Monday, April 26, 2010

OGS Conference Recap - Part One

This past weekend I was in Toledo attending the Ohio Genealogical Society's annual conference. I had a lot of fun and learned a ton. Here's my story:

My husband and I arrived in Toledo and found the parking garage (always on the 4th side of the building). We ended up in the conference center instead of the hotel first, so I decided to get my conference materials first. On they way we saw Curt Witcher, the Allen County Public Library Genealogy Center's manager, and we said hello. (I still think it's funny that he knows me. I guess I spend too much time at ACPL.) There was no line at the registration desk and I just had to for the next person available. It was quick and easy and I never saw a line there during the entire conference.

We checked into the hotel and while heading to the elevators I spotted "The Genealogy Guys". We ended up riding with them in the elevator and chatted about my email I had sent them about Ancestry's image problem. Another listener let them know that she had found the same problem in different states. I'm glad that I am not alone and that Ancestry is addressing the problem.

Then we went to find food. Which would have been easier had anything in Toledo been open past 5:30. (To be honest I'm sure that some places were open, but we were too hungry to waste time.) So we went back and ate at the hotel's restaurant. Then we went to bed because we were both exhausted from work and travel.

The opening session was by Curt who presented "This I Believe: The Urgent Need to Record Living History." It was a great presentation. My favorite part was when Curt described the letter that his father in law wrote with his siblings. It was a perpetual letter where they each took turns writing about their earliest memories. It ended up being 37 pages long. What a family treasure to have! I would love to get my aunts and uncles to do this.

Then I attended "Unusual Ohio Courthouse Records" by Jana Sloan Broglin. When you see "wolf scalp" and "bicycle license" in the syllabus, you can't pass by this presentation.

Then it was time for lunch. My husband had already gone out and gotten sandwiches. Which was nice because it left me more time for my afternoon nap.

In the afternoon, I attended 3 more presentations. First was "Researching Your Civil War Ancestor: A Comprehensive Study" by civil war reenactor Michael L. Strauss. When you see your presenter enter the room in full civil war gear, you know you are in for a treat. I was not disappointed. Then I attended Laura Prescott's lecture "Pioneer Women on the Midwestern Frontier." I only wish that I could find the same information on my ancestor's journeys. Finally it was time for "Finding Buried Treasure in the Pennsylvania Archives" with Elissa Scalise Powell. I think this summer I will start diving into these records and finding my colonial Pennsylvania ancestors.

Then it was time for dinner, which my husband had picked up (to make sure we had food before everything closed at 5:30). I have to say that bring a non genealogist with you was a wonderful bonus for me. I didn't have to worry about getting food the entire conference!

At 7:00, there was an "Ask The Experts" session. Many questions were asked by attendees of the conference speakers. Everyone was having a blast either in the audience or on stage. It was fun to see the experts add to each others' knowledge or correct each other. The only bad part was that I had to miss "Who Do You Think You Are?" My husband complained about how a genealogy society could schedule an event during a genealogy television show.

Then it was time for bed again. Why are conferences so exhausting?

Tomorrow I will wrap up the final day of the conference and then share some of what I learned about conference going and organization.

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