Thursday, February 17, 2011

NGS and FGS: Rethink your policies in light of RootsTech

In the interest of full disclosure, my husband serves on the FGS Board, but the opinions expressed herein are strictly Myrt's own. 

Competition for national conference attendance is getting stiffer, particularly with the prevailing world-wide economic challenges of some years duration. In yesterday's blog posting RootsTech 2011: Report to management, Ol' Myrt here suggested that NGS and FGS combine their annual conferences and hold them in the late summer. Already there have been some "interesting" email from people favoring both sides of the suggestion.

Our flush days of easy-to-administer disposable income are a thing of the past. Picking and choosing which genealogy conferences to attend is getting trickier for the average attendee.

The National Genealogical Society and Federation of Genealogical Societies could host their annual conferences jointly, to avoid duplication of effort, duplication of content material and wear-and-tear on attendees budgets. This would leave RootsTech as the other annual national genealogy conference for us to attend. This would personally save me about $1,200 annually.

It's an appealing option to travel where one's ancestors once lived either before or after attending a genealogy conference. But showcasing local talent and featuring a few nationally-recognized presenters is easily accomplished by major regional conferences such as Southern California Genealogical Society's Jamboree, the New England Regional Genealogical Conference and the conferences provided by Family History Expos that currently extend to California, Arizona, Utah, Colorado, Kansas and Georgia. Additionally strong state organizations typically host annual conference such as the Ohio Genealogical Society, the Illinois State Genealogical Society, the Iowa Genealogical Society and the Virginia Genealogical Society. (Please forgive Ol' Myrt if I haven't mentioned your regional society. I am referring to those where  my ancestors once lived for this blog entry.)

Genealogy institutes are clearly different from genealogy conferences where one is permitted to take a quick 60 minute class. Instead, participation in week-long, intensive, mentor-driven studies at the National Institute of Genealogical Research, the Salt Lake Institute of Genealogy and the Samford Institute of Genealogy and Historical Research are for more experienced researchers.

Both NGS and FGS host partial-week conferences annually, at changing venues throughout the US. With the exception of an APG Professional Management track, the Librarians track, and a society management track,  the class content and the exhibit hall are largely a carbon copy of the others conference. To compete for attendees participation is counter productive and a lose-lose for all concerned.

Happy family tree climbing!
Myrt     :)
Your friend in genealogy.


  1. One contrary view to this idea from a non-regular attendee's point of view is that assuming RootsTech stayed anchored in Salt Lake City (??), it means there is only 1 "big" conference moving about the country giving smaller societies and vendors, and "local" participants only half the chances to attend.

    But I certainly can see the advantages from the "regulars'" point of view.

  2. I agree. It would be wonderful to be able to attend just one event and receive the same benifits. It does seem to be duplicates.

    If more people came to one event, perhaps we would better deals from the venue.

    Great idea!!!

    Liz Stookesberry Myers

  3. I could not agree more. My genealogy dollars are pinched and pulled in all directions now.

    I will attend where I can get the most information at the best price. Combining conferences would be a Godsend.

    May I also plug the University of Washington Certificate in Genealogy & Family History, from your old stomping grounds. I am a member of the University Advisory Board and a graduate of this 9 month course.


  4. There is a conference overload. I alternate NSG or FGS. Midwest Genealogy Center conference is an annual March event. This year it's FGS...woohoo! It appears I missed an essential one Root Tech this year, but it has been added to a3Genealogy 2012 budget. It's not just about the money, but the time also.

  5. I recommend that NGS and FGS combine their national conferences and meet in August. That would leave RootsTech in February in Salt Lake City. I doubt that either NGS or FGS will ever be able to compete with RootsTech. Note that GenTech is now part of NGS and RootsTech--another overlap (GenTech used to have their own national conferences). There are plenty of conferences and institutes throughout the U.S.--BYU in Provo, Utah, has moved to July, state genealogical conferences, etc. Few people can afford to attend NGS, FGS, and RootsTech as well as other conferences.