Report from Day #1 of the Who Do You Think You Are? Live Scotland Expo

Today was the first day of a two day family history and heritage expo held in Glasgow, Scotland. I had the good fortune of being able to attend and must say that I enjoyed the event immensely.

Who Do You Think You Are? Live has been a very successful annual expo held in London for the past several years. Today’s event in Glasgow marks the first time the event has been held outside of London and I was interested to see how the new event compares to the well-established events held in London. In short, today’s first day of the Expo was about what I expected: significantly smaller than the past London events but with a crowd that was just as enthusiastic as the London crowds.

The day started with a heavy overcast with occasional rain showers. In other words, it was a typical Scottish day. The weather wasn’t a problem for me as I am staying in a hotel adjacent to the Scottish Exhibition and Conference Centre, usually abbreviated to “SECC.” I only had to take a dozen or so steps to walk from the hotel to the Conference Centre. Inside, everything seemed bright and cheery.

Doors opened at 9:30 AM and I was inside the doors about 9:31 AM. The only thing happening at that time was the exhibits hall. The various presentations did not start until later.

Comment: Why do conferences in the U.S. start so early in the morning? Many of the U.S. presentations start at 8 AM or so. As a non-morning person, I believe the Brits and the Scots start at a much more civilized time of day. I am usually awake by 9:30.

While the crowd immediately surged into the exhibits hall and started visiting almost all the vendors there, I was especially impressed by the early morning activity at the DNA booths. The booths of both FamilyTreeDNA and ScotlandsDNA were mobbed immediately while the rest of the booths in the exhibits hall had good attendance but nothing I would describe as “mobbed.” This was a crowd interested in DNA!

As the day wore on, the crowd did spread out a bit. The DNA booths did remain busy all day but not at the peak they had at 9:30 AM. I saw a lot of other vendors’ booths that also were busy most of the day. I talked with several vendors shortly after the exhibits hall closed in the afternoon and most reported they were very happy with the interest shown and especially with the sales of the first day.

The Keynote Workshop featured Marie Dougan as she outlined different developments in technology for use in genealogy research. She talked about genealogy web sites available, DNA services, scanning, digital cameras, and also about genealogy software for desktop, laptop, and mobile devices alike. She even briefly described the use of Google Glass. Marie also is scheduled to give another Keynote Workshop tomorrow although I understand the focus will be a bit different than today’s.

Feedback from the Marie’s audience that I heard later was all positive. It was obvious that this crowd either knew about technology or else wanted to learn more about technical subjects.

You can find a lot of information about the other presentations and workshops offered by going to http://www.whodoyouthinkyouarelive.com/ and clicking on EXPLORE THE SHOW.

One of the most popular offerings at the Glasgow Expo as well as at past Who Do You Think You Are? Live events is the “Ask the Experts” section where genealogy experts offer advice about where and how to find information that attendees seek. You can see more in the pictures below.

All in all, I would say today’s event was a success. I will be back tomorrow for the second and final day of Who Do You Think You Are? Live Scotland.

Here are a few of the many pictures I took today. These should provide a bit of insight into the event for those who could not be there in person. These are thumbnail images. If you click on any of the following pictures, most of them will expand into much larger and more detailed images:

SECC – the Scottish Exhibition and Conference Centre

The crowd outside the exhibits hall about one minute before the doors opened

Chris Paton is a very popular speaker and blog author with expertise in a wide variety of topics. He is shown here talking about Scottish marriage records.

The exhibits hall was crowded most of the day.

Want to take a genealogy cruise? Unlock the Past holds more genealogy cruises every year than all the other genealogy cruise companies combined. These cruises are held in various parts of the world. (I’ll be on one of the Unlock the Past cruises next year.)

Ancestry.co.uk was a major sponsor of the show and had a very busy booth all day long.

The “Ask the Experts” area was one of the busiest areas all day long.

How successful was the “Ask the Experts” offering? This hand-written sign was posted in mid-day: we are fully booked for the remainder of the day.

FamilyTreeDNA was busy all day long.

Of course, the folks from FindMyPast were at the conference. They were demonstrating many things, including the brand-new “Who Do You Think You Are? Story” service that creates very nice online slide shows.

A virtual museum. What a great idea! I suspect many more people will “visit” and benefit from an online museum than could ever visit a physical museum.

6 Comments

Sounds like you had a good day – lucky you – but thanks for sharing all your genealogical travels and visits with us ‘stay at homes’! We do appreciate that.

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This would be so interesting to attend. My mother was from Glasgow and I still have relatives there.

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Glad you enjoyed the show and visiting Glasgow. It was lovely to meet you and I will be calling in on your website from now on to see ‘what’s new’.

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I’ve never had any interest in DNA testing, as I have been satisfied with the genealogy I have done. But, I wonder if the interest in DNA exhibited by a number of people today has a lot to do with their knowledge (or suspicion) that their legally documented ancestors (grandparents, etc.) may not be the same as people as their biological ancestors. I guess that many have asked the question: Why doesn’t my father look like his brothers? And what was grandmother doing when grandfather was away on those long business trips? For them, I guess DNA testing answers those questions.

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Re: your comment on the starting time of presentations in the U.S vs. the U.K.
I’m a morning person too and all my life I hated when a presentation I didn’t want to miss started at 8 am or earlier. I’m sure I would have gotten more out of them if they were held later. There’s something about the American psyche that seems determined to get the jump on everything and everyone–” the early bird gets the……” We might benefit from a more laid-back attitude.

Thanks for the news and photos of the Glasgow conference.

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I so agree with your observation about the starting times at U.S. conferences. While I, too, am not a morning person, I find the earlier panels hard to listen to while trying to choke down a quick breakfast. I’m just not fully awake yet until I’ve had my coffee!! :-)

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