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!