Why Genealogy Conferences? My top FOUR reasons, in no particular order, are...
1. Education - One obvious reason for genealogists to attend conferences, and my primary reason, is to learn. As genealogists, we never stop learning and expanding our knowledge base. Conferences are a great opportunity to learn about the availability of new records, new technology, new ideas...all these and more are found in abundance at genealogy conferences. The FGS conference in Ft. Wayne has scheduled over 150 different lecture topics within almost 25 different tracks of study, taught by some of the most knowledgeable genealogists in the world. With so many excellent classes and speakers, attendees may have to figure out a way to be in two places at once!
2. Books - One of my favorite aspects of genealogy conferences are the books. Books, books, books everywhere! Books about genealogy, history, technology, blogging...every kind of subject a genealogist could wish for. And not only books, but magazines, computer programs, and numerous other products are available for browsing, shopping, or just day-dreaming before, after, and between lectures. Then there are the representatives from libraries and genealogical and historical societies from across the country, happy to provide information about their organizations. It is nice to have so many vendors and exhibits in one location and to have knowledgeable representatives on hand to answer questions about their products and/or services.
3. People - What I am most looking forward to is the opportunity to see friends and to meet new people, particularly people I have already met on social media. There are so many wonderful and interesting people that I know from Twitter and from the numerous genealogy blogs that I read, and I am really looking forward to putting faces, and voices, with all the names. The FGS conference has scheduled several special events that will be excellent opportunities to socialize with other genealogists.
4. Research - In addition to the learning opportunities at the conference, there is also the opportunity to conduct research at archives, libraries, and genealogy centers that are not available to us on a day-to-day basis. The FGS conference location is right across the street from the famous Allen County Public Library, which also houses the Genealogy Center. The ACPL is hosting one of the special events for FGS, and the Genealogy center is offering extended hours for conference attendees. This is sure to be one of the highlights of the conference.
If you have not yet registered for the conference, it is not too late, and I hope to see you there!