Tips to Get Ready for a Genealogy Conference

Tips to Get Ready for a Genealogy Conference

Genealogy conference season has begun, and we're getting excited for next week's National Genealogical Society conference here in Cincinnati.Headed to the conference? These tips will help you get ready. (And we're in exhibit hall booth #432—come say hi!)Wear comfortable shoes—you’ll be walking to classes, walking to your hotel...

Genealogy conference season has begun, and we’re getting excited for next week’s National Genealogical Society conference here in Cincinnati.

Headed to the conference? These tips will help you get ready. (And we’re in exhibit hall booth #432—come say hi!)

  • Wear comfortable shoes—you’ll be walking to classes, walking to your hotel, walking through the exhibit hall, walking to lunch. I put cushioned insoles in my conference shoes.
  • Either the air conditioning is cranked up at these things, or you get stuck in a stuffy, crowded room. Dress in layers and bring a cardigan.
  • Stay hydrated. Bottled water can be pricey and drinking fountains can be hard to find. You can save by bringing an empty bottle to refill. I keep a snack on hand, too.
  • Bring business card with surnames and places you’re researching and your genealogy email address, in case you run into someone researching your lines.
  • Bring extra address labels so you can stick them on entry forms for drawings (including ours).
  • Leave space in your luggage (or bring an empty bag) for the handouts, freebies, books and other things you’ll be taking home.
  • If you’re attending by yourself and everybody else seems to know somebody, remember genealogists are a friendly bunch. Just say hi and introduce yourself. If all else fails, ask the person next you whether his or her ancestors are from around here. You’ll have an instant conversation partner.
  • Look ahead of time for nearby breakfast, lunch and dinner spots so you’re not trying to find a place to eat when you’re starving. (Here are downtown Cincinnati dining options.)
  • Plan ahead for any local research you want to do, so you can make sure you have all the charts and records you need. Get addresses and hours of the facilities, and figure out directions and parking.
  • Take some time before classes to decide which ones you want to attend and learn where the classrooms are. That way, you won’t miss the first 10 minutes because you couldn’t find the room.
  • Take a reconnaissance walk through the exhibit hall and mark on your booth map all the vendors you want to return to. Check off each one as you visit, but be sure to leave time for browsing and asking questions.
  • If you have local ancestors but you live far away, ask the locals about their favorite resources. If you can, get a local genealogist’s email address in case you need more advice when you’re back home. (I’ll post some of my favorite Cincinnati genealogy resources next week.)
  • Some exhibitors pack up early on Saturday to catch flights and whatnot, so don’t leave important business for the very end.

Hope I’ll see you at the conference!

Related Products


Leave a Reply

You may use these HTML tags and attributes:

<a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>


  1. Annette DeCourcy Towler

    Because this area is known as the ‘Greater Cincinnati Area&quot;, I am hoping you will give Kenton and Campbell Co., KY helps also. Can not come this time, but have spent many many hours At Cincinnati Library, Covington Public Library, and court houses for Kenton, Campbell [2 court houses], Bracken and Pendleton Counties. Great helpers at all of them. We have a street, church, creek and village named after our ancestor in Covington area, although we spell the name differently. Enjoy the time at the conference, glad you are sharing.
    Early settlers are Ball, DeCoursey/DeCourcy, Ellis, Mains/Maines and Spilman.

  2. Hi, Annette, I have Northern Kentucky family, too. (None of the surnames overlap with yours, but one or two of my families lived on Decoursey Pike.) The Kenton County Library has some great online genealogy indexes that are on my list of favorite local genealogy sites I’ll be sharing next week (and at the conference).

  3. Thank you Diane for posting your favorite Cincinnati resources next week. I had planned to attend this year, but now cannot. I’m so disappointed because my maternal family began in Cincinnati. My extensive online research makes me feel like its home; one day I’ll get there! Let me take this opportunity to thank you for a story you once did on discovering the building your family once had, a cigar store/factory? I had just found a relative on a census whose occupation was rolling cigars and mused how great it would be if that was where she worked (it was in the same neighborhood)! Do you know if content from the conference will be available afterward? Looking forward next week to hearing more.
    My surnames are Henshaw, Hofer, and Steele.