Conference Brochure Cover Image – Behind the Story, Part One

December 8th, 2016 by National Genealogical Society Blog Editor


Looking at the front cover of the NGS 2017 Family History Conference registration brochure, I’m drawn to the expression of the young boy pictured. Perhaps you were too. Do you wonder, as I did, about this image? Let’s peek behind the curtain of the planning and selection of the conference images. Mark Lowe, 2017 Raleigh Conference Chair, tells us in his own words…

“…I remember brainstorming ideas and images, moments distant and almost forgotten as we move forward to this conference. “Family History Lives Here” became an early choice for our theme, as we focused on the Raleigh location, potential programs, and attendees.

North Carolina is an ideal location for telling historic family stories. The images that drew me in showed the diversity of people who passed through this place as well as the rustic views of old buildings and barn doors. At some point in that meeting, I said, “Behind every door is a story waiting to be told.” That concept became an anthem as we worked on a final theme and design.

When our discussion moved to images of people, some WPA-era photos were considered. I mentioned that I had used Federal Farm Service agency photographs and files for research purposes. Those files were full of expressive story-filled photos. The first images we viewed included a group of four youngsters that brought the “Spanky and Our Gang” or “Little Rascals” shows to mind. Other photos showed several women doing business in a general store, farmers in their fields, small groups, and children.

Then, the photo of a young boy not smiling as he stands in the doorway drew me into the picture. Who is this? Where is this? What story starts behind this door. I was hooked!

Starting with the source of the photo, I began to investigate. Another photo of this same young man standing in a rocky field was in the same collection. These photos were identified as being taken in Wake county, North Carolina, the county where Raleigh is located, and our conference was being held…”

END OF PART ONE ––– In Part Two, we discover this young man’s name. Subscribe to the blog so you don’t miss a post.