Friday, March 31, 2006

Federation of Genealogical Societies New Online Conference Registration

Several weeks ago the Federation suspended its online conference registration to implement a new system. The process took slightly longer than anticipated, but we have now launched our new online registration system for Birthplace of American Genealogy, the 2006 FGS/NEHGS Conference to be held August 30-September 2, 2006 in Boston. Participants can view details on each of the almost 350 sessions being offered . . .
Read More

during the conference, including meals and workshops in addition to regular sessions. In addition to well-known American speakers, experts from Canada, England, Ireland, and Scotland will be part of the program.

This new registration system offers many new features, including the ability to make changes to your registration online at any time. All registrants will be sent a confirmation email with links to review and modify their registration whenever they like. In addition to credit cards, the system allows individuals to register and pay by check as well. You can view details about the conference and register online at

Thank you for your patience as we have moved through the process of implementing this new system. If you have any questions, please contact the Federation at or 1-888-347-1500.

Wednesday, March 29, 2006

Need a conference roommate?

FGS has had several requests inquiring if there are other conference registrants looking for a roommate. Starting now, FGS will provide contact information (via e-mail) to those seeking a possible roommate. Robert (Bobbi) King, an FGS Board member from Colorado has graciously offered to handle the sharing of names and contact details.. .
Read More

Bobbi and FGS will not be doing the roommate matching; that contact and decision is up to the individuals seeking a roommate.

To be a part of this service, all you have to do is e-mail Bobbi and provide details including your name, city and state/province, e-mail address, telephone number, and some details about the type of roommate you are seeking. This would include such things as smoker/non-smoker, late or early to bed and to rise, arrival and departure days, whether or not you have already booked a room, male/female roommate preference and other requirements.

The information you provide will not be posted online. It will only be shared with others seeking a roommate. Once you make a match, please let Bobbi know so that she can remove your name from the list.

To contact Bobbi:

Sunday, March 26, 2006

Lecture: Which Records Are Correct? The Uniqueness of Doing French-Canadian Genealogical Research

Speaker: Pauline D. Cusson

Genealogical research for French Canadians has generally been done by using secondary sources such as alphabetical indexes or abstracts of church registers. These extracts were relatively reliable as they were being produced, in general, mostly from original sources by genealogical societies in the Province of Quebec. Until 1996, the only way to research the actual church registers here in the United States was to borrow . . .
Read More

the individual parish microfilm through the LDS Church or by visiting one of the many Quebec Provincial Archives. In 1996 a copy of the defunct Drouin Institute microfilms was purchased by the American-French Genealogical Society (AFGS) in Woonsocket, RI who in turn sold a copy to New England Historic Genealogical Society in Boston and the Allen County Public Library in Fort Wayne, IN.

Now the American-Canadian Genealogical Society (ACGS) of Manchester, New Hampshire has the only digitized copy of these microfilms in the U.S. Ms. Cusson will show the unique brand of research that can be accomplished using both the secondary sources to collect data leading to primary source documents to complete your ancestral chart. Many a brick wall has tumbled since the acquisition of this collection. The American-Canadian Genealogical Society has six new computers networked for accessing this Drouin Digitized Collection of baptisms, marriages, and burials throughout the Province of Quebec, parts of the Provinces of Ontario, Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, and Acadia, and some U.S. records.

At the FGS/NEHGS conference later this year, please visit the ACGS booth in the exhibit hall for a demonstration of how it works.

Speaker Bio:
Pauline Cusson is currently serving her 6th one-year term as President of the American-Canadian Genealogical Society of Manchester, NH. She has been serving as the Editor of their quarterly journal, the American-Canadian Genealogist since 2000. Ms. Cusson has made several presentations to various groups in New England on the migration of French Canadians from Quebec to the New England mill towns and the trials and tribulations of French Canadian research. For more information on the ACGS check their website at

Tuesday, March 21, 2006

Luncheon: The New York Genealogical & Biographical Society

Friday September 1st Luncheon sponsored by The New York Genealogical & Biographical Society (NYGBS)

Speaker: Lauren Maehrlein, MA

Adventures in New York Genealogy
Lauren tells us: "All my immigrant ancestors arrived in New York City from Germany from 1851 to 1898. In tracking these forebears down I've had need to visit virtually all the large and small repositories in the city and, in doing so, have, along with my successes, a number of extreme "DUH" moments. My talk will concentrate on . . .

Read More

how easy it is for even a relatively smart and organized person to make some really dumb mistakes, which, in the telling are pretty funny - though only in retrospect.

Speaker Bio: Lauren Maehrlein, MA
Lauren is the NYGB's Director of Education and a member of its Education and Publication Committees. Hooked on genealogy at the age of seven, it took her another twenty-five years to discover there was an entire sub-culture of like-minded obsessives out there. For twenty years she has been an active member of and contributor to several societies, FHL volunteer, lecturer, professional researcher, and instructor in Beginning Genealogy. Her research specialties include Germany, Rhode Island, and northern New Jersey.

The Sponsoring Organization
The New York Genealogical and Biographical Society, popularly known as the "G & B," was founded in 1869. As a non-profit educational institution, its purpose is to collect and make available information on genealogy, biography and history, particularly as it relates to the people of New York State. To carry out this purpose, it maintains one of the principal genealogical reference libraries in the United States, publishes periodicals and books, conducts educational programs and provides other services. For more info visit the Society's website.

Luncheon: The International Society for British Genealogy and Family History

Thursday, August 31st Luncheon sponsored by The International Society for British Genealogy and Family History (ISBGFH)

Speaker: Sherry Irvine, MSc, CG, FSA Scot

So Many Joneses: Name, Numbers, and the Triumph of the Welsh.
Sherry told me: "If I tell you how this luncheon topic came about I might give away one or more of the punch lines." She further says: "Some things I will talk about are . . .
Read More

implied in the title - Wales is a county of common surnames and of remarkable people. Researching in Wales has some aspects that are quite unique and I will highlight a few; I hope to send people away with a smile and with renewed enthusiasm."

Speaker Bio: Sherry Irvine: MSc, CG, FSA Scot
Sherry has decades of experience researching ancestors in the British Isles and has been teaching and lecturing almost as long. A resident of Courtenay, BC, Canada, in June she will be the keynote speaker at the 11th Australasian Congress of Genealogy and Heraldry in Darwin, Northern Territory. She has been a faculty member of the IGHR at Samford University since 1996 and is the author of three books including the award-winning Scottish Ancestry: Research Methods for Family Historians.

Other news, which you may have seen, is the recent launch of Pharos Teaching and Tutoring Ltd, a United Kingdom company founded by Sherry and Helen Osborn (an APG member and London-based genealogist). Sherry is a former president of the Association of Professional Genealogists and was the recipient of the 2005 winner of APG's Grahame T. Smallwood Award for service to genealogy. She is currently is vice-president of ISBGFH.

The sponsoring organization
The International Society for British Genealogy and Family History (ISBGFH) was established in 1979 to educate individuals searching for their British ancestors. ISBGFH is an educational organization and publishes the award winning quarterly journal, British Connections. The ISBGFH is holding its sixth annual British Institute to be held October 2 - 6, 2006 in Salt Lake City. For more on the organization and the British Institute, visit

Sunday, March 19, 2006

Conference FAQs

We figured that if a few persons had these questions, there might be others who need the same information.
Read on for the important answers

1. Is there still room at the conference hotel, the
Sheraton Boston?

Yes! If you find that someone tells you otherwise, just let us know at Be sure to mention that you are coming for the FGS Conference to get the discounted hotel rate of $159.00 for single/triple. The telephone number is 1-800-325-3535.

2. Is there still a discount available for registering early?

If you register by July 1st (postmark date or online) you still can save $30.00 ($155.00 fee vs. $180.00 after that date). That pays for four full days of lectures and special events.

3. I noticed that the online conference registration form is not active. Can you tell me why?

Electronics, electronics, electronics. FGS has been working on a cool new website – and as often happens, the conversion to the new look has encountered a few glitches. FGS is in the process of moving its offices. We have experienced some delays in excess of those anticipated in relocating the office phone lines. This has contributed to the temporary unavailability of some ecommerce services on our Web-site, including online registration for the Boston Conference. We thank you for your patience while the remaining issues are resolved.

4. Why doesn’t the full conference registration brochure have the traditional grid layout?

That is an easy one to answer – with the large number of lectures there simply wasn’t room for the traditional layout. If you haven’t received the brochure that has been mailed out, it will be arriving soon. The full conference program will be on the new FGS website. And that site, along with this blog, will continue to be updated with special conference events.

5. I don’t plan to stay in the conference hotel. Any suggestions on alternatives?

For links to B&Bs, motels, hotels, campgrounds and more check these websites:
Prepare for New England tourism at <
Plan for visiting Boston at <>
Check out the Boston subway system, the "T" at <>

Saturday, March 11, 2006

Boston Websites

Kay Freilich kindly shared this helpful list for blog readers and as she states:

"The list that follows includes web sites and, where appropriate, the names of the nearest T stop(s) for many of the places you might want to visit, in the order listed in this article. . .

Read More

Note that the Green Line has multiple branches so be sure to check which one you want."

More on Boston from Kay Freilich

This past December and February, this blog featured some of fellow genealogist Kay Freilich's shared items of interest to Boston area residents and visitors. Please see the posting above this one for her list of Boston area websites.

Sites to see Read More

Henry Wadsworth Longfellow’s home at 105 Brattle Street is a ten-minute walk from Harvard Square. The recently renovated 1757 mansion served as George Washington’s headquarters during the siege of Boston in 1775. If you’d rather see more of Cambridge, consider a tour on the double-decker busses that depart from Harvard Square.

Visit Adams National Historical Park in Quincy. The multi-building park includes the 1735 birthplace and boyhood home of the second president, the 1767 birthplace and boyhood home of the sixth president, and the home of four generations of the family.

Spend some time along the Boston Harbor and view the history of John F. Kennedy’s Camelot at the same time. The Kennedy Library includes a replica of the Oval Office and displays that chronicle his life and that of several family members. Even though the library is located south of downtown on the University of Massachusetts campus, reaching it via the Red Line is easy. Shuttle busses run frequently between the library and the T stop. For more about Kennedy, visit his birthplace and boyhood home in Brookline. The president’s mother arranged the furnishings, photographs, and mementos that are on display.

For the shopper
Stroll down Newbury Street which is a very short walk away. This street is lined with designer shops and boutiques, art galleries and gift shops as well as cafes and restaurants for a relaxing drink or meal. Be sure to save some time to sample the research collections of NEHGS at 101 Newbury when you’re in the area.

Visit Copley Place and the Prudential Center where most of the nation’s retail giants are among more than 200 shops, with several restaurants as well. (You don't even need to go outside -- both are connected to the conference site. Do wear walking shoes -- this is a big and exciting complex.)

Stroll around Quincy Market for a variety of retail chains and one-of-a-kind shops, restaurants of all kinds, all in the setting of a colonial market.

For a uniquely Boston shopping experience visit the original Filene’s Basement in Downtown Crossing. Here merchandise, including designer labels, is marked down on a progressive scale the longer it is unsold.

There’s more shopping along Massachusetts Avenue (always known locally as Mass Ave), along with cafes, coffee shops, and restaurants when you need a break. Consider a visit to Herrell’s Ice Cream for a “smoosh-in.” You can select up to three items to be mixed in to your favorite ice cream flavor.

Wednesday, March 08, 2006

Ancestor Road Show at the Conference

Ancestor Road Show Co-Chairs Pam Eagleson ( and Allison L. Ryall ( sent this to share with blog readers:

This event, which has proven very popular at other conferences, is free to attendees of the FGS/NEHGS 2006 Conference in Boston on Friday, September 1 (9:00-5:00) and Saturday, September 2 (9:00-3:00). . .
Read More

Attendees can bring their tough genealogical problem and discuss the problem with an expert in the field of their problem. The Ancestor Road Show will be held in the exhibit hall. The event is being sponsored jointly by the Greater Boston Chapter of the Association of Professional Genealogists, APG itself and FGS.

Attendees will be able to sign up for the event on Thursday August 31 at the conference and the sign-up will continue as long as spaces are available. Each attendee should limit their question to one ancestor or one ancestral research problem. There will not be enough time to discuss the attendee’s entire family history research project. The consultation is for a maximum of 20 minutes. Attendees should bring a concise written statement of their problem and are encouraged to bring with them any material (family group sheet, pedigree chart, specific documents, etc) they would like to use to illustrate their problem.

Experienced and skilled genealogists with all types of backgrounds and specialties who are willing to volunteer at least one hour to the event are being recruited. The scheduling of the genealogists will be done in one hour time blocks. If you are willing to help please contact Allison Ryall ( by March 31 with the day(s) and time(s) that are convenient for you and explain your area of expertise (be as detailed as possible). Triage volunteers, responsible for the overall running of the event (on-site scheduling, answering questions and giving quick research advice), are also being sought.

Who knows . . . this free professional advice event between professional genealogists and any family history researcher that attends the FGS 2006 Conference might produce the key to a problem that seemed insurmountable!

Watch this blog for announcements of conference special events.

Monday, March 06, 2006

Organizations Sponsoring Conference Luncheons

What an array of organizations sponsoring the luncheons at this conference! In upcoming blog messages you will hear about the menus, speakers, and topics.

Wednesday Luncheons

  • Networking Luncheon (no speaker, just lots of opportunity to meet and greet and talk genealogy)
  • Federation of Genealogical Societies Delegate Luncheon and Caucus
  • International Commission for the Accreditation of Professional Genealogists

Thursday Luncheons

  • International Society for British Genealogy and Family History
  • New England Historic Genealogical Society
  • The Irish Ancestral Research Association
  • USGenWeb

Friday Luncheons

  • Allen County Public Library (Fort Wayne)
  • Board for Certification of Genealogists
  • Genealogical Society of Utah (FHL)
  • New York Genealogical and Biographical Society

Saturday Luncheons

  • Afro-American Historical and Genealogical Society
  • Association of Professional Genealogists
  • Genealogical Speakers Guild/International Society of Family History Writers and Editors
  • National Genealogical Society

Luncheons at the Conference

A wonderful feature of the FGS Conferences is lunchtime. Regular lectures and workshops are not scheduled at this time so that speakers and registrants can take a break. We do need to eat to keep our minds sharp for the second half of the day. You will get more from the lectures and will be able to do a better job of shopping in the Exhibit Hall. One of my reasons for attending the luncheons is that I know in advance I have a seat for lunch and don’t have to run around to find a restaurant without the usual lunchtime crowds. All the conference meal events are open to anyone; you do have to purchase a ticket. Different organizations sponsor the luncheons and arrange for the speaker. Ticket holders sit with other family historians; the discussions are enlightening and followed by the speaker’s presentation. The menu is the same for all luncheons on a given day; those menus will be posted to this blog shortly.

Speaker Bio: Chuck Knuthson

Chuck Knuthson lives in Roseville, California and will be presenting four sessions at the FGS/NEHGS Conference in Boston. Chuck shared some impressive details about his education, research, and some things that will tell you how he honed his observation, research, and other skills. . .
Read More

Chuck has been involved in family history for thirty years and for the past twelve years he has instructed beginning genealogy classes at Sacramento-area community colleges. Chuck lectures locally, regionally, and nationally, including the Utah Genealogical Association, the Federation of Genealogical Societies, the National Genealogical Society, the California State Archives, the California Genealogical Society, eGenConference, the first-ever Internet-based international virtual genealogy conference, the Salt Lake Institute of Genealogy, the Southern Kentucky Genealogical Society, and the Genealogical Forum of Oregon. He is the volunteer coordinator for the Sierra County GenWeb website of the California GenWeb Project, and a volunteer librarian at the Sacramento LDS Family History Center.

A fourth generation Californian, Chuck is a retired police captain, having served for thirty-two years with the Roseville California Police Department. Chuck has a B.A. degree in Criminal Justice from California State University, Sacramento, and a Master of Public Administration degree from Golden Gate University, San Francisco. He is a graduate of the FBI National Academy and the California Law Enforcement Command College. Chuck has completed seminars at Brigham Young University, the Salt Lake Institute of Genealogy, the National Institute on Genealogical Research, and the Institute of Genealogy and Historical Research. He has attended numerous local, state, and national seminars, institutes, and conferences. Chuck serves as Treasurer for the Federation of Genealogical Societies, is President of the 1,300-member Sacramento German Genealogy Society, and is a member of numerous other genealogical and professional organizations. He is working toward certification as a professional genealogist.

Luncheon: USGenWeb

Thursday Luncheon sponsored by USGenWeb
Speaker: Chuck Knuthson

Ten Years Later: The USGenWeb Project: A Valuable Research Resource.
In celebration of the 10th Anniversary of the USGenWeb Project, USGenWeb will sponsor a track of classes and a luncheon at the 2006 Federation of Genealogical Societies (FGS) Conference in Boston. In this luncheon presentation, Chuck will take a look back at the ten year history of USGenWeb and the resources, both old and new, it provides for family history researchers. Also included will be information on how to access these resources, what information can one expect to find, finding online research tips, and a brief introduction of World GenWeb. An often underutilized resource, USGenWeb volunteers coordinate affiliate U.S. state and county GenWeb projects offering a tremendous amount of free information and the ability to connect with other researchers sharing our interests. Chuck has been a county coordinator in the California GenWeb Program since 1998.

Thursday, March 02, 2006

The Insider: Research in Boston

What Boston landmark has murals by John Singer Sargent and English oak bookcases? If you guessed the Boston Public Library on Boylston St., you're right! It should be on your must-see list while you're in town. It's only a short walk from the Hynes Convention Center. . .
Read More

Take time to walk around this architectural treasure designed by Charles Follen McKim who called it his "palace for the people." Philip Johnson designed the 1972 addition. Make a point to see the Sargent murals on the third floor and Bates Hall on the second floor. The McKim building is home to the research collection while the Johnson addition houses the circulating collection.

Plan an extended afternoon of research using the BPL's microtext department, Government Documents, Rare Books, Manuscripts, or the Norman B. Leventhal Map Collection. Use their website to gain an overview of the collection or to find out which departments require an appointment.