Monday, July 23, 2012

Conferences and Vendors

While I was tabulating the evaluation sheets from the June 2012 Palatines to America conference in Indianapolis, I came across one that made a comment about the need for more vendors.  I happen to agree that an important part of any conference is the vendors.  I have always enjoyed roaming around the vendors area whenever I attend a conference such as the NGS Conference in Cincinnati this past May.  From the number of people spending time in the vendors area at NGS and at our 2012 conference in Indianapolis, I suspect that many people feel the same way.
While I was in Cincinnati, I took time to speak to a number of the vendors about what makes them more likely to attend a conference as a vendor.  I spoke primarily to vendors that I thought might be good additions to Palams 2013 conference in Albany. The vendors mentioned several factors.

The most obvious factor was attendance.  The larger the attendance, the more likely the vendor will be able to sell enough to make the trip profitable.  Vendors and attendees have a symbiotic relationship.  We want a wide variety of interesting books, supplies and services to be available when we visit the vendors area; they want potential customers for their wares. That should be no surprise. 
Vendors also explained to me that they wanted sufficient time provided in the schedule for attendees to visit the vendors.  At NGS, the meeting rooms were far away from the vendors area, and there was only a half hour block of time between talks.  As a result, people had little time to browse before they needed to head out to the next presentation.  Unless someone chose to skip a presentation in order to browse the exhibit hall, they had at best fifteen minutes to wander among the vendors.

Several software and internet service vendors told me that they liked the opportunity to demonstrate their products during the conference.  NGS provided an area at one side of the exhibit hall for vendor demonstrations.  I attended several, but probably missed several more that I would have enjoyed if I had known they were being given.  The vendors told me that they would have like the demonstrations to be on the schedule, rather than being posted in the hall just before they were to take place.
When planning for our 2013 Albany conference, I am hoping to make the conference attractive to vendors, so that more will be willing to come.  The presentations and the vendors area will be next to one another.  The presentations will be scheduled to allow ample time for visits to the vendors and a room for the vendors to provide demonstrations has been reserved close to the action.  We will put those demonstrations on the printed schedule so attendees can make plans to attend.

We need a healthy growth in our attendance at the 2013 to make it a success. Of course, people usually dont come just to visit the vendors, so we are working on scheduling speakers and topics that will be of interest.  I will address more about that in a later blog.

Friday, July 20, 2012

Do you descend from the original 1708 – 1710 Palatines?

 Beginning in 1708, a Lutheran minister, Joshua Kocherthal accompanied immigrants to this country from England to the Hudson Valley of New York.  The first group of about fifty four settlers arrived in New York with Kocherthal aboard the ship Globe, which also carried the new governor of New York, Francis Lovelace.  The ship docked in New York harbor on the Morning of 18 Dec 1708,  In the spring of 1709, the group of German Palatines were taken north on the Hudson and settled on land at Quaseck Kill, in Ulster County (now Newburgh in Orange County.)

Later that year, Kocherthal returned to England to seek support for the first group of Palatines.  He returned in 1710 with a second and larger group that were settled further north on the Hudson, near present-day Saugerties in West Camp, and across the Hudson River near Germantown, Columbia Co. in East Camp.

The group who was settled in Newburgh was given title in 1710 to 2000 or so acres along the Hudson River where they were initially settled.  Only some actually remained there.  Many had moved away by the time the land was granted to them.

The groups that were initially settled along the Hudson River in East and West Camps never did receive title to that land and later resettled further west, or in Pennsylvania.

Palatine to America has decided to establish a group called the “Kocherthal Circle” for those who can demonstrate that they were descended from those early Palatines.  On our website, you will find an application blank and instructions enabling you to apply for membership in this lineage group.  We encourage you to do so.  If you complete you application process in time, we would love to induct you into the Circle at our June 2013 National Conference in Albany, NY.

It is hoped that this is just the first of several lineage societies that will find a home in Palatines to America.  The ancestors of those early Germans who followed Francis Daniel Pastorius to settle in Germantown, PA in 1683 might well be our next Circle to be established.  Others may want to establish other circles. 

For information on how to apply for the Kocherthal Circle, go online to and look for the application form.

Saturday, July 7, 2012


I attended a National Genealogical Society conference when I first became interested in genealogy.  Where, I don’t remember.  While wandering around the exhibitors’ hall, I found a booth sponsored by the Palatines to America.  My first reaction was that I had no Palatine ancestors, so the organization could not be for me.  However, when I explained that my father’s parents came from Mulhouse in Alsace, they assured me that the organization was for anyone who had German speaking ancestors.  With that information I joined Palatines to America, and its New York Chapter.

While that chapter has a number of members who are descended from the Palatines who came to New York with the Lutheran minister, Joshua Kocherthal in the first decade of the 18th century, there are many like myself who have no Palatines ancestors.  But, we do have German speaking ancestors, and that is our common bond. 

It has been several years now that I have been involved with the organization.  I was asked to edit the newsletter of the NY Chapter in 2005, and continue in that role today.  For the past two years, I served as president of the Chapter, until I was asked to become the national president of Palatines to America.  For the next two years, I will work to promote this organization as the place to be for those with German speaking ancestors.  I hope that those of you who are not yet members will make the step and join us.