I attended my first conference sponsored by the Federation of Genealogical Societies in 1984. It was held in Denver, Colorado, and in some ways changed my life. I had just graduated with an AA degree in humanities from Green River Community College, and had been accepted at the University of Washington for the Fall quarter. My brother, Steve, and I and been publishing local history and Washington State history and genealogy books and magazines for two years. We were publishing, but not really making a living. However, I squeaked out enough funds to make the trip to the FGS Conference in Colorado, looking for inspiration, as well as my Colorado roots.
Upon arrival at my first FGS conference, I immediately fell in love with the exhibit hall. I found that nearly every exhibitor had something to teach me about advancing my family history. What I quickly learned was that during the class periods, the hall emptied out, and the exhibitors were more than happy to have someone to talk to. I’ll be the first to admit that I probably spent more than I should have, but the genealogy education I received was invaluable! Looking back on that conference, I don’t remember any of the classes I attended (I must have attended some, as I was fully registered), but I do remember the hours of instruction I got in that Exhibit Hall.
During the week, I just happened to go to lunch one day with William Dollarhide, and Bill Anundson. They were representing Dollarhide Systems, and Anundson Printing. Over lunch, I go to complaining about not making at living publishing Washington State history and genealogy materials. Their answer to my dilemma was that I needed to broaden my horizens, and publish items with broader appeal. So… to make a long story short, I went home, and convinced Steve that the two Bill’s had a good idea. Four months later, we started a company called Heritage Quest, and you might say that the rest is history.
So… Don’t overlook the education to be received in the FGS exhibit hall. It might not change your life, but it can’t hurt either. Click on the illustration for more information about the FGS Conference in Fort Wayne this summer – August 21-24, 2013.
Oh, yes… Just to be clear… I never did get to the U. You might say that life got in the way, and I had a company to run.