A few weeks ago I had the pleasure of presenting at the Association of Professional Genealogists Professional Management Conference in Salt Lake City. This year was extra special because it marked 40 years of APG. This was also a unique opportunity to visit Salt Lake City itself. Regardless of your religious persuasion it’s impossible to ignore how central Salt Lake City and the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints has been to genealogy and the availability of various records. A visit to the Family History Library in Salt Lake City is likely on every genealogists wishlist.
The impressive Temple in Salt Lake City
Great views of the mountains wherever you are in Salt Lake City
At the PMC I was presenting a talk on using social media for genealogy businesses and also presenting a poster on oral history resources for genealogy.
The title slide of my talk at the APG PMC
My poster on oral history and genealogy at the PMC
My session on social media was among the 12 recorded as part of the ‘virtual PMC’. The recordings can be purchased here: https://www.apgen.org/catalog/pmc_recording_package.html
For the other talks you can purchase a copy of the digital syllabus here: https://www.apgen.org/catalog/syllabus.html
There were plenty of standout moments during the PMC. Getting to meet with other professionals is always a bonus, particularly some of the leading figures in the field. These included Judy G Russell, Kenyatta D Berry, Elizabeth Shown Mills, Michael J Leclerc, Kory L. Meyerink, Katherine R. Willson, Sheila Benedict, Janice Lovelace, Leslie Brinkley Lawson, Judy Nimer Muhn, Australian genealogist Ben Hollister and fellow Irish genealogist Fiona Fitzsimons to name but a few of the wonderful people I met. Unfortunately we missed the always entertaining J. Mark Lowe, who was unable to attend in person. Fortunately he recorded his three presentations and we were still able to get the benefit of his expertise.
There was also a welcome reception at the head offices of Ancestry and tours of the Family History Library, the Church History Library and the 28 storey Church Office Building, which provided some stunning views of Salt Lake City.
View of the State Capitol from the 28th floor of the Church Office Building
Checking out the main research floor of the Family History Library
One particular standout moment from the PMC was encountering so many young professional genealogists and seeing a growing international turnout. One of the things I appreciate most about APG is the fact that it is an international organisation. Most of it’s membership is American but it’s good to have an organisation that helps to connect genealogists worldwide. We had Irish, Australians, Canadians, Hawaiians, Alaskans and Mexicans.
On the final day of my visit to Salt Lake City I attended mass in the Madeleine Cathedral, a stunning Catholic cathedral and met up with Kyle Betit and Quentin Burrows of Ancestry ProGenealogists
Exterior of the Madeleine Cathedral
I was also lucky enough to meet up with Andrea DuClos and Mindy Taylor, both fellow alumni of the ProGen Study Group I spent the last year participating in.
The second half of my trip was spent in New York City. During this time I got the opportunity to sit down with Yukie Ohta of the Soho Memory Project and learn about what she does. I was particularly interested in the oral history aspect of the project but any time spent discussing local history is worthwhile. I also got to take a tour of the graveyard and catacombs of the Basilica of St Patrick’s Old Cathedral. I admit that before this I hadn’t known there were two St Patrick’s Cathedrals in NY. The familiar cathedral in midtown is the second cathedral with the name. The first St Patrick’s is located on Mott Street near Little Italy. The catacombs underneath the basilica have only recently become accessible to the public through guided tours. It’s no surprise that many of the names on the vaults are of Irish origin.
The Basilica of St Patrick’s Old Cathedral in New York
Grave of John Curry, the youngest witness to the apparition in Knock, Co. Mayo in 1879. He emigrated to New York and was originally buried in Long Island. In 2017 his remains were reinterred in the graveyard of Old St Patrick’s
One of the burial vaults in the catacomb underneath Old St Patrick’s
No visit to NYC is complete without a few hours spent in the 42nd Street branch of the NYPL. I would particularly recommend browsing through the Irma and Paul Milstein Division of United States History, Local History and Genealogy in the library. While I was there I was able to sit in on a talk by one of the librarians, Andy McCarthy, on using the libraries resources for family history research.
The iconic main entrance to the 42nd Street branch of the New York Public Library
In heaven in the Irma and Paul Milstein Division of United States History, Local History and Genealogy section of the NYPL
I hope to be back in Salt Lake City someday, even just to spend a week in the Family History Library. For now I can look forward to more genealogy at Back To Our Past in Dublin next weekend and RootsTech London the following weekend.