Tuesday, June 7, 2016

Ten Takeaways From the #SCGS2016 Genealogy Jamboree

I've been thinking about what I saw and heard at the SCGS 2016 Genealogy Jamboree conference in Burbank, California last weekend.  Here are some takeaways, in no particular order:

1.  I was frustrated because several of my choices for classes were not up to my expectations.  I chose them based on the short description in the conference web page and mobile app, rather than by perusing the syllabus.  I went to 5 classes out of the 16 class times - I need to do better.

2.  I was frustrated because I had to wait a day to obtain the syllabus.  I checked in at 6 p.m. on Thursday evening at the speaker's desk and did not realize that the chit to obtain the syllabus flash drive was not in the envelope.  After I had reviewed the envelope, I went back to the registration desk and the staff said they had not included it in any of the speaker envelopes by mistake, and to come back on Friday morning.  I did, and received it, but I lost Thursday evening to review it and perhaps change my class choices.  It's a great syllabus.

3.  The setup and execution of my 10:30 a.m. class on Friday on Social Media for Your Research and Your Society went well - there were no glitches.  It helped to have  I was pleased with the turnout - about 100 attendees in the 160 seat room.  I received many expressions of appreciation from attendees over the three days.

4.  I thought that there were quite a few companies and organizations missing from the Exhibit Hall.  Ancestry.com, FamilySearch, MyHeritage, Geni, FamilyTreeDNA, Internet Genealogy Magazine, FamilyChartMasters, Ron Arons, RootsMagic, Legacy Family Tree, and Software MacKiev were there with knowledgeable staff.  However, only Ancestry.com ran "little theater" demos and presentations.  Noticeably missing from the exhibit hall were Findmypast, 23andMe, GenealogyBank, NewspaperArchive, American Ancestors, NGS, FGS, NYG&B, Lisa Louise Cooke, Family Tree Magazine, and several others were not there in person.

5.  Many notable geneabloggers and speakers were not there who are usually in attendance - some of them were at the Ontario Genealogical Society conference in Toronto.  Dick Eastman, Thomas MacEntee, CeCe Moore, Judy Russell, and others were missed.

6.  The exhibitors I talked to were pretty happy with the attendance at Jamboree and the business they conducted.  The Exhibit Hall is fairly central to about half of the class rooms, so folks could stop by for 15-20 minutes in the hall between classes.  I enjoyed going to the exhibit hall during class times so that I could talk to the exhibitors - I had good talks with Bruce Buzbee, Geoff Rasmussen, Crista Cowan, Janet Hovorka, Mark Olson and Kiara Nielsen, Schelly Dardashti, Michael Provard, Dave Dowell, Sheri Savory, Tom Jones and Joe Bishop during the weekend.

7.  The Marriott Hotel wi-fi worked everywhere I went - they had separate channels for the Conference area, the Lobby area, and the hotel rooms.

8.  The hotel is relatively expensive - our room was $165 a night plus tax.  Linda enjoyed the pool with her friend, Gloria.  The Daily Grill is expensive with entrees from $15 to $40 at dinner.  I wish that there was another food outlet in the hotel since we can't go across the street any more and were without a car.  I like the lunch setup - they have two vendor areas where you can buy a hot dog, hamburger, salads, fresh fruit, drinks, desserts, etc. for a reasonable cost.  It's fast which is good.

9.  The Amtrak train from San Diego to Burbank is pretty efficient - 3 hours 40 minutes for 150 miles.  My CVGS colleague John dropped us off, and CVGS colleague Jane gave us a ride home.

10.  As always, the conversations with my genealogy friends are the highlight of any Jamboree.  We had dinner with Laurie and Bev from Arizona one night, we had lunch with Dennis and Gloria, and with Paul and Jill, and I  had drinks with several NextGen folks one night.  It was good to see Jean and Butch, Gena, Elyse, Kim, Patricia, Jacqi, Elizabeth, Susan, Diane, Debby, Denise, Michele, Mary, Jill, Annette, Dennis, Peggy and Kerry, Paul, Lisa, Cyndi, Elissa, Michael, Rev. Dave, Jay, Paula, Colleen, Randy W., and many others (sorry, I can't remember everyone right now!).  San Diego Genealogical Society had at least 20 members there, and Chula Vista Genealogical Society had at least 10 members there.

So that's nine Genealogy Jamborees in a row for us, and the first one without a Blogger panel or special event of some sort.


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Copyright (c) 2016, Randall J. Seaver

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Mary Kircher Roddy said...

Great points, Randy. Thank you so much for your thoughts. I really enjoyed getting to finally meet you in person and having some chance to have a good conversation. Looking forward to next time!

Jill Morelli said...

thanks, Randy. Your comments mirror my own observations. The exhibitors I talked to were pleased with the Exhibit Hall, one even noted that there were people in the hall even during the presentations. I thought the Program Staff was particularly attentive, checking in before each presentation to make sure it was OK. Yes, it would have been better to have the syllabus in our packets but I usually check them on my app so this didn't negatively affect my decisions. Good to talk to you. Take care and say hi to Linda for me.

Jacqi Stevens said...

Randy, I'm right there with you on your #1 observation. I thought it was just me, perhaps being in too much of a rush when I read those brief course descriptions--in fact, I blogged about it. Apparently, I'm not the only one. I'm hoping a simple added line like my suggestion for a one-sentence "learning outcomes" blurb will help avoid that problem in the future.

It was right after returning home from Jamboree last year that I realized some of our favorites were slated to be across the continent on the very dates of this year's event. I was wondering how that was going to turn out, especially for DNA Day. Now that we've passed that point, I was pleased to see the speaker roster include several well qualified speakers whom I would likely not have had the chance to hear, had we stuck to our same old same old.

I thoroughly enjoyed your class on social media, and hope more such sessions are included in future Jamborees. However, I, too, missed seeing a bloggers' session and hope that topic--and the usual session geared toward societies--will make a comeback in future Jamborees.

Tessa Keough said...

Randy - I didn't get a chance to say hello until we were leaving for the airport! Oh well, hopefully next year. I only got to attend Saturday and Sunday but the majority of sessions I attended were excellent. There are always a few where the title doesn't match the session (unfortunate) but one thing I would like to see less of the presenter who either reads their slides to us or tells us that they haven't looked at the slides in a while - (neither instills much confidence). And please give thought to size of images - sometimes we could not see what it was the presenter thought was important. Kudos to the Voting Records and Obituaries presenters - lots of great information, good energy and I think they were the last two time slots - they were wonderful and kept my attention. Someone else mentioned the lack of the bloggers session and societies session - but they packed so much into the program - no quibbles.

I thought the organization was excellent, and the volunteers could not have been more helpful. Everything was in place for presenters (and the company handling the recording was very professional). Lots of good conversation and a relaxed atmosphere and the best app out there - everything worked! I had a great time and would put SCGS Jamboree on my "must attend" list - and encourage others to attend. Top-notch!