President's Message

Brief on-point messages from the president.

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President’s Message, April 2011

– By Richard Kimball, President

Late last week I was privileged to attend the New England Regional Genealogical Conference 2011 in Springfield, MA. Just as in the two previous NERGCs I have attended, this was a terrific learning experience. Of the approximately 14 presentations, I chose this time, I considered almost every one to be very well done and interesting and most provided me with new or better sharpened tools for future genealogical research. Overall registered attendance was a record breaking 800+. The 2013 sessions will be back in Manchester, NH at the same location as in 2009, which most agreed was a very comfortable place to meet.

I’ll bring my Syllabus along to our monthly meeting so that you can see what kinds of sessions were offered and I can relate to you some of the messages from the sessions I attended.

I want to mention, in particular, a session by David Ouimette, CG called “Digitizing the Records in the Granite Mountain.” This, as you might imagine, was on the project of greatly expanding the database of digitized and indexed original records being carried out by the Genealogical Society of Utah (Family Search).

About four years ago, I had pretty well written off Family Search as a useful research tool as it contained so many inaccurate “contributed” family trees. I would look there only as a last resort and then only for a faint clue as to what a true record might be. Since then, they have added and indexed millions of images of documents, many of which are available otherwise only through travel to archives of states, countries, etc., and the project continues. Family tree data is now clearly separated on the site from the digitized copies of the originals and you may offer suggestions when you find errors in the indexing and even join in the indexing project yourself.

An example of a resource, which is indexed and searched through the Family Search site, are some five year census records done by the State (Commonwealth) of Massachusetts. I was surprised to see census data from 1855 and 1865 turning up which I had never seen before! If you have not been using www.familysearch.org lately, I suggest you revisit it and do some digging.