Are you in or near the greater Phoenix, Arizona, area? If so, I'd suggest you plan to spend Friday and/or Saturday at the Mesa Convention Center on North Center Street. If you are a genealogist, I suspect you will enjoy this event.
This will be the first annual (hopefully) Mesa Arizona Family History Expo, sponsored by Family History Expos.com, formerly known as My Ancestors Found.com. I suspect this title will hold true: I bet it will become an annual event.
The same company already sponsors annual family history expos in St. George, Utah, and in Logan, Utah. The company's other expos have been successful (see my earlier articles at http://blog.eogn.com/eastmans_online_genealogy/2008/02/wrap-up-family.html, at http://blog.eogn.com/eastmans_online_genealogy/2007/02/day_1_of_the_st.html and a video made by Roots Television at http://blog.eogn.com/eastmans_online_genealogy/2008/02/video-family-hi.html. I imagine the Mesa event will be similar.
This event is billed as an "expo," not as a conference. There are numerous differences. An expo is more like an "open house." There is a strong focus on the vendors. The presentations are a mix of topics for beginners, intermediate, and advanced genealogists alike. However, the emphasis is more on beginners' topics than at traditional genealogy conferences with their in-depth presentations. An expo may not attract as many nationally-recognized speakers as a national conference, but typically there is more information available for beginners at an expo than at any of the national conferences I have attended. Entrance fees are usually lower at expos than at conferences, which again attracts more beginners.
Despite the differences between a conference and an expo, the Mesa expo has attracted a surprisingly large number of nationally-recognized speakers. A complete list is available at http://myancestorsfound.com/events/presenters.php?eventID=43. I am especially looking forward to the banquet speech by Beau Sharbrough. His talk is entitled, “Genealogy, Music and Cyber Space: Bringing it all together.” I'm having difficulty imagining what that talk will be like, and I want to see and hear him "bring it all together."
The list of vendors is also impressive: FamilySearch, Family Tree Magazine, Legacy Family Tree (Hey! It's a local show for them!), Incline Software, Footnote.com, World Vital Records, RootsMagic, Genline AB (from Sweden), The Jefferson Project, Ancestry.com, Southern California Genealogical Society, Generation Maps, The Genealogy Shelf, The Genealogical Institute, DearMYRTLE, and Ohana Software (from Hawaii). A complete list of exhibitors may be found at http://myancestorsfound.com/events/upcoming.php?event_id=43#exhibitors.
I will also be at this conference. I should be in or near the Footnote booth much of the time. Please drop by and say, "Hello."
The Mesa Convention Center is a great place for a genealogy expo. It is about a 15-minute drive from the Phoenix airport. Unlike most of the national conferences, Mesa has many reasonably priced hotels within a short distance of the convention center. You can see the expo organizers' list of nearby accommodations at http://myancestorsfound.com/events/upcoming.php?event_id=43#lodge although I might suggest the much bigger list on Google Maps at http://tinyurl.com/eogn3. It will be difficult to spend more than $100 per night for a hotel room, including parking! These are nice hotels, too.
For more information about the Mesa, Arizona, Family History Expo, look at http://myancestorsfound.com/events/upcoming.php?event_id=43.
This should be a great conference. If you can be there, I'd suggest you do so. If not, I hope you will read my report next Sunday or Monday.