As we enter September, with the BIFHSGO conference starting in 18 days, I was interested to see a short article "What’s in It for Me?" by Sandra Hargreaves Luebking in the Ancestry Weekly Journal.
Sandra describes herself as a Dedicated Conferee and writes about the benefits of family history conferences with particular reference to the FGS conference starting in Philadelphia in a few days.
Sandra writes "It’s fair to assume that you are going to be enlightened at a conference. The top speakers in the country will be delivering knowledge about a myriad of topics."
As a smaller specialized conference BIFHSGO 2008 doesn't have the same myriad of topics as FGS, but does have top speakers. Experience in previous years is that people already find they have to make difficult choices between two sessions offered at one time. Why make life too difficult? This year BIFHSGO's keynote speaker, Sherry Irvine, is giving three plenary presentations to avoid that problem. I've seen the handouts -- it's the right decision. For the other sessions there remains the challenge of the choice.
The BIFHSGO conference also offers something else Sandra writes about "The activity ... people bustling from class to class ... talking in the halls about the great presentation ... electricity in the air ... a feeling you are a part of something wonderful --- mak(ing) a ton of new friends ... shar(ing) discoveries and pass(ing) along tips ... exchanging stories of finding a long-lost cousin over coffee and a doughnut.
Sandra enthuses about shopping for products, like books, magazines and CDs, and services such as supplied by family history societies. Savy shoppers often plan to skip a session to allow them to talk to the knowledgeable exhibitors.
Not mentioned in Sanrda's article, but also offered at the BIFHSGO conference, is a computer Internet and CD look up room and the opportunity to consult with knowledgeable genealogists.
Read Sandra's complete article here.