?  Some reasons could include:
  • "It takes too much time to develop them."
  • "We will never reach consensus."
  • "Everyone knows what we do, so what is the benefit of writing a statement about it?
  • "We have goals — who needs Mission Statement?
  • “We might have to make some changes and it would be hard to do.”
None of these reasons outweigh the benefits of having a well-written mission statement. Yes, writing a mission statement will take some time and may cause some changes to the group. However, a poorly written mission statement or a lack of a mission statement can be lost opportunities for attracting new members, retaining talented people, and having a thriving organization. A study done by Bain and Company shows that organizations that have "clearly defined Vision and Mission statements that are aligned with a strategic plan, outperform those who do not." In addition, a clear mission statement can strengthen the group, improve decision making and provide clarity of purpose.

What are the attributes of a good mission statement?   

  • Uses language people can understand
  • Resonates with people, evokes an emotional response
  • Communicates the “why” 
  • Is a concise, single, powerful sentence
  • Is memorable, actionable
  • Is specific

3 Elements of a Great Mission Statement

  1. Our Cause — Who do you serve? What matters?
  2. Our Actions — What we do
  3. Our Impact — Changes for the better
These three elements unite the best mission statements. Remember that one or more items may be implied. At times people make mission statements complex, but complexity does not make something more valuable. Think of this as an opportunity to give people a ‘taste’ of your organization. It should get them interested in learning more not telling them everything about your organization. Think of this as your ‘elevator speech.’

Having a clear, concise Mission statement helps members better understand board decisions and organizational changes. It helps the group have a better perspective to what is happening and how they fit in.

Some examples

Here are some examples of good mission statements:
  • Nike: To bring inspiration and innovation to every athlete in the world.  (
  • Walgreens: To be the most trusted, convenient, multichannel provider and advisor or innovative pharmacy, health and wellness solutions, and consumer goods and services in communities across America.  (
  • Dell: Our mission is to be the most successful IT systems company in the world by delivering the best customer experience in all markets we serve.  (

How to use a mission statement

The next step is deciding how to use the mission statement. The point is to get your message across to others. There are many ways to share your message:
  • Website
  • Letterhead
  • Giveaway items
  • Press kit
  • Interviews
  • Cover of newsletters and reports
  • Social media
Use your creativity!  There are many ways to use your mission statement in your community.


A mission statement explains the organizations reason for existence. It describes what the organization does and its overall intention.  The mission statement supports the vision and goals of the organization and communicates purpose and direction to members and the community.


Cherie Bush

5 Reads Friday: Free webinars, Ellis Island, & more!

5 Reads Friday: Free webinars, Ellis Island, & more! via

Here is our quick round up of genealogy news that trended this week on social media — a little bit of this, a little bit of that. Get in the know for the weekend with these 5 reads from FGS:

The Role of Grandparents in the Modern Family — In both the blog post and the short video, they stress how grandparents tend to be the keepers of the family history and how they are able to "mesmerize" their grandchildren with the family stories.

Illinois State Genealogical Society  Announces 2015 FREE Webinar Lineup — a great lineup of family history education for 2015 provided by ISGS.

Ellis Island, Past and Present: Tracing the First Steps of Millions to America from The Washington Post — These creative photos tell an incredible story of America's past.

Why do you love to #explorearchives? — Read Steven McGann's passionate explanation of why he loves to explore archives. Lots of good reasons for family historians as well.

Watch FGS Ambassador & Genealogy Vlogger Caitlin Gow's enthusiastic video response to this month's November Ambassador prompt. She reveals why she's going to FGS 2015, which sessions she plans to attend, and more!

Thursday, November 20, 2014

FGSCruise2015: Destination Juneau

The FGS Alaskan cruise sets sail on August 28, 2015, departing from Seattle, and will reach Juneau, Alaska at noon on August 30.

Juneau is often described as America's most unusual state capital.  It is the only center of U.S. government with no roads leading into or out of town. The city, which was founded during a gold rush in 1880, is completely surrounded by nature.

Juneau Alaska

In 1880, Tlingit chief Kowee led prospectors Joe Juneau and Richard Harris up Gold Creek, which runs through present-day downtown Juneau.  Once at Silver Bow Basin, gold nuggets were found, and the gold rush began.

After the gold nuggets were exhausted from the streambeds by individuals working with hand tools, industrial underground mining began.  After the high-grade ore was exhausted, stamp mills were built to extract gold.  The crushed rock tailings were dumped along the shore, creating the flat land where Juneau was built.  These old mines are now closed, although 21st century mining operations continue north of Juneau in a manner that has minimal visual or environmental impact.

The gold made Juneau the economic capital of Alaska, so the state capital was also moved there from Sitka in 1906.  The stamp mills of the Alaska-Juneau mine are still visible above the cruise ship docks.

Wings Juneau

Today, the former gold-mining town counts among its riches some of Alaska's most spectacular scenery. Nestled at the foot of Mt. Juneau in the Alaska Panhandle, it faces the water from the mainland side of Gastineau Channel.

Several magnificent fjords are located along the channel coast, and the majestic Mendenhall Glacier, a favorite of visitors, is nearby.  A vast ice field to the north of Juneau is larger than Rhode Island, making the Juneau winters colder than other nearby cities in Alaska.

The Mt. Roberts Tramway operates from near the cruise ship docks and offers scenic views of the surrounding area.  North Franklin Street that passes the docks is the main shopping district.  Juneau offers a peaceful pace of life out of the downtown commercial district.

Tram over Juneau

Some of the nearby excursions include the Mendenhall Glacier, whale watching, salmon hatchery tours, zip-lines, dog sled adventures, the Last Chance Mining Museum, and working fisheries and ice houses along the docks.

Frozen Lake of Juneau's Mendenhall Glacier

Don’t miss out on seeing these unique sights!  The cruise will also offer a full genealogy conference during sea days that does not encroach on cruise-goers time to enjoy mainland excursions.  Register for the cruise at

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

David Archuleta and Studio C to Close FGS & RootsTech 2015

American Idol finalist David Archuleta is teaming up with the popular comedy sketch group Studio C from BYUtv to perform at FGS and RootsTech. The two talents will be performing for the Closing Event at the Salt Palace Convention Center in Salt Lake City, Utah. Both will be featuring new original pieces for the event, including a new song written by David Archuleta and a never-before-seen sketch by Studio C.

David Archuleta has sold more than 1 million albums and earned numerous awards. According to David, this gives him a chance to celebrate his family and the influence they have had on his music. His father was a jazz musician who introduced the family to jazz, as well as gospel, pop, rock, and soul. His family’s heritage and history helped craft Archuleta’s unique style.

“Music was always a part of my life growing up. My mother was also big on dancing and would teach my older sister and me to dance to traditional music,” he remembers. “I can’t think about celebrating my family without thinking about celebrating music.”

The sketch comedy group Studio C from BYUtv has grown to become a household name for people across the nation of all ages, but especially among teens and millennials. Since its launch in October 2012, its loyal fan base has helped grow the show’s online presence to more than 70 million YouTube views to date.

David Archuleta and Studio C will be performing for thousands of attendees at the Closing Event on the final day of FGS and RootsTech, February 14, 2015. To reserve your ticket to see David Archuleta and Studio C, register today for FGS 2015.

FGS 2015 Logo

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Print on Demand Publishing for Your Genealogy Society

Print on Demand Publishing for Your Genealogy Society via #genealogy #gensocs
Print on Demand Publishing for Your Genealogy Society
Has your society ever published a book?  Are you still storing boxes and boxes of those books in someone's basement because you had to buy a thousand copies in order to get a good price, and now you realize you'll never sell them all?  We can't help you get rid of those books, but there's good news for future publications!

Guest Lisa Alzo (author, lecturer, and former FGS Publications chair) discusses how societies can reduce costs and still offer quality publications by using print-on-demand services.

From selecting a print vendor to preparing your publication for printing to obtaining an ISBN number, Lisa offers many tips for making the process easier, which means less impact on volunteer time.  Find a typo after you've published?  With traditional publishers, you would have to start over.  With print-on-demand, you can fix those errors at no extra cost and little effort.  Lisa even offers some insight into making the step from print-on-demand to full electronic publishing (e.g. Kindle, etc.).

Listen to the archived broadcast of "Print on Demand Publishing for Your Genealogy Society" on the blogtalkradio My Society channel by FGS, or you can listen below:

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

Want to know more about society publications?  Check out these links from our Society Strategy Series:

Monday, November 17, 2014

10 Reasons to Attend FGS 2015

Salt Palace Convention Center, venue for FGS 2015
Are you considering attending the FGS 2015 conference February 11–14 in Salt Lake City, Utah? Do you need a few more reasons why you should go? Here's your list. 

1. Network with other society leaders, sharing the latest ideas.
Are you an officer, board member, committee chair, or volunteer for your society? Attending FGS 2015 will give you an opportunity to meet other society leaders. Many societies deal with the same issues, and one of them may have the solution to a problem your society is experiencing.   
2. Visit the world’s largest collection of family history materials, just minutes away.
Salt Lake City is the dream destination for genealogists and family historians for one big reason — The Family History Library. The library is in walking distance of the Salt Palace Convention Center and many hotels. Add on a few extra days to your stay or schedule some research time during the conference (it's open until 9:00 p.m. Tuesday through Friday during that week). 
3. Get tips from the pros for finding those elusive ancestors!
Speakers at FGS conferences are some of the most knowledgeable and gracious professionals in the genealogy community. Not only do they share that knowledge during sessions, but many are happy to answer questions throughout the day. 
4. Spend time relaxing and socializing with other genealogists from around the world.
Do you dream of talking about genealogy with people who don't roll their eyes and tune out? Your "people" will be at FGS 2015. Strike up a conversation with the person next to you in a session, a luncheon, the Expo Hall, a restaurant, or the hotel lobby. You'll be glad you did.
5. Find the latest family history gadgets and gizmos in the Expo Hall.
The shared FGS-RootsTech Expo Hall will be huge — 120,000 square feet of vendor booths with special vendor presentations in the Demo Theater. 
6. Go behind the scenes of family history on TV at the FGS Opening Event.
Join fellow attendees for a night exploring the amazing world of television and family history. The program includes screenings of some of the most popular programs, followed by an in-depth panel discussion on the tricks of the trade. Panelists will be announced closer to the conference.
7. Visit genealogical societies from across the U.S. at the FGS Society Showcase in the Expo Hall. 
Society Showcase will be completely re-vamped for FGS 2015. You'll find flyers from FGS member societies in areas where your ancestors lived and left records. Connecting with those societies might be the key to finding answers to your most difficult research questions. 
8. CONNECT with new genealogy friends and blaze new research trails.
Genealogist are friendly and they make great friends. They will rejoice in your research triumphs and commiserate with you on brick wall problems. Friendships that last a lifetime develop at FGS conferences.  
9. EXPLORE presentations on a variety of topics in the classrooms and the new tools you learn about each day.
The FGS 2015 conference program has something for every genealogists and family historian from beginners to the most experienced. Methodology, records, ethnic research, and migration topics are only some of the sessions waiting for you.
10. REFRESH your interest in family history, and leave FGS 2015 ready to tackle those challenging research projects!
After experiencing items 1 through 9, you will have a renewed energy and focus for your research. That translates to solving problems, which is the ultimate goal for all researchers. 

Register today for FGS 2015.
FGS 2015 Logo

Original 10 Reasons created by Cyndi Ingle and D. Joshua Taylor were expanded for this post. 

Thursday, November 13, 2014

FGS 2015 Program Spotlight: Methods and Standards

Learning methods, standards, and best practices will help you solve the toughest research problems. These FGS 2015 sessions will put on on the right track.

Friday, February 13, 2015

Tried and True Methods
  • Researching extended family, friends, and neighbors is important. Using case studies, learn how timelines, techniques, and strategies will help you find those lost ancestors. Deborah Abbott, PhD, explores Cluster Genealogy: Finding Your Lost Ancestors.
  • Researching the historical, geographic, and ethnic details surrounding an ancestor's family and time period can provide significant research dividends. Curt Witcher, MLS, FUGA, IGSF, demonstrates how Doing the History Eliminates the Mystery
  • Dissected prize-winning family histories show attributes others can incorporate into their own writing. Thomas Jones, PhD, CG, CGL, FASG, FUGA, FNGS, puts the emphasis on interest, structure, documentation, and standards in Writing a Prize-Winning Family History.
  • Do you understand the Compiled Military Service Record and know how to locate records not found in one? Craig R. Scott, MA, CG, FUGA, has that covered in The Compiled Military Service Record
Standards and Practices
  • Examples and explanations tell about newly revised genealogy standards and how to apply them to research, compiling, and writing. Join Thomas Jones, PhD, CG, CGL, FASG, FUGA, FNGS, for New Standards or Old? Guidelines for Effective Research and Family Histories
  • Hear about the process and preparation needed to become Board-certified, including useful tips and recommendations. Elissa Scalise Powell, CG, CGL, and Judy G. Russell, JD, CG, CGL, will present Certification: Measuring Yourself Against Standards in an interactive format encouraging audience questions. 
  • Are you aware of the standards of genetic genealogy? These standards were developed by a committee under the guidance of Blaine Bettinger and CeCe Moore. Learn about those Genetic Genealogy Standards from CeCe Moore. 
Saturday, February 14, 2015

Records and Methods for Your Consideration
  • Locate print and online indexes for local newspapers. Learn to take advantage of online resources, and utilize other tools that can assist you from Kris W. Krepczynski, MLS, MA, in Extra! Extra! Utilizing Newspapers to Locate Obituaries.
  • Meet the six non-population census schedules taken during 1850–1880. Deena Coutant covers Agricultural Defective/Delinquent, Manufacturing/Industrial, Mortality, Slave & Social Statistics Schedules in Beyond the Census: The Non-Population Schedules
  • Documents, museum holdings, and ephemera provide answers but only if you know how to locate them. Discover some of the riches to be garnered from materials at NARA, the Library of Congress, and the Smithsonian with Pamela Boyer Sayre, CG, CGL in Manuscripts and More.
  • Ever noticed the patchwork quilt effect of the farms when flying over the Midwest? Discover why this is the case and how to decipher those legal descriptions in How the Public Land Survey System Shaped Our Country with Billie Fogarty, M.Ed.
Check out the full program for FGS 2015 scheduled for February 11–14 in Salt Lake City, Utah and register today.

FGS 2015 Logo

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

FGSCruise2015: Cruising the Alaska Inside Passage

The FGS Alaskan cruise sets sail on August 28, 2015, departing from Seattle.  After a full day of cruising, the ship will reach the Alaska Inside Passage on August 30 for a day of sightseeing aboard the ship.

Inside Passage (3)

Millions of years ago, southbound glaciers carved out the Inside Passage, leaving majestic fjords, islands and bays in their wake. Icebergs that have drifted from the Tracy and Endicott Arms can be seen floating in Stephens Passage.

Alaska's Inside Passage is awash with pristine water mountain views. From the lush greenery of Tongass National Forest—the world's largest and northernmost temperate coastal rainforest—to the brilliant blue glaciers, you'll see jaw-dropping beauty everywhere you look.

Inside Passage (9)

A cruise among the fjords and islands takes you into prime habitat for bald eagles and sea lions.  There is a major sea lion rookery on the mainland, and they can often be seen sleeping on buoys.  Humpback whales like to breach in the passage, so keep an eye out for them, as well as orcas.

The Inside Passage is home to the totem poles of the Tlingit, Haida, and Tsimshian Indians. This area has seen many Russian setters, prospectors, lumberjacks, and fishermen in years past—all have added to the tapestry of this area's history.

Inside Passage (6)

Don’t miss out on seeing these beautiful sights!  The cruise will also offer a full genealogy conference at times during sea days when there are not sights to be seen.  Register for the cruise at

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Dear Santa: What I Want This Year for My Genealogy Society

Dear Santa: What I Want This Year for My Genealogy Society via
The second week in November is Dear Santa Letter Week, and is typically reserved to encourage children to write their letters to Santa - mainly so grown-ups can harvest those ideas for gifts, but more importantly to exercise writing skills and creativity, while making family traditions.

We've taken a somewhat different approach.  In this episode of FGS Radio - My Society, fellow genealogists from all over the country call in and tell us what they want for their societies from "Santa."  Maybe you can get some ideas to start the brainstorming process and start making goals and objectives for your own society for the coming year!

Listen to the archived broadcast of "Dear Santa: What I Want This Year for My Genealogy Society" on the blogtalkradio My Society channel by FGS, or you can listen below:

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

Need additional resources for planning your society's future?  Check out these links to our Society Strategy Series:

Long Range Planning
Five Steps to Organizing a Society
Growing Your Society: An Outline of Ideas

Monday, November 10, 2014

New and Improved Society Showcase for FGS 2015

Society Showcase is getting a makeover for the FGS 2015 conference. If you've attended an FGS conference in the past, you've seen Society Showcase in the exhibit hall. It's that section of tables for FGS member societies that wanted a presence at the conference without renting a full booth. It's been a focal point of FGS conference exhibit halls. And it's getting even better.

Society Showcase Coming Soon

When the FGS and RootsTech 2015 Expo Hall opens February 12 in Salt Lake City, a new and improved Society Showcase will be located with the FGS booth. Visitors and attendees will "travel" the U.S. and around the world discovering what specific resources genealogical societies can provide the individual researcher. They will follow ancestors' migration patterns by moving from society to society learning what is available to researchers in each locality while collecting brochures, asking questions, and connecting with like-minded genealogists and family historians.

FGS member societies and delegates should look for an email this week with all the details for participating. Tables and rental fees are not part of the new format. Society Showcase will be available to FGS member societies free of charge. You don't want to miss this incredible opportunity to reach thousands of potential new members.

If you are attending FGS 2015, don't miss Society Showcase. A society in that place where your brick-wall ancestor lived just might have the answers you seek.

If you haven't registered yet, visit

FGS 2015 Logo

Friday, November 7, 2014

Watch Connect with FGS

Connect with FGS kicked off last night. This monthly 30 minute Hangout on Air focuses on the FGS 2015 Conference scheduled for February 11–14 in Salt Lake City, Utah and other FGS projects and activities.

Did you watch?  Don't worry if you missed it, you can watch it now or whenever you'd like here or on the FGS YouTube Channel.

What did viewers have to say about Connect with FGS?
"That half hour was a breath of fresh air." ~ Becky Jamison
"Great energy folks and lots of helpful information. So looking forward to meeting you all in SLC in February." ~ Tessa Keough
"I've learned so much! I enjoyed myself." ~ True Lewis
"Congratulations on a great HOA last night! It was so much fun. The energy emitting from it was inspiring for all there and who sees the YouTube video!" ~ Valerie Lair

Read more viewer comments and conference tips on Google+.

Hear guests Cyndi Ingle, Paula Stuart-Warren, CG, FMGS, FUGA, and J. Mark Lowe, CG, FUGA
  • describe some of their early FGS conference experiences,
  • discuss why you should attend FGS 2015,
  • give tips for researching at the Family History Library,
  • pick their favorite presentations on the FGS 2015 program,
  • and more. 
Get to know A. J. Jacobs, founder of the Global Family Reunion and hear about his plans for that event scheduled for June 6, 2015. Learn how FGS and member societies will be involved with the Global Family Reunion from Randy Whited, FGS Director.

Meet FGS Ambassador Cheri Passey, author of Carolina Girl Genealogy blog. Check out blogs and social media accounts for all 73 FGS Ambassadors.

Find details about the FGS 2015 conference scheduled for February 11–14 in Salt Lake City, Utah at and register today.

FGS 2015 Logo

Thursday, November 6, 2014

Alex Boye and One Voice Children's Choir to Perform at FGS and RootsTech 2015

Popular musician and YouTube sensation Alex Boye is teaming up with the stars of his popular “Let It Go” YouTube cover One Voice Children’s Choir to perform on the opening day of FGS and RootsTech 2015. The two musical talents have collaborated before and will unite for this special performance

Boye has developed an impressive following through live concerts, numerous albums, and YouTube videos. The One Voice Children’s Choir received national exposure over the summer as quarter-finalists on the NBC hit show, America’s Got Talent. Their cover of “Let It Go” from Disney’s Frozen has been watched more than 50 million times.  

Alex Boye and the One Voice Children’s Choir will take the Salt Palace Convention Center stage at 6:00 pm, Thursday, February 12. To register for FGS 2015 and reserve your free ticket to this event, visit

FGS 2015 Logo

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Copyright and Your Society

Copyright and Your Society via
Copyright and Your Society
November is National Family Stories Month, and today is also Common Sense Day.  What better way to celebrate both than by putting our common sense to work and learn about copyright before we start collecting and/or writing those family stories?

Copyright law is confusing, even on a good day.  Sometimes it feels like you need to keep a tiny lawyer in your pocket just to help keep you from using copyrighted materials!  Fortunately, Thomas MacEntee helps us out by explaining different ways to determine whether materials are still protected by copyright, and - even if they are - whether you are still allowed to use them and when.  He also provides places to find creative commons images for use in newsletters and on websites.

Thomas also provides some very helpful tips on how to make sure your own copyrighted material isn't being used without your permission.
Listen to the archived broadcast of "Copyright and Your Society" on the blogtalkradio My Society channel by FGS, or you can listen below:

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

Monday, November 3, 2014

FGS 2015 Program Spotlight: Digging Deeper

Solving those difficult genealogical problems requires digging deeper. Sometimes that involves looking for lesser-known records. Sometimes it means asking yourself new questions. These tracks at FGS 2015 will help you do both.
Friday, February 13, 2015

The Most Useful Records Hidden in Plain Sight
  • America's early justices of the peace served up ground-level justice and local governance. Gentlemen Judges: The Justices of the Peace created records unparalleled for genealogists. Judy G. Russell, JD, CG, CGL, will introduce you to those records. 
  • City directories provide more than just a name and address for a particular year. Join Melissa C. Tennant, MLS for City Directories: More than Basic Facts to discover the stories held within these volumes.  
  • Fraternal memberships are an often overlooked part of our ancestors' lives. Kris W. Rzepczynski, MLS, MA, explores these secret societies and their records in Fraternal Organizations: Records and Resources.
  • Tax records are seldom utilized, and dismissed as boring and insignificant. Hear Michael Lacopo, DVM, explain why they are a primary source to utilize in Using Tax Records for Genealogical Problem Solving

Saturday, February 14, 2015

Answering Difficult Questions with Leading Questions
  • We all have an ancestor from nowhere. View the Genealogical Proof Standard in action to solve an "impossible" case! Michael Lacopo, DVM, will present She Came from Nowhere... "A Case Study Approach to Solving a Difficult Genealogical Problem."
  • What happened to your ancestor in the decades between the censuses? Melissa C. Tennant, MLS, will explain how census responses can lead to records created in these intervening years in Hurdling the Census Chasm
  • How to research the impact of the First World War? Audrey Collins will take you through a case study of an English town starting with the names on a war memorial in The War Memorial — Reconstructing a Community
  • Not all our ancestors were naturalized. The ones who didn't suddenly became suspect when war divided their native countries from their new residences. Judy G. Russell, JD, CG, CGL, explores the records that created, the kinds of records genealogists love, in Martha Benschura: Enemy Alien
Check out the full program for FGS 2015 scheduled for February 11–14, 2015, in Salt Lake City, Utah and register today

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