When we turn our hearts to our ancestors, something changes inside of us. We feel part of something greater than ourselves~Russell M. Nelson

Friday, February 20, 2015

My First Day at FGS 2015~Learning, Socializing and Having Fun!

  The Federation of Genealogical Societies held their annual conference along with Rootstech in Salt Lake City, Utah February 11-14, 2105. I flew out from South Carolina so that I could attend.
  Day one for me was on Wednesday, February 11 with FGS presenting Society Day. The sessions for this event dealt with topics to help grow and develop local and state Genealogical Societies as well as how we as society members can more fully engage.

    We began the day with the FGS Opening Session: Focus on Societies-Successfully Embracing the Future.
 We heard from FGS President D.Josh Taylor and listened to talks by Deena Coutant, Jen Baldwin and Curt Witcher.
 Awards were given to those who had made a difference in their societies.
    Then it was time to move on to the sessions that I had planned for the day.
    First was a great lecture on Connecting, Exploring, Refreshing: Marshaling Change in Your Society by Curt Witcher.
  The question of Why Not? Instead of Why? when it comes to change and keeping up with the times was discussed.

Curt Witcher FGS 2015

    Next Paula Stewart-Warren gave a presentation called  Your Society Can't Afford To Do A Seminar? Here's How! in which she gave practical suggestions on how to plan, fund raise and successfully have your society or group have a seminar. She asked for examples and ideas from the audience as well.  I am looking forward to sharing what I learned with my local club.

     After lunch with a friend, it was time for The Ethical Genealogist by Judy Russell.  Anyone who has ever attended Judy's lectures knows how entertaining and informative they can be. This was no exception. We talked about the importance of these three elements:
                                                        Tell the Truth
                                                    Play Nice With Others
                                                 Don't Tell Tales Out of School
     We want to be known as someone who is honest in what they are sharing, honors others whom we associate with and are mindful that sometimes, stories are not ours to tell.

Judy Russell-FGS 2105

      My next session was by Jen Baldwin and was called Now What Do I Do? Your First Year As a Board Member.
   We were encouraged to make a list of S.M.A.R.T. goals to help us in our efforts to do a good job as a board member. Making sure we know exactly what our particular job entails and how we can help fulfill the mission of our organization will help us to be successful.     We ended the session by asking questions to those in attendance so that we could share experiences. One of my questions was -How do we make changes and get past the "this is how we've always done it" mentality? One suggestion was to actually show examples of  doing something different and the results that occur do to that change. 

Jen Baldwin-FGS 2105

      Rorey Cathcart's session on Social Media for Societies: It's Not a Bandwagon It's a Freight Train! was my last class for the day and  gave some practical and useful tips for using various types of social media. We talked about the need to get the word out about our societies. Through social media we can let others know who we are and what we can do for them. 

Rorey Cathcart-FGS 2015


After a full day of learning and meeting old and new friends, it was time for dinner and then the evenings social event.
Meeting Thomas MacEntee

Taking a pic of J. Paul Hawthorne as he took a pic of Cyndi Ingle!

Cousin Russ! 

 The FGS Evening Event- Behind the Scenes: Family History & Television began with watching clips from Finding Your Roots, Who Do You Think You are and a preview of stories from Genealogy Road Show that had not been aired. We were then able to ask questions from a panel of representatives from each of the shows.
 Josh Taylor (Genealogy Road Show) with panelists CeCe Moore (Finding Your Roots), Kenyata Barry (Genealogy Road Show), George E. Ott (Who Do You Think You Are) and Jennifer Utley (Who Do You Think You Are)

            One of the most interesting things that I learned was that on Who Do You Think You Are, the celebrities do not know where they are going before hand or what may have been discovered about their family. Their reactions are not scripted but true expressions of what they are learning about who they are and where they come from.
  Afterward, I was able to meet and talk to Kenyata Barry and Mary Tudesco from  Genealogy Road Show as well as several other Genealogists. It was a great night and perfect way to end the day.

Laurie Desmarais (who is beside me in the back) and I photo bombing
 J. Paul Hawthorne's pic of Polly Fitzgerald Kimmet, her friend and Mary Tedesco.
 Laurie made me do it!! LOL!
Photo Credit: J. Paul Hawthorne

    Are we kin? Please contact me. Together we can find our people.
Thanks so much for stopping by!



  1. I loved the program on Society Day - attended five awesome sessions.

    1. So glad to have met you! One of the highlights of my trip!! Thanks so much for taking the time to read my post and leave a comment.

  2. Thank you for the nice comments on my presentation about societies affording to do seminars. I loved preparing and doing that one and the audience was great at sharing ideas. I am sorry we didn't get to spend any time together. It goes by so fast!

  3. Paula, I enjoyed your presentation. I wish I could have spent some time with you as well. Can't believe it's over! Thanks so much for reading my post and taking the time to leave a comment!