Tampa area genealogists are in for a fall treat when the Florida State Genealogy Society comes to Sarasota for the 2010 state conference.
The spotlight will be on acclaimed photographic expert Maureen Taylor, The Photo Detective. She has written several books and magazine articles, has appeared on national television, and will present four lectures Nov. 12-13.
Many of Florida's professional genealogists are also penciled in for lectures but the full program has not been set. The event will be at the Hyatt Regency Sarasota. Registration is $99 but has not yet opened.
Taylor will sell and autograph her most recent book "The Last Muster," 10 years in the writing and scheduled to roll off the presses in September.
Mark your calendar and stay tuned here for details as they develop.
Several months ago I wrote that Hillsborough County library card holders could access the Footnote.com database remotely from their home computers. Within days that access disappeared. Officials promised to pursue the matter and try to get it back online. Finally, they have.
Get there through the library Web site, hcplc.org, by selecting "Databases and Websites" from the homepage and then "Genealogy" from the Subject Guides.
Individuals can subscribe to Footnote for $79.95 a year. Not all Footnote files are accessible through the library subscription.
War of 1812 records
Records of the Revolutionary and Civil wars get a lot of genealogical scrutiny, but that military focus may shift in the coming two years.
We're approaching the bicentennial anniversary of the War of 1812. To make this a real celebration, the Federation of Genealogical Societies has announced a national campaign to raise $3.7 million to digitize the war's pension files.
The files consist of more than 7.2 million documents in 180,000 applications. The original records are housed at the National Archives in Washington. That facility says it has conserved and prepared the documents for digitizing, and they're ready to scan when the money is raised.
Military pension files are a rich source of information. Often, veterans failed to keep copies of their discharges or any proof of their service, so the pension files are filled with the man's personal account of the action he saw in a particular campaign. If his widow applies for his pension, she must prove his death and her marriage to him. In instances where descendants lack access to either marriage or death records, these applications are priceless.
The federation estimates that $25 will digitize 50 records, while $500 will digitize 1,000. To learn more about contributing to the Preserve the Pensions! Project, contact the Federation of Genealogical Societies at www.fgs.org/1812 or Curt Witcher at (260) 421-1226 or 1812@FGS.org.
For Mac users
There are few drawbacks to using a Macintosh computer, but one of them is that Family Tree Maker software is available only for PC users.
That's about to change.
Eric Shoun, senior vice president of products for Ancestry.com, which owns Family Tree Maker, says a Mac version will be constructed from the bottom up "to take full advantage of the Mac platform in terms of technology and user experience."
No release date was announced, although it's expected to be available this year.
Not busy today?
Those with no plans for this afternoon can pop into the monthly meeting of the Jewish Genealogical Society at Gulf Coast Jewish Family Services, 14041 Icot Blvd., Clearwater.
Beginning at 2 p.m., Clint Elbow will speak on using computers in genealogical research. For details or directions, call Sally Israel at (727) 343-1652.
The next conference
The 2010 national conference of the Federation of Genealogical Societies is within reasonable driving distance for Tampa area genealogists. It will be in Knoxville from Aug. 18 to 21.
Learn more about the conference and beat the June 1 early registration deadline at www.fgs.org/2010conference/.