One of the conferences that I try to attend each year is the Society of Genealogists' Family History Show, held each spring in London. Now the Society is expanding the show by joining forces with "Who Do You Think You Are? LIVE." This looks like a revolutionary new idea in genealogy and history events and one that all genealogy show organizers should watch closely.
Organizers expect approximately 15,000 visitors will attend this combined heritage event. That's right: 15,000! When was the last time you saw 15,000 attendees at a family history or heritage event?
The expanded show will be held at a new venue and will be a three-day event, held Saturday through Monday, May 5 through 7, 2007. The greatly expanded show is expected to attract family historians and military history buffs, as well as those interested in house history, historic travel, and more.
The "Who Do You Think You Are? LIVE" event will add powerful publicity. First, it is being sponsored by the very popular British television series, Who Do You Think You Are? Next, the show is also supported by The Daily Telegraph newspaper, the National Archives, and online genealogy database web site, Findmypast.com. Advertisements are planned on national radio and television, in newspapers, in specialist magazines, and in direct mail. The show's organizers expect that more than 22 million people will see the advertisements for this show.
Quoting from the Society of Genealogists' web site:
"The Society of Genealogists' Family History Show will take place on 5-7 May 2007 at as part of the Who Do You Think You Are? LIVE History Show at Olympia.
"The hugely popular BBC TV series, renowned for taking celebrities on a journey to discover their ancestral roots, is branching out into the event field to create Who Do You Think You Are? LIVE. The Society is delighted with this opportunity to bring the Society of Genealogists' Family History Show to a bigger audience. An expanded show will enable the genealogical community, local societies, record holders and exhibitors to reach the wider family history interest. The Society of Genealogists, along with its show sponsor Findmypast.com, looks forward to working with our exhibitors to make this 15th Family History Show the best ever.
"The Event will take place at the National Hall, Olympia, London from 5-7 May 2007 and will incorporate the Society of Genealogists' Family History Show. And with an expected audience of around 15,000 visitors, it will be the biggest event of its kind by far."
The huge exhibitor area at this show will be divided into six sections:
- The Society of Genealogists' Family History Show
- The Family History Zone - everything for the novice to the advanced family historian
- The Military Zone - military memorabilia, information and specialist products
- House History Zone - resources to research homes or buildings
- Lifestyle Zone - where fashion, work and sport history come together
- Historic travel Zone - places of special interest every historian will want to visit
The show also features four workshops totaling more than 100 sessions on a wide variety of subjects. An "Ask the Experts" section will allow attendees to obtain advice from leading heritage specialists. The History Stage will feature fashion shows, music, and jesters.
"Fashion shows, music, and jesters" at a genealogy and heritage conference? THIS sounds interesting!
I would suggest that genealogy conference organizers worldwide should watch this event closely to learn from its successes and failures. Genealogy conferences and fairs of all sorts in the United States have seen declining attendance numbers in recent years. Show organizers need some fresh ideas to attract larger audiences with wider interests. The "Who Do You Think You Are? LIVE" show in London appears to be exactly that. This show should attract the rank-and-file genealogists with the same list of events that the Society of Genealogists has done well for years. It will also offer many more topics of interest to most anyone with an interest in heritage. The expanded attractions of this event are sure to draw a broader audience to all the vendors and to benefit the worldwide genealogy community.
You can read more about the combined Society of Genealogists' Family History Show and the Who Do You Think You Are? LIVE History Show at http://www.sog.org.uk/events/pdf/061117_wdutya_Show_NR.pdf.