NGS 2014 Conference Next Week in Richmond, Virginia

Take a look at the calendar. Yes, the annual conference of the U.S. National Genealogical Society will be held in Richmond next week. The dates are May 7 through 10.

Holding a genealogy conference in Richmond strikes me as a great idea. The National Genealogical Society held their annual conference in Richmond in 2007. I was there and, as I remember the event, it went well. The Greater Richmond Convention Center is a modern, state-of-the art facility that worked well for the size of the NGS crowd.

Several major hotels are nearby and dozens of others are available in the nearby suburbs. I believe the nearby hotels are already fully booked for this year’s event, however. You can find other hotels listed in the NGS web site at http://conference.ngsgenealogy.org/attend/accommodations/.

The conference will feature most of the leading genealogy lecturers of today. I won’t describe it in detail because it is already well documented at http://conference.ngsgenealogy.org/agenda/. Check that list; I bet you will be impressed. If you have pre-registered and have a user name and password to access the conference web site, you can also download the entire conference syllabus at http://www.ngsgenealogy.org/cs/conferences_events/annual_conference/conference_syllabus.

You can also download a conference app to your smartphone or tablet computer and carry it with you during the conference. It is available for Apple iOS devices (iPhone, iPad, and iPod Touch), Android, Blackberry, and Windows Phone. This year’s app includes a daily schedule of conference events, a personal schedule for your own use, speaker and exhibitor information, floor plans, and more. The app will also display alerts to allow attendees to receive important real-time communications from the show organizer, such as any last-minute changes. And there are always last-minute changes! The built-in Twitter feed will allow attendees to follow and join in on the show chatter. What did we ever do before we had handheld devices?

Of course, wi-fi access will be available, although not everywhere in the convention center. FamilySearch, a Platinum Sponsor, is providing a wi-fi hotspot outside the Exhibit Hall throughout the conference. Chairs and tables wil also be available nearby so that you can conveniently check your email messages. The Greater Richmond Convention Center Cyber Café provides free wi-fi for Cyber Café patrons when the Café is open. In addition, the nearby Marriott Hotel has free wifi in the lobby and restaurants.

If I remember correctly, cell phones didn’t work well in the convention center although that may have changed since the last NGS event was held there. In any case, you might want to test your wi-fi equipment before leaving home to make sure everything is still operational.

At most genealogy conferences, I usually spend a lot of time in the exhibits hall. This year’s list of exhibitors appears to be as long as usual. An interactive map of the Exhibits Hall may be found at http://fp37.a2zinc.net/clients/NGS/NGS2014/public/eventmap.aspx.

You can learn a lot more about the 2014 conference of the National Genealogical Society at http://conference.ngsgenealogy.org/.

I will be at this conference and hope to meet you there. And, yes, it looks like there will be dinner for readers of this newsletter shortly after the conference ends on Saturday evening. I will write about that separately.

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