20 March 2009

Why I continue to attend genealogy conferences.

My very first national level genealogy conference was 1987 and the place was the NGS Conference in Raleigh, North Carolina. NGS is back there this year. In 1989 the NGS Conference was held in St. Paul, Minnesota. I was part of the working committee for that conference. In 1990 I attended my first Federation of Genealogical Societies' Conference in Salt Lake City. This year the conference is in Little Rock. I missed a few years of each due to children's graduations and other family events. I saved my airline miles for travel to many of these. I have also attended many state conferences in Minnesota and in other states. I don't go on vacations to Las Vegas, Cancun, London, or Rome -- I go to genealogy conferences and seminars to be with people that have a similar passion.

Why do I keep going back?
  • Friendships that have developed as I kept seeing the same people at conferences.
  • Friendships that have developed as new people came to a conference.
  • Lecturers that have taught me about methodology and resources.
  • Lecturers that taught me about the fascinating research in states and countries where I have no ancestry. Maybe someday . . .
  • Lecturers that told me about the many places for research and updates about these places, often before most people knew.
  • Book vendors that have helped me fill my bookshelves with a world of wonderful reference books. (many times over!)
  • Software demos that gave me confidence to use new programs.
  • Camaraderie that is second to none. People that actually want to hear about a recent discovery.
  • The people and networking. I get to sit near a genealogist from another state at a luncheon or lecture that knows about the courthouse or library I want to visit in that state. It's picking the brains of others in person. A much easier way to ask questions.
  • Learning more about an organization or society before I join it.
Today I am privileged to be a speaker at many of these conferences. It's a way of paying back those who taught before me. I hope that there are people in my audiences that will follow in keeping this education going. Another way to pay back the conference volunteers before me has been in doing the same. I have been on conference committees for both FGS and NGS over the years, have been the Chair of one, and continue doing conference volunteer work so that these great educational (and fun) tools can continue. Let's pick each others' brains in May and September!

1 comment:

Thomas MacEntee said...

Great post Paula - I think it is important for us to remember to attend conferences, to join societies and organizations. A good genealogist uses a mix of these venues as well as his or her on-line life to be a well-rounded person. It can't all be done on The Internets or The Google!