Genealogy Conferences and Seminars – Preparing in Advance for the Trip

It’s that time of year when there are many upcoming genealogy conferences and seminars. It has me thinking about all the things I need to do ahead of time to make sure I make the most of the time I am there.

Luggage - Saturday Evening Post 1933 pg 892  Flicker Commons

Luggage – Saturday Evening Post 1933 pg 892
Flicker Commons

Logistics:

  • Registration for the event – register for the event, meals and any special activities.
  • Hotel reservations – make reservations well in advance to ensure I get a room and see if any of my genealogy buddies want to join me!
  • Packing – sometimes this is the hardest part
    • Clothes – What will the weather be like? If you are attending the Northwest Genealogical Conference in Washington…layers are always recommended! Also with air-conditioning, a light weight sweater is good to stick in your bag.  Do I need to dress up for any evening functions? I will be sure to pack my go-to black pants that pack well and work for multiple types of occasions.
    • Will I need a computer or not? Will my iPad be sufficient?
    • Will I be doing any research when I am there? Bring research plan and documents I need to reference (preferably on my computer)
    • Conference staples – bag, water bottle, protein bars, pens, notebook and whatever must-have’s I need. Lately it’s been peach gummies.
    • Pack camera or will my phone be enough?
  • Restaurant reservations – I am a foodie, so I do research on restaurants in the area and make reservations in advance, especially if they are popular.

Conference Schedule:

  • First pass at the schedule – I do a quick review of the schedule to see the overall design of the conference so that I know if there are particular tracks that I want to focus on.
  • Selection of classes – I print out the schedule and make my selections based on 1) my educational goals for the year 2) speakers I just can’t miss and 3) classes I may not have a chance to take in the near future. This year I trying to fill in some gaps I have regarding land records and how to use DNA results to help my research.  There are so many good speakers at the NwGC, attendees are going to have tough choices to make!
  • At the conference – I reserve the right to make a different choice on classes when I get to the conference.

Genealogy Research in the Area:

  • Do I have any ancestors that lived in the area? This is great chance to go to libraries, genealogy societies and archives in the area.
    • I determine the best location to get the most information I can, especially if I am on a time limit.
    • Confirm days and times they are open. Do I need to make an appointment?
    • Develop a detailed research plan well in advance. I have paid dearly in the past by not having a comprehensive plan and I have to return to Texas because of it. It was a very expensive lesson. Do this!

      Current Research Log (Modified from Thomas MacEntee's)

      My Current Knoxville TN Research Log (Modified from Thomas MacEntee’s)

    • Are there any cemeteries, houses, sites where significant events took place for my ancestors? I will create a strategy to get to as many as I can and map them with addresses, directions and any identifying markers about the place.
Seattle - Space Needle, Ferry, Pike Place Market anyone?

Seattle – Space Needle, Ferry, Pike Place Market anyone?

Sightseeing:

  • What are the historical and “must see” sites in the area? – Review “top ten” sightseeing websites to determine if I can manage the time to go see some of them.

I am sure I have forgotten something, so please let me know if there is something I should add!

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