It’s that time of year again…it’s conference season. A few years ago, Dick Eastman did a study that revealed that 63% of the respondents had never attended a conference. Wow, are they missing out! Conferences can be anything from a one day event to a week long Institute. If you are serious about improving your research skills, conferences are the way to do it. Not only do you have experts speaking about a myriad of subjects…there really is something for everyone…but the opportunity to network with other genealogists is a huge benefit. You might even meet up with one of your long lost cousins.
Here in Florida, conference season arrives with the snowbirds. The attendance at many genealogical societies doubles this time of year so it’s a great opportunity to bring in speakers for an all day conference. Pinellas County has their seminar on February 24 with The Legal Genealogist, Judy Russell. On the east coast the Indian River Genealogical Society’s Annual Valentine Seminar on February 14th features Rick and Pamela Sayre. John Philip Colletta will be at The Villages on February 28th. No matter where you live, there is probably some type of local event to help improve your research skills. A great place to check is at ConferenceKeeper.org.
Then there are the big ones! RootsTech is February 28-March 3rd in genealogy mecca, Salt Lake City. Not only is it the largest conference, but you can arrive early or stay late to research at the Family History Library. The National Genealogical Society moves its Conference location each year and this year it will be in Grand Rapids, Michigan May 2-5. The Federation of Genealogical Societies annual Conference also moves each year and is in Ft. Wayne, Indiana from August 22-25 this year, also giving you an opportunity to research at the Allen County Public Library, which, next to the Family History Library, has the second largest collection of material from all over the US and around the world.
In addition to the hundreds of lectures at the large conferences, you also have the opportunity to meet with all your favorite genealogy vendors in the exhibit area. Some offer mini-sessions in their booth, but all have experts on hand to answer questions and demonstrate the latest and greatest for genealogists.
If you plan to attend one of the large conferences, look for their Conference App. The one for RootsTech2018 has just been released. It provides you with the schedule, speakers bios, your personal calendar, handouts, maps of the conference facility and the ability to evaluate the sessions (always important to conference coordinators). The app is available for both iOS (iPhone, iPad, iWatch) or Android. Download from the iTunes Store or Google Play.
Finally there are the specialty or ethnic conferences. The Celtic Connections Conference is held every other year and this year it is in Newton, Massachusetts on August 10 and 11. I’m particularly excited to be lecturing there among such well known Irish genealogists as John Grenham, Fiona Fitzsimons, David Rencher and Kyle Betit. This conference covers not only Irish, but also Scottish and Welsh topics. Put this on your calendar, especially if you are in the Northeast.
To find out where I’ll be lecturing, check my Calendar page. If your society is looking for a speaker for a meeting, a conference or a webinar, contact me. You can find a list of my current lectures here.
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