It’s that time of year–time when many genealogy conferences and events kick off! With so many options, it can be stressful to determine which genealogy event would best fit your individualized wants and needs. That’s why I’ve created 5 tips for choosing the best genealogy event for you, plus some other details you might find helpful!
Tip 1 – Budget: It may seem a bit self-explanatory, but knowing your genealogy conference budget is super important. Before booking an event, you’ll want to consider expenses like food, lodging, travel costs, etc. Even if you’ve opted for a virtual genealogy conference, you still need to consider the initial cost of the event. No one needs to blow their budget, especially when there are so many great, affordable genealogy conference options. Budget Idea: Consider attending a genealogy conference with friends/family who may be willing to split costs on food, lodging, and more with you…saving you both money!
Tip 2 – Location: Considering the location of a genealogy conference is vital. You want to ensure that you’re signed up for a genealogy event that is either close to your home or wonderful enough that you’re willing to travel to attend. Considering your location and budget go hand-in-hand, since lodging and food for an out-of-town event could really add up! Location Idea: If you’re not willing to or can’t travel, there’s no need to worry. Many genealogy conferences have gone virtual, providing you with even more event options.
Tip 3 – Time: When choosing a genealogy conference, time is a large consideration. You’ll want to choose an event that doesn’t interfere with your schedule, ensuring that you’re able to attend the conference without the added stress of schedule rearrangements. Time Idea: Make a list of possible interferences before hand, such as upcoming family events, appointments, etc. When choosing a genealogy conference, knowing right off what event does or doesn’t work with your schedule will come in handy, all while already eliminating some options.
Tip 4 – Reputability: Before booking a genealogy conference, ensure that the event is reputable. For example, you’ll want to make sure that speakers are knowledgeable in their field and that the conference is legitimate. Reputability Idea: To ensure that the conference is legitimate, be sure to check out their website and social media pages. There, you may find reviews from past attendees who can share a bit about their experience. When picking a genealogy conference, it would best to select one that was popular and beneficial to other researchers.
Tip 5 – Relevancy: Make sure that the genealogy conference will provide information that is relevant to you and your genealogical journey. For example, if you know you don’t have any family that served in the American Revolutionary War, there would be no need for you to attend a conference titled, “Finding records pertaining to your Revolutionary War ancestors.” On the other hand, if you desire to find out more about German immigrants from the 18th century, a workshop about discovering your German roots may be just what you need! Relevancy Idea: Write a list of topics that you want/need to know more about. By sticking to this list, you’ll have a better chance of gaining helpful information when attending the genealogy conference.
What to Bring to the Genealogy Conference
When considering what to take along to the genealogy conference, you might think of the necessities, like an overnight bag. However, there’s more to consider than that! Let’s explore what would be helpful to take along:
Notebook – With so many helpful research tips being provided at a rapid pace, it would be easy to forget what you learn shortly after the conference ends. If you enjoy writing down information, be sure to take a notebook so you can jot down notes.
Voice Recorder – If you’re not so keen on handwritten notes, consider taking along a voice recorder (or a phone recorder, if that’s allowed). Then you can play back the conference as needed to re-hear information.
Laptop – If you have a laptop, consider taking it with you. This may give you the opportunity to follow along to the presenter’s information in real-time. For example, if the presenter is discussing Fold3, you can head over to the site to try out any suggestions they may have–right then!
Questions – If there is a question/answer session at the end of the conference, consider writing down any questions you may have ahead of time. While you could think of any questions on-the-spot, it would be easy for your mind to “go blank” when you’re at the conference. With your questions written out, it will be easy to ensure that each (or most) of your questions get answered.
Jackets – When traveling out of state, it can be difficult to determine what, exactly, to pack. When you’re unsure whether to go with short or long sleeves, consider taking a jacket! A light jacket will be easy to take to a genealogy conference while allowing you to maintain a comfortable temperature in the conference room.
Snacks – Yes, you read that right! When going to a genealogy conference, it may be a good idea to take snacks both while you’re on the road or when the conference takes a break. Remember, though, that it would be best to take snacks that are easily portable (and don’t leave items that could melt, like chocolate, in a hot vehicle!).
Other Things to Consider
When planning your genealogy conference trip, there are a few other things that would be good to consider, like:
Accommodations – Before booking a genealogy conference, be sure that there are accommodations that you need in the vicinity. For example, if you need a hotel room on a ground floor (for wheelchair accessibility), ensure that lodging nearby the conference is available and can accommodate you. Further, you may want to check out local restaurants to make sure that you’ll have plenty of dining options nearby.
Book Beforehand – There’s not much worse than planning a trip and finding that all the hotel rooms are booked (this has happened to me not once, but twice!). Because lodging fills up faster when there’s an event in the area, it may be wise to book your hotel well in advance of the conference’s date.
Check Out Nearby Attractions – There’s been a lot of times when I’ve visited a city for one attraction only to find out that there are a lot of interesting places to visit! That’s why you may want to do research beforehand about nearby attractions. Museums, battlefields, antique shops, and more near the genealogy conference may provide entertainment and opportunities to sight-see during your travels.
I hope you’ve found the above tips and information helpful as you search for the ideal genealogy conference that best fits your needs. There are a lot of things to consider, but with the aid of the information above, I trust you’ll find the perfect genealogy conference for you soon.
Keep the history alive!