alvie's genealogy spot

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

FGS Conference Springfield, IL 2011 about all I can say for the trip to Springfield. There was a headcount of more than 2,000 attendees. Everyone I heard make comments were always exuberant about what they did or heard. I was able to attend only two classes but found them to be top quality.

Most of my time was involved in managing the APG vendor booth. I had a great many volunteers but found it was necessary to drop by at the change of each shift.

It was my privilege to meet such quality individuals as Jay Verkler, CEO of Family Search, Thomas MacEntee, blogger extraordinaire, Curt Witcher, Library Manager for the Allen County Public Library in Fort Wayne, IN.

While hanging around the booth Fred Moss, legal advisor for FGS, dropped by and brought with him Dr. Carla Almeida Santos. Dr. Santos is assistant professor at Univ of IL at Urbana-Champaign. She is a mover and shaker in the tourism industry in Illinois.

Here is a photo of myself, Fred and Dr. Santos in our APG booth.

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Thursday, September 08, 2011

FGS Blogger Festivities

Those bloggers covering this FGS Conference in Springfield are a very nice bunch. I was invited out to Bennigans's for meeting with 50 qualified bloggers. I met such folks as Thomas MacEntee, Kim von Aspern-Parker, and Paula Stuart Warren. They had a very busy day but still found time to laugh and enjoy a good time around a high table in Bennigans.
I learned all about how much they are devoted to their cause. More later.

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Tuesday, March 29, 2011

London Visit Afterthoughts

After my return from this journey to London I have had time to reflect on just how much I enjoyed the trip and all that it included. There were so many people that I was priviledged to meet and exchange business cards with that I am still trying to digest all of it.

Some of my photos are loaded into Picassa and now it is time for me to begin to share them. While I was grabbing a snack in the upper level of the conference center I sat at a table adjacent to Lisa Louise Cooke and her husband Bill. This is a lovely couple and we had some very nice exchanges. Lisa is host of a wonderful genealogy program:

One place I was able to visit while in London was a historic church which I had read about and studied from a distance. This church is one of the oldest Baptist Church buildings in the world; Metropolitan Tabernacle. One of the pastors was Charles H. Spurgeon in the mid-1800 time frame. The service which I attended was at 11 a.m. on Sunday and I was pleasantly surprised to see the entire building was filled to capacity. When the services ended I met a couple sitting beside me from Tennessee. He was working with a branch of the military at a city in the far Eastern part of England. They drove to London just to attend these services.

Sunday, February 27, 2011

London First Day As A Tourist

My visit to London was for the purpose of helping with the vendor booth at the Who Do You Think You Are-Live. Of course time afforded me a bit of being the tourist. I took a London Big Bus and got a feel of being a guided tourist going over the London Bridge and seeing lots of sights like the Parlaiment Building and Big Ben. Got off the bus and toured Westminster Abbey.

No photos allowed inside but got a few good outside shots.

Was so tired after thirteen hours on my feet. Really on sit down was on the bus and when I took in a matinee play entitled "Billy Elliott". Good music and dance by some very young talent.

Saturday, February 12, 2011

Ending of Rootstech 2011 in Salt Lake City

This initial Rootstech Conference was a first of its kind and was very well attended. It was a joint effort by many sponsors such as, Family Search, BrightSolid, Microsoft, and Dell to pull together members of the genealogy community and the software techies in order to get a greater understanding of the need for both to work together for the greater good.

I was able to attend programs on the great features of Google, document preservation, and new inovative software. There was so much brought to the forefront by each of the opening speakers my head almost ached from trying to store it all.

I am looking forward to the second Rootstech Conference right here in the Salt Palace on February 2-4, 2012. What has been learned from this experience will be used to make the second conference much better.

I have been told this conference attracted a number of attendees in excess of 3,000. The Expo Hall was crowded wall to wall when classes were not in session.

One speaker which really made me sit up and take notice was Mr. Brewster Kahle the Digital Librarian for Internet Archives in San Francisco. His presentation told of the wildly high numbers of bytes of stored data, images, and video at Internet Archives. It was almost beyond mental comprehension.

Just as the day was drawing to a close several of my friends joined me in the Expo Hall to discuss some of the things we had absorbed. In this photo above is Alvie Davidson, Drew Smith, Kim Harrison, and Lou Szucs of Ancestry.Com.

Friday, February 11, 2011

Rootstech in Salt Lake City 2011

It was a very exciting and anticipatory time while making my way to the opening of this first Rootstech Conference. The crowd began to push and gather around the doors for the opening of the intro speakers. Some commented that it was almost like the push to join a rock concert hoping to find a great seat.

The auditorium was very colorful and filled with four gigantic screens - two on each side of the speakers podium. There were many guesses about the number of attendees ranging from 2,000 to 3,000. Since I am not good at this sort of thing I will leave it up to others. I got my seat near the front and directly in front of one of the huge screens.

The two opening speakers were introduced by Ann L. Roach, AG, CG, the chair of the 2011 Rootstech Conference. Ann gave a very rousing welcome when she introduced Shane Robison who represented Hewlett Packard and Jay Verkler, CEO of Family Search International. Both speakers were assisted by spectacular video presentations which showed the foundation of the future of electronic genealogy.

When the opening session was concluded everyone bolted into the expo hall where they were greeted by a vendor area unrivaled by any genealogy conference in the past. Vendors such as Dell, Ancestry, Hewlett-Packard, and FamilySearch greeted the attendees with well staffed booths.

I got my first hour of browsing all the vendors and the display area. While I was walking in the area of the very large media booth I was greeted by Lisa Louise Cooke producer of "GenealogyGems.Com". I had never met Lisa in person but had been interviewed for her podcast via Skype several months ago. She immediately asked if I she could do a video interview for a later premium program. Of course, I agreed. The videographer positioned us inside a large clear booth which kept out the noise of the area. Lisa conducted about a 10 minute interview on camera and when it ended I dashed off to attend some of the presenters at the conference.

While passing through the vendor floor I met with Matt Wright, editor of the APG Quarterly. As we chatted the president of APG, Laura Prescott, stopped by and greeted us. At the time she asked to take our picture. A great job was done by her expertise on the IPhone Camera.

As the day ended everyone moved to the free offering of a "Night at the Planetarium" at the nearby Clark Planetarium. One of the Rootstech sponsors, BrightSolid, provided this along with an endless supply of food and drink. We got to see a 3D IMAX movie about the rescue of the Hubble Telescope and a laser light show. By this time everyone was tired and ready for a good nights rest.

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Friday, April 30, 2010

Salt Lake City NGS Conference 2010

Arrived in Salt Lake City on a warm Tuesday afternoon of 27th of April 2010 to attend the annual conference of the National Genealogical Society Conference. The actual location of the conference is the Salt Palace Convention Center adjacent to the Radisson Hotel. I am told the registered attendees number between 2,000 and 2,500. Genealogists from around the world convened to hear lectures as well as mix and mingle with their fellow researchers. There was appropriate time allowed between programs for the visitors to browse through the vendor tables in the large vendor hall containing books, genealogy programs, and all sorts of items of interest to the genealogist.

I was in the vendor hall a great deal of the time because I have the opportunity of managing the booth for the Association of Professional Genealogists ( The booth is staffed by my fellow APGers who happily greet anyone who might be interested in learning what APG is all about and very capably help complete member applications for anyone interested in joining this organization. Our booth was in one of the best locations to have plenty foot traffic passing by at all times.

One of the local television stations spent some time videotaping activity at our booth and it got to be a part of the evening news on The camera gave a good exposure of the APG booth as well as interviewing APG member Bobbi King of Lakewood, Colorado. Bobbi is a well known genealogist who owns "Miss Congenealogy" and lectures around the state of Colorado and at convention gatherings such as NGS and FGS (Federation of Genealogical Societies).

Based upon my several trips around the vendor area I was able to stop and talk with technology folks such as FamilySearch with their high tech means of searching the internet. They had a bank of about 75-80 computer terminals connected directly to FamilySearch online services at no charge to the users. Other vendors were Hewlett Packard and their latest computers, printers, and scanners; Sprint and their high tech telephone communications essential to good genealogical research.

This NGS convention ends on Saturday afternoon, May 1st when things draw to a close for the vendors and all of the genealogists, both professional and hobbyists head back home. A good time has been had by all.
Many thanks to Tim at the Genealogy Assistant ( for taking this picture! Job well done!

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