16    Jul 20130 comments

Society Spotlight: Federation of Genealogical Societies

Genealogical societies are essential to family history researchers. They provide resources, programs, conferences, and other important assistance.

MyHeritage is  spotlighting these societies in a new series over the year.

Today, we look at the Federation of Genealogical Societies (FGS), based in Austin, Texas, and established in 1976.Headed by D. Joshua Taylor, FGS represents other genealogical and historical societies. More than 500 member societies represent over a half-million individual members in those societies.

Individual FGS members live around the world – and as is common in genealogy – many live far away from their ancestral homelands.

FGS members meet annually at a conference each August. This year, it takes place August 21-24 in Fort Wayne, Indiana. The event is open to the public, not just for FGS members. For more information on the event, click here.

Some 2,000 people attend the annual conferences. Speakers are solicited through a “call for lecture proposals” process and the conference program committee makes the final selections.

Thomas MacEntee, Chair, Marketing & Public Relations

In addition to offering society management seminars at the conferences, FGS also offers member forums at its website where members can post questions, comment on issues, and share advice.  One of the most active societies in social media, FGS is on Twitter and on Facebook.  A bi-weekly radio show is also popular.  The FGS FORUM is the society’s quarterly journal

The society is at the forefront of society management issues and solutions, and its Social Strategy Series may be downloaded for free by the public. Each paper offers suggestions and instructions for the management of genealogical and historical societies and family associations.

While the group does not have its own library –  many of its member societies do – it does work cooperatively on indexing and recording resources. FGS leads the way in community indexing projects and currently sponsors the digitization of the War of 1812 Pension Files through its Preserve the Pensions project.

Because FGS is an organization of genealogical societies, it does not focus on specific ethnicity, geographical or religious research, although many member societies do have such goals.

In regard to newcomers and beginners, FGS classes and education take place at the annual conference and are aimed at various levels of participants, from beginners to advanced researchers.

The society also offers various materials to help member societies reach out to new researchers. President Josh Taylor’s syllabus on reaching new communities provides many suggestions.

FGS believes that successful, vibrant genealogical societies will ensure the preservation of heritage documents, in addition to utilizing individual and collective abilities to engage in genealogical pursuits.

We'd thank Thomas MacEntee, chair of Marketing and PR for FGS, for answering our questions.

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