Sunday, August 19, 2007

FGS Conference - Some Thoughts

Overall I think the FGS Conference in Fort Wayne was one of the best organized that I have attended. The speakers were top notch and the selection of lectures was almost overwhelming. There are really only a couple of complaints I have, and I heard most of them from several other attendees as well.
  1. The 2-hour break between the opening and the first lecture session on Thursday really was not necessary. In my opinion it was a waste of time. And I know of several people who did not attend Thursday morning because of that reason.
  2. The 30 minute break between each session was the longest I've ever seen at any conference. Perhaps at another venue it would have been necessary but the rooms where the lectures were held were within a few minutes walk of each other. There were some lectures held at the library but it was still only about a 2-3 minute walk from the Grand Wayne Center. Fifteen minutes would have been more reasonable, twenty minutes at most.
  3. The 2-hour lunch break was a bit much but I understand it was necessary because of the luncheons offered each day (each at $20 a pop, none of which I attended). It did give me a chance to browse some periodicals at the ACPL and I took a nap in my car on Friday ;-) so the time wasn't really wasted.
  4. I've already mentioned the syllabus, which was 650 pages or so, and is a good resource. But something really needs to be done to offer it optionally in a different format. There are a number of ways it could be done to please those who still want a hard copy. A suggestion made by several people was to provide separate booklets for each day. Perhaps they could reduce the price of the conference for those that are willing to download it or even send a CD to early registrants before the conference. After the second day there were still a lot of people carrying the syllabus around and almost all that I saw had loose pages.

A video of a portion of the opening session of the Conference on Thursday morning is on Dick Eastman's blog. I'm in it ;-) That's my blond head you see in the center of the picture at the bottom of the frame. . . I was sitting in the fourth or fifth row, in front of the podium.

Dick Eastman attended the same session of the FootNote meeting that I did and took a couple of pictures. I'm in two of them though I don't know if he'll post them when he gets around to posting pictures of the conference on his blog. . .

Also attending the same FootNote meeting was Ceil Wendt Jensen. Now, I'm usually not one to go up and introduce myself but got up the nerve to do so this time and am glad I did. Ceil is very pleasant, congenial and easy to talk to. I mentioned that I'd heard of her through a recent post by Jasia (about the podcast Ceil did with Dear Myrtle). In the process I found out that I didn't know how to pronounce "Jasia" as I said it with a "J" which is actually pronounced as a "Y" and the "a" is more like "ah" so it's something like Yah-c-ah. I also discovered what Jasia's real first name is, but I'm not going to tell. . . I made the comment that I rather envy Ceil, Jasia and Steve since I consider myself an ethnically challenged researcher - one with no historical family traditions based on where my ancestors came from. The last of them came over so long ago (1832) that trace of any traditions that might have been have completely disappeared. Ceil suggested that I could become an honorary Pole...

While exploring the exhibit hall one day I had the opportunity to 'help' one of the vendors, who shall remain anonymous, with a slight technical problem he was having. I had stopped at the booth to introduce myself and he mentioned that his laptop had powered itself down after not being used for a while and it was not restarting as it should have. My suggestion was to see if it still had power. . . turns out the power cord had come unplugged from the power strip. He was a bit embarrassed that he hadn't already checked on that but we had a chuckle over it and I went on my way. I'm sure he would have figured it out eventually, but I was amused by the incident, but then I am easily amused.

For information on the lectures I attended, check out my previous posts on the conference:

Links outside this blog:


Jasia said...

Hey Becky Wisemanski... of course you can be an honorary Pole! We'd be happy to call you one of our own!

Ah, my good buddy Ceil sold me out eh? Well, just for the record, I'm not sure if I ever told Ceil my real name. The name I commonly go by in our local genealogy circles is not my real name, it's my business name. But perhaps I did reveal my real name to her along the way somewhere. In any event, thanks for keeping the secret.

Ceil gave you one pronunciation of Jasia... and it is my favorite pronunciation because it sounds so senuous. However, when I speak of myself I pronounce my name Yah-shah (accent on the first sylable). It's has a bit of a stronger sound to it.

I'm glad you had a chance to meet Ceil. She's one very smart cookie and a very nice lady too. A lot like you.

Becky said...

Wisemanski - LOL- what fun! Thanks for the update on pronouncing Jasia. I never was much good with languages.

Janice said...

So Becky,

What was your FAVORITE session of the conference... what great tidbit did you learn that you can pass along to your adoring fanclub? :D