National Genealogy Conference a mountain top experience

May 11, 2010 at 12:11 a.m.

I have returned from the mountain top. Last week my husband and I were in Salt Lake City for the National Genealogical Society's 2010 Family History Conference.

The Thursday evening memorable celebration featured famed historian and author, David McCullough (1776, John Adams, Thomas Jefferson, Truman), the Mormon Tabernacle Choir, and the Orchestra at Temple Square.

Picture this: the 300-voice Choir singing "Amazing Grace" accompanied by four bagpipers. During the closing selection, "Battle Hymn of the Republic," their 150 men sang a cappella the verse, "In the beauty of the lilies. . ." Yes, it was a goose bump experience.

The National Genealogical Society Conference, "Follow Your Ancestral Trail," was truly amazing.

The syllabus covered four days of sessions and was two inches thick, giving you an idea of the multitude of class sessions.

There were more than 2,000 attendees who attended lectures covering migrations through the states, international studies, technology, how-to genealogy sessions, DNA, Afro-American studies, the Library of Congress, the National Archives, plus numerous genealogy computer programs that offered hands-on experience in the exhibition hall.

Co-hosted by the Utah Genealogy Society, all sessions were held in the Salt Palace in downtown Salt Lake City, covering an entire over-sized city block.

While there it snowed two days and rained all four, but did not dampen our spirits.

Genealogists are tough and doggedly determined to find those lost ancestors.

I encourage beginners to advanced to make plans to attend the 2011 Conference in Charleston, S.C.

The conference's opening session featured Jay Verkler, president of Family Search, the genealogy division of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

He announced that FamilySearch, the world's largest repository of genealogical information, has released records containing 300 million names that can now be researched online for free through

The records contain information genealogists would have had to painstakingly pick through to find an ancestor's name or contact a specific government agency or travel to the area of study to research.

Among the indexed records are the 1935 South Dakota state census; Washington, D.C. deaths and burials 1840-1964; and Utah marriages, 1887-1966. offered conference attendees a trip to its headquarters in Provo, Utah.

My husband and I took the tour and enjoyed viewing the facilities where this very popular genealogy computer program is designed, checked for quality control, and offered to subscribers throughout the world. Not one employee we saw was over the age of 30. Such bright young people.

Are you interested in taking an on-line genealogy course right in your own home? Let me recommend some excellent ones for your consideration. Go online to the National Genealogical Society Web site: and click Educational Courses. I completed the home study course years ago. It is excellent.

I urge you to join the NGS because it is a top-rated society with excellent journals and quarterlies offering examples how genealogists conducted their research to unravel tough brick-wall problems.

Happy researching.

E-mail genealogy queries to Martha Jones at VCGS members will research queries requiring extensive study.



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