September 7, 2011

News from the FGS Conference

Although I don't usually report on genealogy news, I'd like to make an exception this week while I'm attending the FGS 2011 Conference in Springfield, Illinois. There's a lot going on here that I think might interest many of you. To kick things off, FamilySearch graciously hosted bloggers at a reception and information session Tuesday evening. It was wonderful to meet other bloggers in person for the first time! Everyone was so friendly and welcoming.

Paul Nauta, Jim Erickson, David Rencher, and Jake Gehring shared some of the newest developments and plans from FamilySearch, including:
  • Registration for RootsTech, to be held February 2-4 in Salt Lake City, opened Tuesday evening. A special rate is being offered during the FGS conference.
  • The 1940 Census Indexing Project starts April 2, 2012. FamilySearch is committed to free online access to the 1940 census, and is looking to partner with societies and organizations for help with indexing.
  • Millions of new Civil War records are being digitized, and volunteers are needed for indexing. See
  • Multiple new collections of U.S. records have recently been made available online.
  • New research helps—Wiki Projects, Forums, and Learning Center videos—are being expanded.
  • While FamilySearch is still rapidly digitizing microfilmed records from the Vault, it also is streamlining a process called “Field Express” to bring previously unrecorded images directly from the field to the web in four weeks or less.
  • BYU Family History Archive will become FamilySearch Family History Books (now in beta development).

The first day of the conference focused on genealogical societies. I attended sessions on writing and editing society newsletters. I also took some time out to visit the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Museum, and am so glad I did. The exhibits are excellent, and I came away with a greater appreciation of the man who was determined to hold the United States together when it seemed as if it might be torn in two. I also gained a deeper understanding of the events and issues that my ancestors probably faced in the years before and during the Civil War. The gallery of photographs from the war years is particularly humbling. I highly recommend visiting the museum if you get the chance.

There's a full slate of sessions and events scheduled at FGS 2011 for the next three days. To follow along with the conferences happenings, see "The Latest News from FGS 2011" on Geneabloggers, or follow tweets using the hashtag #fgs2011.

(Disclaimer: FamilySearch invited me to the Blogger Reception, but I did not receive any form of compensation from them, nor was I asked to write about it.)

Related Posts:
Prepping for FGS 2011

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