Family Tree Magazine contributing editor Sharon DeBartolo Carmack and professional genealogist Jim Warren were the annual events first American keynote and banquet speakers. We felt quite honored, Sharon told us, and she added these notes about the conference:
More than 350 genealogists, traders (vendors), and volunteers traveled from all over New Zealand, Australia and the United States to attend the conference. We were impressed not only with the good humor and friendliness of all the attendees, but also the overall level of sophistication regarding genealogical research.
Besides us, 23 speakers lectured on topics geared to New Zealand research, which covered a broad range of ethnic groups representing New Zealands melting pot: Irish, Scottish, English, Maori (indigenous peoples) and Chinese.
At the banquet Saturday evening, Jim and I presented Primetimes 20/20 Dateline: Sharon DeBartolo Carmack Interviews the Worlds Oldest Living Genealogist, Ole Smirnoff Bernatelli featuring Jim as Ole, and it met with uproarious laughter. For Sundays dinner, conference organizers Philip Worthington and Fiona Brooker, along with the genealogical society’s executive officer, Peter Nash, treated us all to a hilarious version of It’s In the Bag, a popular game show in New Zealand. I was even one of the contestants, electing to take what was in the bag instead of the moneyI won a calculator!
We thoroughly enjoyed the conference and meeting all the attendees. We even got to travel around the South Island of New Zealand in a pre-conference holiday with my newly married daughter, Laurie, and her husband, Dash.