Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Librarians' Day Re-Cap at FGS2014

Today was Librarians' Day at FGS2014, which is before Society Day, which is before the actual FGS conference.

The event was sponsored by ProQuest, which I must add because they gave us lunch among other things.

David Rencher, Chief Genealogist at FamilySearch, gave a presentation on the War of 1812 pension collection. See Preserve the Pensions for the public effort to get funding to digitize and care for this collection. He shared some of the incredible things one can find in a pension file.

Three takeaways you must know about this presentation:

1. The War of 1812 pension collection is available for free at Fold3. Yes, Fold3 is a subscription database, but these items will be free.

2. You say you don't have any ancestors that served? War of 1812 pensions have lots of names and information about others who were related to or knew the pensioner. Take the time to examine the collection. You never know what you'll find.

3. These pension documents are falling apart. We need to help digitize them before it is too late. Donate to Preserve the Pensions today.

Craig Scott of Heritage Books discussed "Building a Core Genealogical Collection for our Library" in the next segment. Libraries often serve many different audiences. This session stressed the importance of having an acquisitions plan to ensure you have the genealogy collection your users want. Communication between departments was stressed, as well as sharing with city government the importance and dollars brought in by genealogy tourism.

Lunch was great. William "Bill" Forsyth gave some minor updates with regard to ProQuest. He said Heritage Quest will be updated. After that he shared a case history from his own family and how he utilized military records for genealogy. It was a very interesting presentation.

The biggest takeaway you need to know from lunch is that Critical Path exists. Forsyth used it to see film of where his grandfather served in World War I.

Frank Faulkner of the San Antonio Public Library Texana and Genealogy Collection was the after-lunch speaker. There are two takeaways you need to know from this session:

1. The word "genealogy" in the collection title often scares people away. Texana means anything having to do with Texas or its history.

2. This collection is HUGE. It covers all 50 states, so do not ignore it.

James Harkins of the Texas General Land Office was the final speaker. He gave a brief history of the GLO, then a brief example of what they have. This is such a neat repository with so much historical information in Texas and even pre-statehood.

Takeaway from this session: check out their website. They have things online.

I ended up winning a prize! It's a very cool historical map.

All in all, I call Librarians' Day a success. Special thanks to Sue Kaufman, Queen Bee at Clayton Library Center for Genealogical Research, for planning it all.


  1. Thank you for this great report! Sure wish I could have been there!

  2. Totally thrilled to discover Critical Past! There is footage of Archangel, Russia, where my Great-Grandfather Robbins served with the Polar Bear Expedition. This particular footage is of his regiment, the 339th Infantry: http://www.criticalpast.com/video/65675029276_Russian-boys_Archangel_milk-bottles_hats_smiling-boys_market_soldier-buys-mittens