I’ll See You in Grand Rapids

The genealogical world will converge on Grand Rapids, Michigan in only two short weeks for the National Genealogical Society 2018 Family History Conference (2-5 May 2018), marking the first time that a national genealogical conference will be held in my beloved home state. This event offers a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to show the genealogical community that Michigan is a thriving family history destination, bursting with outstanding state and local collections, rich and diverse online content, and robust genealogical societies. We have a lot to show off and celebrate!

The Archives of Michigan is thrilled to be a Bronze Sponsor of the NGS 2018 Family History Conference. My colleagues and I are looking forward to speaking with conference attendees in the Exhibit Hall (the Archives of Michigan/Seeking Michigan booth is #527, towards the back, right near Ancestry!). We have a lot of exciting things to share with the attendees, including the ongoing Michigan naturalization records digitization project, Seeking Michigan modifications, and important additions to our onsite collections.

A personal and professional highlight of the 2018 NGS Conference will be the pre-conference event in Lansing on May 1, the NGS research trip to the Archives of Michigan and the Library of Michigan. Affectionately referred to by Archives staff as “May Day,” registered pre-conference attendees will enjoy more than six hours of research time after a one hour bus trip from Grand Rapids. With original Michigan source material available onsite at the Archives of Michigan, including naturalization records, tax rolls, probate files, state prison registries, circuit court case files, military records, occupational registrations, and much more, we are confident everyone will have a fantastic research experience. The Archives is also the home of the Abrams Foundation Historical Collection, one of the larger family history collections in the United States. With published materials from across the country, particularly those with historic migration ties to Michigan (including New York, Pennsylvania, the New England states, Indiana, Ohio, and the Canadian provinces of Ontario and Quebec), the Abrams Collection is a perfect complement to the primary source material available at the Archives of Michigan. Welcome, May Day researchers!

Representing the Archives of Michigan, I also have the privilege of speaking and/or co-presenting several times throughout the conference, including Michigan Roots: Genealogy Research in the Wolverine State (session F-305) and Over the Top: Researching Your Michigan World War I Ancestor (session F-357). I am particularly excited about the World War I program, as it emphasizes and draws from the rich collections available onsite at the Archives of Michigan.

2018 promises to be a jam-packed year, as the Federation of Genealogical Societies Annual Conference will be held just down the road in Fort Wayne, Indiana in a few short months (22-25 August 2018). Earlier in the summer, too, the Archives of Michigan and Michigan Genealogical Council will host the Abrams Foundation Family History Seminar in Lansing on 20-21 July 2018, featuring David Allen Lambert from the New England Historic Genealogical Society.

A big thank you to the Western Michigan Genealogical Society, the local host society for the 2018 NGS Conference, and the National Genealogical Society for selecting our state as a site for the conference. In less than two weeks (!), I look forward to reconnecting and networking with friends and colleagues in the field from across the country, the opportunity to spread the gospel of Michigan to the genealogical community, and the privilege of promoting the outstanding collections and resources available at the Archives of Michigan.

I’ll see you in Grand Rapids!

NGS conference wrap-up

Hard to believe, but it’s been nearly a week since the 2012 National Genealogical Society conference wrapped up in Cincinnati, Ohio. With my work schedule, I was only able to attend a short time, yet I returned home bursting with new ideas, energized for my own personal research, and optimistic for what the future holds in the field of genealogy. A successful conference, to be sure.

NGS 2012 Family History Conference, May 9-12, Cincinnati (OH)

Always a highlight at conferences, I reconnected with colleagues from across the country, sharing updates on our places of work, and discussing future conferences and learning opportunities. I also enjoyed meeting new Facebook and Twitter friends face to face. My Friday program on Michigan genealogy went well, too, researchers’ enthusiasm and interest in Michigan continues to amaze and motivate me.

En route to Cincinnati, I stopped in Blue Ash at Blue Ash Chili for some outstanding 3-way chili and delectable mac & cheese. Skyline Chili was an enjoyable lunchtime spot the next day, although I preferred Blue Ash. Yet my Cincinnati culinary highlight was Graeter’s ice cream, conveniently located two blocks from my hotel. Black Raspberry Chip!

Although I unfortunately missed the opening program on the 1848 Cincinnati panorama, I did have the opportunity to visit the exhibit at the Public Library of Cincinnati and Hamilton County. It’s simply incredible how much detail we can glean from that image, down to the exact time it was taken. The exhibit hall is always an important part of the conference experience, both in conversations with vendors and in emptying one’s wallet; this year was no exception. It’s equally amazing – and inspiring – that FamilySearch is expecting the 1940 Census to be completely indexed by the end of August!

I look forward to my next visit to Cincinnati, perhaps at the Ohio Genealogical Society‘s annual conference in April 2013. Hope to see you there!

NGS 2012

The car is packed, fueled up, and pointed due south. Lunch dates and appointments with friends and colleagues have been confirmed. The conference schedule has been pored over and analyzed. Restaurants and watering holes have been identified. My program has been edited, rehearsed, and polished. It’s time. Cincinnati, here I come!

Next week, the genealogical community will converge on Cincinnati, Ohio for the 2012 Annual Conference of the National Genealogical Society. I have the privilege of speaking at this year’s conference – “Michigan Roots: Genealogy Research in the Wolverine State” on Friday, May 11 at 11:00a. I’ll be giving an overview of Michigan, its rich history, migration patterns, and the genealogical records available both online and in print.

NGS 2012 Conference, May 9-12, Cincinnati (OH)

As I’ve written in earlier posts, I am a big supporter of conferences and seminars, that collection of subject experts, content providers, vendors, local societies, booksellers, and attendees, complete with new product announcements and content releases. The 1940 Census and Ancestry.com’s acquisition of Archives.com will certainly be two of the hot topics of discussion, and there will no doubt be many new announcements and product launches.

On the culinary side, my Michigan friends still give me a hard time for my trip to Philadelphia for the FGS conference a few years back. Taking advantage of the local cuisine, I ate a hearty number of Philly cheesesteaks, in pursuit of the “best.” With Cincinnati known for its chili, I’ve been busy compiling a list of “best” candidates. Although my chili intake in Cincinnati will not reach those Philadelphian and stomach-churning heights, I’ll still give it my best effort. I’m sure my blog post review of the conference will discuss this important development….

I’m looking forward to meeting new researchers, reconnecting with old friends, and learning about new resources, gadgets, online tools. Whether it be to learn new research techniques, empty your wallet in the exhibit hall, or sample the local cuisine, there is truly something for everyone in Cincinnati. See you next week!

NGS 2012, Cincinnati

With the attention of the genealogical community focused, understandably so, on the release of the 1940 U.S. Census in just a matter of days, I’d like to write about an equally important event to be held in southern Ohio a few weeks later.

The National Genealogical Society’s Annual Conference will be held this year in Cincinnati, Ohio from May 9-12, 2012. I have the privilege of speaking at this year’s conference – “Michigan Roots: Genealogy Research in the Wolverine State” on Friday, May 11 at 11:00a.

NGS 2012 Conference, May 9-12, Cincinnati, Ohio

In today’s one-click world of Tweets, Likes, and Pins, with instant communication and information sharing, there is still something to be said for attending a national conference, such as NGS or FGS. There is a certain energy and excitement in the air at these events, a hybrid collection of subject experts, content providers, vendors, local societies, booksellers, and attendees, plus new product announcements and content releases, all set against the backdrop of the host city. I’ve experienced this phenomenon recently at NGS 2010 in Salt Lake City and at FGS 2011 in Springfield, IL, and am already looking forward to RootsTech 2013 in Salt Lake City. I expect NGS 2012 in Cincinnati to have that same vibe.

Conferences like these offer attendees limitless possibilities. Myself, I look forward to reconnecting with colleagues and friends, making new friendships, and of course, spending some serious money in the exhibit hall. Let’s not forget about studying the new technological gadget, exploring the latest time-saving solution, and the opportunity to discuss product with the content providers themselves, including Ancestry, FamilySearch, Fold3, and others; as a librarian that works with these products on a daily basis, this opportunity to have a face-to-face conversation is priceless.

One other benefit of these conferences is the opportunity to dive into the local cuisine. As my Michigan and Ft. Wayne friends will attest, I take it as a personal challenge to find the “best” example of the food the host city is known for: the Philly cheese steak, a deep dish Chicago-style pizza, or the horseshoe in Springfield, Illinois. A big fan of chili, I’m particularly excited about the culinary possibilities in Cincinnati; I’m open to suggestions and recommendations!

With a number of the national-level conferences being held recently in the Great Lakes region, including Cincinnati, Springfield (IL), and Ft. Wayne (IN), plus the superb Ohio Genealogical Society Conference held annually, Midwest-based researchers are incredibly fortunate to have these fantastic events so close to home. I encourage everyone to look at their calendars and try to find some time in May to spend with an enthusiastic gathering of family history researchers at the “Gateway to the Western Frontier.”

I hope to see you in Cincinnati in May!