Saturday at UPGS 2008

Today the weather in Salt Lake City was a bit overcast and breezy, though still warm. The weather made little difference, since I spent most of the day in the sessions at the United Polish Genealogical Societies Conference at the Salt Lake Plaza Hotel.

The first order of business was a Skype Conference hosted by Tomasz Nitsch whereby we connected with the Polish Genealogical Association meeting in Gdansk; with Adam Kamiński, president of the Pomeranian Genealogical Association; and with Marek Jerzy Minakowski, webmaster of the website.

Adam Kamiński explained how the genealogical societies in Poland were organized and described some of the projects of the Polish Genealogical Association and the Pomeranian Genealogical Association, including efforts to digitize and index sources of genealogical information. One project of the Pomeranian Genealogical Association is to photograph and index records of the Pelpin Diocese, allowing visitors to view the records on computer, thus helping preserve the original records.

Marek Jerzy Minakowski showed how to access his website and search for information about Poles important in history. I searched for the surname Niedziałkowski in the database and found several entries for individuals with this surname.

A Skype Conference was also held with Fred Hoffman in Connecticut who discussed Polish given names and surnames. He mentioned that, while Polish given names number in the hundreds, Polish surnames number in the hundreds of thousands, and that surnames did not become consistent in Poland until after the partitions of Poland in the late 18th century. Some common suffixes that Fred mentioned include:

-icz, -ycz, -owicz, -ewicz = “son of”

-owski, -ewski, inski, -ynski = place name

-ala, -ała = “one who is always doing”, prominent feature

-ek, -ak, -ik, -yk, -uk = diminutive (-uk most common east of Poland’s current borders)

The final presentations of the morning were Kahlile B. Mehr’s talk about Acquisitions at the FHL and my own talk on Genealogy Blogs: New Ways to Disseminate Genealogy Information on the Internet. I missed Kahlile’s talk, of course, since mine was at the same time. My talk on blogs included information on the types of blogs, how to set up a blog, advantages of blogs, and a survey of the variety of genealogy blogs on the internet today.

The first afternoon session I attended was Beau Sharbrough’s talk about Polish Research on, a survey of the records on and how user contributed content greatly enhances the value of the site.

I then attended Michael Hall’s presentation on the Family History Books Digitization Project at the FHL. I was quite surprised to discover that the project to digitize family histories involves the cooperation of the Allen County Public Library, the Harold B. Lee Library at BYU, BYU Hawaii, the Clayton Library Center for Genealogical Research at the Houston Public Library, the Family History Library, and the LDS Church History Library. Over 11,000 titles are currently available as searchable PDF files at a number of internet locations including,,, and

The final presentation I attended for the day was Baerbel Johnson’s discussion of online mailing lists, in particular the mailing lists at Rootsweb: She discussed the value of subscribing by either the LIST version or the DIGEST version of the mailing list, provided hints for searching for relevant lists (don’t get too specific with the search terms), showing good “list manners”, and posting effective queries.

I finished up the day by attending the banquet of the California Genealogical Society held at Lamb’s Grill in Salt Lake City, the final event of the CGS research week at the Family History Library. I had an enjoyable time having dinner with my fellow CGS members who discussed their successes at the FHL that week. I look forward to reading about the event on Kathryn’s CGS Blog.

It’s now late in the evening. There’s another busy day in store for me at the UPGS conference tomorrow, with eleven talks including my presentation on Genealogy Gadgets and Gizmos. I’ll be speaking right after lunch in a room without windows, so that should allow everyone to get a good hour’s nap in the early afternoon!

Copyright © 2008 by Stephen J. Danko

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One Response to Saturday at UPGS 2008

  1. Attending genealogy conferences is always a delight and it looks like you gathered a weath of information.

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