Don’t forget your conference notes!

arcnotebookcameraYesterday I was flying home from an organizers’ conference and decided to take a few minutes to read through the notes contained in the notebook I take to meetings. (In case you’re an office-supply junkie like me, I’ll tell you that I use the Arc disc notebook from Staples–that’s it in the picture–which has repositionable pages that allow me to easily organize my notes in sections.)

As I read through the genealogy section, I became reacquainted with the notes I took from the wonderful sessions I attended at RootsTech 2015. Honestly, some of those sessions had completely slipped my mind as I re-entered real life after the conference. So I put a note on my task list to try out some of the resources in my next genealogy research session. (I’m particularly excited by trying out what I learned in the excellent session called Map My Ancestors, presented by A.C. Ivory.)

I see now that there is a bullet item missing from the list I created when I wrote the blog post Digging out after a conference. I need to add, Review session notes to the list of things I do at home after a conference. It doesn’t matter whether I took regular handwritten notes, used my Livescribe pen, or typed them directly into my iPad or laptop. If I don’t review the notes I’m going to miss out on some of what I learned, because I certainly can’t keep all of it in my head.

My crazy travel schedule this month has precluded my doing any genealogy research so far in April. But I intend to do some on Sunday. And the first place I’m going to look when I start my session is in my conference notebook. I can’t wait!

Early-bird registration for NGS conference ends March 30

Early-bird registration for NGS conference ends March 30I am so excited to be attending the National Genealogical Society’s annual Family History Conference, May 13 to 16. It’s going to held in St. Charles, Missouri, less than a half hour from my house, so it’s been on my calendar for about three years.

I registered in January, but I just noticed that the early-bird registration deadline is Monday, March 30. If you register after Monday, you’ll pay an additional $35. So if you’ve been on the fence about attending, now might be a good time to make a decision. Here are links for the program and to register. It’s a very robust program.

If you can’t attend but are interested in the content, a certain number of the lectures will be available via live stream for a fee of $80 or $140, depending on whether you buy the opportunity to view one or two tracks.

This is the first NGS conference I’ve attended. In past years, they’ve conflicted with my husband’s birthday. But the conference is a little bit later this year, and local, so there was not way I was going to miss it. I can’t wait to experience the differences between NGS and RootsTech (and the SCGS Jamboree I’ll be attending in June).

I love genealogy conferences because of the learning opportunities and the motivation it gives me. And I love being around people who are knowledgeable and passionate about genealogy. I feel so fortunate to have this year’s conference practically in my back yard.

If you’re planning to attend, please let me know and maybe we can meet up!

Just signed up for SCGS Jamboree!

Blogger badge-blogger-1I hadn’t actually considered attending the Southern California Genealogical Society’s annual Jamboree this year. I was aware of it, but I hadn’t focused on the content and I think I had a vague notion that the conference was related to southern California genealogy.

Then yesterday one of my readers, Kitty Cooper, a genetic genealogy expert who is a presenter at this year’s Jamboree, asked if she’d see me there.  I checked out the Jamboree’s website, saw all the great talks being offered at a really reasonable price, and decided to attend.

In addition to the three-day Jamboree, June 5 through 7, the SCGS is offering a one-day workshop on DNA on June 4. If you’re a regular reader of my blog, you know that I’ve had my autosomal DNA test done, but I’m pretty clueless about the meaning of the results. So I jumped at the chance for this in-depth learning opportunity.

The conference was made more affordable for me when I contacted a friend who lives just 20 minutes away from the conference venue (the Los Angeles Marriott Burbank Airport) and she invited me to stay in her home.

There are many great offerings, but I’m particularly looking forward to hearing talks about Civil War ancestors, pre-1850 U.S. Censuses, mapping, Jewish genealogy (my husband is Jewish and I’ve been thinking of helping him look into his family history) and, of course, genetic genealogy.

If you’re considering attending, registration is only $125 for SCGS members who register by April 30. I’ll share with you that I found the online registration process a little baffling. The website doesn’t make it abundantly clear what is included with the registration fee. I was helped by taking a look at the mail-in registration form, which outlined everything clearly. From there, I went ahead and joined online then, in a separate transaction, registered for the DNA day and the full weekend Jamboree. I also signed up for  the Saturday night banquet featuring Michael D. Lacopo, talking about his popular blog, Hoosier Daddy.

Thank you, Kitty, for suggesting it, I look forward to meeting you and hearing you speak at the DNA day!

If any other readers are planning to attend the Jamboree, please let me know. I’d love to meet you!

Digging out after a conference

Diggin out after a conferenceI love going to conferences. Between organizing and genealogy conferences, I attend at least three a year.

Conferences are wonderful learning and networking opportunities, but they can present an organizing challenge. When I return home from a conference, I’m usually behind in my work and it’s so easy to leave everything I learned on a back burner. The biggest challenge is probably dealing with the literature I bring home from conferences. I’m a bit ashamed to admit that, in the past, items I picked up at trade shows have stayed in the bag untouched until they’re thrown away months or even years later.

Last month, I attended RootsTech. It had a gigantic trade show and I learned about so many new resources I wanted to explore. I was bound and determined that the information I bought home with me would not languish. Here’s how I handled it this year. (Spoiler alert: I’m feeling pretty good about it!)

  • I minimized what I brought home by carefully going through all the paper before packing my bag at the hotel room in Salt Lake City.
  • Once I got home to St. Louis, I put all the literature together until I could process it.
  • I spread it out and scanned it for the photo to go with this post (something non-bloggers wouldn’t have to consider!).
  • Then I gathered it into a pile and went through it piece by piece. I looked up the websites for each of the flyers I brought home. If the product or service still interested me, I added it to a note I created in Evernote called “Interesting resources from RootsTech 2015″ that I placed in my Evernote “Genealogy Resources” notebook.
  • For a couple of the resources, I created a follow up task in Things, the task management application I use.  I can assign a due date, so these tasks will pop up on my Today page next year  (helpful for reminders about conferences I might want to attend in 2016).
  • I jotted down some blog post ideas sparked by the literature and put them in my Blog Post Ideas notebook in Evernote.
  • I recycled all the paper, except two items I decided to file

The whole process took me about 30 minutes. It feels great! There were some resources I’d forgotten about already, but now they’re safe inside Evernote. I took action on a couple of items, signing up for newsletters and other services and making one inquiry about working with someone. And, perhaps best of all, I got rid of a pile of paper.

Taking 30 to 60 minutes to process this information really adds value to what I brought home from RootsTech. It’s an amazing return on the investment of time spent! I’m grateful for Evernote and Things which help me free up my memory so I can find this information when I need it.

I can’t wait to do it again after next month’s National Association of Professional Organizers conference.

Do you have a better (or different) way of digging out after a conference?