Friday, July 14, 2017
A Society for Societies
Having discussed local genealogical societies all this week, and the changing roles they play in advancing family history research, I couldn't finish off the series without mentioning a key player in building community. For genealogical societies in the U.S., that would be the Federation of Genealogical Societies, established in 1976 to "link the genealogical community."
Our local society is a member organization of FGS, and we have been grateful for their assistance in the various administrative tasks we've taken on as we streamline and bring our group into the twenty first century. As we modernize—and, along with that effort, grow our ranks—we've certainly benefited from sage advice received by FGS, but we've by no means exhausted all the avenues for assistance.
Of course, the one area I'm most jealous about is their upcoming annual conference. An event which roves from host city to host city, this year, the FGS gathering will convene in Pittsburgh. Granted, I'm in California and the host city is at the far western reaches of a state which, at its other end, shoulders east coast locations. But distance seldom stops me when reasons to attend outweigh the objections.
When a good friend from our society mentioned she planned on going, I became more than jealous. I really wanted to attend. After all, this national conference not only includes the usual genealogical fare for research—several tracks, in fact, covering everything from immigrants to military records to taxes—but features an introductory "Societies Day" reserved for topics on organizing and operating a genealogical society. Topics for that day alone made attendance seem worthwhile.
Unfortunately, as the early-bird deadline loomed, I heard that hotel blocks were booked solid—that it was difficult to find any available rooms in hotels anywhere near the conference venue. For someone toying with the idea of flying in, catching a hotel shuttle and never venturing beyond the walls of the conference center, this did not sound like a car-rental-free possibility. (Another block of rooms was subsequently opened up for conference attendees, but I didn't find out in time for the discounted rate.)
In the end, I chickened. Didn't pursue the idea. I'll keep an eye out for other bloggers who attend and write about the conference in their posts. (Are any of you still out there?)
I can always be an early-bird next year. After all, the roving annual conference will be moving on from Pittsburgh. At some point, the event will occur closer to my state. Or perhaps come up with an enticing location. Like research magnet Fort Wayne and the Allen County Public Library. Now, there's a conference possibility for 2018!