Wonderful Winnipeg and Singing the Praises of Ethnic Genealogy Society Conferences

I had the wonderful opportunity to be in Winnipeg, Canada August 4-6 for the Eastern European Genealogical Society and Federation of Eastern European Family History Societies Conference. The hospitality shown by the members of the host organization was outstanding. I know now why they call it “Friendly Manitoba.”

The conference was superb! As an invited speaker, I gave two talks, “Finding Your Slovak Roots in the 21st Century” and “Confessions of a Genealogist.” The conference boasted the presence of several top-notch speakers in the area of Eastern European Genealogy, including: Matthew Bielawa, Edward R. Brandt, Thomas K. Edlund, Brian J. Lenius, Kahlile B. Mehr, Dave Obee, Daniel M. Schlyter, Maralyn A. Wellauer-Lenius, among others.

Although I was a speaker, I was still able to sneak into a few great sessions. For example, Denise Kolesar’s “Genealogy on the Interne, ” Daniel Schlyter’s “Sources and Procedures for Genealogical Research: Czech Republic,”and (my good buddy) Matthew Bielawa’s “Researching Polish Roots Across Poland and Its Three Partitions.” Two other outstanding presentations were given on Friday and Saturday nights by Kahlile Mehr and Felix G. Kuehn, respectively. Kahlile Mehr spoke about “How FHL Films are Acquired from the Former Soviet Sphere,” and Felix Kuehn presented the fascinating and entertaining account of “Heroes and Villains of the Ukrainian Church of Western Canada” at the banquet.

The conference concluded Sunday with an “Ask the Speakers” forum where attendees could ask questions of an expert panel comprised of speakers who were still present.

On Sunday evening, a select group of us took a VIP tour bus to Winnipeg’s wonderful Folklorama celebration. We had an appetizer and beverage at the Alipine Pavilion, dinner and beverage at the Ukrainian-Kyiv Pavilion, and dessert (my favorite, palacinky) and beverage at the Polish-Warsaw Pavilion. We were also treated to entertainment (singing, dancing, or skits) at each stop.

All in all, I came away from this genealogical conference wanting more! If you have Eastern European Roots, why not consider joining one or both of these great societies and attending their meetings and/or conferences? It provides you with a unique opportunity to network with and learn from many of the leading experts in the field for Czech, German, Hungarian, Polish, Russian, Slovak, and Ukrainian genealogy. You can check their respective Web sites for announcements for forthcoming meetings/conferences. I hope to meet you next year (2007) for a special FEEFHS conference in Salt Lake City (dates and details TBA).