Four Favorite Features of FGS 2014

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My kids and pup pose at one of the Texas State signs.

[Author’s note: I recently relocated with my family to a suburb of Austin, Texas. Yes, I am now experiencing the sweltering heat, the suffocating humidity and the excitement of learning about a new area. But we bought a house with a pool so I will have a chance to survive! Thus, this post came out a little later than I expected. I am without internet access (except for time spent at my local Starbucks) so getting my online life back together is going to take a little while, but bear with me and thanks for reading!]

Last week the Federation of Genealogical Societies hosted their annual conference in San Antonio, TX which has to have been my favorite conference so far. And not necessarily for the reasons you might think. Here are my three favorite things from the FGS conference:

1. PERSI

One of the most exciting research tools I learned more about at this conference are the advances being made with PERSI by Find My Past (FMP). They are working to make it this elusive index more accessible to researchers. PERSI stands for the PERiodical Source Index which indexes genealogical society publications, both small and large, and contains 2.5 million indexed articles from 8k publications. The Find My Past website states:

“The PERiodical Source Index (PERSI) enables you to easily locate key information about people and places. It contains over 2.5 million entries from thousands of historical, genealogical and ethnic publications, making it an invaluable, comprehensive family history resource.”

So far 21k page have been digitized and are available to view on the site! The index is free to use with a registered account (free) and pages ordered through the ACPL. The available images can be viewed online with a FMP subscription.

FMP is focused on connecting with editors and copyright owners, not only to obtain new content but to get permission to digitize images from those items already indexed in PERSI. FMP also wants to know what geographical areas and publications you are most interested in seeing digitized next. Click here to fill out the survey!
[https://www.surveymonkey.com/s/persisurvey] To contact FMP for more information, to disucss the copyright of your society’s material or find out about societies@findmypast.com

PERSI is a resource not to be overlooked. Articles about ancestors, geographic locations, and other topics of interest were published in genealogical journals all across the United States. Without PERSI it would be impossible to know just where to look for that article that might hold the key you need in your research.

2. Preserve the Pensions

fgs totals
From D. Joshua Taylor’s blog

What a fun time I had watching how much support given to sponsor a “celebrity” walker!  The celebs got up and walked to the Alamo at 6:30 am, before the sun even came up! Judy Russell, Joshua Taylor, Kenyatta Berry and Ed Donakey competed to see who could earn the most donations for the walk. As of Saturday afternoon, the donations from the credit card portion of the campaign were as follows:
These numbers do not include all of the cash and checks supplied by generous conference attendees. Stay tuned to the Preserve the Pension site for more updates.

3. After Hours

After hours socializing is one of my favorite times during conferences. It is a time to relax, talk with friends that you only get to see once or twice each year, and make new connections. I enjoy the time I get to spend developing deeper friendships and learning about my awesome colleagues!

Had a great dinner with (clockwise) Jen Baldwin, Rorey Cathcart, Barry Kline and Deena Coutant.
Had a great dinner with (clockwise) Jen Baldwin, Rorey Cathcart, Barry Kline and Deena Coutant.

Until next time, friends!

4. The Lectures

Of course all of the lectures I attended were outstanding. Since you can’t attend ALL of the lectures at a large national conference, I rely heavily on the conference recordings to pick up the sessions I wasn’t able to attend. Conference recordings are a great thing to keep in your car for long trips or for running errands. You can purchase conference recordings through Fleetwood Onsite Conference Recordings. My favorite in-person lectures were from J. Mark Lowe, Craig R. Scott, Rev. David McDonald, Elizabeth Shown Mills, Dr. Thomas Jones, and Judy G. Russell.

If you have never had a chance to attend a national conference, it is something you should do at least once. But like potato chips, once you have one you just can’t stop! I’ll see you at the next one!

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