NGS is such an intense conference–friends to catch up with, archives to visit, classes to attend, receptions to attend…and it goes on. But, four or five days of genealogy immersion is absolutely fun for me. So, I thought I would “dribble a bit” about how I pace myself to get through the day and the night and avoid total burn out. (Photo: just prior to David Rencher’s presentation on finding your Irish Ancestor)
First of all, I am very intense about genealogy–but, you probably have figured out–so I probably have a higher tolerance of intensity than most. I also suspect that each of you, the readers, have probably figured out that you have a passion as well which can over take you at times.
So, here are my top Five Survival Tips (actually more) for NGS conference.
1.a. Do your conference schedule pre-planning. It’s a lot quieter at home to do your homework than it is on the fly at the conference. For me this means, downloading the app, reviewing the syllabus and picking the classes I would like to attend (often multiple ones held at the same time) is critically important.
1.b. Do your geographic pre-planning: Every conference takes you (usually) to places you do not normally travel to. Who do you know who lives in the area? Arrange for dinner with friends who live in the area who you never see but for this conference. This might include high school classmates, sorority sisters, and/or friends who have moved away etc.Nothing worse than giving a friend a “cold call” and finding out that they have tickets that night for the play and they cannot meet.
1.c. Do your research pre-planning: Check your genealogy database for any ancestors who might have lived in the area. Identify the information you are missing and develop a research plan built around the archives and libraries in the areas.
2. Eat well and drink lots of liquids–and not alcohol! Air-conditioning can make the air incredibly dry so you will want to make sure that you keep hydrated. I always eat a good breakfast. Pass up on the pastries and have some good protein instead.
3. Always take some courses every day about some topic you think you do not need to know about. I attended Introduction to Czech Genealogy. It was a terrific overview of a topic I knew nothing about.
4. Take time to go to the exhibit area and engage in conversation with the people behind the desks about their products. There are many competing search/document repositories and check into each one to make sure you still have no interest. If you do have an interest, indicate so and perhaps even try out their conference specials.
5. Have fun! You can have fun in all sorts of ways. I make sure that in eveny class I introduce my self to whomever I am sitting next to. I meet the mot fascinating people–the woman from Audubon, Iowa who is going to help me with my Danish butter maker, a librarian from Florida who is just starting ProGen, and another woman from Nebraska. Do not hesitate to include the first timers with your dinner plans as they will add to the conversation. but, save time for “old friends” as well. They are too precious to not pay close attention to.
Having a good time in Missouri,
What i have done since my last post: attended the following classes: transcription skill-building, Introduction to Czech genealogy, problem solving class by the Master, Tom Jones, Finding your Irish village of birth. Attended the BCG sponsored lunch. Had dinner with the ProGen alumni and then had a drink with my friend Theresa from Boston. Karen walked me through her Day 2 presentation on DNA. So far I am not too stupid about the concepts but there is still time! 🙂