Last week I was in Charleston, South Carolina, staffing the NEHGS booth in the exhibit hall at the annual conference for the National Genealogical Society. The conference was once again an unqualified success. I heard reports of 1,800 registrants for the conference, with hundreds more attending a special genealogy day on Saturday sponsored by Ancestry.com.
There is nothing quite like a national genealogical conference. With hundreds of fellow genealogists, from beginners to professionals with decades of experience, it is always an exciting week. We were able to talk with many members at the NEHGS booth, answering questions and helping them with problems. Dozens of individuals also joined the Society for the first time.
As much of a financial investment as a national conference can be, most people I talk to believe that it is well worth every penny. Online learning and smaller conferences are great ways to learn, but nothing beats the opportunities to interact with fellow genealogists of all levels at a national conference.
The educational opportunities were outstanding. With so many of the leading genealogists in the country making presentations, the choices were often difficult to make. Fortunately, there was another option. JAMB has been recording conferences for the National Genealogical Society, Federation of Genealogical Societies, Ohio Genealogical Society, Fairfax (Virginia) Genealogical Society, and the Southern California Jamboree for several years. JAMB once again did an excellent job recording the NGS conference, and stacks of CDs were being sold for sessions that people could not attend.
These recording are a great resource for genealogists. For each conference JAMB provides a listing of sessions available for purchase. Keep in mind that not every session at every conference is recorded. The choice is up to the speaker, and many speakers choose not to have sessions recorded. One of my sessions at the FGS conference last year was not recorded last year, for example, because I felt that without the images from the presentation the listener would not be able to make sense of the lecture. Other reasons can also affect availability as well. Technical issues this year prevented two of my sessions at the Ohio Genealogical Society conference from being available.
The 2011 NGS conference listing will soon be available on their website. I strongly recommend you check out the website. I’m certain you will find more than one session recording that you would like to hear. And think about joining NEHGS at either the Southern California Jamboree in Burbank, California, this June, or at the FGS conference in Springfield, Illinois, this September.