13 September 2011

Six More Sessions to Go-FGS 2011

Day 4, Saturday, was the last day of the conference.  I had an excellent time and attended so many sessions that my mind is on overload.  I am looking forward to applying all the information presented to my research.  My genealogical to-do list will be a long one when I get home.  I attended six sessions today.  Highlights included:
  • Mennonite Research:  The Forgotten Swiss Germans by Michael D. LacapoAnyone who overlooked Dr. Lacapo because of the DVM behind his name instead of the other genealogy related initials made a mistake.  Dr. Lacapo presented helpful tips and resources to use with your Mennonite ancestry.  This hour flew by, not an easy thing to do at 8:00 a.m. 
  • Developing Effective Research Strategies by Linda Turner.  Ms. Turner presented an eight step research strategy that is sure to enhance my research.  Using a case study to apply these steps brought together the whole process in an easy to understand way.  The session ended with research tips.
  • Michigan Roots:  Genealogy Research in the Wolverine State by Kris Rzepczynski.  You may wonder why someone who has researched eight great grandparents in Michigan and lives in Michigan would attend this session.  The main reason was Kris.  (He is a Bronco, afterall!)  I have heard him speak previously and wanted to attend another of his sessions.  I wasn't disappointed.  Plus, I have a great list of further reading to look for.
COOKBOOKS!!!  But guess what?  I controlled myself and didn't buy even one.  I did text this picture to my hubby and said, "guess what I found"  His reply, "oh, no!" 
  • Exhibit Hall and Lunch-I decided to take one last look at the exhibit hall during lunch.  I think the exhibitors should be happy as I noticed lots of selling going on.  A couple of the books I was thinking of getting were sold out.  I took this opportunity to talk and learn more about new products and services.  A concession stand lunch of turkey wrap completed the time. 
  • Online, On Microfilm and In Print:  Finding Ancestors in Newspapers by James L. Hansen.  The takeaway from this session was an understanding of why there aren't very many free sites for newspaper access.  It is expensive to digitize newsapers due to their size.  A nice list of sources for newspapers was given in the syllabus.
  • The Genealogical Proof Standard:  What It is and What It is Not by Thomas W. Jones.  Dr. Jones answered all my questions I had concerning what GPS is.  I knew a little about it, but wanted to develop a better understanding of it.  This session provided that for me.  I was happy to hear that overkill is not needed when researching, you just need to prove the fact.
  • Scotland's Old Parish Registers:  How to Access, Use and Interpret by Paul Milner.  What a delightful way to end the conference.  Mr. Milner is an entertaining and very well-informed Scottish speaker.  I learned so much from this session.  Historical background, church records and resources was presented.  Using Scotland's People was covered as well.
All in all, I have had a great time at my first national genealogical conference.  I am tired, but it was worth it.  A few closing thoughts:
  • First, I need to say a great big thank you to those responsible for presenting a great conference.  To the co-chairs, D. Joshua Taylor and Paula Stuart-Warren, thanks for your leadership.  From the speakers, the Illinois Genealogical Society, Ancestry.com, FamilySearch, exhibitors, volunteers, conference committee, and all the sponsors this was a well organized, educationally sound conference.  Thank you. 
  • To the attendees who were warm and welcoming, thank you.  It was nice to sit next to fellow genealogists and learn from you too.
  • To geneabloggers, thank you for welcoming me into your community.
  • To the Springfield Hilton, thank you.  My room was a great place to go to after a very busy day.
  • To the downtown Springfield businesses, thanks.  I loved the welcoming signs and friendly staff.
After attending the keynote speaker, 16 sessions. one workshop, and one dinner-would I do anything different?  Just a couple of things.  First, I think I would look at the total day before signing up for special events.  Pairing a four hour session with a dinner after, might have been better planned on my part.  I hope I was decent company at dinner.  The other thing I would do differently would be to spend the last night at the hotel.  I decided to leave after the conference and drive to Chicago (through six construction zones!) and spend the night with my daughter.  I loved visiting my daughter, but an extra night to unwind after the conference would have been helpful.  And, lastly, take more pictures.  I was so wrapped up in the conference I didn't take enough pictures.

I have lots of new ideas for blog posts and how FGS 2011 help me with my research, so check back for that.


  1. Thank you for the excellent series of posts about the FGS conference. I particularly found your session summaries helpful since I plan to order some conference recordings.

  2. Michelle, If you have any questions, I would be happy to help if I can. Feel free to email me at brae957atgmail.com

  3. Brenda, I tip my hat to you. Looks like you knew exactly what you wanted to do and stuck with your plan. What, no cook books, I had a nice chuckle there. Also enjoyed reading what you might change in the future at another conference (your ideas can help us all). Thanks.

  4. Barbara, I knew where I had holes in my research and needed help. I changed a couple of sessions after I got there, but for the most part had a plan. Now that I have been to a conference I probably would be more relaxed about it.