Saturday, May 19, 2012

Reflecting on NGS - one week later

I attended the National Genealogical Society's Conference last week. It was held in Cincinnati which was my home for a total of 12 years. It was great to be able to revisit some of my favorite places, visit with old friends, and to visit with my genealogy family.

I love the Cincinnati Public Library, but I knew better than to try to research there on Tuesday when I arrived, so I waited until I had a session where I wasn't attending anything to go look at the most pressing items which were actually things that I needed to review for a presentation I'm making next month. I really just wanted to see whether or not I needed to include them on my handout's bibliography. There were also a couple of other books that I wanted to peruse in preparing the presentation.  I was able to do all of that in the single session's time and was back in time to attend the next one. I'd actually planned to skip the 11:00 session that day, but I couldn't get into the session I wanted to attend at 9:30 so that's when I went. The line was too long and more than half of the persons from the previous session had remained in the room.

The biggest problem that I saw at this year's conference was that many of the rooms were too small. They really should have had double rooms for some of the speakers who always draw big crowds like Elizabeth Shown Mills, Barbara Vines Little, and Tom Jones. They, however, were not the only speakers to fill rooms. Numerous people were complaining of being denied entry to a room which had filled. The rooms just seemed to be a little smaller this year than normal. Hopefully that will not be a problem at next year's conference in Las Vegas.

The lineup of workshops was great. There is almost always something useful to advanced researchers at an NGS conference. I did attend one presentation which was mislabeled as Intermediate to Advanced when it was very basic. There were several of us in that session who commented to one another as we were leaving about how it had been labeled. It wasn't a bad workshop; however, it should have been labeled as a Beginner session. That was the only one in which I was completely disappointed. I carried at least a nugget away from the others I attended.

I was also able to see the growth of some speakers over time. I attended one session by a speaker I had heard many years ago at a conference. I had been extremely disappointed in that session and had avoided attending workshops by that person in later years. This speaker gave the best presentation on that particular subject that I had ever heard this year. (I think this may have been my third time to attend one on this topic. Each one was by a different presenter.) The speaker has come a long way!

I met someone with whom I was acquainted but had never met. I was delighted that the person sitting in front of me for that one workshop was someone researching my home county! I would have loved to spend more time chatting with her.

I was able to visit with several friends in the exhibit hall. I made new acquaintances in the lectures and exhibit hall. There were many people I wanted to see whose path I never crossed. I'm sorry if you are one of the ones I missed. I did purchase a few things in the exhibit hall, but I curbed my spending more than I had in other years! Of course, my library is more extensive than it was years ago.

NGS Cincinnati was a success. Thanks to all who were involved in planning it.