This year, due to the pandemic, the Federation of Genealogy Societies 2020 conference will be virtual. Blazing Trails in the Heart of America Virtual Family History Conference will take place on Sept. 2, for eight hours, starting 11 a.m. and lasting until 7 p.m. EDT, with an impressive assembly of speakers.

How this will work is that eight keynote speakers will stream with live talks during the day. These eight presentations are included in every conference package. They include: “FGS: Celebrating the Past and the Future” by David E. Rencher; “A Journey to Roots Less Traveled” by the Ancestry Staff; “Strategies of The Genetic Detective” by CeCe Moore; “Building a Respectable Genealogy, One Documented Biography at a Time” by Thomas W. Jones; “What’s New at FamilySearch?” by Ron Tanner; “Scaling the 1870 Brick Wall in African American Research” by Ari Wilkins; “Quarantined! Genealogy, The Law & Public Health” by Judy G. Russell; and “The 2020 Genealogist’s Google Search Methodology” by Lisa Louise Cooke.

Also available to everyone who registers are over 30 additional on-demand tracks that have been sponsored by various genealogy companies or organizations and another 16 tracks on society management topics. These will be available to watch on demand until March. Visit https://fgs.org/conferences/sponsored-sessions for the entire list of topics and speakers for these free sessions.

Finally, there will be a virtual exhibit hall available to browse for 30 days, plus a digital syllabus.

In addition to all of the above, virtual attendees will choose from a package of over 90 additional on-demand presentations. These include 13 DNA tracks, 11 ethnicity/nationality tracks, 17 methodology/skillbuilding tracks, 14 tracks on midwest genealogy, 16 military tracks, 11 professional tracks, and 8 tracks on technology, each presented by a noted speaker in the field. Participants will have their chosen tracks available to watch on demand until March 21, 2021.

There will also be four virtual workshops available on Sept. 3 and 4. The fee for each is $30 and the workshops will be limited to 30 participants. These include:

• “Using the What Are the Odds? (WATO) Tool” by Angie Bush. This tool uses calculations to help determine relationships to DNA matches.

• “Using Google’s My Maps As a Planning & Analysis Tool” by Cari Taplin. Learn to use Google’s MyMaps as a genealogy tool.

• “Latest Developments in Company Tools for DNA” by Angie Bush. Hands-on experience in using the tools from Ancestry, MyHeritage, and 23andMe to make sense of your DNA matches.

• “What the Heck Does That Say?” by Pam Vestal. Assistance in deciphering the handwriting in old documents, no matter how poor the penmanship.

The early bird (before Aug. 25) “lite” registration is $130 for your choice of 10 of the additional on-demand presentations plus all standard registration items mentioned above. (Adding the keynote speeches, the 44 free sponsored presentations, and your choice of 10 presentations from the other tracks, this actually totals 62 different presentations.)

The early bird standard registration is $250 for your choice of 20 of the additional on-demand presentations plus all of the standard registration items.

The early bird super-sized registration is $395 and includes your choice of 45 of the additional on-demand presentations plus all standard registration items; plus a FGS Commemorative Goody Bag; plus entry to win a free registration to the 2021 NGS Conference in Richmond, Virginia. Two registrations will be given away.

To view precisely what all of the presentations will cover and who the speakers are, go to https://fgs.org/annual-conference and click on the drop-down menu under 2020 FGS Conference. Here, you can also register for the conference or apply to be an exhibitor.

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