My husband, Chris, and I just returned from the Federation of Genealogical Societies conference in Knoxville Tennessee. It ended yesterday and our drive home was only three hours. This is only the second genealogical conference I’ve ever attended, but I know from other conferences, including FGS last year in Little Rock, Arkansas, that there is a lot to absorb in a small amount of time. So I push myself to the limits, eat on the run, make sure my mornings include a cup of Java, and maximize every minute of each day.
Even though it’s only been a few days, there are sacrifices which we all have to make. When we arrived home my bird feeder was empty, my mailbox was full, my plant looks like this,
and my bananas look like this!
Oh and silly me...
Ancestry.com had offered free scanning of old photos and documents. Since I’m already working on my own scanning project I thought I could take advantage of this big company's scanning capabilities. All you had to do was sign up ahead of time for a session, bring your items to scan, and they would do it for you and digitize them giving you a free thumb drive! Well, I thought they had those high-speed scanners that would scan your printed photographs at high speeds - like 100 per second. So I brought this:
Boy, was I wrong!
The scanners they brought were for large or oversized photos and documents which were manually (meaning one at a time, by a human being) laid on the flatbed and a button was pressed which triggered the cameras button. They must’ve thought “this woman is crazy”! But they were kind enough to scan probably a couple hundred loose photos onto two thumb drives. I’m very grateful because it’s less work for me, but I sure learned my lesson not to do that again!
I couldn’t possibly tell you all of the neat tips and tricks that I learned at the conference. That’s why they have a conference after all. But I can give you at least one. When you travel anywhere for researching and your using your thumb drive, make sure you put an address label on it with your identifying information in the event you lose it.
I will usually attend a conference with a list of items I wish to purchase from the vendors in the exhibit hall. The only thing I had on my list was the Professional Genealogy book because I just signed up for the ProGen course and it begins September 1st. I spied another book which I had been told about and wanted, not for genealogy but for the Living History work that my husband and I do, called Woman’s Life in Colonial Days.
Most people know I love my Legacy Family Tree Software and in Little Rock I had purchased AniMap. I played around with it a little but I haven’t been utilizing it because I don’t know the software very well. I found this AniMap tutorial CD at the Legacy vendor. And my one and only impulsive buys was also a Legacy product Map My Family Tree - because I would love to start using more maps in my research.
Everyone who registered for the conference was given 30 tickets to drop into the boxes for drawings at the vendor tables. This year significant prizes were given away including an iPad, a cruise, a trip to Salt Lake for seven days and so many other goodies I can’t list them all here.
I don’t want y’all to hate me, but the truth is - I always win prizes from drawings - ALWAYS. Last year I won a year subscription to OneGreatFamily.com. My friends tease me about winning all the time and it’s a big joke! I had my eye on the iPad this year. Friday night they announced the big giveaways and one of my friends from our local society one the trip to Salt Lake! The names were all announced and I didn’t win a thing.
However, I never checked the bulletin board at the end of the conference which announced other drawings not part of the slew of grandiose announcements Friday night. While driving home my husband says to me rather nonchalantly “oh by the way, I checked the list on the bulletin board and you won a premium account with MyHeritage.com for a year!” Well I’ll be!!! I had picked up a free copy of their software on disk, but this!?!?
I’m not sure whether or not to tell my friends or they might un-befriend me!
As we get back into the swing of things, prepare grocery lists, answer e-mails, follow up on phone calls, nose-to-the-grindstone and all that kind of thing, here’s one last tip. Take all of your conference materials, handouts, CD’s, vendor materials, contact’s business cards, - the whole banana, and consolidate them so you can sort through it after the return-home rush of tasks. I have very little that I’ve kept, as I try to weed out things along the way, but everything I have has found its place in an expandable pocket which I’ll keep in my office by my computer to work on in small bites.
My next big event is the Atlanta family history Expo 2010,November 12 & 13th in Atlanta. My goal is to sort through all these conference materials before then. Wish me luck!
Copyright © 2010 Joanne Schleier