Friday, August 23, 2013

FGS 2013 Unfolds--Fireworks and All!

Fireworks as seen from my hotel window

Well the 2013 FGS Conference has gotten underway and it has been exciting with everything from Fireworks to fire alarms. Now admittedly the fireworks appeared to come from a nearby ball park but all on my side of the hotel got a wonderful view, and what a fitting way to end Thursday evening--the first full day of workshops at this year's conference.

Everything from the exhibit hall to the sessions were full of energy! I had the chance to conduct research all day on Wednesday, but by Thursday, there were plenty of events and vendors to visit and sessions to attend to stay busy!!

The usual larger vendors were there, but also so were the smaller venders. A favorite vendor was a woman who turned her father's letters from WWII, into a beautiful book called A Thousand Letters Home. Her work is a perfect example of how one can turn artifacts into something that not only the family can enjoy. But in addition, others who would like to read how WWII directly impacted someone's life will find her work also of interest.

A Thousand Letters Home, booth and book on display.

I also worked the FGS Booth part of yesterday. We were working to encourage participants to participate in the effort to Preserve the 1812 Pensions, and was impressed to see such enthusiasm for the Save the 1812 Pensions Project. Many people came by the booth to purchase tickets.

Polly Kimmit of the FGS Board, holds long row of tickets before handing them 
to an eager visitor anxious to support the Pensions project.
Friday was especially busy for me, because I had two presentations. My first session focused on Forgotten Beneficiaries. Finding Southerners Black and White Served by the Freedman's Bureau. This session was also the James Dent Walker Memorial Lecture. It was an honor to give this presentation and to speak about a topic that he frequently spoke about. I got good feedback, and was pleased that good questions were asked and there was true interest in the subject.

My earlier presentation on the Freedman's Bureau records

In my second session on the Benevolent societies I spoke about the various contributions made by these societies to the community at large, in particular hospitals. I mentioned one hospital built in the 1940s on the Mississippi Delta, called Taborian Hospital, built by the International Order of Twelve Knights & Daughters of Tabor. Afterwards, a gentleman came up to me and mentioned that he actually practiced medicine at that hospital. That was an amazing surprise.

The evening ended with a nice event at a local bed and breakfast where the African American Genealogy Society of Ft. Wayne hosted a few of us for some light refreshments in the evening. The beautiful old house was a comfortable place to get away for a few hours and simply unwind with a nice glass of wine and some light food. In addition, we also got a chance to talk shop--genealogy--informally with some of their members. One of the members was able to bring a brick wall question with her and to get some suggestions on where to go next with her research.

Ft. Wayne resident gets some advice on where to get more information for her projects

The afternoon was not without it lively moments when  suddenly an emergency was announced and orders were given to evacuate the building. Of course as the quickly as the building was being evacuated, no emergency surfaced at all, and all returned to their previous spots.

So the day was a busy one for me, with two sessions, and I have a final session tomorrow, before beginning to  pack for the return journey home on Sunday! This has been a most delightful trip so far, and tomorrow promises to be just as busy.

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1 comment:

Geolover said...

Thank you for telling something of your perspective on this FGS conference, and for your outstanding contributions to the field.