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Federation of Genealogical Societies

Article Date: 
27 August, 2010 - 06:00

Last week I attended the Federation of Genealogical Societies’ annual conference in Knoxville Tennessee.  The Federation of Genealogical Societies is an organization made up of genealogical societies (wow, redundant).  The conference helps societies improve their services to members and better market and govern themselves.
The conference also serves a wide variety of genealogists who attend, and come to improve their genealogical skills.  It was a good conference and there were a number of new announcements that took place at it.  Some of the most significant announcements follow:
FamilySearch announced the availability of 200 million new records on beta.FamilySearch.org .  This includes records from more than 18 countries.  The records are initially available only at pilot.FamilySearch.org, but will shortly be available at beta.FamilySearch.org.
FamilySearch also announced a new conference that will be held in Salt Lake City, February 10-12, 2011.  The conference is sponsored by FamilySearch, the New England Historical and Genealogical Society, BYU, and Ancestry.com and will be called rootstech.  The focus of this conference will be technology in family history and will include topics such as:
*GPS Mapping
*Search and finding tools
*Mobile devices and smartphone  applications
*Scanning documents
*Storing and maintaining digital information
*Using social networking to help in family history
The conference will bring together companies that write family history software and users who want to learn more about using technology and trends in the future.  
Many years ago GenTech helped to provide some of this experience, but Gentech lost some of its key leaders and ceased to function.  FamilySearch is looking to revive a conference focused on technology, like GenTech was.  This conference is designed to help all interested parties meet together and help move forward the technology that powers family history.
FamilySearch also announced a new set of resources for researching in Tennessee at the conference.  A collection of pages on the FamilySearch Wiki (wiki.FamilySearch.org) have been created with cooperation between research consultants from the FamilySearch Family History Library, many of the most experienced experts in genealogical research in Tennessee, and the Tennessee genealogical society.  
The New England Historical and Genealogical Society (NEHGS) has launched a new website, AmericanAncestors.org . NEHGS is not well known to many casual family historians, but is one of the largest and most successful genealogical societies in the United States, as well as being one of the oldest.  They have extensive collections of records and even greater expertise in using these records.  They have members from all over the United States.  To some extent NEGHS is more of the National Genealogical Society than NGS is.  They are one of only a handful of societies that has made the transition to the digital world and have found a way to marry a physical library with a website to serve members in many ways.  If you have not visited the NEHGS website, it is worth a look.
FGS (The Federation of Genealogical Societies) launched a new tool to locate genealogical and historical societies around the United States.  The societies can be found by searching at FGS.org .
Many readers may be unaware that Utah has a strong genealogical society.  The Utah Genealogical Association (UGA) serves members all over the state with resources, networking, and publications to help its members be successful in family history.  Information about UGA can be found at their website infouga.org .
FindMyPast.com announced the release of 22,000 parish records from Dorset.  They are fully indexed and can be searched at FindMyPast.com .
Additional resources continue to be released at an ever-increasing pace.  There are more records online, more tools to search them, and more ways to collaborate with families than ever before.  The experience at FGS has me very excited for the upcoming rootstech conference.  These conferences always leave me rejuvenated and anticipating the future.  My experience at FGS has charged my genealogical batteries for months to come.