I am currently in Fort Wayne, IN, for the FGS 2013 Conference.
I wasn’t planning on blogging, but I think that I will attempt to blog at least part of the time that I am here. There is plenty to do and I’ve been cautioned not to try to do it all. Well, so far, I am not heeding that advice. It is currently 11:46PM and there is an 8:00 am start time for the first session tomorrow. One thing that I am learning: Sleep is SO overrated.
Today’s theme was Focus on Societies. Every session that I attended was excellent. I attended Cyndi Howell’s session on “Is Your Societies Website All That It’s Cracked Up To Be?”. It was very entertaining and informative. What to do and what not to do as far as a website is concerned. Besides stating the obvious – like who you are and what state you are from (there can be the same county names all across the country) – you should also try to keep the most pertinent information ‘above the fold’ on the website so that people do not have to scroll down to see it.
The next session was Dana Palmer on “Creating Master Databases from Local Genealogical Sources”. Dana gave great insight on how she and her society structured various databases, depending upon the application/goal for the data and where it would be located.
I then went on to “Overcoming “We Have Always Done It That Way” Syndrome”. This session was by D Joshua Taylor. It too, was very informative. Josh explained the importance of communication – letting the society know what your thoughts are for change as well as you listening to their possible fears or objections. The key is to approach the changes in a non-threatening location/manner – not at the board meeting. Certain words, like ‘but’ or ‘no’ should not be part of one’s vocabulary. We are all in this together. Grow. Change. Adapt.
Lunch time came and J Mark Lowe presented “Delegate Pit Stop: Tune Up Your Society”. He had us all captivated. One of the best parts of the presentation was at the end when he went around the room and society members were able to stand up and tell the crowd what good things have occurred at that society in the last year. So many wonderful things! It’s a great time to be a genealogist.
The afternoon had three more sessions (yes, I was tired AND full):
Electronic Publishing for Societies with Rachel Popma. Rachel defined what electronic publishing was as well as she discussed some of the pros and cons to electronic publishing. She gave ideas on how to start implementing electronic publishing in your society, even if just a little bit, such as .pdfs of newsletters and/or quarterlies.
My day ended with George Morgan. I had the last two sessions with him. He is a very well versed speaker. “Harness the power of e-mail in Your Society” and “The Shape of the 21st Century Genealogical Society”. Both topics complimented one another and were great. George not only discussed email, email blasts, etc., but he also explained what the benefits were and how it would help the society gain more exposure. The later speech was aimed at we all need to embrace the changes that are upon us in order to grow as societies.
Wait – there is still more…there was an evening social at the Botanical Gardens sponsored by FGS and Findmypast.com. I didn’t win any of the 3 baskets that they were raffling off (shock, surprise, amazement – NOT), but that’s OK. It was a nice event. A little bit of a wait at first, but it was nice once you stuck it out.
I then saw a fellow society member, socialized for a while, and then back to the room for me. I have a jam-packed day and need to get some rest. Of course, it is already well after midnight and I need to be up at 6:00am. Oh well. I did say that sleep was overrated at the beginning of this post.
A great kickoff to the conference – I can’t wait for tomorrow’s sessions.