Sunday, August 22, 2010

FGS 2010 - Things I Learned

This isn't a post about what I learned in the 14 sessions I attended. I'm not sure I even know yet what all I learned from them. This is about all the other things I learned while attending my first national genealogy conference.

1. Genealogists are very friendly. 
The 1st evening in Knoxville I decided to just have dinner in the hotel restaurant. By the time my food arrived two ladies from Oklahoma had invited me to move to their table. Every morning someone invited me to join them for breakfast so I dined with people from Washington, Texas and Virginia. If you aren't going to conferences because you don't have anyone to travel with, don't worry about. You will make new friends.

2. Twitter really is useful. 
I'm not going to explain that again here but check out my earlier post 52 Weeks to a Better Genealogy - Challenge #33 - Twitter

3. I need a better phone. 
My cell phone is just that, a cell phone. I can text on it (barely) but don't have Internet access. I didn't really think I was missing that much until I met the Twittering Bloggers.

4. Next time I'm taking my backpack.
The bag I took to carry during the day was really too big so I never used it at all. FGS gave everyone a bag with registration that I'm sure I will use for other things later but for this kind of activity I really needed something that went comfortably on my shoulder (read padded straps). I often wished for the small, lightweight backpack that I left at home. It will definitely make the trip to my next conference.

5. Next time I'll made better choices.
The 1st day I didn't make the best choices from the sessions available. I don't mean to imply the sessions I attended weren't good, it's just that a couple were a little more basic than I wanted. I now understand that the track can be an indicator of the level of the class but it would be simpler (especially for 1st timers) if the sessions were also rated beginner, intermediate and advanced.

6. Some speakers should never be missed. 
Elizabeth Shown Mills is definitely one of those. I didn't attend her Southern Research Strategies on Thursday because I has going to her session on The Genealogical Proof Standard the next day. That's a newbie mistake I won't make again. 

7. I want to attend every conference from now on.
Well, that won't happen but I will definitely attended FGS again every chance I get. NGS is also on my radar, especially 2011 in Charleston, SC. Their conference blog is already up and running.

8. Bloggers are great! (I really already knew that.)
I've said this in earlier posts but this group definitely made the conference more enjoyable for me. I'm really glad I became a blogger before going to my first conference.

Now I'm off to look over bibliographies and start making lists of books I need to find. That's how motivating this conference was - I want to get to work right now!


  1. Linda,

    I so enjoyed meeting you at the conference! These are all great points. Like you, I planned to only attend one ESM session; next time I will attend every one that I can. Family History Expo labels their sessions according to experience; it would be great if FGS did so as well.

  2. Thanks for the heads up on the NGS conference blog, Linda! I echo everything you've said here - this has been a learning experience in more ways than one.

  3. I want to attend every conference now too! Now I just need to find some money.

  4. I can relate to your comments, including the rave review for Elizabeth Shown Mills. I heard her speak in Sydney in 1988. The Australasian Congress on Genealogy and Heraldry is held every third year, usually in Australia but sometimes in New Zealand. Other outstanding international speakers have included Michael Gandy (UK) and Sherry Irvine (Canada). The 2012 Congress, described at, may be a good excuse for a trip to Australia?! Or what about next March's genealogy conference on a cruise, ?