Tag Archives: FGS2014

FGS2014 Redux

It’s been a week since returning home from the Federation of Genealogical Societies 2014 Conference. It was the first genealogical conference I’ve ever attended, and it really changed my outlook about what I’d always considered a passionate hobby.

For one, the conference was filled with people just like me–people passionate about genealogy. Some were a little unsure of themselves, like me, wondering if I had jumped into the deep end without really knowing how to swim. Soon, though, I realized that I was in exactly the right place. These are my people!

In the end, here’s my takeaway from FGS2014.

1. Research, research, research! No matter how sure you think you are about your conclusions, keep researching until you’ve exhausted all options. This is part of the genealogical proof standard: a reasonably exhaustive research. I’m realizing that I’ve done good research, but far from “reasonably exhaustive.” So I’m taking a harder look at what I’ve done, and thinking about what other records may support (or negate) my conclusions.

2. German research is not as intimidating as it seemed (I hope). Dr. Michael Lacopo is my hero! His seminars on breaking through German brick walls made me want to start really digging into my German ancestors again. I’ve researched them up to their arrival in America, but no farther. Crossing the pond, especially to Germany, was just scary. I have a bit more confidence that I can do this now, plenty of ideas about where to look, and a new friend to advise me when I’m stuck. (Did I mention that Michael Lacopo is my hero?)

3. A renewed love of my iPad Mini. Lisa Louise Cooke gave an excellent seminar about turning your iPad into a genealogical powerhouse. So many great tips and tricks! I’ve always felt tied to my laptop simply because that’s where EVERYTHING is stored related to my genealogy. Now I can forget about dragging it with me everywhere I go because of her best tip ever: Splashtop! Put it on your iPad, and remotely access your desktop or laptop from anywhere. Essentially, I can have my laptop with me anywhere I have my iPad. Love it! Lisa is full of information about how to put technology to work for you in genealogy. Check her out at genealogygems.com.

4. You never know who you’re going to run into, so you better be there and ready when you do. I blogged last week about discovering a fourth-cousin while she was teaching a seminar at FGS2014. So glad I happened to be in that place at that time!

5. Most of all, I can do this! I have always dreamed of doing genealogy professionally, or becoming a certified genealogist. Going to FGS2014 showed me that it doesn’t have to be just a dream. As intimidating as it seemed at first, I discovered a huge support network eager for me to join them. It was a very validating experience, and one that has changed my entire outlook on how I do genealogy. It’s not just a hobby anymore; it’s serious business.

So, it should come as no surprise that I’m already registered for FGS2015, which happens to coincide with RootsTech 2015. I’ve never been to RootsTech before, so it ought to be very exciting! Plus, as D. Joshua Taylor said in his opening remarks, “What good genealogist wouldn’t want to spend Valentine’s Day in Salt Lake City?”


Ancestry is in my DNA

When I came to FGS2014, I fully expected to learn a lot about genealogy, meet some professional genealogists, get some good deals on books and subscriptions, and maybe meet a distant cousin. But, I never expected to see myself in a lecture slide!

In a seminar about using AncestryDNA in your research, the lecturer, Anna Swayne of AncestryDNA, was using her own DNA results and matches as an example throughout her presentation. Towards the beginning, she mentioned the name of her great-great grandfather, Timothy Winter. My great-great grandmother, Sarah Phylis Winter, had a brother named Timothy, so that perked my attention. Still, that’s a fairly common name.

Later in the presentation there was a slide showing some of her matches on AncestryDNA. I was sitting towards the back, and I really need glasses, so it looked a lot like this not-so-clear picture.


Just before Anna changed to the next slide, I realized that the fifth result from the top was me! I kind of quietly freaked out a bit, wanting to stop and ask her to go back, but not wanting to hijack her excellent presentation. I chose the latter, and patiently waited for everyone that had questions to talk to her before introducing myself. I don’t think I’ve had a better first-time reunion! We are fourth cousins, sharing our 3rd great-grandparents, Thomas William Winter and Myra Clayton.


Anyway, you never know what you’ll find at a genealogy conference!

Gone to Texas: FGS2014

A few months ago I was at a conference for my job. A lot of the workshops I attended were about social media and blogging, and as I was listening I had a hard time thinking about how to apply it to my job. I kept thinking about how it could apply to my genealogy work, which up until now has really just been a hobby.

That’s when I decided that I really needed to start looking into attending a genealogy conference, and learn more about taking my full-time hobby to the next level. So, here I am at the 2014 Federation of Genealogical Societies Conference in San Antonio, Texas.

Like my “inspiration conference” in April, I’ll be attending workshops to learn more about blogging, publishing online, and social media, but specifically about genealogy. I’m also attending some workshops related to research in different parts of the world, using DNA in genealogical research, and how to use different apps to make research more efficient. Most importantly, I’m registered for a special workshop given by the Board for Certification of Genealogists about the benefits of becoming a certified genealogist. I’m also hoping to network a bit, and learn from some of the professionals just what it takes to make it in the world of professional genealogists.

So, I’m really excited to be here, and am looking forward to a load of useful information over the next three days.