Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Live from FGS in Springfield, Illinois

Today was the first day of the Federation of Genealogical Societies' Annual Conference, and I will have to add pictures later, because I was trying to pack light and left the "what-cha-ma-call-it-thingy-ma-jig"  at home that allows me to transfer the photos from my camera to my laptop. (did you hear a large group sigh ...that means no incriminating photos will be least not now.)

Actually most of the day was given over to serious study. Today the classes were all aimed at the various Genealogy Societies and their representatives. They gather here from all over the United States and beyond.

I am very lucky to have two wonderful, active societies in Sacramento. The Genealogical Society of Sacramento "RootCellar" and The Genealogical Association of Sacramento "GAS."

Furthermore, with in "spitting distance" is the California Genealogical Society founded in 1898 in the San Francisco Bay Area.

This morning my first class/group discussion was entitled "Delegate 101" and was led by George Morgan. George is one of my favorite speakers. If you get a chance to attend one of his classes/lectures do so, you will be not be sorry. (And he has a great sense of humor.)

During this class I learned that one of the hot topics for societies right now is how to convince your society members to "go green" and recieve their society newsletters in an online computer format instead of the paper version. Apparently there are society members reluctant to change. However, in addition to helping the environment the societies could save quit a bit of money, and saving money on mailings means they could afford more/better speakers.

Other topics of concern these days (and probably always) is how to increase membership and how to attract younger people into the societies.

The second class I attended was "21st Century Marketing Techniques for Genealogists and Genealogical Societies" presented by Thomas MacEntee. I always learn something new when I hear Thomas speak. Today was no exception. I learned three new things in the first 10 minutes. Poor Thomas some day he is going to realize I'm stalking him ...but hopefully by then it will be too late...I will have trapped him in a corner somewhere and be bombarding him with questions. I wonder if he hires out for private consultations/lessons. I could go from being a "toddler techie" to a "super techie" in just a matter of days. I know I could be great with his help.

Ok, I have a confession to make...I played hooky for the rest of the day. I allowed some friends to talk me into going to see the Lincoln Museum. I'm glad I did. What a great exhibit. If you are ever in Springfield, Illinois this is a must see. I noticed that throughout the exhibit there were these signs that said "to learn more" so when we had finished our self guided tour I got a copy of the reading list from the information desk that was compiled by the historians to learn more about Lincoln, his family and the civil war. Can't wait to dig in.

You don't have to be a society or belong to one to attend FGS, you can be a society of one. I hope to see all of you next year in Birmingham, Alabama go to  and click on conferences to learn more.

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