FxGS Annual Spring Conference

Each year, FxGS holds a 2 day conference in the spring.  These conferences have traditionally been well-attended and well received with nationally known speakers, special interest tracks, mini-lectures and various vendor booths. Usually held at a nearby hotel, meals and rooms are easily obtainable by the attendees.  The cost of the conference is reasonable, running $70.00 to $90.00 for both days. 
 
We also have opportunities for you to have one-on-one consultations with some of our speakers and other experts.  See Consult the Experts on the left margin.
 
The date for the 2014 conference is March 28 and 29 at the Fairfax Marriott at Fair Oaks.
(The 2015 conference will be held on March 27 and 28 at the same place.)
 
 Comings and Goings:
How to Find Them and How to Follow Them
 
 

Registration: 
   For non-FxGS members, go here to register online through Eventbrite.
   For FxGS members, go to Members Only / Member Discounts to retrieve your discount code, and then follow the code on the discount page to register online.
To download a copy of the registration brochure, click here .
 
To rent a table and register as a vendor or to purchase advertising in our syllabus, click here
We expect about 300 attendees at the conference.
 

 
 
This year's conference features many new and exciting tracks.  Please take a look at the following schedule, and be sure go all the way to the end of each day's listings so that you can look at the mini-sessions we have scheduled during the meal breaks on Friday and Saturday:
 
Friday, 28 March 2014
 
Track 1 - Immigration and Emigration -  Sharon Hodges, Tom Sadauskas, Zack Wilske
2:00-3:00 p.m.
(F11) Alien Registration Records – Sharon Hodges.  Alien Registration Records, including those for enemy aliens, provide an abundance of personal information for several million people required to register during various periods of America’s history.  They should not be overlooked as a source for finding immigrant ancestors
3:15-4:15 p.m.
(F12)  Introduction to INS Immigration and Naturalization Records  – Zack Wilske. This presentation uses case studies to introduce researchers to historical INS immigration and naturalization records available through the USCIS Genealogy Program and from the National Archives. Topics will include naturalization certificate files, alien registration records, visa files, and many other records documenting 20th century immigrant lives.  Researchers will see example files, hear tips on connecting the records to each other, and learn how to advance their immigration research beyond passenger lists.
6:00-7:00 p.m.
(F15)   Your Frequent Flyer Ancestors – Re-Emigration To & From EuropeTom Sadauskas.  One little known immigration phenomena is that of multiple passages of immigrants to America and their return to the Old Country. Anywhere from one-fourth to one-third of the immigrants that came to America ultimately returned to their native homeland.  One of the reasons researchers often fail to find “missing ancestors” is that these ancestors lived in America for a brief time and then returned permanently to the Old Country.  This presentation looks at why these frequent flyers chose re-emigration as well as ways for finding them.
7:15-8:15 p.m.
(F16) Navigating INS Policy, Correspondence, and Case FilesZack Wilske.  The INS policy, correspondence, and case files now stored in the National Archives at Washington, DC contain an overwhelming amount of material documenting nearly every aspect of American immigration history. This presentation will use case studies to provide an overview of these records and provide search strategies focusing on subjects of interest to genealogists, including exclusion appeal files, deportation files, and immigration investigation files.
 
 
Track 2 - Migrations – Peggy Clemens Lauritzen, AG
2:00-3:00 p.m.
(F21) Scots-Irish in America.  Many Americans can trace their ancestry back to the British Isles.  Some have even heard that their background was “Scotch-Irish”.  We will focus on who these people were and where they came from in the British Isles.
3:15-4:15 p.m.
(F22) Away, I’m Bound Away.  The Shenandoah Valley beckoned many different groups, including religious, ethnic, and outcast peoples.  Learn what brought these different groups into the area, the migration trails they traveled, and the climate that developed as they merged together.
6:00-7:00 p.m.
(F25) Migration Trails to Ohio.  This lecture will focus on different groups that migrated to to the newly-formed Ohio country and how the land was divided up as people began to settle.  We will study these trails, as well as circumstances that brought people here.
7:15-8:15 p.m.
(F26) German Migration Into The Ohio.  This lecture will focus on the strong German population that came to call Ohio home. Ohio was a melting pot of many ethnic groups, especially the Germans.  Most originated from the same area in Germany, and settled in areas of Ohio that reminded them of home
 
 
Track 3 - Continuing Genealogical Research in the 21st Century – Charles S. “Chuck” Mason, Jr., CG
2:00-3:00 p.m.
(F31) 21st Century Census Research.  Ancestry.com, Heritage Quest, and Family Search have all changed the way research is done in Federal and State Censuses.  Although these resources have changed census research today, they are not perfect.  Sometimes we have to revert to 20th century research methods.  Which research methods work best and what do you do if they do not provide the needed results?
3:15-4:15 p.m.
(F32) Beyond the Census: Using Census Information in the 21st Century.  The answers given to the Federal Census questions can be used to locate other records for your ancestors.  With the census information, you will be able to search for vital records, military records, immigration records, naturalization records, land records, and probate records.  How can 21st century resources enhance this research?
6:00-7:00 p.m.
(F35) Military Research in the 21st Century.  The availability many online resources including Ancestry.com and Fold 3 have greatly enhanced researching ancestors who served in the military.  What 21st century resources are available and what must be researched using 20th century methods and resources.
7:15-8:15 p.m.
(F36) Searching Immigrant Ancestors in the 21st Century.  Millions of immigrants came to the United States since the colonies declared their independence.  The amount of records documenting their lived depends on when they arrived and if they later became citizens.  How do you research these immigrants in the 21st century?
 
Track 4 -  British Research  – Audrey Collins
2:00-3:00 p.m.
(F41) Online Newspaper Resources.  Newspapers and periodicals are wonderful sources for family history. Although you can’t believe everything you read in the papers, you can certainly find some terrific clues there that you can follow up in elsewhere. Besides which, you will find wonderful little nuggets of information that would never appear in any official record. Major online holdings like the British Newspaper Archive and The Times Digital Archive are widely known, but there are plenty of other places to look – and some of them are free!
3:15-4:15 p.m.
(F42) Using The [U.K.] National Archives for British Family History Research (and that includes Scotland, Wales and Ireland).  There is a wealth of material in The National Archives of the UK – including many records of your Scottish, Welsh and Irish ancestors, not just the ones who came from England! Some of them have been digitised, and others are name-indexed, so you can easily order paper or digital copies of the items you need. Census, military and naval records are among the most popular, but we have many other records relating to occupations, migration and the localities where your ancestors lived and worked.
6:00-7:00 p.m.
(F45) Lesser-Known Sources for Births, Marriages and Deaths.  The well-known sources for births, marriages and deaths are of civil and church registers, but if these are not the only places to look. When you draw a blank with the registers, don’t despair, there are other possibilities. Some are alternative registers which you might not have considered, and which may be harder to find. Then there are different records altogether which include birth, marriage or death details, or at least evidence of such events. If you are very lucky, you might even find actual certificates enclosed in other documents. There are more of these around than you might think.
7:15-8:15 p.m.
(F46) Archives and Libraries in the UK, and How to Research From a Distance.  Researching from a distance is easier that it used to be, but you need to know where to look in the first place. Different kinds of records are held in national, local or specialist archives, and many libraries have important collections too. The way that records are held is different in Scotland or Ireland from the arrangements in England and Wales, and even within each country there can be differences between regions or even counties. This talk will help you find your way through the sometimes bewildering range of archives, libraries and online sources.
 
Track 5 - Virginia Military Research  – Craig Scott, CG
2:00-3:00 p.m.
(F51) Virginia in the French & Indian War.  Examines the war, the organizations, and the records created by Virginians during and after this conflict.
3:15-4:15 p.m.
(F52) Virginia in the Revolutionary War.  Examines the war, the organizations, and the records created by Virginians and the Federal government during and after this conflict.
6:00-7:00 p.m.
(F55) Between the Wars: 1790 to 1812  Provides a case study of a Virginia soldier for examining the war, the organizations and the records of Virginians  both during and after the conflict.
7:15-8:15 p.m.
(F56) Virginia in the War of 1812  Provides a case study of a Virginian Confederate for examining the War, the organizations and the records of soldiers both during and after the conflict.
 
Track 6 - Colorful Civil War Uniforms and the End of the War – Patrick Schroeder (Appomattox Park Service Historian)
2:00-3:00 p.m.
(F61) Zouaves:  America's Forgotten Soldiers - A slide show of 100 photographs of Zouaves both North and South.  Discusses the origins of Zouaves in North Africa, French Zouaves distinguished exploits in the Crimean War and in Italy, Elmer Ellsworth and "Zouaves craze" in America.  Slides demonstrate various styles of American Zouave uniforms.  Brief capsule histories on several famous Zouave units.  Reproduction uniforms brought for display.  Details of this unique uniform explained.
3:15-4:15 p.m.
(F62) The 11th New York Fire Zouaves: Heroes or Humbugs?--The famed Fire Zouaves raised by celebrity Elmer Ellsworth, had more than their share of mischief. Even after the death of Ellsworth in nearby Alexandria, they were counted on to carry the field at the Battle of Bull Run. Did they live up to expectations?  Find out what happened to this celebrated unit. The lecture includes details on a small skirmish in Fairfax.
6:00-7:00 p.m.
(F65) Myths about Lee's Surrender - An hour-long talk covering some of the most interesting aspects from the books Thirty Myths about Lee's Surrender and More Myths about Lee's Surrender. An enlightening lecture telling what really happened at Appomattox--separating myth from fact. A highly entertaining talk that is good not only for Civil War groups, but is extremely popular with civic organizations.
7:15-8:15 p.m.
(F66) A Visit to Old Appomattox with County Clerk George Peers -- Journey back in time with the former sheriff and county clerk of Appomattox Court House, Virginia, George T. Peers, in a visit to old Appomattox.
 
 
Friday Mini-sessions, during the dinner break - 4:30 - 5:30 pm
 
Introduction to the Virginia Historical Society - presented by John McClure, M.A.
Since 1831, the Virginia Historical Society has collected books, manuscripts, pictures, and artifacts that support the study and interpretation of Virginia’s history and culture. The Society has evolved from being a gentlemen’s club where you had to be invited to become a member, to a more inclusive institution with a national reputation for its research collections. Please join John McClure, Reference Department Manager at the Society, for an “Introduction to the Virginia Historical Society.”
 
Update on the Virginia Room - presented by Laura Wickstead, MLS, Virginia Room Librarian
Hear the latest about recent additions to the library collection, ongoing archival projects, and initiatives being planned to connect researchers with resources.   The Virginia Room is just “Virginia”?  Not hardly.  Learn about library holdings that extend far beyond the borders of the Commonwealth.
 
An Update on DNA Testing for Genealogy - presented by Bob McLaren
Bob will give a brief review of the basics of DNA testing.  He will then discuss the tests available, including the latest developments.  The talk will concentrate on Y-DNA testing which traces the paternal lineage, but also include autosomal testing which trace all lines.

 
Saturday, 29 March 2014
 
Track 1 - Baa Baa Black Sheep: Criminal Law for the Genealogist- Judy G. Russell, JD, CG, CGL
9:00-10:00 a.m.
(S11) Rogues, Rascals and Rapscallions — Tracking Black Sheep in the Courts.  Playing detective in court records can unmask those black sheep every family has – and it’s fun! Learn to understand the criminal process in both federal and state courts and how to find the records to put meat on the bones of the skeletons in your family's closet.
10:30-11:30 a.m.
(S12) Doing Time — Prison Records as Genealogy Resources. The brickwalls of a family tree are no match for prison walls. From intake photo to receipts for cash and clothes when they were released, prisoners in jails and prisons were recorded and documented, often in stunning detail. Learn what records may exist – and where – about your family’s black sheep.
1:15-2:15 p.m.
(S15) Pardon me, sir! — The “Get Out of Jail Free” Card. Not every criminal was sent to jail and served out a sentence. Some received a “get out of jail free” card – a pardon. Pardons could prevent charges from being filed, shorten sentences, or give convicts back their civil rights if they’d already served time. And the records can be goldmines.
2:45-3:45 p.m.
(S16) Blackguards and Black Sheep — The Lighter Side of the Law. No, actually, our ancestors didn’t behave any better back then
than we do today, and the records they left behind documenting their missteps and misdeeds are among the priceless gems of genealogy. A romp through court records of our ancestors behaving badly that’s guaranteed to make you smile.
 
Track 2 - Technologies for Genealogists - Pamela Boyer Sayre, CG, CGL, and Rick Sayre, CG
9:00-10:00 a.m.
(S21) GPS for Genealogists (Rick Sayre, CG, CGL)
View case studies of GPS in action. Attendees will learn how Global Positioning System (GPS) technology and an inexpensive GPS device can help solve genealogical research problems. Though many understand and use GPS technology, not so many understand its application in genealogy. The basic functions of a GPS will be explained as well as a survey of existing products suitable for genealogical applications. Tasks such as locating and marking a cemetery will be demonstrated. Selection of appropriate maps to use with a GPS, to include the now widely available georeferenced topo maps, will also be discussed.
10:30-11:30 a.m.
(S22) Cool Tools for the Cemetery (Rick Sayre, CG, CGL)
Attendees will discover tools to capture and record headstone information. Locate cemeteries and graves and put them on an appropriate map or digital device. Understand the differences of popular websites - Billion Graves, Find a Grave, and Internment.net. Explore the various websites that record military deaths, to include the Veterans Administration grave locator, the American Battle Monuments Commission, and the new ANC Explorer developed by Arlington National Cemetery.
1:15-2:15 p.m.
(S25)  De-mystifying GEDCOM and Other Data Formats (Pamela Boyer Sayre, CG, CGL)  If your cousin uses RootsMagic and you use The Master Genealogist, GEDCOM is the answer to sharing your family tree data. Learn what a GEDCOM file is, how to import or export one to or from your genealogy program, and how to open and edit one with a text editor. You’ll also see how to download data from a website, analyze it in a spreadsheet, and convert the spreadsheet to a GEDCOM file for import into a genealogy database.
2:45-3:45 p.m.
(S26) eBooks for Genealogists (Pamela Boyer Sayre, CG, CGL)
Hundreds of thousands of free histories, biographies, genealogies, and more are waiting for curious researchers. Learn how to find the ones you need and download them to a reader such as Kindle, smart phone, iPad, or your desktop computer. Then read them, annotate them, search every word of the books, and save or print them at your will.
 
Track 3 - Seeking Virginia Ancestors – Victor S. Dunn, CG
9:00-10:00 a.m.
(S31) Virginia Research 101 – This session examines the basics of Virginia research with an overview of the vital statistics, government, and manuscript records that are available to researchers online, in print, on microfilm and in textual format.
10:30-11:30 a.m.
(S32) Virginia Migrations – Since the founding of Jamestown in 1607, Virginians have been on the move with migrations westward along Virginia’s waterways and southward down the Carolina and Great Wagon roads into the Carolinas. This session will identify migration routes and records created to track ancestral movement.
1:15-2:15 p.m.
(S35) At Law and in Chancery: Using Virginia’s Court Records for Problem Solving - Order and minute books and their associated loose papers are often underutilized by researchers, but can provide a wealth of genealogical and biographical information not found in other sources.
2:45-3:45 p.m.
(S36) Before Virginia: Finding the Origins of Colonial Immigrants.  Determining a Virginian immigrant’s origins can be a challenge.  Find out what sources and techniques are available.
 
Track 4 - Scottish Research – Christine Woodcock
9:00-10:00 a.m.
(S41)In Search of Your Scottish Ancestors: Search Your Roots; Discover Your Heritage.  Forty million Americans and another 6 million Canadians can lay claim to Scottish ancestry. While many people want to know more about their Scottish heritage, they don’t know where to begin. Fortunately, researching our Scottish ancestors is a fairly easy task. Knowing where to look is usually where we get tied up.
10:30-11:30 a.m.
(S42) Lesser Known Databases for Scottish Genealogy Research.  There comes a time when you have done all of the online researching you can do using the standard databases like ScotlandsPeople, FamilySearch and Ancestry. In this workshop you will learn of lesser known databases as well as how to use online social media to assist in breaking through your brick walls.
1:15-2:15 p.m.
(S45) Scots Emigrants to the Americas.  From the early 1600s, Scots began their emigration to the new world - the colonies of North America. Initially this entailed the New England States and the Maritime Provinces of Canada. Descendants of these early immigrants gradually moved west and settled other parts of both Canada and the US.
2:45-3:45 p.m.
(S46) Preparing for a Genealogy Research Trip.  Traveling to Scotland to do Family History Research takes advanced planning. Learn what you need to know before you go.
 
Track 5 - Exploring Your Germanic Roots - Sharon Hodges & Sharon Cook MacInnes, Ph.D.
9:00-10:00 a.m.
(S51)  Desperation, Displacement, Determination, and Deuteronomy:  Colonial Germans and what we can learn about them – Sharon Cook MacInnesFind answers to the following:  What factors drove your ancestors from Europe in the 1700s?  How did their social status determine whether they left or not?  How did their religion determine what records may exist for them and those to whom they might be related? What can their surnames tell us? 
10:30-11:30 a.m.
(S52) Steerage:  The Long Voyage To A New Home – Sharon Hodges.  Most of the millions of immigrants who undertook the voyage to America traveled in steerage, sometimes called “tween decks.”  Others traveled in the “orlop deck” which, if possible, was less desirable than steerage.  What was it like for these immigrants to decide to leave home and travel over the ocean to start a new life?
1:15-2:15 p.m.
S55) Migration Patterns of Germans within America – Sharon Cook MacInnes.  Explore the push-pull factors that propelled Germans to settle where they did once they reached America, both in colonial times and as they spread out westward in the 19th century. This session explores how historical events channeled Germans into certain areas of the U.S., how chain migration drew allied families together, and what tools you can use to follow their footsteps.
2:45-3:45 p.m.
(S56) Jumping the Pond: Resources to Help Find Your Ancestral Germanic Home in Europe– Sharon Cook MacInnes.   This session focuses on how to reach back and make the connection to your European village of origin after uncovering your immigrant ancestor, both colonial and 19th-century.  American and German sources are included: books and articles in print and how to find them; web-based resources and how to use them; and personal contacts and how to find them.  This presentation starts with American sources and shifts to European resources for nailing down your ancestor’s village of origin.
 
Track 6 - African-American Research – Leslie Anderson, MSLS
9:00-10:00 a.m.
(S61) 1st US Colored Cavalry: A Genealogical Index.  There seems to be an assumption that tales of a Civil War ancestor are handed down through the generations.  This isn’t always the case.  Leslie Anderson was surprised to find that her maternal great-great-grandfather and his brother served in the 1st US Colored Cavalry that was established at Fortress Monroe.  Along the way, she amassed a huge amount of genealogical information about their friends, neighbors, and associates.  This presentation will include a brief history of the regiment, a description of the troops’ community, and tidbits about their pre- and post-military life experiences.  Learn how to make the most of your findings with resources that include (but not limited to) local, state, and Federal records; published histories (print , GoogleBooks); maps (city, county, state).
10:30-11:30 a.m.
(S62) Virginia Slave Births Index, 1853-1865:
How 19th Century Records Became A 21st Century Resource. In 1853, the Commonwealth of Virginia began an annual registration of births and death.  The Birth Index of Slaves, 1853-1865 was later transcribed by the Works Project Administratino (WPA) and recorded on microfilm.  While the information – name of informant, infant’s name, mother’s name, birth date, place of birth is of immense value to genealogists, working with the microfilm can be problematic.  Hence, the creation of this multi-volume reference work, Virginia Slave Births Index, 1853-1865.
1:15-2:15 p.m.
(S65) The ‘Free Negro’ Dilemma in Virginia: Under-Utilized Documents for Blacks and Whites This lecture will describe the complexities of bondage and freedom in Virginia from the 17th century through the end of the Civil War.  It will (1) explain legal definitions of Negro and mulatto; (2) outline restrictions to individual rights; and (3) describe city and county documents created in response to legislation passed by the Virginia General Assembly.
2:45-3:45 p.m.
(S66) Hampton Roads Genealogical Research:
Chesapeake, Hampton, Newport News, Norfolk, Portsmouth, Suffolk, Virginia Beach. The Hampton Roads area is a study in contrast: land and sea, counties and independent cities, rural and urban landscapes, civilian life and military activity.  Once politics, law, and economics come into play, genealogical research in Hampton Roads can be daunting:  Counties became extinct.  Annexations created boundary changes.  Records were lost. 
 
 
Saturday Mini-sessions, during the lunch break - 11:45 am - 12:45 pm
 
New Developments at FamilySearch - presented by Carol Kostakos Petranek
FamilySearch, the world's largest free family history website, is rapidly changing. About 1 million digital images are uploaded daily, the new FamilyTree is a powerful tool for capturing the data, photos and stories of ancestors, and new mobile apps bring everything to your fingertips. Join us to learn about all of these tools, the "One Generation Challenge", and the Year of the Obituary.
 
Changes and Improvements in Local History and Genealogy Services at the Library of Congress - presented by Blane K. Dessy, MLS
The Library of Congress has recently made some changes to its Local History and Genealogy Services.  The Reading Room has been moved closer to the Main Reading Room and Microforms area,  new services are being planned, and some space enhancements are being made.  The Library of Congress already provides excellent genealogy service; learn how they plan to improve on that.
 
Find Your History: Navigating the Resources at the Library of Virginia - presented by Mark Howell
The Library of Virginia is home to over 17 million documents and more than 115 gigabytes of digital records that tell the Story of Virginia. Finding the ones that you need can be daunting.  This session—tailored to beginning and intermediate genealogists—will provide participants with the basics of using our online resources. We’ll also offer an overview of the upcoming National Genealogical Society conference coming to Richmond in May.
 
 
 

 
In the meantime, please take a look at some of the pictures from the 2012 conference.