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Highlights of U.S. genealogical society conference

Published: Wednesday, Aug. 5 2015 3:30 a.m. MDT

David McCullough will headline  a family history celebration. (Deseret News archives) David McCullough will headline a family history celebration. (Deseret News archives)

America's fascination with ancestry and family history has never been bigger.

Celebrities and notable Americans are exploring their family trees on television. Hundreds of family societies are flourishing in every state. Genetic research makes almost daily headlines as new facts are learned about links between health and heredity.

The whole area of family history is taking center stage in Salt Lake City this week, as four major genealogical conferences will take place, offering more than 200 different workshops, and giving everyone from novices to advanced researchers access to learning opportunities.

The marquee event is the National Genealogical Society's Annual Conference, which is returning to Salt Lake City for only the second time in the past 25 years, and which will take place at the Salt Palace Convention Center April 28-May 1. Highlights include:

175 sessions and workshops on best practices in genealogy, presented by more than 100 experts. Topics range from "American Indian Research" to "Peasantry & Nobility, Laborers & Landlords," "Homestead Records" and "Evidence Analysis."

Pulitzer Prize-winning author and historian David McCullough and the Mormon Tabernacle Choir will headline an "Evening Celebration of Family History" on Thursday.

A rare virtual tour of the world-famous Granite Mountain Records Vault, where some 3.5 billion records are stored.

Open houses at the FamilySearch Center, the Family History Library and the new, state-of-the art LDS Church History library.

Free "Ask-an-Expert" consultations by the Utah Genealogical Association.

FamilySearch and Genealogy Technology Exhibit Hall with hundreds of vendors and product demonstrations.

Free photo and document scanning by Ancestry.com, plus tours of its facilities in Provo.

A Genealogy Kids Camp on May 1, with classes, games and storytelling designed to engage the future generation of genealogists. It will include sessions for Boy Scouts working on the Genealogy Badge.

Complete details and registration information can be found at www.ngsgenealogy.org/cs/conference_info or by phone at 800-473-0060.

Founded in 1903 and based in Arlington, Va., the National Genealogical Society is a nonprofit society dedicated to genealogy education, high research standards and the preservation of genealogical records.

Other conferences that will be held throughout the week are:

BYU's Conference on Computerized Family History ad Genealogy; for information, go to ce.byu.edu/cw/cwcompu/.

BYU's Family History Technology Workshop; fht.byu.edu.

FamilySearch's Developers Conference for software developers; www.familysearchdevnet.org/CD/index.html.

Copyright 2015, Deseret News Publishing Company