San Mateo County Genealogical Society's Blog featuring society events, projects, meeting notes and other items of relevance to genealogists.

Wednesday, September 2, 2020

The President's blog - NEW!

Today I attended my first virtual genealogy conference. The Federation of Genealogical Societies (FGS) , is an organization supporting member genealogy societies, disseminating genealogical knowledge and promoting ethical standards in genealogical research and practices. Following the conference, it will merge with the National Genealogical Society, so this is its last conference. I decided to attend to learn more about expanding our own society and maintaining a society that has purposes similar to those of FGS.

Following the introductions and history of FGS I attended two of the live sessions. The first was given by Judy G. Russell called Quarantined! Genealogy, The Law & Public Health. Judy submitted the proposal for this presentation about a year ago. How prescient were both she and FGS? This engaging presentation gave us knowledge about all the unusual places we can research to embellish the stories of our ancestors who were involved in epidemics. Her advice is to “Think As If There Is No Box.” Look at burial permits, death certificates, funeral home records and quarantine station records. Then look for clues in news beyond headlines such as ads and photos. She showed an early 20th century photo in which the mother had just died, and the remaining family members, including the cat, were masked. She asks us to explore what this photo means. Move on to history books of the location your ancestors are from, family papers, legal papers and even land records. She showed us how to find clues in each of these.

Does it work to attend a virtual conference? For me, it is excellent. Once I’ve mastered the online system, I can find what I need easily. I don’t spend time scurrying around to find the correct room, or to get from one presentation to another. I am also able to both see and hear the presentations. The downside? I don’t make connections with people who might help me achieve my goals or just be new friends. The lack of networking must lead me to find other means of making those connections.

Tomorrow I’ll tell you about my second presentation.

Kara Rosenberg, President SMCGS

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