Monday, May 23, 2011

Sun, Surf and Surnames

Wow, after spending a week playing in and around Charleston, South Carolina, I am fully in favor of picking similarly cool destination spots for genealogical conferences! Seriously, the southern hospitality, instant summer temps, Spanish moss, beautiful beaches and enough history to get overdosed on is proof of a great pick......but then, add genealogy as the icing on top of that cake and you have my version of heaven! I had been to Charleston years ago, but fell in love with it all over again during this conference. So, Kudos to the NGS people for choosing this sweet spot!

As far as the conference itself, I'd call it another rousing success. Great speakers, great events, great food, great new and old friends.....and really great instructional opportunities. I adored the little break out sessions throughout the conference and within the exhibit hall. This nice informal structure allowed for a fluid schedule and greater opportunity to pop in for a few minutes for some tips. As always, completely blown away by the warmth of the attendees - a truly fun and helpful group!
For those of you who have never gotten to one of the major national conferences: try to get to one! They are so inspiring. The perfect way to jazz up your research and jump start your way to more creative methods of conducting the family hunt. Even if there were no session or exhibits, the networking alone is priceless! I spend hours sometimes just chatting with groups of fellow researchers and learning new things with each conversation! However, I know attending can be costs, registration costs, accommodation costs, etc. But keep your eye out for one of these conferences even remotely near your area. To save money, the large conferences always offer a one day attendance option which usually runs in the $100 range.....pre-view the conference schedule online and pick your favorite day to head up for a night. Also, if you are in the area and simply cannot afford the attendance prices, keep in mind that most of the exhibit halls are either free and open to the public for the entire conference, or at least for one day only.

The exhibit halls are a blast and usually frequented by several genea-celebrities! My coolest moment at this year's conference by far: meeting the Naked Cowboy's Dad! Turns out the Naked Cowboy is an Ohio native and his Dad was there in his genealogical capacity to advertise next year's NGS hosted in Cincinnati! This too is my home turf and I can't wait! True, it will not be an exotic vacation locale for me next year, but it is a beautiful city with amazing historical collections throughout the tri-state area. The capital/state historical societies for three states are within a 2-3 hour drive. Don't forget, the Cincinnati/Kentucky/Indiana area was quite the gateway for many of our ancestors that headed out west, and the records are still here for your enjoyment!

As a small treat, here is a slide show of some conference highlights. Until next year.....


Greta Koehl said...

Loved this slide show - and you are right, Charleston was a great place for a conference!

Shelley said...

Great slide show, Cheri! Glad you had such a good time. I was sorry to have to miss this conference, but like you I'm already looking forward to NGS in Cincinnati next spring!

Cheri Daniels said...

Thanks ladies! Yes, I am fastly getting hooked on these conferences, I love being surrounded by tons of people as excited about genealogy as I am.....especially because most of the year our family and friends look at us as though we've lost our minds :-) Glad you enjoyed the slide show!


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