Saturday, August 24, 2013

#FGS2013 - That's a Wrap Folks!

For my final blog post on this, the last day of FGS, I will aim to make things a little more visual for those of you who did not get to attend - while reflecting on the good, the quirky, and not so good moments of an overall great conference!

Obvious Distractions:
First of all, I loved the venue. Very spacious and contemporary. For those quick enough to have snagged a room at the Hilton, or even the Marriott, this had to be an even better experience (My new conference goal from now on - staying in the adjoining hotel - it does make a difference, comfort-wise). Probably my only complaint, which could have been remedied by the conference planners: we needed charging stations! The plugs for charging devices were few and far between....or just in a hallway with no bench. Floor campers next to the plugs was a common sight.
Second: Even though I love it when we have major conferences in cities with huge genealogical libraries forewarned that this increases your stress level exponentially! We have all learned the cardinal rule of conference attendance: PACE YOURSELF.....ummm, that rule flies out the window when there is this temple of family history sitting there, every day, just taunting you to come inside and discover more ancestors - late into the evening hours. I am in no way criticizing this treat as I am used to this taunt in Salt Lake City during RootsTech....but if the 2013 group of FGS attendees seems even more exhausted than usual, cut them some slack...they had a lot competing for their potential sleep hours! Below are some snaps of the gorgeous, accommodating and welcoming Allen County Public Library - and I will send out a big THANK YOU to her staff and volunteers. They were awesome!!! I hope someone sends them some cake, just for the amount of reshelving alone!

Mums the Word!
Ok, I was one of those singing the praises of the un-conferencing sessions that are so popular at RootsTech. So, naturally, I was delighted to see this concept included at FGS (called GenSpiration Sessions) - apparently this was the third year offering this feature - but no one got excited about this option. In fact, it was so sad to see the four boards that represented each day of the conference, sitting there, practically naked every day. I think throughout the course of the conference, only two brave souls posted a session for folks to attend. I have not given up on this concept and I hope the conference planners give it another try. I'm really hoping it gains popularity soon!

Chirp Chirp!
Twitter was once again a hugely favorite way to keep up with attendees this year! The hashtag #FGS2013 was trending due to the frequency and volume of tweets coming out of Fort Wayne. The conference planners featured this activity with a large screen running the site to display the activity. It was very pretty and colorful, with very large print to read across the room. I liked this display, but I found that I soon got tired of it since it was not real-time....instead, running tweets that could be as old as 14+ hours. With a real-time stream of the hashtag activity, non-Twitter users might have better understood the shear popularity and high-octane vibe that comes with this rapid fire/energetic form of social communication.
Oh, and which option did I end up going with to advertise my Twitter use? I went with the round sticker! It fit just fine with the FGS logo below, and yet, didn't get lost in my ribbon trail.
Telling Stories 21st Century Style:
The current trend of supplementing your genealogy with stories and memories is not losing any steam. Perhaps the trend is not as strong as at RootsTech, but look at this lovely little addition to the exhibit hall by Family Search to capture the stories of those who were willing to share! I'm thinking the addition of plexi partitions might lessen the distraction that had to be felt by person in the spotlight!
Technology Transitions:
Kudos to the FGS folks again for keeping the Cyber Cafe concept alive and well! I think the addition of charging stations around the couches would go over swimmingly with this crowd. With each new conference, the technology is changing fast! By far, I saw more tablets this year than ever before. Some are still using laptops, and I admit to bringing mine for my blogging back in the room during the evenings, but I too have transitioned into being a tablet attendee, and my shoulders love me for it! I did hear some complaints about the wi-fi being too spotty, etc. I didn't have too much of a problem with this - but the deeper I went into the building during sessions, the weaker the signal least in my experience.
One thing I adore about conferences is the cutting edge announcements that get released during the crowded events. It is one reason why bloggers are given access to a media hub - they want us all to get excited and spread the word! For 2013, the biggest announcement by far was the 2015 merger of RootsTech and FGS in Salt Lake City. Apparently this is a one time only merger, but it does move FGS into February that year. It also means these two conferences will take up the entire Salt Palace Convention Center - I heard folks already talking about whether they could reserve their hotel room this early! Yep, I admit, this one got me really excited too - come on 2015! The other news released to us was by Family Search - lots of upcoming projects and developments, including new discovery centers and satellite locations for RootsTech....I will cover some of those more in-depth at a later date.
We Fired Our Guns....
And don't forget about the Preserve the 1812 Pension Project! This was the theme for the entire conference, which made for a very visually arresting set of events and activities - complete with quilts and ballgowns! Here is a link for you to join the effort and learn more!
Another Triumph, Mrs. Cratchit!
I cannot thank the conference planners and ACPL staff enough! This was a great city choice, a great venue, and things went swimmingly...except for a few snags that are common with every conference...I do not envy you your job, but I am increasingly impressed with how well things progressed, and how much you made our conference experience another rousing success!
I would say "see you all next year"....but San Antonio might be just too far out of my travel range. But
seriously, if you can make it....this conference, in beautiful San Antonio?! Go for it! And don't forget to blog/tweet it for me so I can experience it vicariously!
Night all! Let the post conference coma commence!!
P.S. The rest of the blogging crew did a wonderful job! Thanks to Randy Seaver over at Genea-Musings who gathered all of our posts into one place for easy browsing:

Friday, August 23, 2013

FGS Day 3! Caffeine I.V. Please!

I refuse to give up on my goal of blogging for each day of the conference! It is still day three, and I am here....panting....frantically trying to make this happen! However, it will be a short one folks as my caffeine is wearing off. Each evening I have managed to get this done by having tea in the hotel room - which is not smart under normal circumstances - but let's hear it for strong tea! (And maybe a bite of dark chocolate as a conference treat/supplement)

Ok, so day three was still pretty hectic with sessions and side events. I know that last night, the late night in the exhibit hall, was supposed to fulfill my exhibit hall objectives, but there were too many folks around trying to accomplish the same thing! Birds of a feather and all I did take some morning time to get back in there and interview some folks. As a librarian, I was curious about the various companies and whether they offered discounts or library versions of their products. We already subscribe to the library edition of Ancestry + Heritage Quest + Fold3. All  are very popular in the research library, but after talking with a couple of competitors, I learned that does not offer a library subscription, but Find My Past was working on this option, hopefully for next year - nice tidbit for the future!

Session-wise, I attended some gems today! By far, my favorite today, and I believe for the entire conference so far, was the "Lost Children" session by Jeanne Larzalere Bloom. If you have any guardianship, orphan, adoption, or vagrant issues in your tree, this is one session you need to learn more about! This one struck a chord with me for two reasons: 1. This is a question we get asked a lot at the reference desk. It is a common source of brick wall material for many, and tracking down any records takes talent and tenacity. Kentucky is like most states in that this is a huge challenge. Over the centuries, various organizations were in charge of these transactions, and not regulated by government authorities until late 19th or early 20th centuries. 2. My own grandfather was a part of the orphan system in Kentucky. We are lucky to have his records as given to us by the orphanage, but so many are not this lucky and the rights of adoptees has become a great issue. Ms. Bloom's session outlined the specific challenges and philosophies of the this issue by time period. What invaluable information! I will be using some of her tips to help patrons who walk in with this challenge. Bottom line: If you can get any of her material regarding this subject - get it!

Ok....caffeine fading....the rest of the day resulted in more research at the library....more conversations and fun 1812 celebration....and a live #genchat session on Twitter, which just ended at 11....I think I've officially squeezed everything I can into this day! As my final entry for the last day (tomorrow), I will sum up my experience and close this self-imposed challenge out.
Goodnight all!

Thursday, August 22, 2013

FGS Day 2!

The highs and lows at a conference never cease to amaze me - not lows emotionally, just physically. Lots of caffeine and general excitement keep me going, but as FGS rolls along, I encounter new things each day. For Day 2, I met some more bloggers that I recognized - I also met a Twitter buddy who revealed her appearance after I asked to meet her :-) Thanks Marcy - great to meet you! The exhibit hall also opened, which naturally allows everyone to reconnect again while they shop and learn new things at the many wonderful booths.
The exhibit hall is very nice this year, spacious with many familiar faces and brands. No big surprises that I can see yet. Probably the weirdest part of the exhibit hall has to be the societies section or gallery. All of the local/state societies affiliated with FGS are clustered together behind the main FGS booth. However, the spacing is so tight within these two rows, it is like running a genealogy gauntlet. If you take into consideration the bulky swag bags we are all carrying, movement in tandem, yet opposite directions, begins to resemble a game of twister.

Some highlights from Day 2, including session tidbits:

Big announcement for 2015 - RootsTech and FGS will occur at the same time within the Salt Palace in Salt Lake City!!

Late night in the exhibit hall - lots of door prizes.
Got to meet up with a good portion of the FGS Blogger Ambassadors!

Preserving the War of 1812 Pensions effort - very prominent part of the conference, and some groups are giving away fantastic door prizes within various donation levels.

Inland Rivers Library by Patricia Van Skaik:
Great collection at the Cincinnati Public Library - for ancestors who worked in the inland shipping/river transportation industry. Many clues for researching further can be found in regular records, such as census, which might list an occupation. Naval records can also provide great info on these ancestors. Navigation maps list very obscure towns or communities along the rivers.

Family Search Luncheon: Star Wars Family Tree and a virtual demonstration of the new Discovery Centers - first Discovery Center will open in Seattle Washington!
Railroad Research by Patricia Walls Stamm:
One of the most difficult of records to locate. Golden age of railroads - 1900-1950. Many repositories of records exist, but lots of work needed to locate the ones you need. Best record if you can find one - Railroad Retirement Board, which covers service from 1937.

I know this is a short report for today, but I am holding some things back for a final report sometime Saturday.
See you all tomorrow!

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

FGS Day 1 - Officially

It's finally, officially here: FGS 2013! As the official kick-off got underway, we were treated to an opening session by Cyndi Ingle Howells of Cyndi's List. She was speaking of today's challenges and necessities for online presence success, all while reminiscing about the early days of online efforts. So, just to be clear, no music or flashing Cyndi put it, "background music on websites is SO 1998 - just don't do it!" It was clear to everyone that things have changed dramatically since Cyndi pioneered her staple of the genealogy field....and we were again amazed at the changes ahead. As Societies, it is imperative that we follow her advice to impact more lives, survive, and maximize engagement. Great lessons from an amazing online pioneer - we thank her for her many years of hard work!

Since today was a focus on societies, the issues followed an administrative pattern. The thing is, we all need to adopt this broader mindset. We should all become outward thinkers....adopting, or at least thinking about issues that influence the big picture. While most have missions in place, that staple should be maintained by the healthy habit of evaluating what we are doing to follow said missions. Much of the session content I attended today revolved around publishing and social media. Ironically, both are inevitably intertwined. While publishing would appear to be a different medium, it too is evolving into virtual/online formats. With that transition to an electronic venue, the publications then become easier to promote within the new social media tools that we all must master. So....the more we learn about social media and the quicker we utilize it within the many functions of our society, the greater the overall impact of our society! Which also translates to: we, as a society live to see another day! Yes, that is the message being spread....societies are struggling, but those who can adapt are actually growing and thriving!

Some other tips I picked up from the sessions I attended today (not every session I attended):
First of all: If you see this paparazzi pointing at! She has an itchy and lightning trigger finger!

Cyndi Ingle Howells: 
(Website creation) Don't forget to let people know where you are! There may be many counties with an identical name - just different states.
Red print on websites makes for specific visual challenges - don't do it!
Provide unique content that also changes to keep people coming back to your site.

Tina Lyons: 
Consistent naming/branding along all social media platforms is a must for every society! 
Learn about various social media tools on a personal level FIRST before using it for your society.
Make sure you use the society e-mail address to set up accounts....not someone's personal account that cannot be accessed by any other administrators.
Try not to bore or confuse your audience/visitors.

Rachel Popma:
Mine other organizations for great authors...especially professional/trade organizations.
Make submission guidelines and author agreements visible for potential authors.
Self esteem issues prevent many from may need to cultivate or encourage a lot to get a submission.

George Morgan:
Partner with local libraries for programming/project partnerships.
Learn your library catalog FULLY or you will miss something in the collection! If you need a librarian to teach your group how to navigate the catalog properly - DO IT!
Utilize Special Interest Groups to diversify your programming and outreach..

The daily activities were capped off by a lovely event hosted by Find My Past: Social at the Botanical Gardens!
Despite the long lines and weary, hungry attendees, the event was a fun way to meet up with colleagues and friends. The gardens are beautiful and the music was a fun addition to the festive food and drink. Here are a few photos from the event.

Wow, OK, I think I'm done for today - exhibit hall opens tomorrow!! See everyone in the morning!!

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

FGS Pre-Conference Events

Welcome to Fort Wayne, Genealogists!!! What a great conference so far! I know....the city is just now getting more crowded and the hotel parking lots are swarming as of this evening, but for some of us, the FGS experience got started yesterday upon arrival. Some folks got an early start on their research at the Allen County Public Library, or kicked off the week with some social connections. Despite a late arrival time of yesterday, my FGS experience started today with the annual Librarians' Day. We had a really great crowd that was instructed on budget challenges, crisis intervention, and collaboration strategies. In one session, we were given some breaking news regarding Michigan records: Michigan Death Records from 1926-1952 will be available very soon via Seeking Michigan - including full digitized images for free!
We also listened to Elaine Kuhn from Kenton County Public Library who covered the collaborative work they were initiating locally to find and digitize the many wonderful unique photographs that filled their site: Faces and Places.....trivia: most clicked on picture in their database: Military Order of the Cootie 
After a lovely lunch provided by ProQuest, the rest of our day was filled with a 'behind the scenes tour' of the Allen County Public Library. My group tour guide was Curt Witcher himself, who shared his knowledge and enthusiasm in a most welcoming and encouraging way! We not only wandered through the back stacks hidden from public view, but we also got to see processing areas, the Lincoln vault and the digitization stations for both Family Search and Internet Archive. 
The Internet Archive stations were numerous and filled with volunteers who were busy scanning page after page of content. We were also told that the pages being scanned in front of us would more than likely be online within 24 hours! 
Despite being exhausted by the busy day, dinner was another exciting event: the blogger dinner hosted by Family Search. We were given the late breaking news about a new director for the LDS library in Salt Lake: Diane L. Loosie. I suspect we will hear much more from her throughout the conference.
Family Search also gave us some sneak peeks into their upcoming Discovery Centers that will be seen across the country at various tourist locations - in major cities - stay tuned for more developments. RootsTech was also a major issue as they will be including 600 satellite locations while providing more sessions online via a virtual attendance option. They are anticipating another jump in physical attendance to 8,000-10,000 in 2014!
Well that's about it.....I am writing this while sitting in the hotel, trying to watch Who Do You Think You Are at the same time....welcome to the dimension of ultra multi-tasking!!! Happy conference going! More tomorrow as things officially kick off! Thanks to those who planned a great Librarians' Day and Blogger Dinner!

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Ancestor 'Selfies'....Got Any?

With our society's evolving technology saturation and its new fascination with 'Selfies', it got me to thinking about how our ancestors might have responded to these cultural developments....and....did they exhibit some of the same traits in their own primitive ways?

The term 'Selfie' is relatively new and bandied about frequently by the younger set. But, did you know that the term is rather restrictive? According to several un-official, pop sources, selfies are only selfies when you take a pic of yourself with a small camera or smartphone for the purpose of sharing via social media. Apparently, some have cautioned that group shots are NOT selfies (I disagree) and that the optimal version of a selfie involves a mirror with eyes looking anywhere but right at the camera: Many have declared that this is the new doomsday sign of a narcissistic society that doesn't have a clue about real social issues.

I'll leave the social implications to the experts and challenge the rest of you to look through your family collections for "ancestral" or "vintage" selfies. I will post a few from my own collection, but here are some thoughts about what characteristics might qualify a vintage photo as a 'selfie':

  • Photo should usually be about one person in order to compare to the narcissistic nature of today's selfies. Despite our ancestors' lack of smart phone with large mirror in a bathroom, they still loved snapping shots of themselves. How did they manage? Usually a primitive photo booth, or portable camera. I will allow a couple or few people in the shot to qualify since our ancestors loved seeing how many friends they could cram into the photo booth.
  • Photo should have at least a slight narcissistic feel to the image. Either a facial expression trying to be seductive, or a purely unabashed look that says "Yes, here I am, aren't I adorable!!" Could be achieved through general snapshot, photo booth or even studio scenario. Studio shots are only accepted if the photo screams narcissism...I will have an example below....I also think the old Glamour Shots fit into this category, but not quite ready to bring those out with the rest of the ancestor "gems".
  • Photo should have a spontaneous feel to it. I know studio portraits are OK if they fit the narcissistic bill above, but non-studio pics should always have a sense of fun, play and zero planning. Sometimes these may try to capture an event the person has just participated in or a new place they have visited. Just think about the many ways we take out the phone to snap a moment. Anything that resembles our snapping habit should be able to fit the ancestral selfie definition.
  • And as a special category - don't forget the elusive "drunk" selfie. While we see many of those today, those were not as prevalent in previous generations. Oh, they do exist, but nothing like the frequency of the current drunk trend.

For further reading, her is another take on "Vintage Selfies"....and below, some ancestral 'selfies' from my personal collection:

Great-Grandma Ruth.....ummmm....boudoir photo in her skivvies = seductive 'selfie'

Hey, Baby....I just killed a moose in the Klondike...How Ya like me now?!

What rhymes with 'Drunk'? Oh yeah...'Skunk'! (Very drunk, according to reports)

Taken at Coney Island in Cincinnati: Beyersdoerfer/Fliehmann Family
Just FYI: the top photo in this series is the same gentleman that holds the skunk above.
Apparently, he was a lifelong fan of 'selfies'.

Grandma Freida: The saintly, demur 'selfie'

Also Freida, with Grandpa Roy: One of my all-time favorites.
Could also be another "drunk" 'selfie', but knowing these two, I kinda doubt it.
Sure were having a lot of fun though....hmmmm

Got any 'selfies' to share? Btw, in my opinion, 'selfies' can also exist in paintings and the silhouette portraits of pre-photography days!
Happy hunting!!

FGS Online Registration Ending Soon!

FGS 2013 Online Registration Ends in One Week
If you haven’t registered for the FGS 2013 Conference yet, you still have time to register online, by mail or at the door. Mailed registrations must be postmarked by Friday, August 9. Online registration ends on Wednesday, August 14th. Pre-registering for the conference gives you access to some great benefits.

And don't forget, if you have already registered for the conference, you still have time to get your tickets to the conference "extras."

Only attendees who preregister for the conference can:
·  Access the conference syllabus online prior to the conference.
·  Guarantee a spot in the "extra" conference events (on-site tickets may be available to events if they have not sold out):
o 10 luncheons over the 4 conference days. 
o 5 workshops over 3 days. There is still room in the Researching African Americans in University Libraries workshop. We have also added extra spaces and still have a few seats left Researching Midwestern American Indians and Using Griffith’s Valuation to Identify Your Ancestors' Origins. The other workshops are sold out. 
o FGS Opening Social on Wednesday, August 21 
o Friday Night at ACPL on August 23 with all proceeds going to the Preserve the Pensions Fund! 
o Sunday Farewell Brunch with lots of door prizes.
·  Register for a FREE genealogy consultation on Tuesday, August 20. You must sign up for a consultation in advance. See for details.

You can also purchase extra tickets (except for workshops) for your non-genealogy spouses or friends who traveled with you to the conference.

Visit to register or add "extras" today. We hope to see you in Fort Wayne, August 21-24.

Monday, August 5, 2013

RootsTech Rowdies in Google+

Ever since notifications went out for RootsTech proposal acceptance last weekend, I've been trying to maintain a semblance of calm....which has been almost impossible to do since one of my proposals was accepted and I'm over the moon! I have been a big RootsTech fan since the first one a few years ago....and after missing my first one in 2013, I am super excited about participating in 2014 as they are promising some new and dynamic features!

Anyway, after "attending" virtually this year, and trying to stay hooked up with all of the technology talk that was emanating from this energized conference, I looked for a RootsTech Community in Google+ with no success. Even though the genealogy community was still talking about their experiences, there was no place to corral these great posts - nor any place to keep the discussions going. Sooo, as I was also in the middle of experimenting with Google+, I created a Community called RootsTech Rowdies, and started gathering some posts. Granted, talk did seriously wane after several weeks, but with registration coming up this month, and the conference itself being about 6 months away - I think it might be time to take the Community public.

Feel free to join and give it a whirl! Oh, and about the name: RootsTech attendees are usually a very energetic and boisterous group. They love technology and the wonderful ways it is influencing other words, not your old school genealogy. RootsTech Rowdies understand the vital importance of technology to our field and are not afraid to shake things up! This is just a fan Community, not affiliated with RootsTech or FamilySearch in any way....but if they wanted to start an official Community - I would be one of the first to join! Either way, I think we should have a place to celebrate this great conference and keep the resulting genea-tech discussions going, or even bring up suggestions for upcoming get the idea!

P.S. If anyone wants to help moderate this Community, just give me a yell.

Sunday, August 4, 2013

Packing for FGS: Version 2.0

I know I'm a tad late on the FGS2013 ambassador prompts, but I didn't know I was heading there until fairly recently. Besides, the packing prompt was an issue I had been struggling with, and until just a few minutes ago, I wasn't quite ready to list what I was bringing.

As usual, my technology list is growing! Yes, I'll be bringing a camera and my iPad....I plan on packing light since portability is key when hopping from session to session while taking notes on the fly. As ever, my Evernote app will be my go-to choice for taking notes throughout the conference. One thing I still have not decided upon - which bag for best portability. I'm leaning towards backpack, but it might be too bulky. My backpack is great when manning a booth with all of the responsibilities, but JUST attending means I can down-size in the bag area - wish me luck!

Now, on to my dilemma, which involves technology, but not in the hardware department. I'm sure most of you will relate to my problem: My online/social media presence has become....well....complicated. I'm not so sure it is a good complexity, but it's there none the less. Here's why:

I have a day-job career that is multi-faceted. I'm a genealogy librarian at a state historical society, which means I speak, write, tweet, blog, photograph, plan events, and socialize, all for my institution - both as myself and as the institution, depending on which account I am signed in to at the time. On the personal side, I own 2 companies - one of which is related to the genealogy/history field. Which means I also speak, write, tweet, blog, photograph, and socialize for these companies as well. Plus, I volunteer for other organizations, I am a board member for a local heritage council trying to save a historic home.....the list is pretty endless these days. However, recently, when making a new connection via introduction, I'm having a hard time just introducing MYSELF. How do I introduce myself in a way that is simple, yet connects people to my pertinent professional information - regardless of which ME they are looking for?
For this year's FGS conference, I have decided to downsize and streamline ME. I took a serious look at what I do via social media, and which social media tools I want people to focus on when they meet me for the first time. I admit to using MANY social media tools, but I have a few main ones that I use more prolifically than others....and I use some tools in a more private manner, thereby not meeting my criteria for publicizing purposes. For example: Facebook and FourSquare are a tad more personal - in fact, FourSquare is off limits unless I know the person very well - even though I don't jump on the privacy paranoia bandwagon, real-time location check-ins are not for the masses! Facebook began as a professional activity years ago while working for the University of Kentucky, so despite its personal vibe, I still watch what I put up there - nothing too crazy since there are MANY former and current colleagues connected through Facebook. However, it's still more personal than I would like, so I don't publicize it as a main connection tool. The Social Media tools I do like to use more for public/professional purposes are: Blogger, Twitter, Linked-in, Google+, Pinterest.

While conducting this internal review, I stumbled upon a site that has been around for years, but has not had a lot of attention:  It is a free place holder for your Social Media presence. After performing a quick exploration of the site, I was hooked on the concept. I was able to place a picture (either small profile or large background), a bio, contact info, educational background....all followed by a series of apps that represented the various Social Media tools I felt best represented me. You can then include links below this section if you feel so inclined. The apps are cool in that visitors can click on one to see recent activity for that tool without navigating away unless they really want to visit the Social Media site directly. Plus, a wonderfully short URL: (Oh, and no log-in necessary to see my page!) I said, the site has been around for a long time, but has recently been bought back by the original creators who are trying to bring it back to a more robust life. Here is where the site really helped with my conference planning. I am already bringing my official day-job business cards because, not only is that a requirement, but also, I will be talking with many potential speakers and experts that may want to participate in our programming, so the professional cards are a must. But....for the informal social/genealogy meetings I have decided to switch from multiple business cards to one Calling Card.

I decided to try Moo out to see how their mini cards looked - and as an experiment - I am taking mini-Moo cards to FGS as a networking debut. Each card will have a lovely photo from my personal collection (rotating about 6 designs) - usually historical in nature - and on the flip-side, I will only have my name, my URL, my Twitter handle, and my e-mail address. It looks rather simple, but should accomplish what I need, in a bright, colorful way. Goodbye busy business cards - hello cheerful calling cards! (Yes, I do understand the irony of calling a card cheerful when the image is that of a cemetery - but seriously - we genealogists must wear our twisted sense of humor with pride!)

Another area of experimentation is happening in the Twitter realm. My library colleague and I were discussing the need for a Twitter handle on the conference badges - especially since many conferences are utilizing hash-tags for social interaction (#FGS2013). That way, when I meet someone new, I can not only see their name, but also their Twitter handle for a quick follow (or recognize them via Twitter handle, which has happened before!). So, as another experiment, I am bringing two options: a card to attach under the badge (same size as a ribbon - custom made ribbons were just too expensive for me), or a sticker to attach to the badge itself. After all, I know I'll be wearing blogger beads - might as well wear something to signify my Twitter use. For my card and sticker, I just made some quick in VistaPrint by using their templates and uploading the official bird logo from Twitter - easy peasy! 
To wrap up my conference packing I will also be bringing: pre-printed return address labels with e-mail and phone listed for easy contact/contest participation in the exhibit hall, beefier iPad case that can be wiped off after heavy conference use, multiple sets of charging chords, gedcom loaded into free genealogy app for research at ACPL (sorry, no endorsements yet, still experimenting with the free family tree apps), paper and digital conference program, and lots of my favorite tea bags with maybe a few travel mugs since I'm driving up and have room to spare - I know tea is not technology related, but it is the juice that keeps my circuits running! See you all soon! Don't forget: #FGS2013


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