Wednesday, August 29, 2012

FGS 2012 - Day 1

Today was Society Day at FGS 2012.  My schedule was packed full since 7 a.m.
It started with the findmypast Society Leadership Breakfast.  First of all ... there was bacon (yum!)  Then we got to hear Elaine Collins of findmypast briefly discuss the benefits of societies collaborating with findmypast to make a Society's digitized holdings part of their searchable global collection.

Then at 8 a.m., it was time to hear Josh Taylor, Business Development Manager for brightsolid, speak about Transforming Your Society into a Dynamic 21st Century Destination.  I always enjoy listening to Josh speak, but this might have been the best one yet.  It's not every day that someone can be so moved by a bag of dirt.  One of the frequent messages was that societies need to be proactive, and that the link between a society and the community is a two-way street.

Then we were off to our sessions.  The first session I chose was "Defining Mission and Standards for a Society Journal or Newsletter" by J.H. Fonkert.  He asked a couple of tough questions: Does your publication fit the needs of your members? How does it contribute to your mission?  We discussed some ideas on how to answer these questions positively, and I plan to present these ideas to my society when I get home.

Next I attended a case study on the Evolution of the Wake County Genealogical Society with Diane L. Richard.  When I read the syllabus for this session, it was like I was reading about my own society.  She presented a lot of different ways to handle various challenges within the society.  I plan to present these ideas to my society as well.

Quick break for lunch and we were off again!

I listened to Roberta "Bobbi" King explain the "Grand Design for Your Publications: Stand-out Ideas for Look and Appeal" as it relates to Society Newsletters and Journals.  Another very helpful session I plan to implement.

Then it was the session I had been waiting for all day: "Publicize it and Publicize it" by Paula Stuart-Warren.  This was a two-hour hands-on workshop that walked us through the best ways to publicize society events, from monthly meetings to annual conferences.  I got a lot out of this workshop and plan to utilize 99.99% of it.

The evening social was sponsored by the Alabama Genealogical Society.  We went to the historic Alabama Theater, an elegant piece of architecture which was built in 1927 and is on the National Register of Historic Places.
The interior of the theater was amazing.  It was in service until 1981 when the owners declared bankruptcy.  In 1987 the theater was restored to its original glory and it has been in business ever since.
"Big Bertha" the theater's original Wurlitzer organ
The ceiling in the lobby
We were honored with a private concert by Bobby Horton, a Birmingham native.  He regaled us with songs from the Civil War era.  Not only did he sing, he also played the banjo, guitar, fiddle, and a mandolin (not all at the same time).  Every song has a story, and Mr. Horton is a fantastic story teller, interweaving the stories and songs into a stunning performance.
This is an "action" shot ... he's playing really fast!
It was a productive, enlightening, entertaining, and exhausting day.  I expect tomorrow will be roughly the same, so I'd better hit the hay!

Do we share any ancestors?
Please email me at lostancestors [at] gmail [dot] com


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