Wednesday, September 7, 2011

FGS Begins Today and I’m Already Behind

2011 FGS Conference: Pathways to the HeartlandThe 2011 annual conference of the Federation of Genealogical Societies gets underway in Springfield, Illinois today and I’m already behind. FamilySearch met with bloggers yesterday evening and in the course of a few minutes made several significant announcements.

Field Express

Jake Gehring explained a process that FamilySearch internally calls “Field Express.” Through this process, images of records photographed in the field will be published online within two weeks. I thought this was the most significant announcement of the evening. I’ll write more extensively about it in a separate article.

1940 U.S. Census

Jim Erickson spent several minutes “not [making] a big announcement” about a 1940 census initiative. He told us to look for an announcement in the future. He did say that genealogical societies (this is the FGS conference, after all) could make a significant contribution to indexing it quickly.

BYU Family History Archive

Gehring announced the release of a beta test of the FamilySearch historical book collection. A project has been underway for 18 months to move the BYU Family History Archive to A limited number of books is being tested on FamilySearch Labs at Once released, all books will be added, including some not available on the BYU host.

The collection has overwhelmed the BYU Library servers currently hosting it. As of this morning the collection consists of 17,777 public domain family history related books scanned by FamilySearch personnel (mostly volunteer missionaries). The books come from the Family History Library, the Allen County Public Library, the Houston Public Library, the Mid-Continent Public Library, various BYU libraries, and the Church History Library of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

Submit Your Tree

While I was out at Labs, I noticed another beta project: Submit Your Tree. How long has that been out there? According to the website, “Submit Your Tree is an easy way to upload a GEDCOM file and compare it to millions of records that are already in” I’ll take another look at this when I get the time.

But I digress. This was not an FGS announcement.

New Collections

What was an FGS announcement was David Rencher’s comments about FamilySearch Civil War resources available at . (That’s the poorly designed page I mentioned during the NGS Conference. The design still stinks. But I digress…) Rencher pointed to new additions made since NGS: Civil War Pension Index Cards, Headstones of Union Veterans (Rencher said we’re in Yankee country, or he would have insisted on Confederate headstones), Provost Marshall Files, and Widows Claims.

New collections for the conference include:

  • 1865 Illinois State Census
  • Illinois Naturalizations
  • Indiana Marriages
  • Iowa Births
  • Kansas Marriages
  • Kentucky Probates
  • Atlantic and Gulf Port Index to Passenger Arrivals

Stay tuned so you can see me get further and further behind.


  1. Thanks for posting! It makes us feel like we're there with you (although still insanely jealous that I'm not!). Have fun!

  2. Thanks for all this good information. I'll stay tuned for more!


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