I have been to many local genealogy conventions, but I have never been to one expected to bring in crowds of thousands from all across the globe. That’s why I am super excited to be one of many social media ambassadors at this year’s FGS conference, sharing my experience as a national conference “newbie”. In this regard, my perspective may be slightly different from the others, so my first post in this series will reflect what this year’s theme means to someone like me.
Genealogists understand each other: they don’t think I’m strange because I collect death certificates and obituaries, or judge me because I hangout in courthouses and cemeteries in my spare time. Joining my local genealogical society gave me the chance to Connect with other researchers. I have the opportunity to bounce ideas off of others and share my success stories. I can only imagine what I can do with like minds from all over the world! It is such a pleasure to converse with others who share your interests, and I am looking forward to making many new friends, as well as finally meeting some in person.
One benefit of forming these alliances within the genealogical community means I don’t always have to sit in dusty courthouses looking for records, or scroll microfiche for hours in the library. There are wonderful volunteers who digitize and transcribe records, and today there are many new databases being released every week. At the conference, I can Explore all of the new technology and learn how to best incorporate it into my own research. I have learned how to use my time more efficiently, and it helps me stay organized. Plus, I can spare my embarrassment when I scream out loud from finding that long, lost ancestor!
I have to admit that even in the midst of all my excitement, the most important part of attending the conference is to help me stay motivated. I have been researching and documenting my family history for more than 20 years, and there are times when I really feel the burnout. My eyes have gone tired from trying to decipher old handwriting, my brain is tired from trying to make sense of records that just don’t seem to match up with anything. I am going to use this event as a way to Refresh my way of thinking, gain a new outlook on my research, and come back home to share what I have learned with others. So considering all the knowledge I will gain, and connections I can make, this is truly an opportunity I can’t afford to miss!