I met Ben Franklin and Betsy Ross at the FGS Conference

Welcome Banner across from the Exhibit Hall

Welcome Banner across from the Exhibit Hall

We were welcomed to the FGS Conference in Philadelphia by this awesome banner and  the guest of honor, Ben Franklin!  He even brought his wife, Betsy, with him.  Yup, Ben Franklin was led into the opening session by a Fife and Drum trio!  Being in Philadelphia, you know he’d be curious about us!

After the opening session was over, Ben was waiting for us with his wife, the woman who is the Betsy Ross reinactor.  They both represent Philadelphia in their respective roles and married on the 4th of July at Independence Hall.  True Story.  Check out the link.

Ben Franklin and Betsy Ross at the FGS
Ben Franklin and Betsy Ross at the FGS Conference

Conference

One of the important presentations of the opening session was Ancestry.com’s introduction of their new “World Archives Project.”  I’m sure we’re going to hear a lot more about this in the future.  I’m excited about all the digital images they want to get posted.  It will be an awesome project and one that will benefit us all.

Opening Session

Opening Session

The second presentation of note was the speaker, Robert A. Selig, who spoke on “America’s Official Birthday.”  This man has done incredible research on the founding of our country.  An appropriate topic for for a conference held in Philadelphia!

The first session I had registered for was “German Migration Patterns.”  This was presented by George K. Schweitzer, PhD and was excellent.  If you ever get a chance to hear this man, don’t miss it.  A lot of the moves my ancestors made now make a lot more sense.  The fact that he was dressed in Bavarian Dress added a lot to his presentation.  This man is incredibly knowledgeable and incredibly humorous!

George Schweitzer, presenter at FGS Conference

George Schweitzer, presenter at FGS Conference

The second session I attended also had to do with the Germans.  The presentation by James Beidler was titled “Germany to Pennsylvania: 18th Century Odyssey.”  This dealt mainly with narratives written by immigrants in the 18th century.  The other part of the presentation addressed a lot of myths regarding our immigrant ancestors.  If it were sent in e-mails they would be known as  “urban legends.”  For instance:

  • Myth: Most Colonial Germans came because of religious persecution.
  • Reality: The main reason most of them came for economic reasons and the opportunity to purchase land. Reality is that only about 6K out 80K came because of religiouos persecution.

During the lunch break I went back to my room and enjoyed a lunch of deviled eggs, a dish of fresh fruit and a bottle of fresh squeezed orange juice purchased at the Reading Terminal Market.  I bought another piece of Strawberry Rhubarb pie for my “dinner” tonight.  Delicious!

The session I attended this afternoon was presented by Lisa Kerr Ilowite on “Finding a Woman’s Maiden Name.”  This session had to change rooms due to the popularity of the subject and the lack of space in the room that was initially assigned.  After a bit of housekeeping, the show got on the road, so to speak.  She offered tips on places and records to look, Obituaries, Deeds, Court Records, DAR Lineage books, Son’s records, Pension files, etc.

As I left the escalator on my way back to my room, I decided to stop in the Exhibit Hall for one last spin (for the day anyway!) through.  As I entered the door they were calling out the recent door prize winners, and lo and behold!  they called my name!!  I won a box of chocolates (just what I need!) and a notebook from Boston University Center for Professional Education. Thanks, guys!!

I stopped by Ancestry.com area and a very knowledgeable young lady took a great deal of time explaining FTM2009 to me.  I had seen a presentation on it Wednesday evening and was very curious.  This is awesome and I’m almost convinced that I do not need a Mac after all.  I need this software instead.  It won’t be released until next Tuesday and I hope I’ve made up my mind by then.  It sure would save me a lot of money!

I should sleep well tonight.  I had a good day.

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One thought on “I met Ben Franklin and Betsy Ross at the FGS Conference

  1. I was reading the blurb in the registration packet (I decided not to go) and one of the courses that struck me was the one on the maiden name. I felt it was rather intuitive. Did she spend the whole hour going over examples?

    You don’t need a mac! I’ve been using both for years. I switched over to windows in 1998 when I left for college. I only have both b/c they made me buy a mac for my last two semesters of design (yay art degree!). Did you know that the programs I use on my mac for design I also have on my pc? I only use my mac to burn DVD’s now (2x a year). If you need more advice from someone who has been using a mac since 1985 and a pc since 1998, drop me a note.

    I don’t know why design people use macs other than Apple propaganda, I have the *same programs* on my pc.

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