Monday, September 3, 2012
Neither Rain, Sleet, Snow or HURRICANE?
Well, here I am in Birmingham. There was nothing that was going to stop me from coming to this conference. No way, not a holiday or even a hurricane!
Here’s how my first day went.
We received our blogger beads from Thomas MacEntee, courtesy of Dear Myrtle. Thank You Pat! It is definitely the best conversation starter. Some people just stare and wonder; but most stop and ask what the beads represent. It is awesome to talk to all of these people that we may not have had the opportunity to talk with. Good Going! Thank you again Dear Myrtle for making our experience more pleasant. Someone had said to me that the "beaded ones" were obviously special. Now we are known as the "Beaded Ones." How cute is that!
Tuesday night, there was a wonderful dinner for the blogging world sponsored by Family Search. Before I go any further, I want to thank Family Search for their wonderful generosity. They really know how to make a person feel special. Family Search talked to us about the amazing consortium that was able to digitize and index the entire 1940 United States Census in just over 4 months. WOW! Then they previewed their upcoming major projects. They are working on digitizing and indexing The US Immigration and Naturalization records and the Italian Ancestors Project. Hey folks, they need indexers very badly. This is a huge undertaking and since we are the end-users, maybe we, as a society, need to get together and index some of these records. Wouldn't that be wonderful to give back to our genealogical and historical community. It's not as hard as you may think. Here's how it's done.
Create and sign in with a Family Search ID, sign up to index and then follow the instructions. Within minutes you can be looking at the copies of the original documents and then filling in the form for it to be indexed. If you have questions about your accuracy, no need to worry. Two other persons are doing the same document and then a moderator will determine the accuracy before it goes on line. There are even instructions and helpful hints along the way. What could go wrong! Let's talk about this at our next meeting. I will be more specific and walk you through this, later. If we did this together, we could make a difference.
Then I went and listened to D. Joshua Taylor give the keynote speech. It was titled "Transforming Your Society into a Dynamic 21st Century Destination." Oh my goodness, this was so relevant to what is happening in our society and nearly all societies around the country. He did an excellent job discussing how to integrate new technologies, a new group of genealogists, and new developments into societies that want to survive and thrive in today's world. I have ordered an audio copy of the speech. If anyone is interested in listening to it, please contact me.
Afterwards, the classes began. My first class was a discussion of the cemetery preservation efforts in Alabama and how genealogical societies and their members can participate. Lee Ann Woffard, Martha Armstrong, and Joyce Nicoll tag-teamed this presentation. Joyce has recently moved to Chattanooga from Montgomery. Her and I will get together and talk about some possible projects for the future. I am looking forward to seeing what we can come up with.
Then I moved on. I took a class that reviewed a society that had nearly failed. Its process from near extinction to a vibrant and active society was the case study. It dealt with rising costs, declining membership, changing member demographics and the technological advances. These are the same challenges that most societies are dealing with today. Thank you Diane Richard for this eye-opening example.
Next, Daine VanSkiver Gagel talked about the preservation of society records. It covered the important aspect of preserving the records that deal with the society meetings. If these are handled properly, the next generation of officers will be able to follow the proper path. Societies are also recipients of other peoples research. There are many ways to handle this and they were discussed in-depth. I hope to talk to you about this and put some of these ideas into practice.
Lastly, I took a two hour workshop about publicizing. Paula Stuart-Warren, through group analysis, hands on exercises and class discussion went into detail about the publication of newsletters, brochures, pamphlets, etc. Wow! It was a Great class. Thanks Paula. She also shared her ticket to the Opening Social that night. It was amazing. I would not have been there if it was not for her generosity. Thank You Again Paula!
As soon as the day's classes were over, we hopped on a bus and went down a couple of blocks to the iconic Alabama Theater. It, along with a few others like The Tivoli in Chattanooga, are the only remaining true, Hollywood-Style Movie Palaces, left in the United States. We were treated to the entertainment of Bobby Horton. He combined music, history and comedy into an entertaining evening.
What a wonderful way to end a very long and educational day!