By Lynn Funk, Student
On January 8th and 9th, 2015, I was privileged to attend the Association of Professional Genealogists’ Professional Management Conference thanks to the free registration I won from the National Institute for Genealogical Studies. It was a wonderful conference from start to finish. To be in a room with so many people who share my passion for family history was exhilarating to say the least!
I attended many informative classes including two sessions on source citation given by Dr. Thomas Jones, PhD, CG, CGL, FASG, FUGS, FNGS—I feel much more confident in citing sources now! I also learned about mind mapping (Ron Arons), Affiliate Marketing and Self Publishing (Thomas MacEntee), and DNA and Genealogical Proof (Angie Bush, MS). Kimberly Powell, current president of APG, spoke to us about using Scrivener to organize our research and James Beidler addressed us on “Finding Your Niche: Matching Passion, Professionalism & Pecuniary Interest.” The always knowledgeable and entertaining Judy Russell, JD, CG, CGL, spoke about the importance of knowing what the law was “at the time and in the place” where our ancestors lived, and Billie Fogarty, M.Ed., talked about the ins and outs (and ups and downs) of being a genealogical speaker.
The opening keynote address was giving by Howard Hochhauser, the CFO of Ancestry.com (Tim Sullivan, President & CEO of Ancestry.com was scheduled to present but was unable to make it at the last minute). His address was on “Don’t We All Need Some Professional Help?” and was very informative. It was interesting to hear how Ancestry.com works—how their search engine functions and what audience they cater to. It made the results we sometimes get (that make us shake our heads) a little more understandable. They also talked about Ancestry.com’s purchase of ProGenealogists and what this company has to offer in the way of research help and employment for those interested.
On Thursday, I attended a luncheon where David Rencher, AG,CG, FIGRS, FUGA, Chief Genealogical Officer at FamilySearch spoke. He addressed the concerns that many of us have about the FamilySearch FamilyTree (it’s a free-for-all, anyone can change your information, etc.) and said they really want professional genealogists to take the lead in creating accurate, fully sourced family trees on this site.
I thoroughly enjoyed attending this conference. One of the best parts of attending was the connections I made that may help me in researching my own family and also in starting my own genealogy business. The men and women who attended this conference were very forthcoming and eager to provide guidance and tips they have learned over the years as they have grown their own businesses in the family history sector.
The icing on the cake for me was winning a door prize: a one year research membership in the New England Historic Genealogical Society. I have heard they have wonderful databases and am anxious to try them out! All in all, it was a great experience and one I would recommend to anyone who is seriously considering genealogy as a profession.