Wednesday, February 25, 2015

FGS Seeks Editors for Digital Publication

The Federation of Genealogical Societies is seeking proposals for one-year contracts for a Managing Editor and an Associate Editor of a quarterly digital publication covering the calendar year of 2015 to begin immediately. With these requests for proposals, FGS wishes to revamp FGS FORUM magazine to a fully interactive digital publication.

The managing editor should have experience as an editor of a publication. The associate editor should have editorial and layout experience with a publication. Successful proposals must demonstrate both the prospective editor's qualifications and a plan and price for fulfilling the defined responsibilities.

View the full Request for Proposal for each position for responsibilities, requirements, and the submission process. 

Direct any questions to The deadline for proposals is March 31, 2015. 

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Here's What They're Saying About #FGS2015

The FGS 2015 conference is in the books. The joint FGS/RootsTech conference was billed as a one-time special event, and it certainly lived up to that.

With so much happening, it was impossible to get all of the FGS Ambassadors in attendance together at once, but several dropped by the FGS booth Thursday morning.

The FGS Ambassadors have done a great job of documenting the conferences as you can see from the list of links below. FGS thanks all of the FGS Ambassadors who helped promote the 2015 conference before, during, and after the event and looks forward to working with all of them again for FGS 2016.

Ancestry Insider: #RootsTech and #FGS2015 Opening Session; Friday the 13th at #RootsTech #FGS2015; Laura Bush and Daughter Jenna at #RootsTech/#FGS2015; #RootsTech #FGS2015 Keynote: We Are All Cousins;
Brick Wall Genealogist: Gone to Heaven: FGS/RootsTech 2015: ThursdayOn Top of the World! FGS/RootsTech 2015: FridayTipping My Hat to FGS/RootsTech 2015: Saturday;
Carolina Girl: My First Day at FGS 2015 ~ Learning, Socializing and Having Fun!FGS/Rootstech 2015 Day 2 ~ The Fun Continues; FGS/Rootstech 2015 Day 3 ~ It Just Keeps Getting Better!; DONNY!!! I Mean–Day 4 FGS/Rootstech 2015;
Donna's Irish Genealogy Resources: RootTech/FGS Roundup
Eastman's Online Genealogy Newsletter: Today's Report from the RootsTech and FGS Conferences; My Pictures from the RootsTech and FGS Conferences
Empty Branches on the Family Tree: Day 1 – Opening of FGS Conference 2015, Salt Lake City; Day 2 – Thursday Opening of FGS-RootsTech 2015; Day 3 – FGS-RootsTech 2015; Day 4 – Closing Day of FGS-RootsTech 2015; FGS-RootsTech 2015 – New Vendors; FGS RootsTech 2015 – New Vendors Part 2
Family Sleuther: RootsTech + FGS: 2015's Genealogical Extravaganza
familytreegirldotcom: The Aftermath of 2015 RootsTech/FGS, Salt Lake City
From Helen V Smith's Keyboard: Federation of Genealogical Societies: Society Day
Genea-Musings: Ten Takeaways from the FGS/RootsTech 2015 Conference; RootsTech 2015 and FGS 2015 Conference Blog Post Compendium; FGS/RootsTech 2015 Geneablogger After-Party Photos - Post 1; Post 2
Genealogy by Paula: Federation of Genealogical Societies/Rootstech joint conference notes
Genealogy Dragnet: FGS Focus on Societies Day Opening Session; FGS/RootsTech Conference – Day 1; Day 2; Day 3
GeneaSpy: FGS/RootsTech 2015: A Photo Recap; Day 1Day 2Day 3 (Part 1)Day 3 (Part 2)Day 3 (Part 3); Day 4 (Part 1)
(going) The Extra Yad: FGS Conference 2015: Day 1, opening session; FGS Conference, Day 1 – social life; FGS/RootsTech Conference 2015, Day 2 (beginning and ending); FGS/RootsTech Conference 2015, Day 3 – my conference in context; FGS/RoosTech Conference 2015, Day 4
Hanging from the Family Tree: FGS 2015 Day 1 – Society Day; FGS 2014 and FGS2015/RootsTech Reflections
Hollingsworth Robbins Family Tree: Sharing My Thoughts About FGS/RootsTech 2015 in Salt Lake City, February 10-15, 2015
In Search of ...?: Tuesday's Tips – FGS/RootsTech Very Strong Together;
No Story Too Small: Stories at FGS/RootsTech, or, Why I'm Not Brandishing a Pitchfork
One Rhode Island Family: A Lesson in Family History at the FGS Conference, 2015
Roots Cellar Sacramento Genealogical Society: Wisdom Wednesday – Mecca Time!Follow Friday – It's Society Day; Tuesday's Tip – FGS/RootsTech 2015 OVERSociety Saturday – Roots Cellar SGS on Display
The Genealogy Search: And we're off! FGS is off to a great start; FGS Society Day; #FGS2015 End of day three FGS; #2015 FGS/Rootstech and 2016 FGS in Springfield Illinois
The Keough Corner: A Little Late – RootsTech/FGS: My Week In Review
The Turning of Generations: FGS/RootsTech 2015 – What I Learned on Thursday; What I Learned Friday – 2015 FGS/RootsTech; What I Learned Saturday at the FGS/RootsTech Conference
Tonia's Roots: FGS 2015 Session Highlights

Start making plans now to join FGS August 31–September 3, 2016 in Springfield, Illinois for FGS 2016 Time Travel, Centuries of Memories. If you are a speaker, the call for presentations is open until April 10, 2015.

EasyNetSites: Websites for Genealogy Societies

EasyNetSites: Websites for Genealogy Societies via
EasyNetSites for your Society Website
Does your society have an online presence? Maybe your website is stagnant because no one knows how to update it? Are you still using a static site that's stuck in the 1990s?

Join guest Tom Ryder, founder of EasyNetSites, who explains how societies can use this platform to create and maintain a welcoming website for their organization. The company provides direct training for up to 3 people, so your society won't get stuck when the one person who knows how to maintain the website is no longer available to handle it.

With several "prefab" database modules, shopping cart (with PayPal integration), discussion forums, and built-in members only section, your website can be up and running in no time.

Listen to the archived broadcast of "EasyNetSites: Websites for Genealogy Societies" 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

For more information, check out these articles from our Society Strategy Series:

Monday, February 16, 2015

FGS 2015: A Look Back in Pictures

After a successful Focus on Societies Day on Wednesday, FGS and RootsTech kicked off Thursday, February 12 and ran at full speed through Saturday, February 14. This one-time special event was indeed a special event. 

The FGS attendees who picked up their registration packets Tuesday or Wednesday were glad they avoided the Thursday morning lines.
The crowd started gathering early for the Thursday morning keynote session. This is only half of the room.
FGS President D. Joshua Taylor welcomed everyone to FGS 2015: Connect. Explore. Refresh.
Josh was joined onstage by Mary Tedesco and Kenyatta Berry to talk about Preserve the Pensions, the FGS fundraising project that will result in all War of 1812 pension records being digitized and online free forever. The project is at the 50% mark. Donate today.
The FGS booth in the Expo Hall was a busy place ... 
... especially the Society Showcase area with flyers from many FGS member societies.

Start planning today to attend FGS 2016 August 31–September 3 in Springfield, Illinois. We look forward to seeing you there.

Friday, February 13, 2015

2016 FGS National ​C​onference Call for ​P​resentations

Deadline for Submissions is 10 April 2015

We are very excited to announce our Call for Presentation Proposals for the FGS 2016 Conference, “Time Travel: Centuries of Memories,” to be held in Springfield, Illinois, Aug 31 – Sept 3, 2016. The Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum are within walking distance of the Prairie Capital Convention Center, the conference venue. The conference will be held in cooperation with the Illinois State Genealogical Society as local host. The deadline for submission of presentation proposals is Friday, 10 April 2015.

“Time Travel: Centuries of Memories,” recognizes the vast array of people and resources whose paths into the United States brought them to, and through, the Midwest. Topics related to methodology and research skills are always welcomed, in addition to content-specific areas, such as:

  • Military: War of 1812, American Civil War, Indian Wars, World War I, World War II, European and Napoleonic Wars.
  • Migration: Europe to North America; naturalization records; passenger lists; ports of entry; to and through the Midwest; the Great Migration (northward from the sharecropping South); migration trails and routes (Mormon, Oregon, Santa Fe); refugee resettlement; modern economic migrants. 
  • Ethnic Origins: The Baltic Basin (including Poland, Scandinavia, Latvia, Lithuania, Russia, Denmark, Germany); Central Europe (including Germany, Switzerland, Austria, Czech Republic/Bohemia, Hungary); Romance Europe (including France, Spain, Portugal, Italy and the Papal States); the Mediterranean/Adriatic Basin (including Turkey, Greece, Serbia, Croatia, Cypress, Armenia); Latin American research. 
  • Great Britain and the former British Empire
    (England, Scotland, Wales, Ireland, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, South Africa, India)
     the British diaspora; records (civil and ecclesiastical); churches (Anglican, Quaker, Catholic, dissenter, non-conformist, Presbyterians); military records; city directories; trade directories; guilds; poll books; valuations and tax records. 
  • Occupations & Work: Farmers, carpenters, brewers/distillers, boatmen, firefighters/police, railroaders, canal builders, laborers and factory hands; women in the workforce; unions, guilds and apprenticeships; coal miners; slaughterhouse workers; doctors, midwives and pharmacists; clerks and lawyers; pressmen and printers; trade directories; smugglers, bootleggers and other illicit trades. 
  • Religions, Adherents and Records: Jewish, Orthodox, Catholic and Protestant traditions and records; religious colonization’s and refugee movements; Pogrom and Holocaust survivors and research; the Underground Railroad; Mormon/LDS; utopian communities; peace churches, pacifists and conscientious objectors; convents, monasteries and cloistered communities.
  • Regional research: Research repositories in the Midwest; research in Illinois and nearby states—Kentucky, Missouri, Iowa, Wisconsin, Indiana, Michigan and Ohio; archival collections; college and university research collections; migration destinations from Illinois: the Great Plains, Texas, Oklahoma, and California; migration to Illinois from feeder states of the east and south. 
  • Genetics & DNA: the basics of DNA research; autosomal studies and advanced analysis; testing procedures; ethical considerations; adoptions; forensic and expert work; case studies. 
  • Skills, Abilities & General Knowledge: Beginning research techniques; evidence analysis; online resources and tools; wikis; collaboration techniques and etiquette; terminology; comparative analysis; units of measure, trade and currency; time, calendars and dates; writing a family history; publishing – print vs eBook; creating websites, blogs and vlogs; earning genealogical credentials. 
  • Society Management: Use of technology by and for societies; adaptation to change; internal and external communication; meeting changing member needs and member engagement; education projects and events; society leadership; team building; implementing large projects.
The program committee specifically seeks new and dynamic proposals that will provide exceptional learning experiences for conference attendees. Proposals for workshops and sponsored talks are encouraged.

Multiple proposals (more than four) are welcome and encouraged, as most chosen to speak will be engaged for more than one presentation. There is no limit on the number of proposals a speaker may submit.

Submission Requirements
Speaker submissions and deadlines for the FGS 2016 Conference reflect the implementation of an online submission system. Interested parties must submit all presentation proposals using the online portal, which will open 20 February 2015. The Call for Presentation
​ Proposals
 is now open and will close on Friday, 10 April 2015.

This deadline is for all proposal submissions including sponsored presentations.

Selected speakers receive an honorarium, travel compensation, and conference registration as well as per diem and hotel nights based on the number of presentations given. (Sponsored speakers only receive conference registration and syllabus materials. See more about sponsorships below.) Non-sponsored speakers receive compensation according to the FGS Conference Speaker Policy at

Sponsored Presentations
Societies and businesses are encouraged to submit proposals for sponsored talks by the stated deadline for proposal submission. The sponsoring organization will cover its speaker's costs to present the presentation. Sponsored speakers are expected to abide by all speaker deadlines and syllabus requirements. Sponsored speakers will receive complimentary FGS conference registration and electronic syllabus materials.

Additional Information
Invitations will be issued in October 2015. Syllabus format guidelines will be sent to speakers at that time. The deadline for acceptance and submission of signed speaker contracts is 1 November 2015.

Camera-ready handouts are required for each presentation or workshop presentation and will be compiled in a syllabus distributed to conference participants. The deadline for submissions of syllabus materials is Wednesday, 13 April 2016.

​For more information, please visit: ​

Friday FGS 2015 Delegate of the Day

Friday FGS 2015 Delegate of the Day
Congratulations to Donna Hartwig from Member Society Peoria County (IL) Genealogical Society for being selected as FGS 2015 Delegate of the Day for Friday, 13 Feb 2015!

FGS 2015: Focus on Societies Day

The FGS 2015 Conference opened Wednesday at the Salt Palace Convention Center with Focus on Societies Day. The opening session "Successfully Embarcing the Future" featured presentations by Deena Coutant, Jen Baldwin, and Curt Witcher.

Part of the crowd attending the Society Day opening session
Deena Coutant
Jen Baldwin
Curt Witcher
FGS presented several awards during this session. Roger Moffat received a Distinguished Service Award for his service to the Western Michigan Genealogical Society. Stay tuned to the Voice Blog over the next few months for features about all award winners.

FGS President Josh Taylor and Roger Moffat 
FGS Delegate Luncheon
FGS Opening Social – Behind the Scenes: Family History & Television
Panelists CeCe Moore, Kenyatta Berry, George E. Ott, and Jennifer Utley along with
moderator Josh Taylor answered questions from the crowd about genealogy television
shows Who Do You Think You Are?, Finding Your Roots, and Genealogy Roadshow.

Thursday, February 12, 2015

Thursday FGS 2015 Delegate of the Day

Congratulations to Elizabeth Demmon FGS Delegate from Member Society Puget Sound (WA) Genealogical Society for being selected as the FGS 2015 Delegate of the Day for Thursday, 12 Feb 2015!

FGS 2015: Librarians' Day

Librarians' Day, sponsored by ProQuest was held Tuesday, February 10 in the Joseph Smith Memorial Building. "Doing More Than Bricks & Mortar" featured presentations by Curt Witcher, MLS, FUGA, IGSF, Audrey Collins, Becky Hill, MLS, and Barbara Becker Meehan, MLS.

William Forsyth, ProQuest Director of Product Management

Photos courtesy of J. Mark Lowe.

Access to Vital Records is Under Attack! How Can You Help?

Access to Vital Records is Under Attack! How Can You Help?
Records Preservation and Access Committee
Access to Vital Records is Under Attack! How Can You Help?

Thursday, 12 February 2015, Session T221, 4:30 p.m., Room 255A

Vital records are being threatened at both the state and federal level. Learn about the 2011 Revision of the Model State Vital Statistics Act, which if passed in your state will close access to birth records for 125 years and death records for 75 years.

Also learn about how the 2013 Bipartisan Budget Act signed at the end of 2013 has limited access to the Social Security Death Index for three years after someone’s death. Although the Interim Rule allowed forensic genealogists to become certified for access to the Limited Death Master File during the embargo period, the proposed final rule increases the costs and security requirements making access prohibitive for a small business which includes forensic and professional genealogists.

Attend session T 221 and learn how the genealogical community has responded to these attacks and how you can help.

RPAC has initiated a “Genealogists’ Declaration of Rights” advocating open access to federal, state, and local public records. More than 5,000 genealogists have signed online at or at conferences and other gatherings of genealogists. Stop by the RPAC Booth #1115 and sign the Declaration in the Exhibit Hall. For more detail see our previous blog post at:

What is RPAC?
The genealogical community works together through The Records Preservation and Access Committee (RPAC), a joint committee which includes The National Genealogical Society (NGS), the Federation of Genealogical Societies (FGS), and the International Association of Jewish Genealogical Societies (IAJGS) as voting members. The Association of Professional Genealogists (APG), the Board for Certification of Genealogists (BCG), the International Commission for the Accreditation of Professional Genealogists (ICAPGen), and the American Society of Genealogists (ASG) also serve as participating members. RPAC also includes participation from a few of the commercial providers of genealogical information including FamilySearch,, and ProQuest. RPAC meets monthly or more often if required by current events, to advise the genealogical community on ensuring proper access to vital records, and on supporting strong records preservation policies and practices.

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

Wednesday FGS 2015 Delegate of the Day

Wednesday FGS 2015 Delegate of the Day
Kim Cotton, FGS Delegate of the Day
Congratulations to Kim Cotton the FGS Delegate from the Member Society California Genealogical Society and Library for being selected as the FGS 2015 Delegate of the Day for Wednesday, 11 Feb 2015.

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

2014 FGS Distinguished Service Award: Judi Cook of Nebraska

During the last FGS Conference, a FGS Distinguished Service Award was presented for dedicated volunteer Judi Cook, of Nebraska. Judi is a member of the FGS Member Society, Lincoln-Lancaster County Genealogical Society. Judi did much to increase visibility of her society.

Among her accomplishments are library educational activities that promoted and highlighted the LLCGS library's extensive resources to members and the public.

She expanded society outreach that resulted in:
  • A new dedicated group of individuals (attendance 30-35) attending weekly genealogy classes at the public library.
  • Increased public connection as Judi and the society worked with the public Library to promote and highlight "One Book-One Lincoln."
  • More participation in the genealogy library resources from members and the public in and out of state.

Don’t forget to nominate other deserving individuals or organizations for consideration by the Awards Committee. Visit and click on Awards for the details of each award category and the nomination form. Awards will be presented at various times during 2015.

2014 FGS Award of Merit Presented to Michael Nolden Henderson of Georgia

Over the next few days, we will know what individuals and organizations have been presented with special awards from the Federation of Genealogical Societies at the annual conference.

In the meantime, we give you another of the 2014 winners. Michael Nolden Henderson, LCDR USN Ret. of Georgia, was presented with an FGS Award of Merit. Henderson is pictured here with FGS President, Josh Taylor.

This award was in honor of his efforts to discover many men of color who served valiantly in the American Revolution and the Battle of New Orleans during the War of 1812.

These forgotten patriots—free and enslaved Africans, Creoles, Haitians, Mexicans, and Native Americans fought to help secure an America that later rejected their descendants. Many of these men made critical inroads towards victory and were honored for their bravery, skill, and service. Unfortunately, their stories remain untold and Henderson has developed a kindred connection to them and to their stories and continues bringing to light their contributions and stories so that others can appreciate them too. His research has been displayed in temporary exhibits at the National Archives at Atlanta and at the Louisville International Airport.

Please think about others that deserve to be honored. Visit and click on Awards for the details of each award category and the nomination form. Awards will be presented at various times during 2015.

FGS 2015: Registration, Conference Badges, and the Salt Palace Convention Center

If you are attending the FGS 2015 conference February 11–14 in Salt Lake City,
you need to know when and where to pick up your registration packet, what your conference badge includes, and how to get around the Salt Palace Convention Center.

All FGS attendees (including those attending both FGS and RootsTech) are encouraged to pick up their registration packet Tuesday, Feb 10 between 2:00 pm and 7:00 p.m. Registration is located near the south entrances of the convention center (see the lower left on this map).

Every attendee will be issued one conference badge, which indicates the type of pass purchased. If you registered for FGS and RootsTech through either website, your badge pass type will be "RootsTech + FGS." If you registered for FGS only, it will be "FGS."

Most FGS sessions will be in section 255 and 355. Find the complete registration schedule and other information about your badge and the conference center on the FGS conference website. These details will help you plan your time and get around during the conference. 

Follow FGS on Facebook, Twitter, Google+, and Instagram at FGSgenealogy during the conference to keep up with what's happening and get the news you need to know. 

Registration for the New York State Family History Conference Opens Wednesday, Feb 11th

The second New York State Family History Conference will take place in Syracuse, NY, September 17–19, 2015 and bring together hundreds of researchers from across the country who want to learn about their New York roots.

The Central New York Genealogical Society and the New York Genealogical and Biographical Society are cosponsoring the 2015 New York Family History Conference. This year’s event will also be a Federation of Genealogical Societies Regional Conference.

The three-day conference will be held September 17–19 at the Holiday Inn & Conference Center Liverpool, just outside Syracuse, New York. It will attract hundreds of researchers—both amateur and professional—and top experts in the field.

Nationally known speakers, Judy Russell, JD, CG, CGL, The Legal Genealogist; Thomas W. Jones, Ph.D., CG, FASG; David E. Rencher, AG, CG, FIGRS, FUGA,; Curt B. Witcher, Allen County Public Library; D. Joshua Taylor, and President, Federation of Genealogical Societies; Dick Eastman, author and publisher; James D. Folts, Ph.D., New York State Archives; Henry B. Hoff, FGBS, editor of the New England Historical and Genealogical Register; Blaine Bettinger, Ph.D., The Genetic Genealogist; Ed Donakey,, VP of FGS; Eric G. Grundset, Library Director, DAR Library; Jim Ison, CG,; Matt Knutzen, New York Public Library; Jen Baldwin,; and, New York-specialist, professional genealogists Laura Murphy DeGrazia, CG, FGBS; Karen Mauer Jones, CG, FGBS; Terry Koch-Bostic and Jane E. Wilcox will give lectures.

Registration opens on February 11 at the FGS2015 conference in Salt Lake City and online. The registration fee for the three-day conference (excluding meals and printed syllabus) is $140 for the first 75 registrants (available through March 31 or until sold out); members of the CNYGS or the NYG&B receive a $25 discount. Purchase tickets in the online store at

The conference responds to the rapid growth in interest in family history research and, in particular, the demand for information about families who lived in New York State.

Attendees will have an opportunity to advance their skills in researching New York families, to build general skills and through 30 lectures in three parallel tracks and learn ways to build their local genealogical and historical societies through the FGS Focus on Societies day. In addition there will be three luncheons and a dinner, all with riveting speakers; and open-to-the-public Society Showcase; and exhibits by vendors and societies. The conference program and exhibitor information may be found on the conference website,

New York State poses numerous challenges for even the most experienced family history researcher. The New York State Family History Conference will break down research barriers and provide a forum that brings people together to share their research knowledge and problem-solving experiences and to collaborate on key research issues.

Sponsors of the conference include the Federation of Genealogical Societies, the Capital District Genealogical Society,,, the New England Historic Genealogical Society, the New York Public Library, the New York State Archives and New York State Library, and the William G. Pomeroy Foundation.

Come Visit the FGS Booth #1109 in the Expo Hall

Click image for a larger view.

If you are attending FGS 2015 or Rootstech this week, come visit the FGS booth #1109 in the Expo Hall!
  • FGS will be in booth #1109. Come talk about how societies can help you with your family history in the all new Society Showcase and get a FREE small gift while supplies last*
  • Help preserve history. Donate to the Preserve the Pensions in booth #1115 (right next to FGS).
  • Sign the Genealogists' Declaration of Rights in booth #1115 (same booth as Preserve the Pensions).
  • Purchase FGS session recordings Fleetwood Recordings in booth #1218 (right next to Preserve the Pensions).

*Different LIMITED-SUPPLY FREE gift each day in the FGS booth #1109 after you visit the FGS Society Showcase:
  • Thursday - Keep healthy this week & research on with the FGS Hand Sanitizer.
  • Friday - Keep that screen clean so you can find your ancestors with the FGS Screen Cloth.
  • Saturday - All that stuff you bought in the Expo Hall? Carry it around with our FGS Drawstring Sportpack.

Society Leadership: Presidents' Day

Presidents' Day is just around the corner.  What better way to celebrate than discussing the integral role of the President of any genealogical society?

How do you make a smooth transition from one elected board to the next?  Your term will be over before you even know it -- are you prepared to help your successor step into your role?  Do you have a plan for your office and your board?  Does your plan fit into the mission statement and purpose of the society?  Does it reflect the wants and needs of your members and your society as a whole?

Guests Sue Kaufman (past President, current Education Director of member society Texas State Genealogical Society) and Pat Oxley (past President of FGS) explain how they used their leadership experience to overcome challenges to move their respective organizations forward.

Listen to the archived broadcast of "Society Leadership: Presidents' Day" 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

For more information, check out these articles from our Society Strategy Series:

Wednesday, February 4, 2015

NYG&B Society Announces Publication of the New York Family History Research Guide and Gazetteer

NYG&B Announces Publication of the New York Family History Research Guide and Gazetteer via Voice Blog
Have roots in New York?
If you have research interests in the state of New York, you are going to want to get a copy of the latest publication from the New York Genealogical and Biographical Society, New York Family History Research Guide and Gazetteer.

Read the full press release below for more information about this great resource for New York researchers. If you will be attending FGS 2015 in Salt Lake City next week, you can purchase your copy there at their booth!

Media Contact
Cathy Michelsen
212-755-8532, ext. 208

NEW YORK, NY, February 2, 2015 — The New York Genealogical and Biographical Society announced the publication of the New York Family History Research Guide and Gazetteer, a comprehensive, first-ever, 856-page reference book.

“The book is absolutely unprecedented in its breadth and depth, covering records in the State of New York for all the major ethnic and religious groups that have lived here. As a reference for family historians, it is simply indispensable,” said Jeanne Sloane, the Society’s chairman.

This ambitious volume has been three years in the making. The review committee comprised top experts on New York research, including four former editors of the New York Genealogical and Biographical Record, the flagship journal for New York genealogy: Laura DeGrazia; Karen Mauer Jones; Henry B. Hoff, current editor of the New England Historic Genealogical Register; and Harry Macy Jr., the unofficial dean of New York genealogists, who served as the book’s consulting editor.

Early praise for the book has come from David S. Ferriero, Archivist of the United States; Ann Thornton, Andrew W. Mellon Director, The New York Public Library; and David Rencher, Chief Genealogical Officer, FamilySearch.

D. Joshua Taylor, Director of Family History at Findmypast, wrote, “This book is an absolute masterpiece. The words ‘essential’ and ‘comprehensive’ are simply not enough to describe it.”

Henry Louis Gates Jr. wrote, “This volume is certain to become the standard for the nation and an indispensable resource for anyone hoping to trace ancestral journeys in—and beyond—the Empire State.”

More than 100 historians, archivists, librarians, and genealogists across the state reviewed and contributed content about local and regional resources and key topics in New York family history. The result is a book of more than 856 pages with:

  • Chapters on major record groups and research resources, including the most up-to-date and comprehensive review of New York State’s extremely complicated vital records system
  • Information on research resources for sixteen major ethnic and twelve major religious groups that have lived in New York
  • Gazetteers, maps, and research guides to each of New York’s  62 counties, including the five boroughs of New York City
  • An index of over 11,000 place names and place-name variants past and present--the first published gazetteer of its kind since 1872
  • More than 100 separate, categorized, special-topic bibliographies vetted by genealogists
  • Timelines of key events in New York history from 1609 to 1945 that impact genealogical research

The book’s annotated table of contents is accessible on the Society’s website

The New York Family History Research Guide and Gazetteer may be purchased either in the  online store at, by calling (212) 755-8532, or by mailing a completed order form (from the website) with a check to the New York Genealogical and Biographical Society, 36 West 44th Street, 7th Floor, New York, NY 10036-8105. The book retails for $85 and is available to NYG&B members for $65 and to libraries and societies for $75.

New York Family History Research Guide and Gazetteer
Prepared by the New York Genealogical and Biographical Society 2015. Softcover, 8.5 x 11, 856 pages, including place-name index. Retail $85
ISBN 978-0-692-31998-7

About the New York Genealogical and Biographical Society

The New York Genealogical and Biographical Society has been a primary resource for research on New York families since 1869.  By offering educational programs, scholarly and informational publications, and online resources, the New York Genealogical and Biographical Society helps people of all backgrounds build connections with their families and their communities, especially those linked to New York City, State, and region,­ and to appreciate their families’ experience in the broader context of American history.  The NYG&B maintains an eLibrary of unique digital material, including the entire run of its quarterly scholarly journal The NYG&B Record, for its members at

FGSCruise2015: Featured Speaker David Rencher

Line4997 - Flickr - NOAA Photo Library
The Federation of Genealogical Societies has been in the conference education arena for over three decades. In 2015, FGS extends this tradition by offering its first opportunity to combine a terrific educational opportunity while aboard an Alaskan cruise.

I am honored to join my colleagues, Elizabeth Shown Mills, Judy Russell and D. Joshua Taylor in presenting this exceptional program to those who join us on this first-ever cruise offered by FGS. There is still time for you to sail with us for this exciting event and I hope that you will bring your toughest genealogical problems with you to apply a number of creative solutions to them from some of the top instructors in the genealogical field today!

--David Rencher

David will be delivering six lectures and workshops during the cruise:

  • Documenting a Nation’s History Using the Resources of FamilySearch
  • Framing the Problem for Overseas Research
  • Tracing Immigrant Origins for Irish Ancestors
  • Reconstructing the Neighborhood for Rural Dwellers in Ireland
  • Reconstructing the Neighborhood for City Dwellers in Ireland
  • How Will Our Society Survive?

David E. Rencher, AG, CG, FIGRS, FUGA, is employed by the Family History Department in Salt Lake City as the Chief Genealogical Officer for FamilySearch. A professional genealogist since 1977, he is an Accredited GenealogistCM with ICAPGenSM in Ireland research and a Certified GenealogistSM with the Board for Certification of Genealogists®. He is the Irish course coordinator and instructor for the Samford University Institute of Genealogical and Historical Research (IGHR) in Birmingham, Alabama. He graduated from Brigham Young University in 1980 with a BA in Family and Local History.

David is a past-president of the Federation of Genealogical Societies (FGS) 1997-2000, a national genealogical society umbrella organization, a past-president of the Utah Genealogical Association (UGA) 1993-1995 and a Fellow of that organization. He is a fellow of the Irish Genealogical Research Society, London and is a vice-president of the Genealogical Society of Utah (GSU). He is currently serving as the Chair of the joint Federation of Genealogical Societies and National Genealogical Society committee for Record Preservation and Access and serves as the Secretary for the Federation of Genealogical Societies, and as trustee for the Umpstead, Jr. and Elizabeth Jemima Philpott Rencher and the Winslow Farr, Sr. Family Organizations.

Tuesday, February 3, 2015

Grants and Fundraising for Genealogy Societies

You've got all your ducks in a row, your papers are all in order, and now your society is ready to tackle some of those initiatives...but the funding just isn't going as far as you thought it would.

Help is available!

Many large organizations, including state genealogical societies, offer grants to smaller local genealogical and historical societies to help fund preservation, restoration, and other projects.

Join guests Julie Hill of and Ron Darrah of member society Indiana Genealogical Society as they discuss the grant programs available from those two organizations* and others. 

Listen to the archived broadcast of "Grants and Fundraising for Genealogy Societies" 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

* has discontinued their grant program since the original broadcast. Links mentioned in the broadcast are no longer valid.

For more information, check out these articles from our Society Strategy Series:

FGS 2015: Behind the Scenes: Family History & Television

Join fellow FGS 2015 conference attendees for the FGS Opening Social, Behind the Scenes: Family History & Television, a night exploring the amazing world of television and family history.

This event, sponsored by FamilySearch, is Wednesday, February 11, 7:00 p.m.–9:00 p.m. in Room 355E at the Salt Palace Convention Center.

The program includes screenings of some of the most popular family history programs, followed by an in-depth panel discussion featuring Kenyatta Berry from Genealogy Roadshow and CeCe Moore from Finding Your Roots and Genealogy Roadshow. FGS President and Genealogy Roadshow co-host, D. Joshua Taylor will moderate the discussion.

UPDATE: George E. Ott and Jennifer Utley from Who Do You Think You Are? will also join the panel. 

Light snacks will be provided and a cash bar will be available. Tickets for the event are $10 and may be purchased through the FGS conference registration. 

If you are already registered for the conference you can add this event and luncheons until 10:00 p.m. MST, Monday, February 9. Simply sign in to your FGS conference account and select Add More Items. Online conference registration is also available until that time. Mail-in registrations must be postmarked by Wednesday, February 4. 
FGS 2015 Logo

Monday, February 2, 2015

2014 Presidential Ctiation: Billion Graves & My Heritage

In just a little over a week, the Federation of Genealogical Societies will be presenting Awards during the Wednesday, February 11th, Focus on Societies Day morning session. It begins at 8:00 a.m. and is session W-100. It’s the perfect time to applaud deserving members of our genealogical community. The bulk of these awards are chosen from nominations sent by YOU!

The President of the Federation of Genealogical Societies has the honor of choosing individuals, businesses, and organizations for special awards. In 2014, President D. Joshua Taylor chose a special effort for a Presidential Citation. The awards presentation carried these words:

Billion Graves and My Heritage

For their work on promoting the preservation of International burial locations.
Their continuing efforts are a message of terrific collaboration within the commercial family history industry.

Visit their websites for more information on their work. At the conference, don't forget to visit their booths in the Expo Hall at the conference:

Billion Graves: or booth #326
My Heritage: or booth #504

Do you know someone or some organization that serves our field as a volunteer or business person extraordinaire? Why not honor them with an international award for their work. Please visit the FGS website to nominate these members or others. Visit and click on Awards for the details of each award category and the nomination form.

Awards will be presented at various times during 2015. As you may know, 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! Register now or at the door.

FGS 2015: Getting Around the Salt Palace Convention Center

In just over a week, the FGS and RootsTech 2015 conferences will be underway at the Salt Palace Convention Center in Salt Lake City. A few days ago, we outlined the location and hours for onsite registrationToday we're covering your conference badge and where it will take you along with a tour of the venue.

Every attendee will be issued one conference badge, which indicates the type of pass purchased. If you registered for FGS and RootsTech through either website, your badge pass type will be "RootsTech + FGS." If you registered for FGS only, it will be "FGS."

Both passes give you access to the Thursday, Friday, and Saturday General Sessions, all FGS sessions, and the Expo Hall. The RootsTech + FGS pass includes the RootsTech sessions Thursday through Saturday.

Separate tickets for luncheons and events WILL NOT be issued. A list of items you purchased will be attached to your badge. Door monitors at luncheons and events will check your list of add-ons and mark it as you enter.
Salt Palace Convention Center
The map above is available on the FGS conference website, FGS app, and RootsTech app. It will also be included in the Conference Guide provided with your registration packet. Getting familiar with the map will save you time later. 

All FGS attendees will receive a combined Conference Guide at registration. Please note that if you registered only for FGS you will not have access to the RootsTech sessions listed in the guide.   

The general sessions on Thursday, Friday, and Saturday in Hall D are open to registrants of FGS and RootsTech. That includes FGS registrants who did not purchase the RootsTech add-on.

The FGS Focus on Societies Day Opening Session in Room 355E on Wednesday is open to those with FGS or RootsTech + FGS badges.

Rooms section numbers in the 100s and rooms identified by letters are on the first level of the conference center. Sections in the 200s are on the second level and section 355 is on the third level.

Most FGS sessions will be held in Sections 255 and 355. FGS luncheons will be in 355A and 355B. Check the Conference Guide or either app for specific session room numbers.

Most RootsTech sessions are on the first level. Check the Conference Guide or RootsTech app for specific room numbers.

Breaks between sessions are 30 minutes, but it may take several minutes to get to your next room. If you are changing floors, allow ample time to reach your next session. People movers will be available for those needing assistance but waiting may be necessary depending on demand.

The Expo Hall is open to attendees of both conferences. It is also open to the public free of charge but a badge, available at the registration desk, is required to enter that area.

Expo Hall Hours:
Thursday: 10:00 a.m. – 6:00 p.m.
Friday: 10:00 a.m. – 7:00 p.m.
Saturday: 10:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m.

WiFi will be available in the classroom areas and hallways throughout the convention center but not in the Expo Hall.

If you haven't registered yet, it's not too late. The deadline for online registration and adding luncheons and the Wednesday night social event is Monday, February 9 at 10:00 p.m. MST. Mail-in registrations must be postmarked no later than Wednesday, February 4.

FGS 2015 Logo

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