Upcoming Federation of Genealogical Societies Conference


by Jana Sloan Broglin, CG


GenealogyandFamilyHistory is pleased to bring you a preview of the upcoming conference. Genealogical conferences and workshops, whether local, state or national, are the best learning value for your money. Please consider attending – you’ll be glad you did. This week’s guest author is Jana Sloan Broglin, CG, Vice President of Membership for the Federation of Genealogical Societies.


“Footprints in Family History” is the theme of this year’s Federation of Genealogical Societies annual conference in Philadelphia, September 10-13. Registration information can be found on the FGS website. Note that not all the events are covered with the four-day registration fee. Special fees are charged for some of the events such as the Association of Professional Genealogists’ Professional Management Conference sessions, as well as other workshops, all luncheons, and the FGS banquet.


Does your society have a group of people representing it at the conference? If so, check out the FGS conference website for another new feature for this year called “Bring the Whole Gang” discount. This plan offers rebates from the full conference registration price of $225 for FGS member societies that send at least five members to this year’s conference.


Rebates will be given to the societies following the conference with payment dependent on the number of registrants from their society. There is additional “fine-print” information on the “Bring the Whole Gang” discount rebates, so be sure to read all the information. Only full-price ($225) registrations processed after July 1st will count toward the rebate.


In addition, did you know that by volunteering at the FGS conference you can earn a rebate on your registration? Information is located on the FGS conference website, under “volunteers.”


Walk-in attendees are always welcome at the conference. Attendees may purchase the full four-day registration, or may purchase a one-day registration, as well as meals (if space allows). The exhibit hall is free for everyone. This year’s exhibitors include Genealogical Publishing Company (with Gateway Press and Clearfield Company), Ancestry.com, Footnote.com, Everton Publishers, and FamilySearch, plus periodical publishers such as Family Tree Magazine, German Life Magazine, and Moorshead Magazines. Organizations represented include  FGS, the National Genealogical Society, the Genealogical Society of Pennsylvania, Genealogy Society of New Jersey, and the New England Historic Genealogical Society to name a few. Other groups are represented with the Board for Certification of Genealogists, International Society of Family History Writers and Editors, Genealogical Speakers Guild, and the Association of Professional Genealogists. There are other exhibitors too numerous to mention. Be sure to check out each of the booths, as many make conference door prizes available. Also, bring personal return address labels to place on the drawing tickets. It makes it easy to read your name when you win!


As always, this year’s conference program will be exceptional with speakers and new exciting events for society delegates.


Wednesday, September 10, is the first day of the conference with sessions for society officers and members. Presentation topics include sessions on newsletters, society classes, publications, preserving society records, book review columns, and program ideas. Delegates are invited to the Annual Meeting in the evening as well as the Delegate’s Luncheon at noon. Also scheduled for Wednesday is the Association of Professional Genealogists’ Professional Management Conference (APG PMC). PMC sessions include a hands-on workshop, marketing for the professional genealogists, and even one about using QuickBooks® for professionals. Librarian’s Day is also held on the first day of the conference, boasting two sessions and three tours.


Wednesday’s new feature is the grand opening of the exhibit hall, with exhibit hours from 6:00 – 9:00 p.m. For those of you who have not been to an FGS conference, the exhibit hall is THE place to see the latest software products and publications, as well as the famous “Societies on Parade” tables where organizations may advertise publications, meeting information, and upcoming seminars.


Thursday’s opening session, “America’s Official Birthday,” will be presented by historian Robert A Selig. His presentation will come one day after the 225th anniversary of the signing of the Peace of Paris, which at the time motivated Spain’s ambassador to France to remark that the United States was “born a pygmy but a day will come when it will be a giant, a colossus.” Selig will show will demonstrate the wisdom of this prediction. Other Thursday sessions cover Pennsylvania, Delaware/Maryland, Immigration/Emigration, Germany, African-Americans, Great Britain/Ireland, Quakers, Women, Jewish genealogy, and Cultural/Occupational research.


On Friday, sessions deal with Pennsylvania, New Jersey/Delaware, DNA, Military research, Methodology, Great Britain/Ireland, Federal records, Courts, Technology, People and Places and more. The FGS Banquet, held Friday evening, features speaker Chris Haley’s presentation “Taking Bigger Steps.”


Saturday morning has another new feature, a delegate’s breakfast and roundtable. Information for “Delegate 101” can be obtained by contacting Jana Sloan Broglin at jana@janabroglin.com. As with the other meals, reservations are required. Topics for Saturday’s sessions include Methodology, New York, Philadelphia Specific, Land, Culture, Seafaring, Military records, Europe and three sessions on introducing children to genealogy. A special track is being offered by the Genealogical Speakers Guild. Whew! That’s a lot of sessions for four days.


The conference hotel is the downtown Marriott Hotel connected to the Pennsylvania Convention Center where the exhibition hall and session rooms will be located. Participants can also choose from are several other hotels convenient to the Convention Center.


Society delegates to the conference are offered a chance to win a free 2009 conference registration for their group. One delegate per day will qualify to win a free registration for the 2009 conference scheduled for Little Rock, Arkansas.


Now that you’re excited about attending, the next question…what to wear? Comfy, layered clothing is a must. Why? Inevitably, you will encounter a session that’s either too hot, or too cold, or too crowded. Layering works great! Shoes – yep, we need them, but they too should be comfortable for walking between sessions and the trips to the exhibit hall. For the FGS banquet, many wear clothing appropriate for church or business meetings, but it’s not mandatory —it is not formal wear. Another hint is to have mints or gum as some rooms may feel “dry.”


You’re all ready for the conference. See ya in Philly!





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