Thursday, September 13, 2012

FGS Insider Ketchup

Ancestry Insider KetchupThe Federation of Genealogical Societies annual conference has been over for a week and I have several articles I had hoped to write. Unfortunately, it is time to ketchup…

War of 1812 Pension Digitization Project

The Federation is sponsoring the War of 1812 Pension Digitization Project. So far, there are 298,598 images online. A second camera has been deployed. Over a thousand people have donated and the project has received its first six figure gift. They also have a new brochure.

And pay attention to this: the Illinois State Genealogical Society will match contributions dollar for dollar up through $10,000. Since is also matching, a gift of $25 becomes $100. Visit the ISGS website to make your contribution.

FGS 2013

The 2013 FGS conference will be in Fort Wayne, Indiana, home of the Allen County Public Library. If you haven’t visited in a while, come see their new facility built in 2007. This library is one of the top genealogy libraries in the country and I’m excited to be visiting it for the first time.


One nice aspect of national conferences is luncheons. I attended one with a presentation by David McDonald. He is the president of the Board for Certification of Genealogists and a Director of the National Genealogical Society. He is also a man of the cloth and it showed. I speak not of his tremendous speaking ability, although that was present. No. I sat at his table and when someone asked for the iced tea, he sprang to his feet, grabbed the pitcher, and proceeded around the table, serving us all.

When he stood for his presentation, he began by saying “I’m not making a scholarly lecture. This is lunch!” He spoke to the subject of ephemera, which he defined as stuff. We listened entertained and moved as he talked of the heirlooms in his family. Many were not recognized as such, such as the 4-inch tall Humpty Dumpty sugar bowl. (Yes, having a great fall was part of the story.)

In the end the moral was simple. We need to label more than photographs. We need to write down an explanation of the stuff in our lives that we’ve received from previous generations and stuff that we wish to be valued by later ones.

“Let me encourage you when you are busy and the internet goes down to go take a look at the top drawer, the jewelry box… and write down what those things mean.”

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