I just love Salt Lake City. I thank the Federation of Genealogy Societies (FGS) for allowing me to present. Well, what can I say, I have no idea how many sessions the joint conferences had, just know that between Rootstech (https://rootstech.org/?lang=eng) and FGS (https://www.fgsconference.org) -there were thousands of people there, I believe there were over 12k! It was the largest genealogical gathering in the world and I loved being part of it. But I do know there were 170 vendors! Yes, shopping, giveaways, and food!
I arrived on Tuesday and was ready to go. So excited I didn’t know what to do with myself. I planned my day to see new and old friends. I planned a Friday lunch to meet my cousin who lives in Layton, UT. All went well according to my plan and even met a new cousin and his wife who lives in Nibley, UT. Don’t you just love this picture of us? The photo on the left, it looks like we actually do favor each other. LOL! We share a common ancestor. I didn’t even know I had a another cousin there. Gail Boyer Swetman, my other cousin said “oh there is Mike, he is a Boyer cousin you got to meet him”. I just love her spirit, she is an excellent genealogy researcher. Wow, I met Mike and his beautiful wife Joan and Gail shared how we connected.
I presented a session (Save your Society!) on Wednesday, it was well attended and received great feedback. On Thursday, the James Dent Walker Memorial Lecture. (Researching People of Color), it also was well attended and received.
A group of us met Tamu and friends, who is one of the Sistas in Zion (she is on the left and yes there are Black Mormons) and Thom Reed who works with FamilySearch. Dynamic folks! Tamu and friends attended one of my sessions and enjoyed it. The Sistas have a blog talk radio show that comes on Sunday’s evenings. http://www.blogtalkradio.com/sistasinzion . We understand that there is more work to be done in the field of African American research. We (Bernice Bennett & Angela Walton-Raji) shared info with them on the popular blogs, podcasts and other entities like MAAGI (Midwest African American Genealogy Institute) that is focused on African American genealogy research. Here’s a great picture of us just before we recorded the AAHGS media session.
Please visit Bernice Bennett’s Facebook page and you will hear the other interviews that were conducted or on her Research at the National Archives and Beyond Facebook page. give her a LIKE. I enjoyed seeing the thousands of people, but kind of sadden to see about 25 people of color. The energy was good, sessions held were good, so why weren’t there more people of color? That was a sad emptied feelings. Was it because they did not know, maybe the costs, or felt it might not be their level? I just don’t know. I believe truly that Familysearch/Rootstech wants to see more diversity, they are huge supporters and advocators. So people of color, why didn’t you come to Salt Lake City? The few of us tried to keep folks in the realm through Facebook and Twitter.
My only complaint is that there were not tables and seating areas throughout the corridors of the Salt Palace. It was difficult I believe for some people to get around, including me. There was lots of walking, I mean lots of walking, and feet swellings, and nowhere to stop for a break and some of us, needed that. I average for three days over 5k steps daily at the Salt Palace convention center. Other than that again I commend both organizations and their volunteers for a job well done! Believe it or not, now that I am home, I will view the FGS conference syllabus! It was a positive experience and I would highly recommend it as a conference to attend.
What’s next; now, its time to get back on helping to plan the AAHGS 2015, aahgs.org , it is coming up in Oct and the Call for Papers is out. I hope to see lots of folks in Richmond for this conference. It is the place to be in October. Join AAHGS in celebrating 150 yrs of FREEDOM in Virginia.
YOUR ROOTS ARE LONG AND STRONG!