Monday, February 27, 2006

Volunteer at the FGS Conference

No national conference can occur without the assistance of volunteers. At any given conference the Federation utilizes around 2,000 hours of volunteer time. That is just during the week of the conference, not including the many long hours put in by the planning committee to create the conference.

We need your help to make the upcoming conference a success. Volunteers are needed to
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stuff bags, staff the registration booth and hospitality tables, provide directions, and a myriad of other tasks. One of the easiest ways to volunteer is to be a room monitor. Room monitors watch the room and provide assistance to the speaker in setting up the room and going to get assistance in the event aid is needed during a session. You get to volunteer and attend a session all at the same time!

If you are interested in giving some of your time during the conference, please contact NEHGS Volunteer Coordinator Susan Rosefsky at or at 617-226-1276.

Wednesday, February 22, 2006

Witches, Rakes, and Rogues: True Stories of Scam, Scandal, Murder, and Mayhem, in Boston,1630-1775

Speaker: D. Brenton Simons

This lecture is based on Witches, Rakes, and Rogues: True Stories of Scam, Scandal, Murder, and Mayhem, in Boston, 1630-1775 , which is the third book by Simons. "What Simons has fashioned," wrote Bill Plante in The Salem News, ". . . is . . .
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an enticing, scholarly, entertaining, time-machine ride to an entirely believable and recognizable world just over the horizon, populated by those who lived with problems not much different than some we read about today." For more information on Witches, Rakes, and Rogues please visit

Note from the blog editor: I have read this book and it is quite interesting.

D. Brenton Simons
Brenton is the executive director of the New England Historic Genealogical Society ( in Boston, the nation's leading center for family and local history research since 1845. (NEHGS is the local host for the year's conference.) 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.

The "Other Side" of the Courthouse: Court Records and Online Resources You Might Not Have Used

Speakers: Sandra M. Hewlett and John W. Konvalinka

As genealogists, we are probably familiar with the county court records most genealogists use: vital statistics, wills and estate files, land and property records, naturalization paperwork, perhaps even divorce decrees, tax records and records of name changes, adoptions and similar proceedings.

But what about the many other kinds of records . . .
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- those found in legislative and court proceedings - in which our ancestors (or other subjects) might be named - complaints, case files, dockets, court orders and minutes - as well as in the underlying state laws and statutes? And what about "quasi legal" records - minutes of common councils and other legislative bodies - which might contain a wealth of personal and family information?

In this session we will discuss the genealogical importance of the many kinds of courts and other records beyond the ones we are most familiar with and we will describe the finding aids and explore various ways to access these records - in print, in law libraries and archives (which might also contain case files of loose papers), and online through a variety of web sites and services.

Sandra M. Hewlett, CG
Sandi is a former National Genealogical Society Board members and currently serves on the New England Historic Genealogical Society’’s Advisory Council. She is Chair of the Genealogical Society of Pennsylvania’’s Technology Special Interest Group and a counselor for the GSP Summer Camp program. She has been involved in genealogy for 25 years, focusing her research efforts in New England, Quebec, Pennsylvania, New Jersey and England.

John W Konvalinka, CG, CGL
John is a professional genealogist and is a Certified Genealogist and Certified Genealogical Lecturer. He is a Trustee of the Genealogical Society of New Jersey and is co-Leader of the National Genealogical Society's Britain-Ireland Forum. He has taught Genealogy Courses at Rutgers University and the Princeton Adult School. John lectures at national and international conferences on genealogical topics, including the effective use of computers and the Internet in genealogical research.

More details on speakers and their lectures

The number of speakers and lectures at this year's FGS/NEHGS Conference is amazing. We thought readers might appreciate some extra information on both the speakers and the lectures. These will be posted periodically on this blog. Enjoy!

Friday, February 10, 2006

Preparing to Attend a Conference

Are you wondering what attending a large genealogy conference is all about? Between now and the conference this blog will have tips and guidance. If you can get to Marlborough, Massachusetts on Saturday, April 22, 2006 you might want to attend the daylong seminar of The Massachusetts Genealogical Council. It sounds like an interesting day and one of the sessions is devoted to attending conferences. The description of just this one session from their website is:
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"Preparing for the Federation of Genealogical Societies (FGS) Conference. Prepare for the genealogical opportunity of a decade. The FGS Conference comes to Boston from August 30 to September 2, 2006! This is expected to be one of the largest genealogical conferences ever held. There will be nearly 400 lectures from experts, and attendees and presenters will come from all over the world. Experienced conference goers will give you advice on what to expect, tips on choosing the best lecture topics for you, rules of etiquette for a large conference, making friends, transportation information and more. At the end of the presentation you will feel not only comfortable about the conference, but excited about it! This event must not be missed."

Thursday, February 09, 2006

For the history buff (and what genealogist isn’t interested in history?)

This is another blog installment from frequent Boston visitor, Kay Freilich. Her first installment is found in the December Archives on December 5th. Today Kay tells us about some of the historic thing to do while in Boston. You will get a chance to hear Kay at the conference where she will be one of the speakers.

Walk the Freedom Trail, a red brick path winding three miles through the oldest parts of the city past some of the most historic sites...

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You’ll immediately recognize the names from your history classes, but here’s a chance to see them in person. In the downtown area, the trail goes past Boston Common which began as a military training ground and common pasture land, Fanueil Hall where Samuel Adams urged Boston residents to unite against the British in 1772, the Granary Burying Ground where Mother Goose is buried alongside of several patriots, and Old North Church where Paul Revere hung two lanterns because the British were approaching by sea. A good starting point is the Visitor’s Information Center on the Tremont Street side of Boston Common.

Located in nearby Charlestown, but still along the Freedom Trail, are the Bunker Hill Monument that marks the 1775 battle of the same name and the USS Constitution, nicknamed “Old Ironsides.” Most of the attractions along the Trail have tours or exhibits or both. The entire Trail is a National Park site.

Cross the Charles River and visit Cambridge. The Red Line’s ["T" or subway] stop at Harvard Square is in the heart of Cambridge. Take a stroll around Harvard Yard, and then visit one or more of the libraries or museums at the nation’s oldest university. Browse at the Harvard Coop. Founded more than a century ago by Harvard students, it is still the place for books reference materials, and Harvard and MIT merchandise.

Wednesday, February 01, 2006

The Insider: Making Plans for Boston

If you're thinking of doing research while you're in town for the FGS conference, it's time to start planning. For instance, The Archdiocese of Boston archives are a must see for anyone researching Roman Catholic church records. It's open Tuesday through Thursday by appointment only. Use the collection overview on their website to make a list of what you'd like to see then a couple of months before coming to Boston, contact them for an appointment. This will prevent you from being turned away during the busy conference week.

Archdiocese of Boston
ATTN: Archives
2121 Commonwealth Avenue
Brighton Massachusetts 02135-3193
(617) 746-5797