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01-Oct-2002
October Newsletter


      Carol Sanderson, Editor
      Charles Hansen, Technical Advisor


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Genealogical Societies - by Charles Hansen

        September is always an exciting month, it is the end of the summer vacation and the Eastern Washington Genealogical Society (EWGS) will start meeting again. EWGS does not meet in the summer months, so getting back to seeing everyone is exciting. You get to hear about all the ancestors everyone has found, all the trips people have taken and all the finds they have made. Because of the meetings you become close to your fellow members and look forward to what has happened in their genealogies and in their lives, just as we do on the bulletin board.

        Many people do not want to join the local genealogical society where they live, as they say, I do not have any ancestors in this area, so why do I néed to belong to the local society? They will join a society in the area(s) [or topics] they are researching; to receive the newsletter, to find out what records are available, to buy books and publications compiled by that society, and perhaps, to post queries in the newsletter or to seek research help. Many live a distance from their local Societies and they can seldom, if ever, attend any of the seminars.

        Joining the local society means you hear about local programs, go to the seminars, learn how to be a better genealogist, and you can ask questions of the more experienced genealogists. EWGS has a beginners session. Each day there is a meeting, and a Spring and Fall seminar. This October, there is a seminar on Military Research. Seminars such as that are an excellent way to learn about military records.

        If you join the far-away society because you were interested in their books and publications, remember that those items do not just magically appear. Most represent hard work by several people, extracting or indexing records. These jobs are not difficult and many societies néed volunteers to do the work. The local newsletter néeds articles, and there are other jobs that néed people to fill them. What do you get out of volunteering? A lot of satisfaction on a job well done, and maybe the records you worked on will break down a brick wall for some other genealogist, and the records you néed to blast through your brick wall are being extracted right now in some other genealogical society.

        Education and networking, with your fellow genealogists, are two great reasons to join the local genealogical society. Other reasons are trips to Salt Lake City (group rates), or to national seminars. If your society is a member of the Federation of Genealogical Societies (FGS), you are automatically a member of FGS, and can go to their seminars, like the one Carol attended in Ontario, California in August [see the August Newsletter in the archives]. Members usually get a lower price than non-members at seminars and conferences

        On the FGS web site and here in these pages, are places to locate local genealogical societies, there is information on the societies and when they meet, so check it out and join a Genealogy Society near you.

Recommended reading & viewing:
Eastern Washington Genealogical Society - EWGS Webmaster Email
Family History.com




A Conference - by Carol Sanderson

        This year, I went on a genealogical vacation. I planned it so that I could attend the Federation of Genealogical Societies' (FGS) conference in Ontario California. This was a four-day affair. I arrived in Ontario on Monday evening and the next day visited someone whom I had wanted to meet for some time. We spent a day together and I think we both enjoyed it. After the conference, I went to see other friends I hadn't seen for a long time. I had fun visiting and sightseeing for another week.

        Wednesday morning the conference started bright and early. The first day has lectures and discussion of the various aspects of a society and the running of one. These are very helpful to the members of societies who go looking for help with the planning of meetings and running their societies. These all help the delegates to take new ideas to the meetings of the society to which they belong. The first FGS conference I ever attended was as the delegate from my society. It didn't take but one or two lectures to realize the value of this to societies all over this country. I went back to my society filled with ideas of things that would help attract new members and keep those we had interested in genealogy on the society level.

        Well-known, very qualified speakers in their fields filled Thursday, Friday, and Saturday with lectures. Part of what we received at registration was a syllabus. This contains brief biographies of the speakers, a list of the lectures and one of the vendors too. The speakers send in a copy of their handout for their lecture and they are all bound together in the syllabus. It makes it easier to take notes or to just follow along. Afterwards, the syllabus is a great tool for learning more as these "handout" usually include a bibliography of things that gave them their information...more learning.

        Besides the lectures, there are several luncheons each day for which you could sign up and at which a special speaker will address the attendees. There is also a banquet on Friday night, which is the culmination of the conference and a fun night even though there are things the next day.

        One of the luncheons at this conference, which I had signed up for, was to be addressed by Henry Z Jones. He is author of many books on Palatine Germans and several on Psychic Roots and Serendipity. I have no Palatines that I know of but having read the two books on Psychic Roots and Serendipity, I wanted to hear Mr. Jones. I was seated at a table with several people that I knew and who had been board members of the FGS at one time. Much to my surprise, Mr. Jones came and sat at this table. He is as interesting in person as his books led me to believe. It was an interesting lunch followed by a very interesting speech on some of the aspects of genealogy, as we knew it before the Internet and how he sees it developing in the future.

        There are always places where one may rest and have some refreshment. In these areas there are always people more than willing to talk about what lines they are researching or just plain talk. Sometimes you find someone looking for some of the lines you have and if you are lucky, you just might find someone who has a common ancestor with you. I did just that on Friday night.

        The vendor's hall is open with literally dozens of booths of all sorts of genealogical things for sale. There will be different programs, books, CDs, tapes, and databases such as Ancestry and Genealogy.com, Kindred Connections for you to hear about or buy.

        This is just an overview of the conference. I heartily recommend something like this to each of you. You do not néed to belong to a society but it does make it easier to learn about these seminars or conferences. Membership in a society opens doors for one in many ways such as making it easier to access some of the libraries. Going to a conference, large or small, is a great experience. All conferences, seminars and workshops are great places to learn, to share, to meet new people and to network. These sorts of things are important to all genealogists on their search for ancestors.

Recommended reading & viewing:
Federation of Genealogical Societies - FGS Feedback
2003 FGS Conference



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