Sunday, February 21, 2010

Family History Day - February 20, 2010 in Boston, Massachusetts

Yesterday I had the pleasure of attending the Family History Day 2010 in Boston.  It was co-sponsored by NEHGS (New England Historic Genealogical Society) and  The day was laid out in four sessions with two choices in each time slot.  There were also 15 minute private consultation slots with genealogists from NEHGS, along with the opportunity to have documents scanned with professional scanning equipment.

The session choices were:
        Getting the Most out of Your Subcription
        Finding Immigration Records
        Best Strategies for Searching
        Organize, Organize, Organize
        Discover NEHGS: Your Family History Resource
        Getting the Most out of Family Tree Maker

The day began early!  Check-in began was from 8-9:30 am  at the Westin Copley in Boston.  I rode the train from my home in southern Rhode Island.  I had a 6:22 am reservation. It was still mostly dark! The train was 20 minutes late but the sun came up.

Kingston Station

When I arrived at the event registration was in full swing. There were 700 registrations (with over 200 turned away I heard).  The organizers were well prepared but it still took about 1/2 hour to get checked in.  However, I never mind standing and talking with fellow genealogists!

NEHGS also had a book sale.  They were selling a variety of used books along with some of their newer publications.  They were also signing up new members at a great pace with a small conference discount.  I spent a few minutes at the table during the day,  checking out all the books.

I first attended the Finding Immigration Records session given by Rhonda McClure of NEHGS.  She is a great speaker and an avid genealogist herself.  She had some wonderful examples from her own research that she shared.  The room was packed.  I picked up some tips here for looking for all the many immigrant ancestors which we all have.
Next on tap for me was Organize, Organize, Organize also by Rhonda.  Here she conjoled and teased us into admitting many of our unorganized ways.  I took home some impetus to clean up my biggest mess - my digital images.  Ah, good intentions, where will they lead?

Lunch was on your own with lots of choices inside the interconnected mall area or out into a beautiful day in downtown Boston.  

Back from lunch I attended Discover NEHGS: Your Family History Resource led by Josh Taylor.  He admitted that we will see him on the upcoming "Who Do You Think You  Are"  where he helped Sarah Jessica Parker!  Josh took us through the NEHGS resources of which I have used so very little even though I have been a member for 4 or 5 years!  Again, more good intentions to be had!

I finished the day at Getting the Most out of Family Tree Maker led by Tana Pederson who has written "The Official Guide to Family Tree Maker".  It was a pretty good introduction to the latest version.

I will admit here that I use FTM but although I have purchased the latest version, 2010,  I have stuck with FTM 2006.  There were so many disappointed users of the intervening versions.  The new version looked good.  You can keep all your media files within your database, including your photos, census images etc. They can be attached to individuals and events (and would  help with the disorganized stuff I spoke about above).   If you are an subscription it interconnects very nicely.  I am still a bit skeptical here - how will it perform with a 10,000 plus member tree and lots of images?   How large and unwieldy will my database file become?  Anyone using it please let me know your thoughts!!

After the last session I had a pleasant train ride back to Kingston and was home by a bit after 6 pm.  A long but pleasurable day.  I am sure they could take this show on the road and do quite well!  Did I see you there?


  1. Hi Kathy,
    Thanks for the wonderful report, and boy, what a full day you had! I also heard, via fb those same numbers, so there was a huge turnout. I guess you know, I decided at the last minute not to attend, but I only lost $30.

  2. Kathy,

    Sounds like a informative day.

    Now, I do NOT use FTM, so, I may misunderstand how it stores photos and such that you attach to your data base. That is my little disclaimer, here is how I like it:

    I use RM (still on version 3, have not done the update/upgrade to 4, yet)

    What I like about how RM addresses the attached digital files is that they are NOT attached to RM. You store your files/photos/docs in directories/subdirectories on your hard drive NOT in RM.

    So, you have to tell RM where you have stored the doc or photo, or PDF file, or Video, or sound bite file. RM then accesses the file from the storage directory when you want to view (or listen) to it.

    Benefit, IF I would crash RM, it would not take my digital files with it to computer heaven (or H%@).

    I have in excess of 16,000 individuals and a little over 7500 digital files attached to them. Knock on wood, and the genie angels, I have not had any problems.

  3. Hi Kathy, I looked for you at Family History Day, but there were just TOO MANY people! I went to different classes than you did, so my blog post has a different take. I just switched from FTM 2006 to FTM 2009 in December, and so far so good. I'm still finding new things to do, and I also went to that last class on Saturday about the 2010 version and I think my version does most of what Tana demonstrated. I have a file with 80,000 names, which is why I had to switch. My FTM 2006 was crashing with that many names, so I had a much larger hard drive installed and upgraded to FTM 2010. Everything transferred safely (sources, photos, etc.) so I'm happy for now...