This past Friday and Saturday, I spent my time in good ol' Rockford, Illinois. The ISGS hosted their Fall conference at the Clock Tower Best Western Center. The speakers were great....meaning John P. Coletta and others. So much to see, much more to learn.
I have written previously about how important it is to attend these conferences. Large or small, one day or four days, there is always something that you take away from these gatherings of professionals involved in preserving history and family stories.
In addition, the vendors and organizations that participate by showing their wares and sharing their knowledge are just great. The Genealogical Society of Winnebago and Boone Counties co-hosted this event. Their display table featured so many of the wonderful programs and projects that they had completed. Cemetery transcriptions, vital records abstracts, mapping projects and newsletter publications are just a hint of the holdings of such a society that can be so useful to the family historian. Likewise, the Illinois State Genealogical Society had an impressive display of their projects, and provided an opportunity for every visitor to donate to the funds used for the digitization of the War of 1812 records. Fold3 and the Federation of Genealogical Societies are involved in a matching fund program for this most important venture. Won't it be wonderful for everyone to view the military records of ancestors living during that time period.
I was fortunate to win a nice book in the door prize event, a publication by the Kane County Genealogical Society. I will be sure to donate it to my local historical society's research library. The was a White Elephant table that was showered with publications from historical and genealogical societies throughout the state. I picked up a few that I thought would be of interest to me. I can always put them back on the next White Elephant table after I am finished with it. I am sure that someone else would be able to use the valuable information that can be found in these magazines and articles.
Before I left Rockford, I stopped in to visit the main Rockford Library in the city, next to the river. What a nice facility. The third floor housed the local history collections. I entered the impressive archive room and asked to see some high school yearbooks from the 1940s. I was asked by someone who found my name on the Generous Genealogists listing to help them find a photo of their relative who just might have attended high school in Rockford. Sure enough, I found the senior photo. Wonderful. I quickly made two copies of the page and another copy of the title page of the yearbook. This kind of thing makes me feel so good, just being able to help out someone who is in need of my help, and they can't be on site to get it for themselves. I took advantage of this type of services many years ago, and was immensely grateful for the help that I received. It feels good to pay it forward.
Just to repeat myself, be sure to take a trip to a conference. Nearby or far away, you will never regret it.