Now for the Conference proper. There were 72 presenters for this conference and I was one of those 72 giving three presentations and a luncheon talk.
DNA as you can imagine was an important stream of presentations with nine presentations. There was also a British Isles and Commonwealth stream with 22 presentations. Methodology, Records, Research Strategies, Ethnicity, Repositories, Technology, Writing were topics with multiple presentations.
After the Plenary session you went to one of the concurrent sessions. This entailed a fair bit of decision making as unfortunately I have never been able to clone myself which would have been of great use here!
Luckily many (but not all) of the presenters have agreed to their sessions being recorded and these are available for purchase from Fleetwood onsite
They record many different conferences, so click through to Federation of Genealogical Societies and you are able to buy recordings of the last five FGS conferences either as every talk that was recorded or as individual talks. Currently the 2016 (as of 11 Sep) is available at a reduced price of US$249 for all that were recorded (individual talks not listed as yet). This is a discount as previous years full recordings are at US$349.
So one of the ways of choosing was to determine which of my choices were not being recorded and going to that one. Some familiar names to Australian and New Zealand audiences were among the presenters: Judy G. Russell, Paul Milner, Thomas MacEntee, Carole Baxter, me to name but a few.Because of the concurrent sessions the program committee were able to have the larger more popular topics but were also able to have specialist topics where it was not expected to fill a room but made the twenty or more attendees very happy that their topic was available.
All of the presentations are a major part of any conference but another very important part is the Exhibitor Hall with the very many exhibitors, societies, specialist repositories, Maia's Bookshop! (with the large Unlock the Past book display), and so many, many more!
The FGS gave time for the attendees to visit the exhibition hall and also instituted an Exhibitor Bingo Card where if an attendee got a stamp from each exhibitor on the card they could be in the prize draw for some pretty decent prizes. The other thing given to each attendee was a $10 exhibitor note. You could spend this at any of the exhibitors, they stamped the back and you could then go and hand in your note for a $10 refund. Both of these initiatives worked very well and I heard many positive responses from the exhibitors.
Springfield Illinois was the home of Abraham Lincoln prior to him becoming President and I never realised how tall he was until I stood next to his life size image.
The FGS conference may not have had the number of attendees of some previous FGS conferences but all who attended had a wonderful learning experience, great networking, managed to spend a few dollars among the various exhibitors and best of all netwrked with other family historians whose eyes did not glaze over in boredom and who did not sneak slowly and silently away when you started talking about your family!
Congratulations to all who were involved in the organisation!