Monday, October 1, 2018

Whoops! A Tad Behind in Wrapping Up FGS Day 3

Where does the time go?  I just realized that I didn't finish reporting on this year's FGS conference, having failed to write about the last day, even though one of the best sessions took place then.  Shame on me!

I began my Saturday with a volunteer shift at the Association of Professional Genealogists booth in the exhibit hall.  We usually don't get a lot of people stopping by, but it's nice to have the resources available for those who want to ask about the organization.  As usual, most of the inquiries I fielded were about how to find a professional genealogist to help with research, but a couple of new BYU graduates with degrees in family history asked for advice on starting a professional genealogy business.  I'm happy to spend some time in the booth to help promote the primary American organization for professional genealogists.

During my time in the booth, I popped out a couple of times and spent some time looking in the exhibit hall for good deals to spend some free "dealer dollars" that I received with my registration.  I finally decided on one of those books for a grandparent to write down information about his life and give to a grandchild — my boyfriend wants to create memories for his younger granddaughter, and I thought this would be a helpful supplement to the time they spend cooking together — and a more general memory book focused on events on each decade from the 1930's to the current time.  It's always fun to get free stuff, and the books ended up costing me not even a penny.

After my shift was over, I zoomed over to catch a session in the first time slot.  As much as it pained me to do so, I did not attend Tony Burroughs' presentation on oral history.  While Tony is one of my personal inspirations as a genealogist, I have read quite a bit about taking oral histories, and I thought I would be better served to learn something new.  In that vein, I went to Tina Beaird's talk on Scottish Presbyterian Church records, and I'm glad I did.  I know a fair amount about religious records, but I learned some specifics about the Presbyterian records, which can include not only the sacramental records one would expect (births, marriages, deaths) but also confirmations, transfers, pauper records, school records, session minutes, suscription lists, and print publications.  Wow, that's a lot of places to find information about your family members!  And Tina was a good speaker, too!

After Tina's talk came the lunch break.  Near the end of the break, MyHeritage held a trivia quiz in their booth, with attendees who answered questions about flags correctly winning various prizes, including DNA tests and annual subscriptions.  I managed to eke out a three-month subscription by guessing the right answer for the flag of Papua Guinea.

I spent the afternoon learning more cool genealogy information.  Ari Wilkins talked about how former slaves, after Emancipation, used newspaper advertisements and the Freedmen's Bureau to try to reconnect with family members.  No study has been done to determine how successful people were, but it appears that for the most part they were not.  It seems that more researchers are successful nowadays in reuniting family branches by using DNA and tracking down cousins.

Janis Minor Forté spoke about strategies to identify slave owners and then using that information to reconstruct slave-era families.  I already knew the techniques she described, but it's always good to attend talks such as this because there are often little gems you find nowhere else.  Since I have not been able to move any of my family lines past the 1865 barrier, I need all the help I can get.

The final presentation I heard was Judy Russell, the Legal Genealogist, covering copyright myths, in her version of the top ten.  The most important thing I learned in this session was that something I had been told years ago was wrong.  I don't even remember where I learned it, but someone I trusted gave me incorrect information about copyrights on photographs.  After Judy's talk it became clear to me that having your photographs developed in no way reduces or negates your copyright in those photos.  The developer functions as a publisher does for a book.  I'm glad I never passed on that bad information to anyone else but annoyed at myself for not having analyzed it better.

I had a great time at this year's FGS conference and learned a lot.  I'm so glad I had the opportunity to go.

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