The week of September 9th was a historic one for Hispanic genealogy here in Salt Lake City. More than 60 celebrated historical researchers, professional genealogists, and genealogy enthusiasts, who specialize in the reconstruction of Hispanic families, gathered from around the world for the XVIII Reunión Americana de Genealogía and the VIII Congreso Ibero-Americano de Genealogía y Heráldica. Attendees from Hispanic countries at the conference came from: Argentina, Bolivia, Brasil, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, Dominican Republic, Mexico, Peru, Puerto Rico, Spain, Venezuela, and Uruguay. This conference is an event that is usually held every two years in various countries in Latin America alternating between the northern and southern hemispheres. Because the United States has the third largest population of Spanish speakers in the world, Dr. George Ryskamp, Brigham Young University professor and renowned Hispanic genealogist, convinced the group to hold the conference here. The conference was sponsored jointly by FamilySearch and Brigham Young University.
Among the many distinguished presenters and attendees were Michel Teillard d’Eyry, of France, chairman of the Confédération Internationale de Généalogie et d’Héraldique CIGH, Yves de La Goublaye de Ménorval, of Bolivia, academician, CIGH, Javier Sanchiz Ruiz, Doctor en Historia de México, Facultad de Filosofía y Letras, Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México UNAM, Amaya Garritz Ruiz, Postgrado de Estudios Vascos: Ciencias Humanas, Sociales y Naturales, Univerdad del Pais Vasco, España, 2010, and Susana Dominguez de Soler, noted genealogist from Argentina.
Much to the delight of the attendees activities were non-stop. The conference began with academic sessions where papers were presented on various research projects. The theme of the conference was “Familias que cruzaron fronteras” or “Families Who Crossed Frontiers” and the presentations given fit well with the theme. The topic of immigration is a common one for researchers whose Hispanic ancestors came to the Americas.
Conference activities included presentations, tours, food, and lots of networking. The presentations, known as ponencias, in Spanish highlighted extensive research done by the presenters and/or their representative organizations. These took place in the auditorium of the BYU Salt Lake Center, the LDS Church History Museum auditorium, and on the campus of Brigham Young University in Provo.
Tours included stops at Temple Square, Welfare Square, the Beehive House, the Joseph Smith Memorial Building, and the Church History Library and Archives of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. The group was also recognized in the Thursday night rehearsal of the Mormon Tabernacle Choir. And of course, no visit to Salt Lake City would be complete without a tour of and numerous hours spent researching in the Family History Library. For many this was their first visit to the number one tourist attraction for genealogists.
Great networking took place during the meals shared which included two breakfasts and two dinners. One of the dinners sponsored by FamilySearch included a presentation by Shipley Munson, Director, Member and Public Outreach Division for FamilySearch, who wowed the group with his Spanish linguistic abilities in a presentation titled, “El realismo mágico o la magia de la realidad” translated as “Magic Realism or the Magic of Reality”. The other dinner, sponsored by Brigham Young University, was held in the beautiful mountain setting of Sundance ski resort, where participants rode the ski lift before dinner.
For those who crossed frontiers to attend this gathering, their efforts were well rewarded. All who participated left with new and renewed friendships and a great desire to meet again in 2015 in Chile.