Wednesday, December 9, 2015

Getting Through the Changes in Our Genealogical Community

With's announcement to discontinue its desktop software, "Family Tree Maker," we thought it would be fun to delve into the FGS FORUM archives and take a look back at what was happening around the Fall of 1990 and get a glimpse of how the genealogy community was then and how it has changed.

In the Fall of 1990, FGS had just wrapped up a successful FGS National Conference, "Windows to the Past," in Salt Lake City, UT. (FORUM, Vol. 02, No. 2, Summer 1990)

The expanded Historical and Genealogical Department of the Allen County Public Library in Fort Wayne, Indiana, had just opened the previous June. (FORUM, Vol. 02, No. 3, Fall 1990)

FGS was raising funds for the NARA Gift Fund which supported the filming of finding aids for the National Archives. At that time, microfiche of street indexes to 39 of the largest U.S. cities had been completed and distributed to all NARA branches; Galveston, Texas, passenger arrival records indexes had been completed and distributed to all NARA branches; and indexes to entries from Canada through several U.S. entry points had been completed and distributed to select NARA branches. (FORUM, Vol. 02, No. 3, Fall 1990)

The Family History Library had just launched their compact disc series of the International Genealogical Index (IGI) and the Family History Library Catalog, and the series was designed specifically for those with no computer experience. While not available for purchase, these were being made available at Family History Centers across the U.S. (FORUM, Vol. 02, No. 3, Fall 1990)

Volunteers were being sought for the Census Overland Emigrant Documents (COED) program to survey and record in a computer database historical information from all known overland journey west documents. (Learn more about the history of this program and what documents it covers.) (FORUM, Vol. 02, No. 3, Fall 1990)

The Midwest Historical and Genealogical Society's dreams had come true when they finally found a place of their own for their library collections of books, microfilm, and maps. The society had bought an old 2-story house in 1985 from the City of Wichita for $1 and remodeled it with over 10,000 volunteer hours. (FORUM, Vol. 02, No. 3, Fall 1990)

Before was, it was Ancestry Publishing with a "research club."  (FORUM, Vol. 02, No. 3, Fall 1990) (Learn more about their history.)
Macintosh Computer users could depend on (the) Sunrise (genealogical software) to organize their genealogical data. (FORUM, Vol. 02, No. 3, Fall 1990)

The "future of genealogical research" had arrived via the Automated Genealogical Research Systems (AGRS) from Automated Archives Incorporated promising to save genealogists years of research. (FORUM, Vol. 02, No. 3, Fall 1990)

The ground had been broken the previous May for a new archives building in Salem, Oregon, to be completed in 1991. (FORUM, Vol. 02, No. 3, Fall 1990)

A new chapter for the Afro-American Historical & Genealogical Society for New Jersey had been recently organized. (FORUM, Vol. 02, No. 3, Fall 1990)

John Philip Colletta, Ph.D., had just the year before published his incredibly valuable and now iconic book, They Came in Ships. (FORUM, Vol. 02, No. 3, Fall 1990)

Times have certainly changed especially with technology, haven't they?

And the best rule of thumb when it comes to archiving our hard work for future generations is to keep it in several places and not to rely on just one method or technology. That's the best guarantee for its longevity. We have to back up our work that is online and on our computers. Additionally, using our organized data and tech tools, we can create and then archive finished products of our research and share them with family and genealogical societies.

And this is why genealogical societies encourage us to publish our research in their quarterly journals.

This is why genealogical societies encourage us to use our research to apply for their heritage certificate programs (or encourage us to use the goal of obtaining one to motivate us to do our research well).

This is why genealogical societies provide monthly meetings for face-to-face interaction with those who share the same genealogy passion as us. Who knows what we might learn from the person sitting next to us at a meeting?

And this is also why genealogical societies strive to bring us top-notch speakers — via their seminars, conferences, and webinars — to keep us up-to-date on research methodologies as well as new and changing technology.

Genealogical societies empower us to successfully get through the changes in our genealogical community.

Find a FGS Member Society near you and/or in the area your ancestors lived.

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