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From the Green Valley News, Friday September 28 2005, page B5

Genealogy Today, by Betty Malesky

The Latest News from Salt Lake City

I just returned from the Federation of Genealogy Societies (FGS) annual conference in Salt Lake City. FGS is a federation of over 500 member societies across the U.S, including the Green Valley Genealogical Society. The information packed conference began with a track for society officers and another for Family History Center volunteers. The following three days, participants could choose to attend six hourly classes from the forty-eight scheduled each day. Topics included skill building, various ethnic groups and record types, Internet research, problem solving, research strategies, and many other specialized areas of interest.

Over one hundred vendors filled the exhibit hall with the latest in family history software, new books, and all sorts of other good stuff, including advances in DNA testing and genealogical publishing plus hands-on exhibits manned by the Family History Library and

The big news at the Conference, however, was David E. Rencher’s announcements about recent developments at As Director of the Records and Information Division of the Family History Library, Rencher unveiled the new website online concurrent with a luncheon at noon on Thursday, September 8. His talk, titled "Sneak Peak into the Near Future," followed lunch and reported several exciting advances in genealogical research.

The pilot release of new indexing software that will enlist volunteers around the world to create digitized, scannable indexes of vital records debuted online as it was being demonstrated at the Conference. Targeted for indexing are U.S., Canadian, Pacific, and South American vital records and British parish records. A nationwide index of U.S. probate records is among the first projects to be undertaken. At click the link, Get Started Today and learn how to become a participant in the project. Volunteers will download the 15 Meg indexing file from the website as well as the records to be indexed. Free public access to the FamilySearch Indexes is planned via the Internet as soon as the first phase of the project is completed

Another innovation involves new software called Scanstone now in use at Utah’s Granite Mountain to convert previously microfilmed records to digitized images. Currently employing 10 scanners, the project will use 25 by year-end. At the rate of 100 rolls of film scanned per day, 32 million images per month, the contents of the entire vault will be converted in six years.

A digitized book project presently provides online access to 5000 published family histories with about 100 out-of-copyright books added each week to the searchable database. To find a particular book, use the Library Catalog and perform a Title Search. If the book has been digitized, a link to the Brigham Young University website, where the book can be viewed will appear in red on the details page for that title.

Finally, a Living Memory project is in the planning stage that will target the 1/3 of the world’s population alive today for which there is no official record of their existence.

Boston, MA will host the 2006 FGS Conference, August 30 to September 2 and Fort Wayne, IN the 2007 Conference, August 18 to 22. Any researcher is welcome to attend and take advantage of the opportunity to learn from the nation’s leading genealogists and to network with others with similar interests.

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