Friday, August 29, 2014

#FGS2014 Conference: Riders on the Orphan Train

Riders on the Orphan TrainOver a quarter million orphans and unwanted children from the streets of New York were loaded up on trains and sent out all over the country to be given away. That’s right; you heard what I said. Stop after stop, perspective adopters inspected their teeth and squeezed their muscles to see how well they could work the fields.

This chapter in American history is largely untold and largely unknown.

The “Riders on the Orphan Train” FGS Conference keynote was created and presented by Phil Lancaster and Alison Moore to tell their stories. Lancaster is a singer-songwriter and Moore is an author and humanities scholar. To tell the stories, the two sang and played guitars while we viewed historical photographs and interviews of two survivors. Alison painted a word picture allowing us to see into the minds of the fearful children.

Phil Lancaster and Alison MoorePhil and Alison are the official outreach coordinators for the National Orphan Train Complex Museum and Research Center in Concordia, Kansas.You can read more about the presentation on their website.

Prior to the keynote address, Josh Taylor, FGS president, announced locations for upcoming conferences:

  • 2015 annual conference: I think most everyone knows this will be co-located with RootsTech, 11-14 February 2015 in Salt Lake City, Utah. (Josh Taylor says it will be the perfect Valentine’s Day date. Bring your significant other to run the copy machine.)
  • 2015 Alaskan cruise: If you can’t stand the thought of an August without an FGS conference, consider the 28 August 2015 FGS cruise. Speakers are Elizabeth Shown Mills, David Rencher, Judy Russell, and Josh Taylor. More information is available at
  • 2015 regional conference: In conjunction with the New York State Family History Conference, 17-19 September 2015, FGS is providing topics and events for genealogical society leaders.
  • 2016 annual conference: FGS is returning to Springfield, Illinois.
  • 2017 annual conference: the location of this conference is still to be announced.
  • 2018 annual conference: FGS is returning to Fort Wayne, Indiana.

And it’s not too late for you to join us for the weekend.

See you in San Antonio!

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