5 Tips To Have A Fantastic First Genealogy Conference Experience
Have you ever attended an NGS Family History conference? Just imagine….4 days of nothing but learning about genealogy.
Talking about your ancestors.
Meeting like minded genealogists.
You might even meet a cousin or two. [I did! I came home from the first day of my first NGS conference with an invitation to a family reunion!]
I do have to admit to genealogy overwhelm and just sheer fatigue at that first conference. I attended a class every session on every day. I attended events in the evening. I talked and researched genealogy during the lunch breaks. Then….I slept well at night… zzzzz!
Did you notice that subtle hint about attending the NGS 2017 conference in Raleigh?!
Tips for Attending Your First (or Second …or Third… or …..)
1. Define what you want to accomplish or gain at the conference.
Is there a particular topic(s) you are interested in learning more about? Do you have a a burning question you want to find the answer to? Do you want to finally learn the best way to use the FamilySearch.org website for your research?
What is your question? What specifically do you want to learn?
Once you know what you would like to gain during the 4 days, you can begin to make your plan. Look over the class schedule and decide which ones to attend.
Look at the vendor hall list and decide who you want to make a priority to talk with.
2. Take breaks!
I’m just going to say it. Don’t try to attend a class every single session. I did this during my first two conferences and was utterly exhausted by the end. I learned a ton, but I was overwhelmed, too.
Personally, I am a morning person and find a break in the afternoon to process all I have learned during the day is welcomed. The lunch break is plenty long and a great time for a brief walk if you wish. A little sunshine and active movement goes a long way to help your focus for afternoon sessions.
3. Take a Snack
I usually take a snack and have a water bottle with me. Of course, don’t eat or drink during the sessions, but there is plenty of time between sessions if you need a quick pick me up.
4. Create Your Own Business/Contact Cards
One thing is a given at a genealogy conference – You will make new friends (and they may even be related to you). Exchange your “business” card with contact information and stay in touch after the conference.
Tip: Slip a few cards in the back of your plastic name badge. No more digging through your purse or briefcase.
5. Bring the Right Stuff
- Smartphone and laptop/tablet – Don’t forget your power cord.
- Portable phone charger
- A sweater! – AC can get cold in those conference rooms.
- A legal pad and pencils/pens – Technology is wonderful, and like most genealogists, I use my devices every. single. day. But….I internalize lecture information best when I physically write down my notes as opposed to typing or just listening. That makes me a kinesthetic learner. If that’s you, go “old fashion” and take your notes with paper and pencil. Bring extras!
(One more hint to attend the NGS 2017 Conference in Raleigh!)
What are your burning questions about attending your first conference?
Are you a veteran genealogy conference goer? Share your favorite tips for attending a genealogy conference?
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Lisa…I can definitely relate to your Tip #5. I attended RootsTech in February; I always go a couple of days early so I can spend time in the Family History Library. The first thing I discovered when I got to the Library was that I had forgotten my legal pad. So off I go, in a strange town, in search of one. I finally found a Rite-Aid drug store–problem solved.