Thursday, November 27, 2014

Those Place Thursday - Thanksgiving Day

Editor's note: Today's post was written by Sandra Gardner-Benward


Do you have any family traditions for Thanksgiving? What are Your Family Traditions?

This is quite possibly my favorite holiday. There is no pressure, except the cooking of the dinner. Lots of relaxing with family and friends. Just catching up with life.

Do you have certain things that you do for the day .......  or before the day?
Who sits at your table?
What are your special foods you serve?
Who helps you? Who just plays around? 
Are you cooking the dinner at your home? Or you cook part of it and others bring the rest of the dinner? Or do you go to someone else's home? OR do you go out to dinner at a restaurant.

Do you stay home for the holiday or do you take off for somewhere else special .....?  

What is on your table? Do you have family recipes you only bring out on Thanksgiving?

Do you go to Senior Home, Church or a Soup Kitchen and spend your day helping the less fortunate?

 Do you share the cooking of pies with your children or grandchildren?
or special cupcakes?

                                                                   Or special Cookies?
OR making those yummy chocolates? 

 What type of activities do you do during the daytime or evening? Do you take off for the snow and skiing?

When my boys were younger (from junior high to about 30yr) they got together with friends and played football in our backyard. They had so much fun. I envied them for actually having life long friends that get together all year long for one reason or another but on Thanksgiving it is football. 
What about going to the movies or other activities? Do you rent movies and watch them at home with family and friends? 

Do you know the true story of Thanksgiving? 

Have you written your stories down about your Thanksgiving traditions? IF NOT, you need to do that soon. Don't let those stories be forgotten.

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Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Tuesday's Tip - FGS 2015 Several Reasons I Attend

Editor's note: Today's post was written by Sandra Gardner-Benward

Two Conferences One Location -  Federation of Genealogical Societies and RootsTech 2015 Conferences

This certainly is not my first conference or my first FGS Conference. I don't remember my first FGS Conference- but I am sure that it was overwhelming all the way around. It just seems I have been attending for more years than I want to admit. I can see a need for a mentoring program between FGS and attendees. Not to be with you so much at the conference but before the conference begins........  what a conference is like, what to expect, what to bring and what maybe overkill. This could be an email relationship between attendees. They could meet sometime during conference for questions and reassurances and just to see how it is going.

Being an active involved concerned member of Root Cellar Sacramento Genealogical Society, I, along with other members, are always looking for help and support for our society. How do we recruit new members? How do we recruit younger members? Paper or Online Publications? Website? Blog? Facebook? Fundraising? How do we find volunteers? Retaining members? Technology moves forward but our skills do not move as quickly forward, how do we keep up? and the questions go on and on.............  where to find help?

This is one reason that I started attending the FGS conferences in the past.  Society Day is a welcome opportunity for those who are actively involved in a society. Society Day is held on Wednesday before the Conference begins. Anyone interested in helping their society is very welcome. It is great because a lot of the sessions have an open forum and the attendees are able to ask their questions and get answers from others that are concerned about the societies. You don't know what a relief it is to know that a lot of the organizations have the same questions, concerns, problems........... With thirty sessions, on varying topics like technology, publications, event coordination, recruitment and retention and management principles, there will be plenty of success stories and innovative solutions to ongoing challenges shared among the attendees. This is one of my favorite days at FGS Conferences.

Another part of the FGS Conference I value is the Social Media part.......  it is even more important to me since I have started blogging several years ago now. Important because there is a Social media room for only bloggers/ media types to meet in and write up their thoughts or put together a blog post. We talk, see what they have seen and done, and visa versa. We give each other ideas, and share with each other. It really gives me a sense of belonging and the confidence to put together another group of posts for you. The blogging community is a growing group with a large diversity and the willingness to support new bloggers.

2013 FGS Conference Fort Wayne, Indiana 
...... home of the Allen County Library with a fabulous Genealogy Department
Society Day with Curt 

                                                                    2013 FGS Conference - Delegate Gathering

 2013 FGS Conference- Society Showcase- California Genealogical Society


2013 FGS Conference - Society Showcase - Southern California Genealogical Society

2013 FGS Conference - Party Time 

2014 FGS Conference in San Antonio Texas -
                                        Society Showcase 

   2014 FGS Conference -  Party Time - lots of food and dancing

                                                                    2014 FGS Conference - Relax and take a ride on the water

      Each FGS Conference is completely different but the same. 

   As you can see, FGS Conferences travel around the country.
2012 Birmingham, Alabama
2011 Springfield, Illinois
2010 Knoxville, Tennessee
2009 Little Rock, Arkansas
2008 Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
2007 Fort Wayne, Indiana
2006 Boston, Massachusetts
2005 Salt Lake City, Utah
2004 Austin, Texas
2003 Orlando Florida
2002 Ontario, California
2001 Davenport, Iowas
2000 Salt Lake City, Utah

1979 Omaha, Nebraska

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Monday, November 24, 2014

Monday Motivation - FGS Conference 2015- Armchair Planning

Editor's note: Today's post was written by  Sandra Gardner-Benward

Two Conferences One Location - Federation of Genealogical Societies & RootsTech2015 Conference armchair planning continues....................

Last Monday I talked about  choosing your classes. Obviously this is probably the most important  decisions you will make after all this is the purpose of the conference (or is it?).........  the rest of the planning is extra gravy.

I will be traveling with friends to Salt Lake City by car. It has been our habit the last couple of years to travel on Sunday's. We go the Sunday before conference begins and leave fairly early Sunday morning after conference ends...........  so much time in between OR IS THERE?

I plan to be at the LIBRARY on Monday, Tuesday, & Wednesday and possibly Friday evening. I know myself, and after a full day on conference classes and activities I am exhausted when the end of the day arrives - I head for my hotel room, eat diner (I have a refrigerator & microwave) get into comfortable clothes, turn on the TV, get my computer out and start looking at things that I was introduced too during that day.  And the last hour or so of the day, I knit........... I knit till I can hardly keep my eyes open and then into bed and sleep. So with so much LIBRARY time, I need to start getting my papers in order, start a wish list of items and search the LIBRARY catalog for items to look through.This to me is a major task because I go all over the board and I need to focus on one family and follow through. (OMG I am very excited right now and it is not even Thanksgiving yet)

You may or may not want to attend any of the luncheons offered but at least take a look at what is being offered. Be aware that there are different luncheons being offered through FGS and other luncheon being offered by RootsTech. I did not realize that and signed up for what was being offered, and then I realized there were others being offered through the other conference. I have let this go and will attend the ones I signed up for, it costs to make the changes and is too frustrating too. I don't think there is any rhythm nor reason for choosing these......... and if the cost is too high I do not sign up at all. However I have signed up for a luncheon each day. To me it is just too much to try to get out of the convention center, stand in lines trying to eat and get back to the next class after the lunch hour............ OR visit the exhibit hall after the luncheon ends.

Exhibit Hall is a must see, must do item but when............... oh my goodness there is very little time if you are serious about attending the classes. You could skip lunch and walk the exhibit hall (and I have done that before) but it is not a good thing for me to do. I need to eat. So I need to find time for the exhibit hall. I usually start by going through the exhibitors list now.......... reading about each one of them, and asking am I interested in knowing more about this one? Is it a new exhibitor? Is it someone I have wanted to talk too in the past and haven't been able to talk to them yet? With a map of the exhibit hall you can locate the ones that are on your definite list, highlight them ......... now you can focus on those when you do get into the exhibit hall. At least you will see what you want and then everything else you see will be good stuff. I don't have my schedule mapped out yet, so there maybe times during the days of conference where you don't have a class scheduled or your class and backup class are full. Now would be the time for the exhibit hall.

Gosh there are going to be several evening activities and I have signed up for them. I will make every effort to attend but I may just be too tired and need to get a little more sleep.

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Saturday, November 22, 2014

Society Saturday - Church Records

Editor's note: Today's post was written by Sandra Gardner-Benward

                           Rev. Dr. Judson O. Gears on "Interpreting Church Records"

I would like to recommend this presentation from our November 2014 Meeting. This was an excellent presentation. It was not the standard presentation on church records. It was the why of the records.......  why was that record developed & who developed it? We learned about the many religions, the splits and why......... what religion required/requires what documents? It was very eye opening. 

Church records are an invaluable resource. They generally predate civil records. Locating and interpreting church records is complex. Gears gave an example of his own church - 

The United Methodist Church - formed in 1968 with the merger of The Methodist Church and The Evangelical United Brethren Church (EUB). The EUB was a merger in 1946 of the United Brethren in Christ Church (organized in 1800) and the Evangelical Church (organized in 1861). The Methodist Church was a merger in 1938 of the The Methodist Episcopal Church (organized in 1784). The Methodist Episcopal Church, South (broke away from the M.E. Church in 1844), and the Methodist Protestant Church (broke away from the M. E. Church in 1828) .........  and so it continues.  It becomes complex. I am lost in the example given above. - where are those records kept? Who created the document? Ethnic groups maintained congregational records in their native/traditional languages. Each religious group may maintain records, individually, with local organizations, and/or with regional organizations. 

                        Rev. Dr. Judson O. Gears on "Interpreting Church Records" 

            Introducing Carolee Jones, Program Chair - Judson Gears - Rick Hanson, Vice President

                                                            Getting Started for the evening

Judson Gears is currently the President of the Board for the Nevada County Genealogical Society. He lives in Penn Valley, California

The Rev. Dr. Judson O. Gears lived in Maryland, Delaware, Pennsylvania, and Texas for over thirty-five years before being appointed to churches in California. He has earned a Bachelor of Arts, Masters of Theology, and Doctor of Ministry Degrees. While now retired, he is an  ordained United Methodist Pastor who served a variety of churches in Maryland, Texas, Pennsylvania, and California over a fifty year period

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Friday, November 21, 2014

Follow Friday - Inspiration from the Sacramento Family History Center

Editor's note: Today's post was written by Sandra Gardner-Benward

Sacramento FamilySearch Library Seminar 2014

Motivation, Inspiration and learning comes from many different places ..............  this time from a day spent at the Family History Center in Sacramento - their annual genealogy seminar.

November 8 Saturday turned out to be a wonderful day in mid fall........ warm, comfortable, no rain or wind. 

The keynote speaker Ron Tanner, Production Manager of, gave an excellent talk...........      He was outrageous, funny, loud he made sense, and he made us all laugh. He showed a video that was specially put together about genealogy and done to the music of  [darned if I can remember the name of the song] It was very clever and so funny and hit home. [I would love to get a copy for a Root Cellar SGS meeting night]. He gave a great history of THE LIBRARY and showed a video about the vault in the mountain, the building of the vault, and upkeep. There are 6 archival chambers, always kept at 55 degrees year round, 33% of the vault is digitized, 3.5 million images/rolls converting to digital. 3% images are done, 3 billion search able names, Help Center Very interesting. Also discussed the Family Tree online and memories and where that is all going..........  Ron thinks that there should only be one tree on Family Tree and then each person comes in and adds their information plus ancestors. Changes can be made by anyone but with sources listed & contact information.Interesting concept and one I like to a point.

                                                                   WHY ATTEND?
 26 classes offered and about 20 different speakers  
 Pre-order a box lunch.  
 FREE (except lunch)........  
Download the entire syllabus, read through the classes, pick the ones you wanted to take, print out only the classes you were going to attend - being very prepared  
Attending all the classes you could not take :  the same classes are being offered at a later date in November, December and part of January.  You need to check the website for the classes being offered
Excellent conference for beginners..... get their feet wet, learn and not drown in all the classes offered
  Family History Library open for the day
Good map of church buildings and where classes were held
Good signage in the church hallways
Excellent map of area with restaurants/ fast food places  marked clearly
                                       What a great idea!! .  .  Thank You from the community.

I attended the following classes:
Facebook for Genealogists- Advanced with Marna Ambroselli
Solving the Most Common Family History Mysteries Online with Jim Baker
Finding Cousins to Add to Your Crew with Tim Fewkes
Find My Past with Maurine Nuttall

I have checked the list of classes being given again and find that there are 12 that I would like to attend over the next couple of months. The benefits from this seminar keep growing and giving. 

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Thursday, November 20, 2014

Those Places Thursday - FGS Conference Announces KeyNote Speaker

Editor's note: posted today by Sandra Gardner-Benward-- press release through FGS Conference

FGS 2015: A. J. Jacobs Friday Keynote Speaker

A. J. Jacobs
The host of the world’s largest family reunion is coming to FGS and RootsTech 2015. A. J. Jacobs is out to show how we are all related to each other as part of one large family.

Jacobs is an author, lecturer, and the force behind the GLobal Family Reunion, an event scheduled for June 6, 2015 to show how we are all part of one big family and raise funds for Alzheimier's research.

FGS has joined the Global Family Reunion to facilitate the organization of branch parties at genealogical societies across the United States and around the world to bring the live-streamed event to the branch parties.

Regarding his appearance at the conference, Jacobs said, "I look forward to talking about how the Global Family Reunion and the Federation of Genealogical Societies can entice more of our 7 billion cousins to jump into the wonderful world of genealogy." Jacobs added, “I’m a relative newcomer to genealogy, but I am thoroughly addicted to it. It’s my favorite way to learn about history – and it’s the ultimate social network.”

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Monday, November 17, 2014

Motivation Monday - FGS Conference Armchair Planning

Editor's note: Today's post was written by Sandra Gardner-Benward

...........and FGS Conference is right around the corner. Time to start armchair planning. I love this part of the planned process because anything is possible. Reality sets in later down the line where you have to make those final decisions.

I need to sit down with the schedule of classes and see what is being offered. I am also attending the 'twin' conference, RootsTech, so I need to read about what is being offered there also. AND then somehow come out with a great schedule with back ups just in case classes I choice are full. This is going to be frustrating, because there are enough good classes to take from either conference and now I have two conference classes to choose from to whittle down into one schedule. To me it seems it is unfair to the conference goer and to the instructors too. It should not be a competitive affair. OK OK I am off my soap box now.

When I go through classes I look for anything NEW, anything to do with Ohio, Pennsylvania, New York, Connecticut and now Massachusetts, and anything that catches my interest (that I cannot explain - it is a personal choice) .  I have my magic markers (probably several markers in different colors) handy and start marking the ones that I first think I may be interested in attending.  AND, yes I do look to see who is instructing each class also......  it does make a difference to me. I look for presenters I have not heard of, presenters I have not taken a class from yet. I like to hear about the same subject from many different people...... sometimes you connect and sometimes you don't. I look for instructors that are dedicated to certain subjects or locations. I feel I am beyond the basic classes but I am not above taking one if an instructor interests me, or the write up of the class is of interest, basic or not.

I don't think I have ever picked a class by the instructor.........  ooops, yes I have. TWICE!! In the beginning I had heard so much about Elizabeth Shown Mills and her FAN concept along with sourcing. I was not disappointed but had to 'fight' for a seat. I also attended a class several years back because Judy Russell, The Legal Genealogist was speaking. I had been told that her blog was the one to follow and so I did. Now I had an opportunity to hear her and meet her. AND I did. Again, not disappointed. But normally I do not look at the instructors till after I have chosen classes and are starting to cut ones or are looking for the those back ups, then I start looking at who is speaking. You know as well as I do, that we don't connect with everyone and/or you need to hear the same information from a different view point.

Next  I will need to read about all the other activities going on, luncheons available, exhibit hall, and the LIBRARY........  along with some down time (when will that happen 2-3am?)

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