Friday, September 4, 2009

Day 3 at the FGS Conference

My day at the FGS Conference started with a quick turn around the Exhibit Hall, and then I attended Rick Sayre's presentation on "Researching in Government Documents" at 9:30 a.m. His talk concentrated on the Continental Congress and Constitutional Convention Papers (1774-1789), the American State Papers (1789-1838, 38 volumes), and the U.S. Serial Set (1817-present, over 14,000 volumes). These record sets invaluable to researchers, if their ancestors are in them, because of the biographical detail, unique source material, and the broad scope of the records. Rich provided information about the unique distribution and catalog system, and the accessibility to them at repositories and websites. LexisNexis and NewsBank have the entire sets online, while GenealogyBank has a limited subset of them, and HeritageQuestOnline has a small percentage of them.

Before 11 a.m., I ran upstaits to watch the Peabody Ducks waddle from the elevator to the fountain - they make a big deal of it. I thought the ducks showed little or no regimentation - didn't even march in a straight line. Then I decided to wander through the exhibit hall and talk to exhibitors, including Dean Richardson (, Leland Meitzler (, Craig Scott (, Steve Anderson at the FamilySearch exhibit, the exhibit, and the FamilyLink exhibit. I even took some pictures of these exhibits, but will not post them now. In the process, I met Thomas Jones, Beau Sharbrough, Christine Sweet and Juliana Smith for the first time. At the FamilySearch exhibit, Steve showed me the link for the Family History Lesson Series provides useful guides. Those beginners lessons look useful to me.

Then it was time for lunch, and I ate in the lounge area adjacent to the exhibits, with several of the other attendees. I wandered back into the exhibit area, and ended up at the FamilyLink site just in time to see the GenSeek presentation by Jim Ericson. It was interesting, and the potential for GenSeek being the portal to the genealogy world is high. We are all waiting for the launching of GenSeek for the Family History Library Catalog access and links to online databases, but the GenStream feature has the possibility of keeping track of what a researcher has pursued and to make contact with other researchers with similar interests.

I had to run off to attend the 2 p.m. presentation of "A Detailed Look at Footnote" by Roger Bell of Roger did a great job of walking the attendees (only about 50% attending use through the home page options and links, the search process, the search results, filtering results, and how to use the filmstrip and annotation features. He also described connecting record images to persons in the user's gallery, uploading images to the gallery, and the Footnote Pages feature. He closed his talk by showing how to use the different collections found on the home page, like the Vietnam Wall and the USS Arizona Memorial. In the Q&A time, I asked if there were plans for adding family trees to the website, and he said that they could do it, but that it wasn't planned. This presentation was done online, and was really well done by Roger.

At 3:30 p.m., I attended Dallan Quass's presentation of "Discovering WeRelate: An Introduction to the World's Largest Genealogy Wiki." Dallan is the creator of http://www.werelate,org/, and presented the reasons to share your research using WeRelate - to leave a legacy, to involve family members, to connect with distant cousins, to become a better researcher and to create well-documented, accurate and free source of genealogy information. He said that the ideal solution for a connected family tree is to encourage sharing within families and within the genealogy community. In the WeRelate wiki, anyone can browse the information, but a person has to register for free to edit, and the persons that add to or edit your information are usually relatives or other researchers that share your ancestors. The site has quality control in the form of a permanent history of all changes, change notification to the original submitter, and a recent changes portal for the site administrators to monitor suspicious activity. is still in beta, but Dallan anticipates that it might launch in 2010.

One more turn around the exhibit hall at 4:30 p.m., and I decided to head back to the hotel for an early dinner and my final edit of the CVGS September newsletter. In doing so, I missed excellent presentations by Elissa Powell, Thomas Jones, Barbara Little, Laura Prescott, Pat Stamm and several others. It would have been a hard choice! But my butt is sore from sitting in the chairs squashed together, and I tend to doze in the late afternoon. Thank goodness for syllabus materials!

When I got back to my room, I found that Linda was off campus doing laundry, so I worked on the newsletter until she returned. We left at 6:30 p.m. for dinner at Bosco's down at the River Market, amid a sea of Arkansas Razorback supporters having a rally, followed by a concert. We got back on the trolley by 8:30, and I polished up the newsletter and sent it off in PDF format to my colleague for printing on Sunday. Then I read my blog lists (only 132 posts today!) and wrote this tome.

There is one more day left at the conference, and I need to find some "Best of Genea-Musings" posts to put up over the weekend until I have Internet access on Tuesday night in Branson. Any suggestions?

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