We just returned from the FGS 2011 conference, and it was a great time of learning and sharing. One of the best parts of the conference is the opportunity to be able to discuss our challenges and successes with other societies, and this year was no exception. GSP moderated a Genspirations session on Saturday morning where we talked with some other societies about what they're doing to benefit their members. Especially impressive was the Genealogical Society of Utah's idea of a virtual chapter. which allows their out-of-area members to be active and participating members. A great idea and food for thought.
Thanks too to Randy Whited from FGS for his support and brainstorming ideas. Randy has experience with a number of Texas societies, and his perspective on technology and moving societies into the 21st century was really valuable.
Other highlights of the conference? Meeting so many attendees from all over the country who have Pennsylvania ancestry. It was amazing to meet people from Massachusetts to Oklahoma who shared their stories at our conference table about how their ancestors migrated from our state. The common theme was new opportunities, and it made us reflect on what it must have been like for our people to have taken that leap of faith and made a trek miles away from their home. Thanks to everyone who stopped by and visited with us--we hope to see you or talk to you again soon.
It was also fun to spend a little time with Thomas MacEntee of Geneabloggers radio (among his many projects!) and the other conference bloggers while we filmed our "What I Wish I Knew Then" video series. Thomas's self-created buttons and ribbons were a highlight of the conference (including "Keep Calm and Cite Your Sources", visible on the lanyards of many conference attendees.)
We also got to have a sneak preview of our speakers for our upcoming November 5 Family History Day Conference with Ancestry.com. On Society Day on Wednesday, Curt Witcher shared his thoughts with us about the fundamentals of society management. (Number one? Do good things.) Lisa Alzo pointed us towards the best approaches and resources for Eastern European research, and Pat Richley (a.k.a. DearMYRTLE) shared ideas for researching the next generation of genealogy researchers. We can't wait for November.
If you'd like to hear any of the sessions from the FGS conference, they can be ordered here from Fleetwood. It's definitely worth it. j.e.h.