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Conference full of finds for family historians
16 September 2007
While back East for my family reunion, I attended the Federation of Genealogical Societies annual
conference. The conference was held in Fort Wayne, Indiana, August 15-18 and was co-hosted by
the Allen County Public Library (ACPL). The ACPL has a world-renowned genealogy collection
including the nation’s largest collection of English language genealogy and local history
periodicals. The library is across the street from the hotel and conference center which made it
convenient to accomplish some research while attending the conference. A few nights during the
conference the library was opened until midnight!
During the conference, I spent some time perusing the exhibit hall and found some interesting
- Evidence Explained by Elizabeth Shown Mills, released just prior to the conference, was
available for purchase. This is the definitive guide for citation and analysis for genealogists. It is
much larger and broader in scope than Evidence, her book published in 1997. As with her prior
publication, this new book is a must for all genealogists. It can be purchased from most
genealogical book vendors and is also available electronically on Footnote.com.
- An updated version of the genealogy software, Family Tree Maker (FTM) 2008, was released.
According to the owner, Ancestry.com, the program has been completely redesigned. The new
and updated features include Interactive Street and Satellite Maps, Web Integration, Individual
Biographies, Media Organization, Publish Family History Books.
- A relatively new player in the genealogy field, Roots Television, was noticeable throughout the
conference. The Roots Television staff filmed some conference functions and recorded interviews.
They also had a booth where they showed the videos. Roots Television is an online Web site and
its focus is on genealogy and family history. You can view clips from the conference and many
other programs for free at www.rootstelevision.com.
- The National Genealogical Society (www.ngsgenealogy.org) booth was selling the 2007
releases of the Research in the States series. The seven states available are Illinois, Maryland,
Missouri, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Virginia, and West Virginia. Some are updated versions, while
others are being published for the first time. Each book includes a section on archives, libraries,
societies, and other research facilities in the state, as well as a discussion of the major family
history resources available. In addition, each state includes a discussion of which records are
available at the local, county, and state level. The publications are available in hard copy as well as
electronically on the NGS Web site.
- There were many new releases at Arphax Publishing (www.arphax.com). Arphax is the
company which produces the Family Map series of books by Gregory A. Boyd. These
publications use "first owner" land records (patents) and maps them county by county. The books
vary in size but include a map for each of the congressional townships. Each township map has
the name of each patentee and the year the patent was issued. The information for the maps was
obtained from the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) database indexes but is presented in such
a way that it is an invaluable tool for land research. This collection started out small a few years
ago and has grown to include 17 states. You can even check for a surname before buying a book
by using the online index available on each book’s page.
- FamilySearch indexing project (www.familysearchindexing.org) was featured at the Family
Search/Family History Library exhibit. For this project, volunteers create indexes by extracting
family history information from digital images of historical records. Volunteers can participate in
the indexing project on their own time schedule in the comfort of their homes. When completed,
all indexes will be published free at FamilySearch.org. Visit the FamilySearch Indexing Web site
to obtain more information about the project or learn how to volunteer.
- The National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) announced fee raises for record
copying. This was not a surprise since they have not increased their fees in seven years and have
been considering the increase for some time. The increases goes into effect October 1, 2007 and
the following information shows the old rates and the increased rate:
- Passenger Arrival Lists (Form 81), $17.25 to $25
- Federal Census Request (Form 82), $17.50 to $25
- Eastern Cherokee Applications (Form 83), $17.50 to $25
- Land Entry Files (Form 84), $17.75 to $40
- Full Pension File more than 75 years old, Civil War and after, up to 100 pages (Form 85),
$37 to $75
- Full Pension File, pre Civil War (Form 85), $37 to $50
- Pension Document Packet, selected records (Form 85), $14.75 to $25
- Bounty Land Warrant Application Files (From 85), $17.75 to $25
- Military Service more than 75 years old (Form 86), $17 to $25.
- Copying fees will also increase at NARA Rocky Mountain Region. Microfilm to paper
copies will increase from 30 cents to 50 cents; paper to paper from 10 cents to 20 cents.
Next year, genealogy conferences will be held in Kansas City, Missouri (National
Genealogical Society Conference in the States, May 14-17, 2008) and Philadelphia (Federation of
Genealogical Societies Conference, September 3-6, 2008). Make your plans early and join fellow
family historians in a week full of genealogy fun and learning.
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