Saturday, September 1, 2012

FGS Day Three (Friday August 31)

When I attended my first national conference (NGS in Kansas City 2008) I knew only one or two of the many hundreds of people present. I had no meetings or other events to attend beyond the scheduled presentations. Basically everything I knew about the entire event was public. I could have blogged in some detail about every day (don't think I did).

Now at FGS Birmingham 2012, I know a lot more people, I have a lot more fun with friends from across the country. I also attend a more meetings and fewer lectures, and much of what I learn is not public, or if public not terribly interesting. I missed out on Mark Lowe's talk on Baptist missionaries due to an arduous meeting; while on what you might call courier duty, I heard the last ten minutes of Tom Jones's new talk on citations. (If you're kind of stuck on the subject, check it out and see if his approach helps.)

I love talking to the folks who come by the Association of Professional Genealogists and the Board for the Certification of Genealogists booths about their interests or research issues, but it's hard to explain them all. An Indiana friend and I compared notes on a favorite central-Indiana courthouse where the old records are on the skylit fourth floor instead of the usual dank basement and which is ground zero for a pesky ancestral problem. I could tell all about how APG is continuing a dynamic but difficult phase of growth, but that would only be interesting to those members who are benefiting from our new webinars and other features. I heard Mary Penner's hilarious APG luncheon talk on ten reasons not to write your family history, but -- well, you had to be there.

As a result, it's hard for me to say a lot about FGS this time around. And it has become easier for me to understand how some folks attend the event, stay in the hotel, hang in the restaurants and exhibit hall, spend all day talking to people on business, and never actually enroll in the conference itself. They are just as concerned with genealogy as ever, but their conference lives have been turned inside out, and what was once the core has almost disappeared.

Harold Henderson, "FGS Day Three (Friday August 31)," Midwestern Microhistory: A Genealogy Blog, posted 1 September 2012 ( : accessed [access date]). [Please feel free to link to the specific post if you prefer.]

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