Why should genealogists attend conferences? Many reasons, but here's my top ten list.

1.  It's a great opportunity to learn.  Genealogy is a field that you must continuously learn in order to improve your skills.

2.  Variety.  The lecture tracks provide a tremendous number of topics and number of lectures to choose from and attend.

3. The speakers are the cream of the crop.  Not only will you have a great selection of lecture topics, the lectures will be presented by some of the best genealogists in the country.

4.  Special workshops are available so that you can learn more about a particular topic than time allows for in a lecture.

5.  Special events are held on the evening before the conference and each evening during the conference.  These include social gatherings and local tours. 

6.  Special luncheons are held each day for those whose are members of national and professional genealogical organizations or interested in these organizations.  In addition to a nice meal and an  entertaining, informative speaker, the luncheons are a great place to network with other genealogists with similar interests.

7.  The Exhibit Hall has vendors who sell everything you can imagine related to genealogy.  You will find the latest books and sometimes, hard to find books, software, techie gadgets, such as portable scanners, and many other items.  Demonstrations of software, techie tools, FamilySearch indexing, and using websites, such as and Find My Past take place daily.  National, state, and county genealogical societies will be there with their books for sale and information about their societies.  DAR, the Mayflower Society and other lineage societies have booths where you can get information about these societies and joining them.  Much more can be found in the Exhibit Hall than mentioned here. 

8.  A syllabus and booth to purchase or order tapes/CDs of all of the lectures are provided.  You can't attend every lecture but you won't regret missing some when you have the syllabus and can purchase tapes or CDs of those you missed.

9.  FGS 2013 is being held in Ft. Wayne where the second largest genealogical library in the country is right across the street from the convention center and the conference hotels.  The Genealogical Center in the Allen County Library will be opened later each evening during the conference so that attendees can do research without missing any of the lectures and daytime activities.  You'll want to plan your visit to the Genealogical Center before the conference to make sure that you can make the best of your research time.  Their website has the catalog and much more information on it to help you be prepared for your visit. 

10.  Visiting old genie buddies, making new friends, meeting genealogists whose work you've admired, and just spending a few days with people who all have a common interest in genealogy is the greatest joy imaginable. 

I love going to conferences.  I come home feeling relaxed like I've been on a vacation and with tons of new books, software, free brochures, or whatever I've gotten in the Exhibit Hall.  I'm refreshed and ready to try out all of the new ideas I've learned and tackle those unfound and unsolved family mysteries.  

Hope to see you and talk to you there!



05/11/2013 12:54pm

Sounds like the kind of trip that's perfect for packing that extra empty suitcase!

05/11/2013 1:01pm

It certainly is!


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    Rambling Along the Ancestral Trail 



    Deborah A. Carder Mayes is a genealogist and speaker in Northwestern and West Central Ohio.  She has been researching her family history and actively involved in the genealogy community for over 15 years.

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