Wednesday, May 16, 2012

NGS 2012 - Rambling Final Thoughts

The National Genealogical Society's Family History Conference The Ohio River: Gateway to the Western Frontier is in the books. I'd call it a great success.

Tuesday evening I attended a blogger dinner sponsored by FamilySearch. Much of the talk was about the 1940 U.S. Census Community Project to create the index. Things are going better than anyone anticipated and, if current levels continue, we could have a completed index in July. FamilySearch is digitizing and loading huge numbers of other records on a weekly basis. I hope all these new indexers stick around after the 1940 U.S. Census is completed because there will be plenty of other records to index into the distant future. 

Over the course of four days, I attended 13 sessions and every one was excellent. You can't go wrong with speakers named Mills, Jones, Little, Scott, Freilich, Stuart-Warren and McDonald. If you aren't familiar with those names, check out the conference program for the sessions they presented and a brief bio. Of course, there were other outstanding speakers at NGS but I couldn't fit everyone in my schedule.

Many sessions filled up quickly leaving people shut out if they arrived 10 or even 15 minutes before they started. The photo above was the scene outside of room 206 on Saturday waiting to hear Elizabeth Shown MillsCGCGLFASGFUGAFNGS, present Information Overload? Effective Project Planning, Research, Data Management & Analysis. There were at least that many more people behind me. Lucky for me, my previous session ended a bit early so I wasn't too far from the door. If I had to pick a best session of NGS 2012, this would be it.

NGS had a conference app for the first time this year. That is a must-have for any conference these days. I don't think I looked at the printed program once and didn't even carry it with me. One feature that was missing from the app was the ability to schedule anything other than sessions - like the conference evening events or plans to meet friends for dinner. It would be nice to have everything conference related on one schedule.

FamilySearch and NGS sponsored free WiFi in the conference center and I can't thank them enough. It worked very well considering the size of the facility and the number of people using it. It didn't reach the 3rd floor where the opening session was held and I couldn't connect during one session on Wednesday afternoon. Other than that, it worked smoothly and was pretty fast - even when tweeting photos. That was a huge improvement for social media from last year when there was no WiFi and AT&T customers (like me) had no cell signal in most of the conference center in Charleston.

One of the best things about any genealogy conference is the people and that goes double for geneabloggers. It's hard to explain how you can think of people you met in person for the first time less than two years ago, or in many cases less than one year ago, as old friends. (And by "old" I mean people you have known forever.) It's one of those things you have to experience to understand.  

Then there was the drive home. Good thing I didn't need any help finding my way out of Cincinnati. Lula couldn't find a signal.*

Las Vegas is the site for NGS 2013 (May 8-11). After that, NGS is heading to Richmond, Virginia in 2014 and St. Charles, Missouri in 2015. 

*Lula is my GPS.


  1. Thanks for helping to make my first conference so memorable, and I 'm thankful you made it home safely!

  2. Thanks for helping to make my first conference so memorable, and I 'm thankful you made it home safely!

  3. Can't wait for next year! Thanks for letting me gimps the geneablogger community - I can see why you wrote what you did. They are amazing folks and I am excited to get to know all ya'all better! :)

  4. Great wrap-up. I also love the photo outside the last ESM session, as it proves I was 6th in line, which is hard to do;-) Hope to see you in Vegas next year!