Thursday, September 3, 2009

Day 2 at the FGS Conference - Post 1

Day 2 at FGS was different from Day 1 - mainly because there was a Keynote Address by Tim Sullivan ( CEO) and the Exhibit Hall opened for the first time. Therefore, there were only four presentation periods, and I attended two of them. Here are the highlights of my day:

1) The FGS Conference Welcome ceremony was opened by Pat Oxley, President of FGS, with a color guard and a fine vocal rendition of the Star Spangled Banner.

2) Tim Sullivan's Keynote Address was "The Future of our Past: Preserving Yesterday's Records for Tomorrow's Researchers." Tim could not talk about the future at due to SEC restrictions during the IPO period, so he talked about the past. The most interesting thing was quotes from the "Computer Genealogy" book written in 1985 by Paul A. Andereck and Richard A. Pence. The book authors accurately predicted the use of computers to put a person's research in a database, be able to share information with others, and have a large "Family Tree of Man" online. Tim went through the processes of archival records preservation, document digitization, transcription and indexing, community annotation, user-aggregated content, and collaborative networking on He then suggested that "Genealogy Utopia" might be attained by the FGS 2019 conference, but didn't really spell out the future (of course, due to legal reasons!). It was an engaging 30 minute talk, and he finished so quickly that they had to open the Exhibit Halls early!

3) I was one of the first into the Exhibit Hall, and talked briefly to Leland Meitzler at his FamilyRoots Publishing area, Curt Witcher and Dallan Quass at the Allen county Public Library exhibit, Bruce Buzbee at the RootsMagic space, Jim Ericson and Gena Ortega at the FamilyLink display, Diane Haddad at the Family Tree Magazine area, Tom Champoux, David Lambert and Rhonda McClure at the NEHGS exhibit, and Tim Sullivan in the hallway as I headed out. I didn't buy anything, but dropped some of my door prize entries in a number of boxes, hoping that they will draw mine and receive a benefit. Nearly every software and database provider offered discounts on their products.

I also saw and talked to blogger Harold Henderson while wandering through the area.

4) Before 11 a.m., I went off to hear George Schweitzer's presentation on "US Migration routes and Settlement Patterns, 1607-1890" to about 200 attendees. George does this talk in a frontiersman outfit, talking in dialect, with significant humor, and he uses four overhead slides of historical maps to show his points. He often comes back to the screen and points to the area or path he's talking about, and he wanders all of the aisles as he goes through his presentation. I had never heard George before, and learned quite a bit. Unfortunately, the acoustics in the ballroom were not good, and it was difficult to understand him unless he was up front or nearby.

5) At lunch time, I went back to the Hop Diner and had some chicken strips and fries for lunch.

My post-lunch activities will be covered in a separate post.

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