Sunday, August 12, 2007

Genealogy Conferences I Wish I'd Attended

I love all kinds of conferences, but I've not been to one of the major genealogy conferences - yet! Part of the reason was my work schedule before I retired. Another part is the distance travelled for just a few days. We talked this year about going to FGS-Fort Wayne and making a genealogy/friends vacation out of it, but we decided to go to Maui in August instead. Oh well (it is cooler on Maui, the water is warm, the bikinis are fantastic, the food and drink are sumptuous, but I digress)!

I wish that I had attended the NGS and FGS conferences over recent years, but I haven't. My main reason is that Linda and I like to travel together and do things together, and she would be absolutely bored by my attending a 3-4 day conference. She wouldn't stay in the room, mind you - she would be out shopping or sunning or socializing. I could attend alone, and let her go off with her friends somewhere for a weekend on another occasion, I guess.

What I really like about the national conferences is the syllabus handout. I've purchased several when they are available. I'm hoping that the syllabus for all conferences will be available - either in paper format or on a CDROM - in the future. I did pay for and download several FGS-Boston talks last year and have listened to them, but only audio is semi-boring for me - my attention wanders.

I attend a one-day "Family History Fair" conference every year sponsored by the FHC in Escondido CA (30 miles north of San Diego). I enjoy this multi-track conference because it offers quality presenters for free. I'm not really cheap, but I do appreciate free! The syllabus is excellent and costs $10. Being one day, it is an easy day trip up and back, and we take a number of CVGS members along. CVGS also has a booth there and we talk with the other society folks. This conference does not have a vendor section since it is inside the FHC.

The next closest annual conference is the Jamboree in Burbank sponsored by the Southern California Genealogical Society. I haven't been to this 3-day conference either! It is not an easy one-day trip.

A genealogy cruise might be better for us - Linda and I do different things when sailing and a cruise might work out really well!

I guess that my "dream conference" would be one where I could "attend" in the comfort of my own home - online in a WebEx type format. Alternatively, a "Virtual conference" that offers a variety of speakers that I could attend online from home at my own pace - one today, three tomorrow, two next Saturday. I would be willing to pay $5 to $10 for each session. The video could show the speaker in one half of the screen and the speaker's syllabus would show on the other half of my computer screen. It could be sort of a "Digital Genealogy University." The problem with a conference like this would be isolation - not being able to interact with the speaker or other participants.

I am glad that the NGS and FGS national conferences seem to be thriving, drawing large and enthusiastic crowds to the speaker programs and the vendor area. I hope to attend one of them next year - then many of you can see what I really look and sound like! And vice versa, too!

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Hi Randy,

I agree with you about listening to the tapes of the conferences. They're better than nothing, but I think adding the slides and presenting in an electronic format would meet the needs of both the speakers and the attendees. In fact, that was my lecture this year in Ft. Wayne as part of the Genealogical Speakers Guild Track. I downloaded my lectures from FGS Boston and sync'd them with the slides. I now record all of my lectures and sync them and are making them available on my website. They currently can be purchased as a DVD but my goal is to make them available either as Video Podcasts or just audio if that's what people would like.
I'm trying to promote this to all speakers and I think we could create an excellent online program. You can visit my website at Let me know what you think.