Planning My FGS 2014 Conference Schedule


The FGS 2014 Conference in San Antonio is approaching fast. For those unfamiliar, this is the national genealogy conference put on by the Federation of Genealogical Societies. You don’t have to be a member of FGS or a member of any genealogical society to attend; it is open to anyone interested in genealogical research. The conference begins on August 27, so I wanted to go ahead and start planning my schedule. I’m doing this in Evernote, so that I will have access to it on my tablet, phone, or laptop. I could use the conference app, but that only lets me make one choice per time slot and I like to have a backup, in case I change my mind at the last minute.

Create a table in Evernote

I start by creating a new note in Evernote with a simple table that has the following headings:

  • Time
  • Choice
  • Speaker
  • Title
  • Description

FGS Schedule Table in Evernote


Look for “Must-See” Program Speakers

Next, I look at the list of program speakers to see which of my “must-see” speakers are presenting at this conference.  For me, those speakers are Elizabeth Shown Mills, Tom Jones, Mark Lowe, Judy Russell, Josh Taylor, and Curt Witcher.  I won’t necessarily attend every session they present, but I do want to make sure they get slotted in first.  Looking at speakers, I found 11 sessions that I might want to attend.

  • Elizabeth Shown Mills – Poor? Black? Female? Southern Research Strategies
  • Elizabeth Shown Mills – Finding Origins & Birth Families: Methods that Work
  • Elizabeth Shown Mills – Okay I “Got the Neighbors” – Now What Do I Do With Them?
  • Tom Jones – Inferential Genealogy
  • Tom Jones – Can a Complex Problem be Solved Solely Online?
  • Mark Lowe – Finding Hidden Manuscripts Throughout the Trans-Mississippi South
  • Mark Lowe – Home Guards, Confederate Soldiers, and Galvanized Yankees
  • Mark Lowe – Davy Crockett: Following the Trail from Limestone to Texas
  • Judy Russell – A Family for Isabella: Indirect Evidence from Texas back to Mississippi
  • Judy Russell – That Scoundrel George: Tracking a Black Sheep Texas Ancestor
  • Josh Taylor – Embracing Technology: Tools You Can Use Today to Move Your Society into Virtual Space
  • Josh Taylor – Diving Into Archives: Uncovering ArchiveFinder and ArchiveGrid
  • Curt Witcher – From Bayonets to Bombshells: Often Forgotten Online Sources for Documenting the Military Service of our Families

Check out the conference tracks

Next I look at the tracks offered for the conference.  FGS 2014 has 26 tracks.  The classes I most enjoy tend to fall into these categories:  Methodology, Research Strategies, DNA, Southern Strategies, Writing/Publishing.  Looking at the these tracks, I found four more classes.

  • Methodology – Making Sense of it All: Critical Thinking for Genealogists
  • Technology Genetics/DNA – DNA Case Studies: Analyzing Test Results
  • Technology Genetics/DNA – Using Mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) and XDNA
  • Writing/Publishing – Social History and Genealogy: Writing Family Narrative

Fill in remaining time slots

Lastly, I go through the schedule day-by-day and look at the options for any time slots I have remaining.

  • Friday 10:15 – After Mustering Out: Researching Civil War Veterans
  • Friday 1:15 – Guardianship: Look Closer at the Documents
  • Saturday 8:30 – Epidemics and Pandemics: Their Impact on our Research
  • Saturday 3:00 – Research Gems: Southern and Western Historical and Sociological Journals
  • Saturday 3:00 – Digital Storytelling for Genealogists
  • Saturday 4:15 – Huguenots: Migration, Emigration, Location, and Contribution

So, that’s a first and second choice for most time slots.  I’ll make final decisions about which sessions to attend when the syllabi are available.  I always make a few last-minute changes and end up attending something that wasn’t even on my list.  Plans are made to be changed.


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  1. says

    Great idea, Tonia! Like you, I rarely have only one choice per time slot, so I have a hard time using the conference app. This is a good alternative.

    (I’m also still trying to wrap my head around the fact that it’s two weeks from the conference and there is still no syllabus … )

    Have fun at the conference! Wish I was able to go this year.
    Jenny Lanctot´s last blog post ..5 MORE Ways to Build a Better Blog

    • Tonia Kendrick says

      Thanks, Jenny. I need to add another column to the table, so that I can the room, once I get to San Antonio. That way I’ll only have to look at one thing for my schedule.

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