Where better to hold a genealogy gathering than the backyard of America’s first permanent English colony?
For this year’s National Genealogical Society (NGS) conference
, last week in Richmond, Va., organizers joined in Jamestown’s 400th anniversary celebration: The keynote session explored virtual resources for studying Jamestown’s history, and a descendant of settler John Rolfe and Pocahontas entertained the banquet audience.
With nearby Civil War battlefields, Revolutionary-era sites and Colonial Willliamsburg, Richmond proved a popular location—around 2,000 genealogists reportedly attended the conference this year, up from recent years’ turnout.
Those who stopped by the Family History Fair in the Richmond Convention Center learned of new and forthcoming genealogical products and services. If you didn’t make it—or missed the announcements—here’s the scoop:
• Visitors to the Family History Library’s booth got a sneak peek at the revamped search interface coming to the FamilySearch Web site
. The new system not only integrates information from FamilySearch’s various databases, its results also will link to digitized records—though only a tiny fraction of the library’s vast holdings will be available when the site relaunches this fall. (But more record images will be coming online soon: See “Not-So-Silent Partners.”) Booth workers also showed off the easy-to-use FamilySearch Indexing
system—built to help volunteers index the library’s billions of records for eventual online searching. Indexing efforts have ramped up recently; the 1900 census is now in progress (view the list of current projects
• Several software manufacturers demonstrated new versions of genealogy programs. Incline Software’s Ancestral Quest 12
, for example, adds the ability to input DNA testing results and a summary screen for each individual in your file, among other improvements. Version 12 costs $29.95, or you can upgrade for $19.95. Incline also showed off version 2 of PAFWiz
, a $24.95 companion to the free Personal Ancestral File software. Look for a review of both programs in the November 2007 Family Tree Magazine
• GenSmarts 2
, a $29.95 utility that analyzes your data and suggests next steps, lets you save and export your reports to more file formats (including PDF). It also introduces new reports and the ability to analyze only selected parts of your file. If you purchased the program this year, you get a free upgrade—earlier purchasers get a $10 discount.
• Ancestry.com staffers previewed a soon-to-come edition of Family Tree Maker
, produced by parent company The Generations Network. If you use Family Tree Maker, you can expect a significant makeover in the next upgrade. The company also promoted Ancestry Press, an online service that will automatically create a book from your family tree on Ancestry.com.
The biggest news from NGS was the announcement of several partnerships to make more ancestral data and records available to you online—read “Not-So-Silent Partners” for more on this.