Tuesday, April 30, 2013

WiFi Hotspot during the conference

NGS wants you to stay connected! In order to offset the expense of in-room Internet fees, the NGS has partnered with Platinum Sponsors and FamilySearch to provide conference attendees with free WiFi Internet access. A password-protected Internet café (WiFi Hotspot) just for NGS attendees will accommodate up to 300 users at a time, 20 minutes per session, 24 hours per day, Monday through Saturday the week of the conference.

The free WiFi Hotspot will be located in Pavilion 5 and in the Pavilion Foyer between the Pavilion and the Paradise Event Center Foyer.The network name and password was included in the attendee information e-mail sent on Tuesday, 30 May.

Please remember to thank our generous sponsors, FamilySearch,, and the National Genealogical Society, for making possible the 24-hour WiFi Hotspot and your free Internet connectivity.

Why NGS 2013? Why Vegas? 5 Reasons to Attend a National Genealogy Conference

By Denise Levenick, Guest Blogger and a NGS 2013 Conference Official Blogger

The first National Genealogical Society Conference I attended, held in Salt Lake City in 2010, marked a turning point in my understanding of genealogy as an academic field and as a profession. Until that event, I viewed genealogy as an enjoyable and challenging avocation. I didn’t know much about advanced research methods or about career opportunities for genealogists. And I didn’t know too many genealogists outside the West Coast.

If you are wondering, “Why attend a national conference?” here are a few take-aways from my experiences.

What I Discovered at the NGS Conference:

1. Regional and Subject Diversity–Larger conferences bring together experts on a wide range of topics all under one roof. You can learn about everything from technology to methodology, and from immigration to ephemera.

2. Networking–A large national conference like NGS attracts a broad group of attendees from throughout the country. This makes it an ideal opportunity to meet face-to-face with colleagues you may only know online or in virtual groups.

3. Insiders Guide to Local Research–Like regional conferences, national conferences offer a wealth of sessions targeting topics of local research interest. If you are interested in learning about research in a particular locale, attending a conference held in that area is one of the best ways to increase your knowledge of an area.

4. New Products and Services–The Exhibit Hall offers more than a genealogical shopping mall. It is a showcase for new databases, software, and products. I had a chance to try out services and take advantage of special pricing.

5. Inspiration and Enthusiasm–I love blogging and writing, but it’s a lonely occupation at times. I enjoy the energy and enthusiasm of conferences and always come home inspired by new ideas and the people I’ve met.

These are just a few of many benefits from attending a national genealogy conference. I know I’ll be discovering more in Las Vegas at the  2013 National Genealogical Society Conference.

 Visit Denise at


Syllabus Available for Download

The conference syllabus is now available online for registered attendees. The syllabus highlights the major points of each lecture as submitted by the speaker, and is often referenced during the sessions.

To view and download the syllabus, log in to the NGS website at Please allow up to 10 minutes for the download to complete as the file is very large.

You will receive a digital copy of the syllabus at conference check in. If you purchased a print syllabus prior to the early bird registration deadline, you will also receive the print syllabus at conference check in. You can prepare for the conference before you leave home by viewing and printing syllabi for the sessions you would like to attend.

Before you leave home, decide which lectures you would like to attend.  Download a PDF of the Conference Program to your app! On the Dashboard click Conference Docs and click 2013 Program. The download is the PDF version of the Conference Program you will receive at Registration or Attendee Check In. It contains a daily schedule and notes room assignments and which sessions are taped. Alternatively, download the daily schedule at

NGS will not have syllabus printing stations at the conference. Please print syllabus materials you wish to have with you before you leave home. Alternatively, you can print from your flash drive syllabus at the LVH business center for 30 cents per page to print in black and white, $1.75 per page to print in color, and an additional $1 to open a file and print from a CD or flash drive.


Monday, April 29, 2013

Exhibitor Profile-Southern California Genealogical Society

The Southern California Genealogical Society (SCGS) in Burbank, California, has been meeting the needs of Southern California’s genealogists since 1964. Since then, SCGS has expanded it's service area globally with the introduction of its popular semi-monthly webinar series, the Jamboree Extension Series. With online access to the Society’s 40,000-volume library catalog and our Research Team’s assistance, our resources are just a few keystrokes away, wherever you are and wherever your ancestors were.

The Society sponsors one of the largest genealogical events in the United States, the Southern California Genealogy Jamboree. Traditionally held the second weekend in June, this year’s conference will be held Friday through Sunday, 7– 9 June, at the Los Angeles Marriott Burbank, in Burbank, California.

With about 50 speakers and 100 different sessions, attendees will be sure to find something of interest every hour of the three-day weekend. Friday morning is our traditional JamboFREE with two levels of beginning genealogy classes, society workshops, roundtable discussions, and a three-hour NARA workshop–all free. Friday evening’s banquet is “Behind the Scenes of Who Do You Think You Are?” with researcher/producer Alexandra Orton and colleagues; Saturday features D. Joshua Taylor.

The Jamboree pre-event on Thursday, 6 June, is the ground-breaking “Family History and DNA: Genetic Genealogy in 2013,” conference, jointly sponsored with ISOGG. The first-ever independently sponsored DNA event will feature such experts as Spencer Wells, M.D., and Professor Henry Louis Gates, Jr., PhD. This inaugural conference will also be held at the Los Angeles Marriott Burbank.


Getting Around in Las Vegas

Photo courtesy of the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority
If you decide you want to see a bit of Las Vegas while at the conference, we have some suggestions for how to get around town.    

The Las Vegas monorail has a station at the conference hotel, the Las Vegas Hotel (LVH). To reach the station, walk toward the North Tower and follow the signs to the station.  It takes you from the LVH, which is at the northern end of the strip all the way to the southern end of the strip with 7 stops in between.  The hours of operation are Monday, 7 a.m.–midnight; Tuesday–Thursday, 7 a.m.–2 a.m.; Friday–Sunday, 7 a.m.–3 a.m.  The monorail runs every 10 minutes or so.  Fares are $5 for a single one-way ticket, $12 for a one day pass and $22 for a two day pass.  Tickets are available from machines at each of the stations, including the LVH station. For those warm Las Vegas days, the monorail is air conditioned! The security includes a K9 unit, private security guards, and a full video surveillance system.

All stops are behind casinos on the east side of Las Vegas Boulevard.  If you want to see something on the west side of the boulevard (Fashion Mall for instance), there will be a little bit of walking.

There are no bus stops at the LVH.  There are routes that go up and down the strip and will also take you downtown.  The best route is the “Double Deuce.” It’s a double decker bus that runs up and down the strip all the way from the southern end and to the Mob Museum downtown with numerous stops in between.  The cost is $2 for two hours and $8 for twenty-four hours.  Tickets are sold at vending machines throughout the city. 

There are about sixteen cab companies that operate under the Taxi Authority in Las Vegas.  Taxis are available just outside the front door of the hotel right by the valet. The “drop” (when you get in the cab) is $3.30 and $2.40 per mile thereafter.

Cabs cannot be hailed in Las Vegas. Hotels and restaurants will call for you. If you are walking around, go to the nearest hotel or restaurant and there are usually cabs lined up.

Bell Trans operates shuttle buses from the airport to the hotel.  The price is $7 one way, $13 round trip.

Thanks to Betteann Myers, Publicity Chair, Local Host Committee


Newly released New York City Research Guide Will be Available at the Conference

NGS announced today the release of the newest edition in its Research in the States series: Research in New York City, Long Island, and Westchester County. This publication was written by native New Yorker and nationally recognized genealogist Laura Murphy DeGrazia, CGSM, FGBS. Laura is a trustee and former president of BCG and co-editor of the NYG&B Record. Barbara Vines Little, CG, FNGS, FVGS, is a former NGS president and is the current editor of the NGS Research in the States series and the Magazine of Virginia Genealogy.

Research in New York City, Long Island, and Westchester County is an introduction to resources and repositories essential to genealogical research in these geographic areas. “Millions of Americans have ancestors who spent some time in the New York City, Long Island, and Westchester County area,” said Laura Murphy DeGrazia, author, “and knowing what resources exist and where they are located can help family historians be more successful in their research.”

The guide will be available for sale at the NGS 2013 Family History Conference in Las Vegas from 8–11 May in the NGS booth #205. Author Laura Murphy DeGrazia will be available for book signings at the NGS conference booth on Thursday, 9 May from 9:00 a.m.–10:50 a.m.

Research in New York City, Long Island, and Westchester County will be available in the NGS store at in a PDF and print version beginning 8 May; the print version will ship after 20 May.

Other titles in the Research in the States series, which are also available in PDF and print form, include Arkansas, Colorado, Georgia, Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, Maryland, Michigan, Missouri, New Jersey, North Carolina, Ohio, Oregon, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Tennessee, Virginia, and West Virginia. Additional states and a full New York State guide are planned for the future.


Sunday, April 28, 2013

Exhibitor Profile-Ancestral Quest by Incline Software

Booth #113

So, you are researching your ancestral past, and need software to organize it all. Ancestral Quest has been helping genealogists for twenty years to record the names, dates, places, notes, sources, stories, and images of their family tree. Once these details are entered, Ancestral Quest (AQ) creates wonderful charts and reports, including standard pedigree and family group sheets, but also wall charts, custom reports, and scores more. The new timeline will help you see your family in context with pertinent historical events, and suggest genealogical resources to examine to verify and extend your research.

AQ includes built-in searches to many popular online data sources such as and FamilySearch, and can be extended to initiate searches on other sites that you use. AQ includes award winning capabilities for sorting and filtering your data to make information easy to find. It is a one-stop solution for initiating your research, recording your findings, and presenting your family tree.

Prior to attending NGS, feel free to download at, the Ancestral Quest Basics–a free, complete program which will fulfill all the requirements of beginning genealogists.

While attending NGS, visit us at booth #113 to purchase the full version of Ancestral Quest at a 43% discount–normally $34.95, on sale for $20 at NGS.

You will be in good company with millions of others who use Ancestral Quest, or one of the products derived from Ancestral Quest, such as Personal Ancestral File, Family Tree Heritage, and Ancestry Family Tree.


Speaker Profile-Angela Packer McGhie

Saturday, 11:00 a.m., S424, “Researching in Federal Land Records”

Imagine reading an affidavit from your ancestor written in 1865 where he states he has made a settlement and “erected a log house 16 x 16 feet with roof, floor, doors and windows and is a comfortable house to live in.” And that he has “plowed, fenced and cultivated thirty acres of land and has thereon 200 rods of fencing with stable and corral and orchard.” Those details would be worth adding to your family history.

Would you like to learn that your ancestor who lived in Oregon had arrived in the state on 26 October 1853, was a native citizen of the United States born in Dixon County, Tennessee in 1827, or that he had married his wife Nancy on 3 July 1857.

Would you expect to find a copy of your ancestor’s naturalization certificate in land records? What about your ancestor’s Civil War service discharge papers? These genealogical gems and more can be included in federal land records.

Now not all land entry papers contain these types of details, but depending on the type of file, you may locate rich genealogical information. If your ancestor purchased land from the federal government or established a homestead, you will want to learn how to search these records.

“A drawing of an early homestead family,” digital image, Bureau of Land Management Photo Library, ( accessed January 6, 2012).


Exhibitor Profile-Family Tree DNA

Booth #137

Founded in April 2000, Family Tree DNA was the first company to develop the commercial application of DNA testing for genealogical purposes. Prior to that, such testing was only available for academic and scientific research. Over a decade later, it continues to establish standards and create new milestones in the increasingly popular and rapidly growing field of genetic genealogy.

Family Tree DNA is the only company in the field to process all its tests in its own state of the art Genomics Research Center in Houston, and is the testing company for National Geographic's Genographic Project, having tested in excess of 700,000 individuals since 2000.

The largest DNA testing company, Family Tree DNA will be on hand to test you and answer all your DNA-related questions. With the most extensive genetic genealogy databases in the world, Family Tree DNA is the most important resource to connect people in the United States with their ancestors in Europe.

Genetic genealogy gives family historians a means to check their discoveries with information obtained via DNA testing. With a simple cheek swab, Family Tree DNA test can:
  • provide clues for further genealogical research
  • help determine ancestral homelands
  • reveal living relatives
  • validate existing findings
  • confirm or deny suspected connections between families 
  • prove or disprove ancestry theories
If you're new to DNA testing, a visit to Family Tree DNA booth #137 will allow you to learn about the basic concepts of this ground-breaking science.

Saturday, April 27, 2013

Exhibitor Profile-Federation of Genealogical Societies

Booth #108

Representing the members of hundreds of genealogical societies across the United States and other nations, the Federation of Genealogical Societies (FGS) is here to link the genealogical community and help its members grow.

Visit booth #108 to learn about the War of 1812 Preserve the Pension Project and the Forum, FGS’ premier periodical. Join us in Fort Wayne, Indiana, 21-24 August, for our annual conference,

Speaker Profile-Sharon Batiste Gillins

Thursday, 9:30 a.m., T214, "Freedmen’s Bureau Labor Contracts: Window on the Life of a Freedman"

Ever wonder what your freedmen ancestors were doing between the end of slavery and the 1870 census? There’s an often under-utilized record group that can provide details about freedmen that you would never imagine. Labor contracts from Freedmen’s Bureau field office records contain a wide range of documents that offer a revealing look into freedmen’s lives during this critical transition period from free labor to contract labor. Although many researchers believe that the 1870 U.S. population census marks the first opportunity to find freedmen ancestors by given name as well as by surname, Freedmen’s Bureau labor contracts contain volumes of freedmens’ full names, along with their “mark” as they sign their first contracts with planters as early as 1865.

 The labor contracts may even reveal their working hours, responsibilities and salaries. Often, families are grouped together and identified by age and gender. Registers of colored people, essentially a census of the freedmen in an area, reveal freedmen’s wages and employers, and often, their plantation affiliations and past owners.That’s just a sample of the kind of information waiting to be discovered in Freedmen’s Bureau labor contracts.

Learn where to get access to this important record group and how to analyze them for information in this session.

SpeakerProfile-Kip Sperry, FASG, FNGS, FUGA

Wednesday, 2:30 p.m., W146, "Finding Your Ancestors in US Cemetery Records"

Thursday, 9:30 a.m., T213, "Latter-day Saints Family History Research"

Kip is a professor of family history at Brigham Young University (BYU), Provo, Utah, where he teaches American and LDS genealogical research methods and sources. Born in Ohio, he holds graduate and undergraduate degrees from BYU, and previously worked at the Family History Library in Salt Lake City. His national awards include Fellow, National Genealogical Society; Fellow, American Society of Genealogists; and Fellow, Utah Genealogical Association; among other awards and honors. He received the Richard Lloyd Anderson Research Award from BYU in 2003. Kip is author of A Guide to Mormon Family History Sources; Genealogical Research in Ohio; Reading Early American Handwriting; and other family history books, chapters, and journal articles, and is a former contributing editor of National Genealogical Society Quarterly. He has lectured at national, regional, and local family history conferences and seminars, including NGS annual conferences. He is a former NGS Council member for ten years and served as NGS National Conference Chair of four annual conferences for 1984 (San Francisco), 1985 (Salt Lake City), 1991 (Portland, Oregon), and 1995 (San Diego, California). He is a life member of NGS.

Friday, April 26, 2013

Exhibitor Profile-Treelines

Booth #337

Are you one of the genealogists D. Joshua Taylor, a featured genealogist on Who Do You Think You Are?, is referring to when he lectures that genealogists are starting to emphasize sharing the stories of people’s lives over collecting the basic dates and facts? Then Treelines is the tool you’ve been waiting for!

Treelines is a brand new destination for genealogists to record and share our most treasured family stories using a fun and easy storytelling platform!

Already have a tree? Treelines will import the information you’ve spent years collecting and walk you through the step-by-step process of turning it into stories your family will love to read.   The website is an adjunct to the tools you’re already using, but more than that,  it will help you add meaning to your research like never before.

Or are you just getting started? Treelines guides users through the process of building family trees in a natural way as you write the stories you most want to share. You’ll end up with a record of not only the names and dates in your tree, but more importantly the family stories most worth passing on.

Treelines has also met Taylor’s aspirations for a greater emphasis on interactivity, multimedia, digital scrap booking, and communal sharing.  As genealogists themselves, the Treelines team has peered deep into the future of genealogy and hopes you’ll join their beta site to help advance this new vision of what a more meaningful, interactive genealogy experience can be!

Speaker Profile-Pamela Boyer Sayre, CG, CGL

Including this exciting NGS conference in Las Vegas, Pamela Boyer Sayre, CG, CGL, has taught genealogical seminars and classes in 32 states.

In W127, "Federal Records Relating to Rivers and Canals," you’ll learn to use records at the federal level to ferret out obscure facts and photos relating to development of dams and canals or traffic and travel on rivers and canals. Pick up a tip about where to look for an ancestor who helped with the Panama Canal, traveled via steamboat from Missouri to California, or owned land along the Ohio River.

W315, "Spanish Archives Materials: Not Just for Hispanics"
Spanish land grants in Missouri or Arkansas? Sure. Baptismal or marriage details of Virginia Baptists in Catholic Church records? Absolutely. From the vast Louisiana Purchase lands to the American Southeast or Southwest, these records document Americans who traveled through or settled areas once governed by Spain but now in the United States. Learn how to find your early ancestors in Spanish Archives materials available within the continental United States.

S451, "Enough is Enough! Or is it?"
The Board for Certification of Genealogists defines standards for a reasonably exhaustive search and the genealogical proof standard, but how do you know when you have really done enough to meet project goals? This lecture aims to calm your fears, provide tips for doing a good job, and show you a real step-by-step case study example of hair-pulling and rock-turning to look for the best right answer to support the research goals.

Exhibitor Profile-FamilySearch

Booth #105

FamilySearch—Helping people discover, preserve, and share family connections

FamilySearch is enhancing its offering to help more people discover, preserve, and share priceless family history findings and connect families across generations. Stop by the FamilySearch booth at NGS to learn about some of the new tools and the existing features that have made FamilySearch one of the most popular destinations for family history research. A few of our new tools include:
  • FamilySearch Family Tree: An easy way to organize your findings, see what others have discovered, collaborate with family on shared lines, and preserve your genealogy for generations to come.
  • Photos and Stories: A place to upload, share, and connect photos and stories with current and future generations.
  • Interactive Fan Chart: A new way to view ancestors and descendants, share the joy of genealogy with family, find gaps in your research, and make plans for next steps.
Of course, at FamilySearch you’ll still enjoy:
  • Billions of Free Online Records:  World’s largest collection of free family history and genealogy records from over 100 countries.
  • Largest Online Genealogy Reference Library: FamilySearch Research Wiki is an online encyclopedia that offers research guidance and a place to share your knowledge.  Includes over 600 informative classes to watch at your own convenience.
  • Free, Personal Help:  FamilySearch or research-specific help online, on the phone, and in over 4,600 local Family History Centers worldwide.
Visit booth #105 to see these new and enhanced FamilySearch features in action!

Thursday, April 25, 2013

An Early Trip to Las Vegas

It appears that one of the 2013 Conference Official Bloggers made an early trip to Las Vegas for a very special occasion last weekend. Sara Campbell of Rembering Those Who Came Before Us tells the whole story in her Monday blog post at

I've been so focused on the conference that I forgot that Las Vegas is the wedding capital of the world. I wonder if anyone attending the conference will take the plunge during conference week!

Speaker Profile-Rick Sayre, CG

I am presenting two topics that should be of special interest to researchers that have ancestors that settled in the Western states.  My first presentation on Thursday morning, “ The Civil War in the American West, “ will help researchers understand the often-neglected military actions West of the Mississippi. Many soldiers were recruited from local populations and many from Eastern states remained and settled in the West. Researchers will discover the rich genealogical information in the records created about these soldiers and will learn how to find this information, much of which is now online.    

In the afternoon I will discuss “Homesteads—Settling the American West.” Attendees will discover the genealogical riches in the application files and successful techniques to locate these records. There are literally millions of records relating to homesteads and they can be found in all 30 public land states. Many new online resources make much of the search possible from your computer.

On Friday, those with an interest in maps that attend “Genealogical Applications of Historical Geographical Information Systems (GIS)” will discover unique and powerful digital tools to research localities and find ancestors. More and more GIS applications are appearing every day that are useful to genealogists. In this BCG Skillbuilding lecture, we will look at GIS applications covering the world (Google Earth), countries (Northern Ireland, England, and Germany) to specific cities such as Pittsburgh, and Philadelphia.

Speaker Profile-Gena Philibert-Ortega

Gena Philibert-Ortega is exploring three unique topics in her presentations at NGS, researching Mormon women, earthquakes, and social media.

“I’m interested in social history and how that can inform what we know about our ancestor’s lives” says Gena. Her presentation, "Earthquake!: The Documents Left Behind," will explore two large California earthquakes and the resulting records. Even for those whose ancestors didn’t experience those two events, the types of records discussed will help in the search for records of other disasters.

A topic that Gena specializes in is researching female ancestors. She will explore that topic in her presentation, "Documenting the Lives of Mormon Women." This presentation will look at what types of resources and repositories are available to research nineteenth and early twentieth century Mormon women. “When researching women it’s important to expand your search to include their family, community, and historical era. While women are not always found in traditional government documents, they can be found in records created by their community”, says Gena.

Gena is a genealogist, author, and lecturer. She is the author of articles published in FGS Forum, APG Quarterly, Internet Genealogy, Family Chronicle, and Family Tree Magazine. Her books include From The Family Kitchen (F&W Media, 2012), Cemeteries of the Eastern Sierra (Arcadia Publishing, 2007), and the newly published Tracing Your Female Ancestors, a special edition of Family Chronicle Magazine.

You can find Gena online through her blogs
Gena’s Genealogy at
Food.Family.Ephemera at

You can follow her on Twitter @genaortega.

Wednesday, April 24, 2013


Booth #305

The team is looking forward to the NGS 2013 conference in Las Vegas.  Don’t miss the chance to interact with Ancestry employees, learn new tips and tricks, and share your family history stories. is the world's largest online resource for family history with a collection of 41 million family trees and 11 billion records. We look forward to seeing you at booth #305 to hear your great discoveries and answer any questions you may have.

For an in-depth look at, join us for a special Ancestry Day on Saturday, 11 May. An Ancestry Day is the opportunity to receive targeted training directly from the pros from For more information about the all exclusive Ancestry Day go to Space is limited, register today!


Mastering Genealogical Proof by Thomas W. Jones to be released at conference

The National Genealogical Society announced today the release of Mastering Genealogical Proof by Thomas W. Jones, PhD, CGSM, CGLSM, FASG, FNGS. As a unique textbook on genealogical methods and reasoning in the twenty-first century, Mastering Genealogical Proof guides readers in acquiring genealogical skills transcending chronological, ethnic, geopolitical, and religious boundaries. Dr. Jones, a noted writer, lecturer, and editor in the field of genealogy, explains and develops the level of proof that is appropriate to genealogy.

Dr. Jones relies on his vast experience as a genealogist to explain the various concepts and techniques involved in the genealogical research process. Mastering Genealogical Proof aims to help researchers, students, and new family historians reconstruct relationships and lives of people they cannot see. It presents content in digestible chunks. Each chapter concludes with problems providing practice for proficiently applying the chapter’s concepts. Those problems, like examples throughout the book, use real records, real research, and real issues.

Mastering Genealogical Proof
will first be available for purchase at the NGS 2013 Family History Conference in Las Vegas, Nevada, 8–11 May 2013.

Dr. Jones will also be available for book signings at the NGS booth (#205) in the exhibit hall on: Friday, 10 May, from 10:45 a.m.–12:00 noon
Saturday, 11 May, from 10:00 a.m.–11:00 a.m.

Purchases may be made in advance of the signings in the NGS booth starting at 9:30 a.m. on Wednesday, 8 May, when the conference exhibit hall opens.

Mastering Genealogical Proof may also be pre-ordered from the NGS online store at

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Exhibitor Profile-Midwest Genealogy Center

Booth #128

Visit the Midwest Genealogy Center, a branch of the Mid-Continent Public Library, at Booth #128. Located in Independence, Missouri, the Midwest Genealogy Center has a collection of almost 750,000 on-site materials for nationwide genealogical research, housed in a beautiful building of 52,000 square feet. This nationally-recognized facility has a uniquely expansive circulating collection and almost completely open stacks. The collection consists of over 100,000 reference books, as well as a vast number of periodicals, newspapers, microfilm and fiche, maps, and online databases. The Midwest Genealogy Center is open seven days a week and is conveniently located in mid-America just one mile north of Interstate 70, with free parking, and many nearby Kansas City attractions.

Stop by the booth, say hello, and drop off your entry to win a Kindle Fire, donated by the City of Independence Department of Tourism!

Speaker Profile-Megan Smolenyak Smolenyak

Friday, 4:00 p.m., F358, "Solving Historical and Family Mysteries"
Discussion of several cases using Y-DNA, mtDNA, and/or autosomal DNA to tackle long-standing mysteries–and the sometimes surprising outcomes!

A popular writer, speaker, and TV guest, Megan Smolenyak² does all she can to get the g-word out there and inspire others in their quest for roots. She has appeared on Good Morning America, the Today show, CNN, NPR, and the BBC.  In addition to consulting on shows ranging from Who Do You Think You Are? to Top Chef, Megan is the author of six books, a Huffington Post contributor, former Chief Family Historian and spokesperson for, and a consultant for the Army, coroners, the FBI, and NCIS.

Hey America, Your Roots Are Showing


Free book scanning at the conference by FamilySearch

Share Your Family History Books With the World

Have you always wanted to quickly and easily share a family history or genealogy book with others?  Have you written a book that could help people with their research on a family name or locality?  FamilySearch will scan your family history and genealogy books at the upcoming National Genealogical Society Conference in Las Vegas, add them to the online digital book collection Family History Books at and give you a digital copy–for free!

Family History Books is a collection of more than 80,000 digitized genealogy and family history publications from the archives of some of the most important family history libraries in the world. The collection includes family histories, county and local histories, genealogy magazines and how-to-books, gazetteers, and medieval histories and pedigrees.

FamilySearch is interested in:
  • Autobiographies and biographies containing genealogical material
  • Family histories with genealogical information
  • Indexes to records 
  • Local and county histories
Bring your books to the FamilySearch booth #105 where they can be scanned during the conference.  We will scan the book and give you a copy of the scanned image at the conference in addition to posting your book online. FamilySearch must have permission from the author or copyright holder to scan copyrighted books.


Monday, April 22, 2013

Focus on Tracks-GenTech

We have a dynamic GenTech track this year!  It will feature the latest information about apps, websites, software, and more. The GenTech track spotlights technologies that assist the genealogist with a variety of research applications—some developed and proved while others are on the cutting edge of development. The presentations are given by some of the foremost experts in the field.

11:00 a.m., W128, "How the Genealogist Can Remember Everything with Evernote!" by Lisa Louise Cook

2:30 p.m., W148, "Genealogical Writing Made Easier with Scrivener" by Kimberly T. Powell

4:00 p.m., W158, "Social Media Tools for Genealogy" by Gena Philibert-Ortega

8:00 a.m., T208, "Search Techniques for Computer-Indexed Sources" by Barbara Ann Renick

9:30 a.m., T218, "Cloud Genealogy" by Shamele Jordon

11:00 a.m., T228, "Software Strategies: Choosing the Best Genealogy Software for Your Genealogy Project" by Kimberly T. Powell

2:30 p.m., T248, "A Mac User in a PC World," by Laura G. Prescott

4:00 p.m., T258, "How to Create an Exciting, Interactive Family History Tour with Google Earth" by Lisa Louise Cooke

8:00 a.m., F308, "Online Catalogs: A Bridge to Successful Research" by Pamela J. Cooper

9:30 a.m., F319, "iGenealogy: There is an App for That" by Shamele Jordon

11:00 a.m., F328, "Microsoft Excel: A Little-Known Genealogy Research Tool" by Jill N. Crandell, AG

2:30 p.m., F349, "Google Search Strategies for Common Surnames: Quality Results in Less Time!" by Lisa Louise Cooke

4:00 p.m., F359, "Publish Your Genealogy Online" by Laura G. Prescott

8:00 a.m., S408, "Do It Yourself Photo Restoration" by The Ancestry Insider

9:30 a.m., S418, "ePublishing" by Barbara Ann Renick

11:00 a.m., S428, "Pinterest: A Visual Tool for Genealogist" by Jennifer Crowder Daugherty, MLS

2:30 p.m., S448, "Visual Aids: Enhancement to the Presentation, Not 'Show and Tell'" by Jean Wilcox Hibben, PhD, CG

4:00 p.m., S458, "Face Recognition and Photo Tagging for Genealogy Research" by Daniel Horowitz

For additional information on these lectures and the entire program, go to for the searchable program, or the PDF version of the registration brochure is available at

Last Chance for Pre-Registration


Today is your last chance to pre-register and to purchase tickets for meals and tours. Tickets are still available for meals, the Museums Tour, and the Hoover Dam Tour. The BCG Education Fund Workshop, Librarians' Day, and the Night Tour of the Strip and Downtown are sold out.

To register for the conference, visit

There will be on-site registration in Las Vegas, but meals and tours cannot be purchased on-site. Ticket sales for meals and tours ends today, 22 April 2013, at 11:59 p.m. EDT.

Add Items to an Existing Registration
Pre-Conference Events and Tours: log on at, click on My Account, and then select Upcoming Events.

Meals: log on at, click on My Account, select My Events, and then click to Add Sessions.

Only two weeks until the conference begins. We can't wait to see you all in Las Vegas!


Sunday, April 21, 2013

Exhibitor Profile-Center for Family History and Genealogy at Brigham Young University

Booth #124

The Center for Family History and Genealogy at Brigham Young University is a community of family history scholars working and learning together. Our mission is to support the training of new family historians and genealogists, simplify the finding of ancestors, and aid researchers in the study of families and the populations in which they reside. Family history majors have the opportunity to be employed at the Center and work on various faculty-mentored projects to improve their skills. All projects produced by the students are available to the public free of charge.

Immigrant Ancestors Project: An index created to assist researchers in locating the birthplaces of immigrants, which are generally missing on records in arrival countries. Emigration records, such as passport files, passenger contracts, vestry minutes, and consular records are rich in genealogical information. Most are accessible only by visiting the archives containing the records. Students serve internships in Europe to acquire records identifying immigrants’ places of origin. At the Center, students extract the records and then verify data entry for accuracy. The project currently focuses on emigrants from England, Ireland, Scotland, Wales, Spain, Germany, and The Netherlands. It contains over 460,000 entries.

Script Tutorials: Guidance in the deciphering of manuscripts and other old documents that were printed in old typefaces or written in old handwriting styles. Languages covered include English, German, Dutch, Italian, French, Spanish, and Portuguese. This site is frequently recommended by FamilySearch Indexing.

Visit booth #124 to talk to the students and learn more about their projects and go to

Speaker Profile-David E. Rencher, AG, CG, FUGA, FIGRS

Friday, 2:30 p.m., F341, “Treasures in the Records of the U.S. Congress”
Since records are kept at every level of government in the United States, it’s easy to overlook records that may enrich the story of your family. Such was the case in my family–it wasn’t until I discovered a set of family letters after the death of my aunt that I was able to unlock an amazing chapter in the lives of my great-grandparents who settled in Arizona. During this presentation, you’ll see how their lives interacted with the Apache Indians on the San Carlos Indian Reservation and their encounter with soldiers from Fort Apache!

Saturday, 8:00 a.m., S407, “How Genealogical Societies Can Provide a Meaningful Benefit for Their Distance Members”
You’ll have the opportunity to learn how you can encourage your genealogical society to provide the programs and services you need as a distance member. When you don’t live in the area where your society membership is held, you may feel that your needs are often overlooked. If you are a society officer, take advantage of this opportunity to learn how you can serve your distance members and grow your membership.

Over the years, I have had a passion in genealogy–learning new record sources and actively participating in genealogical society management. This year, NGS has given me the opportunity to voice both of those passions in my sessions–please join me in this quest!

Exhibitor Profile-E-Z Photo Scan

                                      Take A Test Drive With Us!

Booth #236

As digital capture experts, the E-Z Photo Scan group was formed to offer best-in-class solutions for scanning pictures, printed memories, and sensitive documents. They have turned the task into an art form with high quality, high speed professional photo scanning equipment to preserve your treasured photographs and documents.

E-Z Photo Scan  will be at booth #236 offering the opportunity to 'Test Drive' the newest generation of Kodak Picture Saver Scanners. Attendees can register to win three Grand Prizes being given away by E-Z Photo Scan. Grand Prize winners will be awarded a FREE 1-Week Rental of a Kodak Picture Saver Scanner Package.

This Grand Prize comes with the scanner, computer, and software, making it possible to be scanning hundreds of photos per hour, in a just a few minutes.

Saturday, April 20, 2013

Speaker Profile-Colleen Fitzpatrick, PhD

Who? What? When? Where? Are these the words of a genealogist researching his family tree or a forensic scientist solving a mystery?  Maybe someone who is both! 

Colleen Fitzpatrick, PhD, author of the genealogical bestsellers Forensic Genealogy and DNA & Genealogy, has been recognized by the international press for her work on the Northwest Flight 4422 project (Hand in the Snow) and the Identification of the Unknown Child on the Titanic. She is currently the head genealogist on the Abraham Lincoln DNA project.  Her most recent book The Dead Horse Investigation:  Forensic Photo Analysis for Everyone has become a genealogical must-have. 

Forensic genealogy has established itself as the modern approach to family research, not replacing conventional methods but enhancing them. Photographs, databases, and DNA can provide much more information than you ever dreamed, if only you use them with a little ingenuity.  For example, did you know that what is on the back of a picture can be more important than the contents of the image?  Attend Colleen’s lecture “Forensic Genealogy – CSI Meets Roots,” Wednesday, 11:00 a.m., W122, to find out how. And especially if you are having trouble spelling DNA, you should not miss her lecture “A Different Kind of DNA Talk,” Thursday, 8:00 a.m., F308.

Although Colleen works on high-level projects, she is very down-to-earth and easy to understand. Colleen’s talks will spark your imagination and motivate you to discover new ways of looking at your family mysteries. You will arrive at Colleen’s talks a genealogist; you will leave a forensic genealogist.

Local Host Societies-Las Vegas FamilySearch Library

The Las Vegas FamilySearch Library welcomes the attendees to the National Genealogical Society Conference in May 2013.  During the week of the NGS conference, the Library will be open from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m., Tuesday through Friday, and from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Saturday, to accommodate conference visitors. Access to the Library is free of charge.

The Las Vegas FamilySearch Library is one of the largest libraries in the FamilySearch system.  The Library features the latest computer equipment and has 50 computer stations available for use.  There are 90 workers available each week to assist patrons with their family history.

The Library holdings include 11,000 books, 60% which are unique to the Library.  The collection is rich in English research sources and also includes 1,400 family histories.  There are 17,000 microfilms in the permanent collection and over 30,000 microfiche.

The Library offers patrons free access to the FamilySearch site and also to all major genealogical research sites. Copy services, film reading and scanning facilities, and book scanning facilities are available.

The Library is located approximately three miles from the convention site, at 509 South Ninth Street.


Speaker Profile-Patricia "Trish" Hackett Nicola, CG

Thursday, 11:00 a.m., T222, “Chinese Exclusion Act: A Genealogical Goldmine”

Learn about the history of the Act, the paper work created, how and where to find the files, and the genealogical gems found in them.

Imagine finding files with photos of your ancestor over a 50-year period or hand-drawn detailed maps of the tiny village where he was born, or a list of the fifteen members of his business partnership and their share of ownership.  Who had to register for the Act? What identifying information was included on certificate of residency or identity? What is a “paper son” or a “coaching letter?”  When and why were Caucasians mentioned in the files? See examples of the intriguing documents that are found in the almost 400,000 files created by the Act from its inception in 1882 until it was repealed in 1943.

Chin Hing Yee, 1901-1924, Chinese Exclusion Act immigration case files, Records of the Immigration and Naturalization Service, Record Group 85, National Archives-Pacific Region (Seattle), Case 2355.


Friday, April 19, 2013

Exhibitor Profile-E-Imagedata Corp.

Booth #222

E-Imagedata Corp. is the leading manufacturer of microfilm scanning equipment globally. We’re proud to introduce our latest film scanner, the ScanPro 3000 which brings the latest innovation to the micrographics market. This microfilm scanner features a 26 megapixel camera, nearly twice the optical resolution of the nearest competitor, which provides customers with exceptional image quality never before seen in the micrographics industry. The optical resolution is over 500dpi on a letter page and saved files are both archival-quality and small in size.

Many genealogists research records on all types of microfilm formats and our Scan Pro 3000 assures the highest quality of output, excellent clean up of old film images, and ease of use. In addition, we’re providing Wordsearch and Info-Linking of microfilm images for fast researching of content from an image or internet databases. This dramatically speeds up research time and provides additional searchable document output for researching data at home or on the road.

Please stop by booth #222 for a demonstration of our NEW Scan Pro 3000 Microfilm Scanner.

See you in Las Vegas!!

Exhibitor Profile-Colorado Council of Genealogical Societies

The Colorado Council of Genealogical Societies was established in 1980 as a non-profit organization to facilitate cooperation among heritage-related organizations in the state of Colorado. In 1998, the Council proudly served as the host for the National Genealogical Society’s Conference in the States.
The Colorado Council of Genealogical Societies addresses the needs and interests of the Colorado genealogical community through cooperation and support of member organizations. 
The First Families of Colorado Recognition Program was founded by the Council in 1983 and offers certificates to direct descendants of Colorado ancestors who meet the program’s eligibility requirements.
The Birdie Monk Holsclaw Memorial Fund, established in 2010, is a tribute to the memory of noted genealogist, Birdie Monk Holsclaw, CG. Distributions from the memorial fund support the Birdie Monk Holsclaw Memorial Lecture at the National Genealogical Society annual conference and the Birdie Monk Holsclaw Memorial Scholarship, awarded to those who have an interest in genealogy and wish to pursue genealogically related education at the Samford University Institute of Genealogy and Historical Research (IGHR).

Materials about member societies and the programs supported by the Colorado Council of Genealogical Societies will be available at Exhibitor Booth #534.
Information about the Colorado Council of Genealogical Societies, as well as the First Families of Colorado Recognition Program and those programs supported by the Birdie Monk Holsclaw Memorial Fund, is available at the CCGS website at

Speaker Profile-David S. Barss, AG

Thursday, 4:00 p.m., T259, "FamilySearch Community Trees: What, Where, How to use them, and Why I want to?"

The Community Trees Project is an effort to identify and publish the genealogy of a whole town (or community) from automated records for that place.  This class will demonstrate the magic of family reconstitution and how it allows us to get more from the records than can be accomplished by simple indexing and extraction.  It will introduce you to the Community Trees Website and will show you how to access what has already been gathered and published.  We currently have ninety-five Community Trees available, representing twenty-three regions of the world, containing over 8.6 million lineage-linked records.  We also have published over 6,000 oral genealogies from Africa (mostly Ghana) and the Pacific Islands, some include audio recordings, pictures of the interviewee, transcripts of the audio (in their native language and in English), and individual lineage charts or a family tree for that person.

David S. Barss, AG (accredited for New England and Mid-Western States Research), thirty five years' experience with lineage-linked databases, including twenty years at FamilySearch.  I have worked as a professional genealogist, a reference consultant and supervisor for the US and Canada reference area of the Family History Library in Salt Lake City, as a data specialist with the database that generated the data published as the International Genealogical Index (IGI), and for the last eight years as a record linkage specials and Project Manager with the Community Trees Project.