09 September 2011

Day 2 and We Are Half Way Through-FGS 2011

Yesterday, was day two of my four day conference at Federation of Genealogical Societies (FGS) 'Pathway to the Heartland" conference in Springfield, Illinois.  I continue to be amazed at how smoothly this conference is run.  Again, I cannot say thank you enough to all the wonderful people at FGS and the Illinois State Genealogical Society, the local host for the conference.

The highlights of my day included:
  • The opening of the conference with a posting of the colors, complete with drum and trumpets.
  • Learning that 2000 attendees are here.  Wow!
  • Taking to heart the Mayor of Springfield's welcome and invitation to "spend lots of money!"
  • Listening to the keynote speaker, David S. Ferriero, the archivist of the United States.
  • Attending four sessions that furthered my genealogical education.
  • Visiting the exhibit hall, three times.  I controlled my purchases to a flip pal scanner cover, a map of 1820 Prussia, and a Diet soda.  I could spend a small fortune on books, but I am trying to control myself.
  • Getting my beads on!  I received beads identifying me as a geneablogger from the geneablogger guru, Thomas MacEntee.  I feel so loved!
  • Meeting lots of fellow geneabloggers at a meet up at Bennigans.  It was so nice to put faces to the bloggers I have read and been inspired by.
Now, for the main reason I am here-education.  I attended the following four sessions:
  1. Overlooked War of 1812 Records in the National Archives by Marie Varrelman Melchiori.  I left this session realizing I need to spend more time learning about the national archives.  Thankfully, Ms. Melchiori gave us a wonderful bibliography and tips on how to get more information.
  2. The Illinois State Archives by Gregg Cox.  Mr. Cox is the archivist of the archives and provided lots of information on what is available there in an entertaining way.  Illinois residents receive help and searches for free.  (I may have to enlist my favorite Chicago resident, my daughter, for help.)  Out of state residents pay a nominal fee.
  3.  Discovering Old World Origins with U. S. Records by David Ouimette.  This session provided lots of places to look in the United States for the country of origin of your ancestor.  Mr. Ouimette stressed the importance of looking in the United States before you make the jump to another country.  I can't wait to get home and use his ideas and tips for immigrant research.
  4. Going Beyond the Bare Bones:  Reconstructing Your Ancestor's Lives by Thomas W. Jones.  In this sold out session, Mr. Jones used four case studies to demonstrate how to take information gleaned from records to create biographical type narratives.  He included genealogical sources which are helpful in creating these biographies.
All in all, I am thankful for the opportunity to grow and learn as a genealogist.  My goal for today is to take some pictures!  Check back tomorrow for a Day 3 update, including my four hour German workshop.  I just may get enough information to break through my German brick wall!  (Fingers crossed).


  1. It was great to see you. God luck on that German brick wall.

  2. Amy, thanks. If I don't break through it, it won't be the presenters fault. It was an excellent session.

    Kirsten, I will! Thanks.