Sunday, November 25, 2007

Conferences, Cruises, Seminars, Societies, Webinars, Videos and You

Does it seem like there are so many more "learning opportunities" for genealogy researchers these days? There are many opportunities, but many of them cost a significant amount of money to attend and participate in. Some of them are very familiar to most researchers - the "traditional" ones are National Conferences, Regional Conferences, University Degree Programs or Courses, Genealogy Society Courses, Local Fairs or Seminars, Genealogy Cruises, Local society meetings, classes and groups, etc. Some of these cost a significant amount of money and all require attendance at a physical location.

With the advent of the Internet, Powerpoint, Webcasts, Voice Over IP and the like, there are now more opportunities for a single researcher to obtain educational information at home in front of their computer. These opportunities include (but are not limited to, since I'm not smart enough yet to ferret them all out!):

1) has over 1,100 videos available to watch for free - and many are tutorial or seminar quality videos.

2) The Genealogy Guys (George G. Morgan and Drew Smith), Genealogy Gems (Lisa Louise Cooke) and DearMYRTLE (Pat Richley) have regular podcasts (audio only) on genealogy news. You can listen to them online, or save them to an MP3 device. Lisa Cooke also has some genealogy videos at

3) - Family History Live Online has free all-day seminars on an occasional basis. You have to download software and syllabus content.

4) - GenClass has online genealogy classes on many subjects for a fee ($29.95 per class).

5) has three Webinars online for viewing at any time (until they take them off the site).

6) - The Learn Web Skills site has excellent hands-on free tutorials to learn traditional and online genealogy research methods.

I'm sure that I have missed some - if someone can point me to them, I will add them to my list.

Some of these online videos, podcasts and Webinars could be used in a conference room with a group of genealogists as long as there is an active Internet connection.

Other speakers and researchers are experimenting with audio along with video of the presentation slides - see Sharon Sergeant's post here, Donna Moughty's post here, Sandy Clunies post here, and Dick Eastman's post here. Some of these may require a per-view or per-session fee in order to watch and listen.

Will these online tutorial or "learning opportunities" starve conferences, seminars, cruises or society meetings of attendees? I really don't think they will, although those venues may use some of these technologies. The real value of societies and conferences is the synergy generated by meeting other researchers and discussing problems or experiences.

Will these new technologies proliferate until there are "too many?" I doubt it - some will be judged inefficient and will wither from competition. Others will thrive.

Will all genealogy education opportunities cost money in the future? I think that some will cost a nominal per-view fee - this may be one way an expert genealogist benefits from their experience, knowledge and teaching skills. The software and database companies will continue to provide free educational tools so that genealogy researchers can use their products.

What do you think? Some of these issues currently are being discussed on the APG (Association of Professional Genealogists) mailing list. If they interest you, go read the posts and participate if you have something to add to the discussion.

1 comment:

Geoff said...

Another great podcast is Relatively Speaking. It is available once a week at