Monday, September 04, 2006

Feet, legs, arms, eyes, ears, and more

Can you figure out the common theme?

For those of us who were at the conference, we have sore and tired feet and legs. Walking from class to class, to the Exhibit Hall, to another class, back to buy one more CD or book over four exhilarating days does take a toll. Oh, but it was so worth it. Our arms are tired from carrying all those purchases. Our eyes are tired from all the viewing of syllabus pages and lecture visuals. Our ears have listened to the excellent lectures. So, what is the more?

It's a fact that the FGS/NEHGS Conference held this past week was a rousing success. The word is that we had fun -- and of course, there was the learning that was superb. The luncheon and banquet meals were great and the desserts and the dinner rolls -- I have never seen so many of these get eaten. They were so good that more and more people were eating them.

Standing in the Exhibit Hall Saturday and the hotel lobby Sunday for part of the morning and afternoon, I heard from many of you. You are tired, but enjoyed the week. A lot of hands went into making the week so good for all of us. I hope I don't forget anyone, but the conference chairs, the program chair, A-V chair, hospitality chair, registration chair, local publicity chair, volunteer chair, sponsored events coordinator, exhibits chair, FGS office, and so many helpers for each of these worked hard.

Lots of you were thrilled that the New England Historic Genealogical Society had extended hours last week. NEHGS was a great host for this conference.

The more? Your memories, your eagerness to use what you learned, the new friends you made, and your new calendar listing. Now we look ahead to the next FGS Conference in Fort Wayne, Indiana, August 15-18, 2007.

Wednesday, August 30, 2006

Did you know you may still register for this conference?

It has been interesting to see that the number of people viewing the blog is still high. It might be the articles that appeared in the Boston Globe and New York Times are drawing curious folks. If you would like to join us at the conference, you can still come to the Hynes Convention Center in the Back Bay area of Boston and register to attend the lectures on genealogy and history from speakers representing 5 countries.

I have already seen a few genealogists who have made connections with someone related to one of their ancestors. Others are peering at the place names on the name tags and finding someone who lives in their family's old home town.

Some details for those of you at the conference

Don't forget to attend the Plenary Session at 8:00 a.m. on Thursday. The theme for this hour is "Visions of the Future from Keepers of the Past." This takes place in the Sheraton Boston Hotel in the Grand Ballroom. We are privileged to have two of those keepers of the past at that session, the Archivist of the United States, Dr. Alan Weinstein and the President and CEO of the New England Historic Genealogical Society, D. Brenton Simons. As if that isn't enough to draw you, this is the place to get additional conference information.

For more information on this exciting session, check this previous posting on the blog. Immediately following this is the Grand Opening of the Exhibit Hall. I peeked into an open door of the Hall today and saw a hotbed of activity. Booths being set up, computers being connected, books unpacked, CDs and DVDs being lined up, and oh, were my feet itching to get in there and browse.

Live excitement in Boston

Hello from the conference host hotel, the Boston Sheraton. This afternoon at 3:00 folks began to arrive to pick up their registration materials, the 4 volume syllabus, and a very nice tote bag. It was an explosion of genealogists as suddenly it seemed like everyone arrived at once. But this was a nice explosion -- the kind that made the conference planners smile. The volunteers working at registration did a phenomenal job.

It was also exciting to see a lot of folks who showed up to register for the entire conference. Today's Boston Globe had a long article about a special release of detailed Irish maps. It even ranked as one of the most e-mailed articles as readers shared the news with others. Stop by the Ordinance Survey Ireland booth in the Exhibit Hall this Thursday through Saturday -- you don't have to be registered for the conference to visit the Hall - it is a free visit! To see a list of most of the exhibitors please visit the FGS Website.

If you want to attend the full conference or just one day --just come to the Hynes Convention Center in Boston and register at the door!

Sunday, August 27, 2006

"It's a Small Biz: Genealogy is Just the Product You Sell"

One last posting on the Association of Professional Genealogists Professional Management Conference at the FGS/NEHGS Conference on Wednesday, August 30th. Some space is still available -- you can still sign up online or at the Hynes Convention Center.

"It's a Small Biz: Genealogy is Just the Product You Sell"

by Beverly Rice, CG

So you want to start a genealogy business or maybe you've already started one? But as the words "genealogy business" imply, you will be involved in genealogy and business. In the genealogy part of the business, you use your skills to produce a service or product. On the business side, you manage the finances and sign up clients. In this lecture, you will learn how the balance between the two sides of your business will help it become successful.


Hope to see you there,

Richard F. Robinson, CG
Publicity APG PMC

Shopping and Dining Nearby

The Shops at Prudential Center is just steps away from both the Shertaon Boston Hotel and the Hynes Convention Center. Purchase a bouquet of flowers, chocolate chip cookies, make-up, socks, shoes, jewelry, books, cheesecake, slacks, shirt, newspaper, get your shoes shined, a haircut, pray in a chapel, buy a stamp, and . . .

An information desk is located in the Center Court. Maps, brochures, restaurant menus, and other items are available at this desk.

For a layout map of the "Pru," a merchant and service directory, and other details visit:

Hopping a train to FGS/NEHGS Boston

Sharon Sergeant of Waltham, MA shared this with the blog. Thanks, Sharon!


Below you will find train, commuter rail and subway routes to The Federation of Genealogical Societies Conference at the Hynes Convention Center in Boston this week (August 30-September 2). Note handicap accessible station icons in the links. Bus routes references are also available on the system wide map.

While Boston traffic will be light during this pre-Labor Day vacation week, parking and hotel savings outside the city, combined with the extensive public transportation system, is a very convenient option. Read More

Email me if you are interested in hotel recommendations in Waltham - convenient to the Federal Archives, Lexington/Concord side trips and both Belmont and Waltham train connections.

Download the FGS/NEHGS Conference PDF overview at and open the bookmarks to view highlighted segments with clickable links. Irish -especially- need apply! See the "Irish are Coming" 4 track segment and Irish Pavillion.

Amtrak Discount for FGS/NEHGS Conference in Boston

Amtrak: Back Bay Station Boston
(less than 1 mile from the Hynes Convention center or see subway map link below for connections to the Hynes Convention Center or Prudential Center stop on the Green line)
145 Dartmouth St
Boston, MA 02116
(617) 345-7958

Amtrak: South Station Boston
(about 2 miles from the Hynes, though most would continue to Back Bay Station you can also take the Red line subway to Park street, then the Green line subway to the Hynes Convention Center or Prudential Center stop)
2 South Station
Summer St & Atlantic Ave.
Boston, MA 02110

Commuter Rail MAP

Commuter Rail PDF Schedules

Commuter Rail Lines from the North and West to North Station (then take the Green line subway from North Station to the Hynes Convention Center or Prudential Center stop).
Newburyport/Rockford Commuter Rail Line to North Station through Goucester, Manchester, Rowley,
Ipswich, Hamilton, Wenham, Beverly, Salem, Swampscott, Lynn

Haverhill/Reading Commuter Rail Line to North Station through Bradford, Lawrence, Wakefield, Melrose, Malden

Lowell Commuter Rail Line to North Station through Billerica, Wilmington, West Medford

Fitchburg Commuter Rail Line to North Station through Leominster, Shirley, Littleton, Acton,Concord, Lincoln, Waltham, Belmont and Cambridge.

Commuter Rail Lines From the South and West to Back Bay and South Station (see directions above for subway lines to Hynes Convention Center or Prudential Center stop).

Framingham/Worcester Commuter Rail Line to Back Bay and South Station through Grafton, Northborough, Southborough, Ashland, Natick, Wellesley, Natick, Newton

Needham Commuter Rail Line to Back Bay and South Station through West Roxbury, Roslindale, Hyde Park, Forrest Hills

Franklin/495 Commuter Rail Line to Back Bay and South Station through Norfolk, Walpole, Norwood, Dedham, Readville, Dorchester

Providence/Greene Airport/Attleboro/Stoughton Commuter Rail Line to Back Bay and South Station through Foxboro, Marshfield, Sharon, Rt 128/95 Westwood, Hyde park, Forrest Hills

Middleboro/Lakeville/Plymouth/Kingston Commuter Rail Line to Back Bay and South Station through Bridgewater, Brockton, Holbrook, Halifax, Whitman, Hanson, Abington, Weymouth, Braintree, Quincy, Dorchester

Boston Subway Connections
Red line: Cambridge/Alewife from the Route 2 Western connection or Braintree and Mattapan from the South to Park Street station to pick up the Green line to the Hynes Convention Center stop.

Green Line: Newton/Riverside from the Route 128/95/30 Western connection or the Somerville/Lechemere Rt 93 Northern connection to the Hynes Convention Center stop.

Orange Line: Malden from the RT 60 Northern connection or Forrest Hills from the Southern connection to North Station to pick up the Green line to the Hynes Convention Center stop.

Blue Line: Revere/Logan Airport Northern connection to the Government center stop to pick up the Green line to the Hynes Convention Center stop.

Subway Map

Boston MBTA detailed System maps with bus lines

See you in Boston!
Sharon Sergeant
Program Director, Massachusetts Genealogical Council

Saturday, August 26, 2006

Getting to the New EnglandHistoric Genealogical Society

1. Be sure to check their website for hours and some times when you need to sign up for a reserved spot. The fire marshall just won't let all the conference registrants in there at one time!

2. From the Hynes Convention Center, Sheraton Hotel, or the Prudential Shopping Mall -- just follow signs or ask other people to direct you to Boylston Street. Once on Boylston Street turn to the right. Then there are severall options. Read on for more details
  • At the cross street called Gloucester, you can cross to the other side of Boylston and walk a block on Gloucester to Newbury Street. Once on Newbury, walk 4 blocks to 101 Newbury Street which is the address of NEHGS. The location is just past the intersection of Newbury Street and Clarendon. Using this route you will pass by the many shops and restaurants on famous Newbury Street.
  • Or, once you have crossed to the other side of Boylston, you can continue walking down Boylston. Walk 4 blocks until you come the the cross street, Clarendon. Take a left on Clarendon and walk a block to Newbury Street. Cross Newbury Street and turn right and a couple of buildings down you will see NEHGS at 101 Newbury Street.
  • The third option is to look at the people walking ahead of you on the street who are carrying those heavy tote bags (or even the conference tote bag ) we all take to libraries -- and just follow them!
  • Taxis are always available at the main entrance to the Sheraton Hotel.
  • Taxis may be flagged down once you are on Boylston Street.

Need to make a copy or ship something during the conference?

If you need to make a copy or ship something home during the conference, you are in luck.

  • During the conference week, including Saturday, the FedEx Kinko’s location in the Hynes Convention Center will be open all day, but not in the evenings.
  • There is also an independently operated business center in the Sheraton Hotel. You will see it as you walk between the hotel and convention center.
  • A full service Post Office is in the same complex; read this earlier posting

What do the Archivist of the United States, Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of Rhode Island, President of NEHGS and Abraham Lincoln have in common?

I could just stop here and let you find out at the conference. Hmmmm . . .

They all play important parts in the FGS/NEHGS conference that begins in a few days.

First, Abraham Lincoln will be greeting registrants and passers by at the Prudential Mall entrance to the Hynes Convention Center on Tuesday, August 29th. That day from 3:00-7:00 p.m. registrants may pick up your registration materials at the Hynes. Not registered? You can register at those same times and on any of the conference days.

Lincoln himself won’t be there, but George Cheevers has an uncanny resemblance to Lincoln (though several inches taller at six foot ten inches), and also presents himself in the Lincoln re-enactor wardrobe as a thoughtful and knowledgeable student of Lincoln, the man. Read More
Cheevers has an undergraduate degree in Economics from Harvard, a Masters degree in education from the University of Massachusetts, and is continuing advanced studies in English and American Literature. He is an educator in history as well as English as a Second Language in the Boston school system, and has also taught in Japan. He also worked for several years as a legislative aid in the Massachusetts House of Representatives.

Second, The Archivist of the United States, Dr. Allen Weinstein, one of the Keynote speakers, is being introduced by The Honorable Frank J. Williams, Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of Rhode Island and a member of the Abraham Lincoln Bicentennial Commission. Justice Williams has been a leader in the Lincoln community and a Lincoln scholar for 30 years. He is the founding Chair of The Lincoln Forum and author of over 11 books including Judging Lincoln and The Emancipation Proclamation - Three Views.

the first Keynote Speaker, Dr. Allen Weinstein, was appointed as the ninth Archivist of the United States in 2005. Dr. Weinstein is a noted scholar and professor of history and a recognized leader in global democracy issues. He is a former Professor of History who has held positions at Boston University, Georgetown University, and Smith College, is the author of numerous essays and books, including The Story of America (2002), The Haunted Wood: Soviet Espionage in America-The Stalin Era (1999), Perjury: The Hiss-Chambers Case (1978 & 1997), and Freedom and Crisis: An American History (3rd edition, 1981). From 1985 to 2003, he served as President of The Center for Democracy in Washington, DC. His international awards include the United Nations Peace Medal (1986).

Fourth, the other Keynote Speaker is D. Brenton Simons, President and CEO of the New England Historic Genealogical Society. He is the author of Witches, Rakes, and Rogues: True Stories of Scam, Scandal, Murder, and Mayhem, in Boston, 1630-1775. Simons is also the author of The Langhornes of Langhorne Park and the originator and co-editor of The Art of Family: Genealogical Artifacts in New England. A native of New Haven, Connecticut and a graduate of Boston University, Mr. Simons lives in Boston. He currently appears as a guest narrator on "The Boston Audissey, See the Sites -- Hear the Legends," an audio walking tour of Boston.

The Keynote Speakers will appear during the conference Plenary Session on August 31st at 8:00 a.m.

Friday, August 25, 2006

Exhibit Hall Grand Opening and Door Prizes

Immedediately following the Plenary Session on Thurday morning, we are all invited to the Grand Opening of the Exhibit Hall. We anticipate it opening between 9:15 and 9:30 depending on the ending of the exciting Plenary Session. The day's lectures don't begin until 10:30, so be prepared to browse the Hall and maybe purchase a thing or two (or ten, I have seen some of you with several bags of purchases at conferences!) Don't forget to return to the Hall in-between lectures or other times on Thursday through Saturday -- I often find something I did not see on my first time through.

Everyone with a full conference registration will get 30 door prize tickets to use in the Exhibit Hall. These tickets will be in the registration packet you pick up at the Hynes Convention Center beginning Tuesday at 3:00 p.m. You get to choose which door prizes interest you and put your tickets into those boxes only.

Special Session for Genealogical Societies -- Open Forum

Wednesday, 3:30-4:30, Session W62

Open Forum for all society officers, committee chairs, committee members, other volunteers and any other interested conference registrants.

This is an opportunity for an hour of discussion about running a genealogical society. Whether you are the person who labels the newsletter, the webmaster, the secretary, greet people at the annual semminar, or the society president, there will be Read More
something of interest for you in this session. Bring along your great tips that may help a volunteer from another society. If your society is experiencing a problem bring that along to share and the others in this session may have some great advice for you. Even if you don't have anything to discuss, join us for the hour and you will learn tips to take back to your genealogical society. (Many of these will also be helpful for family organizations, library committees, and historical societies.)

Don't forget to check the online program grid at the FGS website to see the other Wednesday sessions designed especially for those involved with their society.

Thursday, August 24, 2006

Another Lecture for Professional Genealogists

We're just days away from what will be another great Association of Professional Genealogists' Professional Management Conference on August 30 at the FGS/NEHGS Conference hotel, the Sheraton Boston, in historic Boston's Back Bay. And there's still room for you at the PMC! Not sure about attending? Here's a taste of what you'll be missing!

"Kinship Theory"
Speaker: Carolyn Earle Billingsley, Ph.D.

The main principle guiding your genealogical research should be an understanding of kinship theory. This lecture explores the meaning of kinship and kinship theories that can help genealogists produce more . . . Read More

sophisticated research results, particularly in the areas of settlement and migration, religion, political and economic power, marriage, and naming patterns.

Professional genealogists and those considering a new career will also hear nine other great presentations. Nowhere else will you find the information and networking opportunities that can help you achieve, prosper, and grow in your career.

Don't let the ship sail without you.

The Association of Professional Genealogists Professional Management
30 August 2006 in Boston at the Federation of Genealogical Societies
conference Registration

Hope to see you there.

Richard F. Robinson, CG
Publicity, APG PMC


The Subways in Boston

A couple people have shared info about the transportation system in Boston.

Peggy Baldwin said:
I'm already in Boston and have been using the subway. It works great! Some stations are in transition with the Charlie card, so buying both some trip tokens and adding credit to a Charlie card is a good idea. People won't have any trouble using the Boston subway, especially if you have taken a subway anywhere else in the world. The signage is good. Get a good subway map, which our hotel had and you will do fine.

Barbara Poole said:
The "T" is going through a change and installing new machines for riders to purchase Charlietickets (they are replacing the tokens). Some subway stations sell these and some still use the tokens (which you buy from a person). Depending upon where you travel, you might need to buy both tickets and tokens. The cost for each is the same, $1.25 per trip, no matter the distance. I just want the readers who plan to do a little travelling around the city via subway to be aware of this. The MBTA web site is with good information, including maps and the FAQs have additional information about the Charlieticket.

Tuesday, August 22, 2006

What to Wear at the Conference

These tips apply whether you a packing for an airplane ride to the conference or thinking about a daily commute from your home.

First of all, comfort is an issue. Be sure to bring your walking shoes. It can be a bit tough to walk around in flip-flops or loose sandals at a conference. I can’t figure out how they can do all the walking from room to room and not trip or get a blister! Heck, for most of us a few too many birthdays have passed and we need to be careful! (Oh, yes, I do . . . Read More

count myself in this category) Dress in layers for the lectures sessions in case you feel a room is too cool or too warm for you.

Sitting in the Lecture Rooms
Those layers really do work. A vacation outfit of Hawaiian shirt and Bermuda shorts might make you feel a bit out of place. Comfort does help as you will be sitting in a chair for an hour. I do like to wear something a bit tailored but not too dressy. Often I will wear a skirt or slacks and a somewhat dressy jacket. I like jackets that have pockets. Others are quite comfortable in jeans. You may be going directly from a lecture to a luncheon so read the next section.

What about the luncheons?
There is no time to change clothes between the lectures and the luncheons. You will see a variety of clothing. Many of the men wear a sport shirt or a polo shirt. A few do wear shirts and ties. Some women wear slacks with a jacket. Some wear dresses. You will also see some jeans and t-shirts.

What to wear for the Banquet on Friday night?
It is not a formal event, but usually folks wear clothing they might wear to church or a business meeting. Many men wear a shirt and tie, or sportcoat and slacks. Some do wear suits. Many women wear a dress or dressy pantsuit. Some women wear just what they wore all day and add a bit of jewelry. As previous posts have said, each year there seem to be a few more really dressed up women. (We need to wear those clothes somewhere!) There are also a few folks who come dressed very casually.

Now That I Have Said All That.
What you wear is up to you! We each have our own clothing tastes and we definitely don’t want to tell you what you can and cannot wear. We have faith in you, a faith that tells us you WILL wear clothes!

Update on Genealogy Table Quiz

Mary Ellen Grogan just shared this update and said there is still space available. For other details on the Quiz and and to learn how to add fun event to your conference registration check the August 6th blog posting.

Warning: you will be hungry after reading about the food for that evening!

Genealogy Table Quiz
The Genealogy Table Quiz will take place on Thursday evening, August 31st from 6:00pm to 10:00pm, in the Sheraton Boston Hotel, Constitution Ballroom B.

Attendance is limited to 120 players; 30 teams of 4 players each. There will be a cash bar and the following buffets: Read More

INTERNATIONAL CHEESE DISPLAY: Selection of Assorted Domestic and Imported Cheeses
Garnished with Fresh Berries and Grapes, Cracker Assortment and Baguettes

FRESH GARDEN CRUDITÉS: Elaborate Presentation of the Season’s Freshest Vegetables
Served with Classic Ranch and Parmesan Peppercorn Dip

SAVORY SNACK DISPLAY: Assortment of Pretzels, Mixed Nuts, Chips and Tortilla Chips
Served with Guacamole, Fresh Salsa and Onion Dip

SEASONAL FRESH FRUIT AND BERRIES DISPLAY: Presented with White and Dark Chocolate Fondue, Pound Cake and Whipped Cream

6:00pm: Doors open, bar open, refreshments out

6:30-7:00 Quiz rounds one, two and three

7:00-7:30 Break (Time to talk and refresh your drink and food plate)

7:30-8:00 Quiz rounds four, five and six

8:00-8:30 Break and draw raffle prizes

Raffle prizes will be theme baskets. This will be a wonderful opportunity to take a chance on some great gifts for yourself or someone you love.

Cape Cod Basket – this basket will take you outside for a quick sandwich on the deck, beach or porch. Finish up with some great saltwater taffy, a Cape Cod treat.

Christmas Basket – a great combination of items to help decorate your home for the holidays.

Family Basket – create memories by serving from your new Pfaltzgraff platter. Includes memory book, family themed frames and photo album.

Boston Sports Basket – celebrate the best of Boston with memorabilia of our famous teams.

Halloween Basket – decorate for this fun holiday with the items in our basket.

Laura Ashley Basket
– this basket is full of stationery items from Laura Ashley.

Boston Irish Basket – a great collection of items from Boston and Ireland.

8:30-9:15 Quiz rounds seven through ten

9:15 to 9:30 Final tally and prize giving

We will have prizes for first, second and third place tables. All 4 players at each winning table will receive a prize. The first prize will be a special new CD from Eneclann which will be formally introduced with a CD signing event on Friday!

Monday, August 21, 2006

James Dent Walker Memorial Lecture

Lecture Title: Let No Man Put Asunder: Freedmen's Bureau Marriage Records
Speaker: Reginald Washington
Thursday, August 31, Session T-178, 5:00-6:00 p.m.

The lecture will include a state by state discussion of Freedmen's Bureau marriage records in the National Archives and their importance for African American genealogy research. The presentation will highlight marriage reports, licenses, certificates, and the Bureau's overall effort to assist former slave couples to formalize marriages they had entered into during slavery.

The James Dent Walker Memorial Lecture
James Dent Walker Memorial Lecture has been presented at FGS Conferences since 1994. It honors the late Jimmie Walker, one of the most popular and respected lecturers in genealogy. His thirty-year career at the National Archives in Washington, DC, included . . .
Read More
directorship of the annual Institute of Genealogical Research (now known as the National Institute of Genealogical Research) and supervision of the Military Service Records Section at NARA. This notable man did pioneering research on minorities in the American Revolution and helped thousands of genealogists during his career. He is a credit to his archival profession and essentially was a groundbreaker for black genealogical research in Federal records. He did not keep this knowledge to himself – he shared it with eager researchers.

Speaker Bio
This year’s lecture presenter is Reginald (Reggie) Washington, an archivist/genealogy specialist with the Research Support Branch of the U.S. National Archives and Records Administration. He lectures frequently on records and research procedures, and has served as the African American Genealogy Subject Specialist at NARA for ten years. He has spoken at Afro-American Historical and Genealogical Society conferences, National Genealogical Society, Federation of Genealogical Societies, National Institute on Genealogical Research, and numerous Washington DC area genealogical societies and clubs. Mr. Washington has conducted numerous workshops on the use of Federal records for African-American genealogical research, and his articles have appeared in Prologue, The Record, and Ancestry.

Keeping Public Records Open for Genealogical Research: What Do We Need to Do?

This session, sponsored by the Massachusetts Genealogical Council, is another special presentation at this conference. Genealogists need to stay on top of legislation these days if we hope to keep even the access we currently have.

We expect a lively discussion from a variety of perspectives - ably presented by Alvie Davidson from Florida, Diane Gagel from Ohio, Sharon Sargent from Massachusetts, and Marie Melchiori from New Jersey. With such a varied cast, we'd like to solicit questions in advance so we can be extremely efficient with the limited twenty minutes or so alotted for audience participation. Constructive queries, phrased like "Why haven't we done.....?" or apt observations would be much appreciated and can be sent to moderator Melinde Lutz Sanborn at in advance of the conference.

The British are coming . . .

…but this time without the muskets and red coats. A team from various parts of the UK has been assembled to give a selection of talks on a range of English, Welsh, Scottish and Irish sources for your family history. You’ll be surprised at what you can find in British records – even if you think you have no British ancestry.

As an island nation and a former Imperial power Britain has always had a strong military and naval tradition, so it is a rare British – or Irish – family that does not contain a soldier or a sailor or two, or more. There are talks on the records of both the British Army and the Royal Navy from Paul Blake. He will also tell you . . . Read More

He will also tell you about Land Grants and American Loyalist Claims from 17th and 18th century records. He and Maggie Loughran are giving a pair of lectures on the Scots-Irish; they explain who these people were, when, where and why they migrated, and how to find out more about them. Paul and Maggie have previously lectured extensively in the USA, and will be doing so again immediately after Boston.

Genealogists like nothing better than lists of names, and Maggie will tell you about some early British ones, predating the first really useful census of 1841. There are several early censuses and other useful name lists, if only you know where to look. She can also help you identify the ‘Best of British’ websites for your research. Finally, she will tell you how to make use of the wealth of knowledge and experience that local and family history societies in Britain have amassed over the years, not only to help you with your research, but to expand and enrich it.

Else Churchill is the Genealogy Officer of the Society of Genealogists, and will talk on the related themes of local and specialist library collections throughout the UK, and her talk ‘I’m Stuck!’ aims to help you become un-stuck when researching your elusive English ancestors. She is particularly knowledgeable about 17th and 18th century records, and is in such demand that she has to leave the Conference early to fly back to England to speak at another International Conference there!

Audrey Collins comes from The National Archives (TNA) to give an overview of its records and facilities, and how to use them in your research; and the good news is that you can find an amazing amount of information online. She will speak separately on Irish resources in TNA; you’ll be surprised at the amount of information about Irish people that is held in England, and not in Ireland where you might expect to find it. And if you’re confused about the difference between England, Great Britain, the United Kingdom and the British Isles, she hopes to explain exactly what is ‘Britain’. She is also speaking as part of Librarians’ Day, where she will explain how the Family Records Centre in London deals with its patrons (we call them customers).

Roger Kershaw, also from TNA, specialises in the records of migration, and he talks on a number of subjects, all in different lecture tracks; child migrants to Canada in the International: Canada track, free migrants from Britain to North America in the New England track; passenger lists held in TNA comes under Archives and Repositories, and he teams up with Connie Potter from the U.S. NARA for ‘Hopping the Pond’ about sources for migration in the two archives, and how to identify them.

Joanna O’Rourke comes from Scotland, representing both the General Register Office for Scotland (GROS) and the National Archives of Scotland (NAS). She is an expert on the vital records and census returns held by GROS, essential for anyone researching their Scottish ancestry, and in a separate session deals with the wills and probate records held in NAS. Many of the records she talks about have been digitised and are available online. She also brings the latest news on the exciting new Scottish Family History Service Project, being developed jointly by the two offices and the Court of the Lord Lyon, and of which she is project manager.

We are all looking forward to meeting old and new friends in Boston, and we have a combined ‘Best of British’ stand in the Exhibit Hall, where you can find out more about us, our archives and our records. See you there!

Thanks to Audrey Collins for sending this to the blog.

Counting the Days

The excitement is definitely building. The FGS/Boston Conference is days away! Since I live in the Boston area, I'm pretty happy this conference is in my backyard. I know where to find everything I need, but I'm sure conference attendees coming from outside the local area probably have lots of questions about Boston. Blog postings mention where to find groceries, a drug store and even a post office, but perhaps you have a different query. This is your chance to ask. All you have to do is post a comment/question for this blog listing and you could see your question answered on the blog. Remember there are no stupid questions!

I'm spending the next several days plotting out what I want to do at the conference using the "Create Your Schedule" form on the FGS conference page. I downloaded the program and the form to make it easy to keep track of the lectures and events I'm attending.

See you soon!

Sunday, August 20, 2006

Share the blog details with other registrants

Not all registrants know that the blog has a lot of last-minute reminders and info about the conference. If you know someone else who is registered, would you please tell them to check the blog (both past and current postings)?

If there are additional last-minute things we have not covered, please email me your suggestion for the blog. These should be general things that would also apply to others attending the conference. Just click on my name in the right hand column for the link to my email.

During the coming week the blog will contain some last-minute tips about packing for and attending the conference. Thanks for your help in getting the word out.

Once you arrive at the Hynes Convention Center -- Registration

Once you arrive at the Hynes Convention Center, you need to pick up your conference materials that includes a tote bag, syllabus (one volume for each day with all four total 1200+ pages), layout maps of the convention center and host hotel, a name tag, luncheon and banquet tickets, the chart of which lecture is at what time (and in what lecture room), and other items.

Hours for on-site registration and pick up of materials (signs in the Hynes will point the way):

Tuesday, August 29: 3:00p.m. - 7:00 p.m.
Wednesday, August 30: 7:00 a.m. - 6:00 p.m.
Thursday, August 31: 8:00 a.m. - 6:00 p.m.
Friday, September 1: 8:00 a.m. - 6:00 p.m.
Saturday, September 2: 8:00 a.m. - 3:00 p.m.

Excitement about Visiting Boston

I had a message from Connie Bilkowski of Appleton, Wisconsin and in part her message said: Or are you "blogging" from St. Paul? Boston is such a neat city. I fell in love with it in 2002 after a Northeastern Mass. coastal vacation. I have been back there doing genealogy research at various repositories and combining a vacation to various parts of coastal Mass. every year since, excluding 2005. . . I successfully made my luncheon and banquet reservations per your good instructions. Thank you!

My reply was that I am currently blogging from St. Paul -- and that I have not been back to Boston since June. I have lots of local help for some of the details. I too fell in love with Boston in 2002 and understand her excitement at going back. For those of you visiting for the first time or if you haven't been there in many years -- you will soon experience why we are so excited about the city. Local residents know what a neat place it is and get the joy of the conference being in their own backyard.

Vanity Sketches: Discovering the Sources and Truths Behind Mugbooks

Speaker: D. Joshua Taylor.
Friday, Session F-210, 10:30 - 11:30 a.m.

Large volume works including state histories, multi-state histories, and regional histories often include a section devoted to biographical sketches, known as the mugbook section. Learn how to find the source of those sketches, their compilation, and . . . Read More
how to evaluate them as a genealogical source. If you are a subscriber of the FGS Forum, you can read a prelude to the lecture “Vanity Sketches: Mugbook Sources and Truths” beginning on page 13 of the Summer 2006 issue.

Speaker bio
D. Joshua Taylor "Josh" is a nationally known and recognized genealogical author, lecturer, and researcher. Josh has spoken for genealogical organizations throughout the United States including the Utah Genealogical Association and the National Genealogical Society. Josh has served as the Recording Secretary, Exhibit Chair, and Parliamentarian for the Utah Genealogical Association. Josh is currently a coordinator of the USGenWeb Project, serves as a member of the Election Committee and as their parliamentarian and is chairman of USGenWeb at FGS/NEHGS 2006, in celebration of USGenWeb's 10th Anniversary.

Josh is a member of the New England Historic Genealogical Society, the National Genealogical Society, and the Association of Professional Genealogists where he serves on the Web Enhancement committee. Josh is the recipient of the 2003 and 2004 Distinguished Service Awards from the Utah Genealogical Association, and the Rubincam Youth Award from the National Genealogical Society. Currently Josh serves on the Youth and Website committees of the Federation of Genealogical Societies, and is a member of the 2006 FGS/NEHGS National Conference Committee. He is a Reference Librarian at the New England Historic Genealogical Society.

Friday, August 18, 2006

Need to add a luncheon, the banquet or the Irish Table Quiz?

Several variations for adding these to your conference registration appeared on this blog July 28th. Just click on that date to get to the step-by-step instructions.

Be sure to have your conference registration confirmation email handy for your confirmation number. This e-mail was sent to you by Michael Leclerc after you registered. If you can't find that -- you can obtain the number by checking on your registration via the FGS website.

One last thought, in your rush to get ready for the conference, are you sure you really registered? That's just one of those "oops" things that can so easily happen. I admit to doing that once. (And that was also for a conference in Boston!)

Last day to add meals to your registration is August 24th.

Still need to reserve your spot at the banquet or a luncheon? The last day to do this is Thursday, August 24th. There will be very few meal tickets available for sale at the conference -- so get your last minute meal additions done soon!

To do this, click on the link in your registration confirmation e-mail that takes you to the registration page. Follow the pages through till you come to the one that has the various conference paid items followed by a circle. Scroll down that page to verify what you have already paid for and then click in the circle for any items you wish to add.

A full-service Post Office just feet away

The Hynes Convention Center entrance to and from the attached Prudential Mall opens into a world of stores and services.

A full service U.S. Post Office is just one of these services. It is open from 8:00 a.m. till 7:00 p.m. on Monday-Friday and until 2:00 p.m. on Saturday. That is so convenient and something I have always wished for at a conference.

Thursday, August 17, 2006

More on the Hynes Convention Center

Today I had 3 e-mails from people who wanted to know more about the convention center where the conference is being held. If you were at the GENTECH conference there in 2002, you know that the John B. Hynes Veterans Memorial Convention Center is a perfect place for the conference. The easy navigation between the host hotel, the lecture rooms in the Hynes, and the Exhibit Hall make this a popular choice for conferences. The Exhibit Hall space is large enough so . . .
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you can easily walk around and browse without feeling crowded -- and don't forget there are some exhibitors that have never been at an FGS Conference before as well as our usual favorites. The layout enables us to get from one lecture room to another or to the Exhibit Hall in just a few minutes. Check out the layout map for the convention center at

Some other conveniences at the convention center are:

Lots of restrooms
Elevators and Escalators
An entire facility that is handicap accessible
Signage to help you get around
Snack bar
Air conditioning, of course
FedEx Business Center
Plenty of places to sit
Walk out the door into a shopping mall that even includes a Post Office
It's near drug, convenience, and grocery stores

Wednesday, August 16, 2006

Groceries Near the Conference

Will you need some bottled water for your hotel room, an apple, pretzels, or maybe a candy bar? (Rumor has it that there are genealogists who need their daily dose of chocolate!) Some food items will be found at the drug stores mentioned in a post yesterday. The area also includes some convenience stores such as 7-11. However, there are two other nearby options for such purchases and one Farmer's Market:
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Shaw’s Prudential Supermarket
53 Huntington
Open 6:00 a.m. to Midnight
A full-service grocery store

Deluca’s Back Bay Market
239 Newbury Street (at Fairfield)
Open 8:00 a.m to 8:00 p.m.
Interesting corner market that is fun to visit

Copley Square Farmer's Market
Copley Square is across the street from the Boston Public Library
Just walk down Boylston Street from the Hynes Convention Center Complex.
Tuesday and Friday 11:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m.

With a Little Help From Our Friends

The Beatles knew what it took to make a difference--friends. A lot of genealogical friends are coming to Boston in a couple of weeks for FGS, but we'd like to make this the biggest genealogy event EVER. You can help us! All you have to do is tell two of your friends about the conference. They might not know about it. As you know, attending a conference is a great way for anyone involved in family history to meet like minded individuals and have fun. If your friends need convincing try economics. It's a dollars and sense issue.
Read on to see how you can entice them:
  • Amtrak is offering a is offering a 10% discount on the lowest available fare to Boston, MA between August 27 – September 5, 2006.
  • It's not too late to get a hotel room! Additional rooms at the Sheraton Boston are now available at the conference discount of $159.00 single/double and $40.00 for each additional person. That's approximately $100.00 off the usual room rate. To reserve a room at the Sheraton, contact the reservations line at 1-800-325-3535. Identify yourself as part of the Federation of Genealogical Societies 2006 Conference when calling.
  • Attending the conference is cheaper and easier than traveling the world looking for your long-lost cousin. Vendors and speakers from major repositories in England, Ireland, Canada, and the United States will be on hand. You can check out the list of exhibitors or take a peek at the program.

All it takes to make this conference a spectacular event is a few more genealogists. Let's turn it into a challenge. If each and everyone one of us tells two friends we could double the number of attendees. So, how many of your friends can you convince to come to Boston?