I just returned from the New England Regional Genealogical Conference in Hartford, Connecticut. As expected, this was a great conference. I believe the total attendance was more than 700, not bad for a regional conference covering only six small states. The event featured presentations by top national and regional genealogical experts. The Connecticut Conference Center is a first-class facility although the attendees, lecture rooms and exhibitors' hall only filled a small part of the available space.
The convention opened under sunny skies on Thursday although I think that was the last time the sun was seen. The remaining days were overcast with frequent showers. Those of us who stayed at the nearby Marriott Hotel didn't mind because we didn't need to go outside. The hotel, restaurant, coffee shops, convention center, and parking garage were all connected.
Beau Sharbrough, Senior Director for Content Strategy and Acquisition at Footnote.com, delivered the opening keynote speech on "Genealogy in 2020 - A Report from the Future." He had the audience rolling in the aisles with his unique form of humor. If you haven't heard Beau speak, you have missed a treat.
The conference went on as scheduled. I cannot begin to describe all the events. Instead, take a look at the conference brochure at http://www.nergc.org to see descriptions of all the presentations. You might also wish to read my earlier article at http://blog.eogn.com/eastmans_online_genealogy/2007/04/nergc_2007.html.
I had a couple of high points and one low point at this conference. The low point was that I developed a knee problem a few days earlier and was on crutches until the day before the conference's opening session. I decided to leave the crutches in my hotel room, so I hobbled around all during the conference, wearing a leg brace that left me unable to bend my knee. I sat down most of the time.
Speaking of sitting, I did decide to bring an easy chair for my use in this newsletter's booth in the exhibitors' hall. I knew that my bad knee wouldn't allow me to sit for two and a half days on the hard plastic chair provided by the conference center. In fact, I brought four easy chairs to share the comfort with three visitors at a time.
I also offered free wi-fi connectivity in the newsletter's exhibitors' hall so that conference visitors could check their e-mail or otherwise surf the web. After all, there's no need to be isolated from the outside world simply because you are attending a genealogy conference. The combination of the easy chairs and the wi-fi connectivity resulted in what I called the "laptop lounge" of the conference. I was delighted to see many people drop by to sit in the chairs, check their e-mail, and chat with everyone else around.
You can see pictures of the EOGN Laptop Lounge in operation at http://blog.eogn.com/photos/nergc2007. I also added a few other pictures taken in the vendor hall.
All in all, the 2007 edition of the New England Regional Genealogical Conference was a great success. My hat is off to Conference Chairs Tom Howard and Dick Roberts and to the many others involved in putting on this first-class conference.