One of the largest genealogy events of the year will begin on April 26 in a city well known to genealogists: Salt Lake City, Utah. The last few days of April and the first day of May will see a unique week featuring four conferences focused on genealogical research and technology.
The primary event will be the 2010 National Genealogical Society's Annual Conference in the States being held at the Salt Palace Convention Center in Salt Lake City, Utah. This four-day event is held in a different city each year. The annual National Genealogical Society (NGS) conference typically attracts 1,500 to 2,000 genealogy enthusiasts, and I suspect this year's conference will be even bigger than the events of recent years.
Other events scheduled the same week include Brigham Young University's annual Conference on Computerized Family History and Genealogy (being held in the Salt Palace Convention Center in Salt Lake City), BYU's Family History Technology Workshop (being held in the Salt Palace Convention Center in Salt Lake City) and the FamilySearch Developers' Conference for software developers (being held at the BYU Conference Center in Provo).
The NGS conference will feature dozens of daily workshops to provide beginners and experts alike with tips on everything from basic research and organizational skills to locating resources, deciphering records, understanding DNA testing, and writing and editing family narratives. Special technology workshops also are planned to aid in understanding and using various genealogy-specific databases and programs. In fact, I will be making a presentation at this conference as well.
The week also includes several special events, including a genealogy "kids camp" for grades 4 through 12 and a Celebration of Family History concert featuring the Mormon Tabernacle Choir and author David McCullough. McCullough's books include biographies of Harry Truman and John Adams.
Of course, the biggest attraction for genealogists is always the Family History Library of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, home of the largest genealogy collection in the world. The library will be open all week with extended hours to 11 p.m. during the conference, and it is located only a short walk from the conference location in the Salt Palace Convention Center.
The Family History Library provides access to an online database of more than a billion names drawn from thousands of original records, including births, deaths, marriages, census data, and patron contributions. The library also has more than 300,000 volumes of data available on paper, microfilm, and microfiche, including published family histories, county and city directories, and transcripts or abstracts of other documents with genealogical significance. The records available include images of original records from the United States, Canada, the British Isles, Europe, Latin America, Asia, Australia, New Zealand, and Africa. A staff of 80 professionals and 600 volunteers will be on hand to help individuals with their research. The Family History Library is always open to the public, admission is free, and no appointments are ever necessary.
Fees for the various conferences will vary from $25 for students to $245. For more information about all the events being held in or near Salt Lake City during convention week, look at the following web sites:
BYU Family History Technology Workshop, April 26 and 27.
FamilySearch Developer’s Conference, April 27.
National Genealogical Society Annual Conference, April 28-May 1.
Workshops and Exhibits: Workshops cover all aspects of genealogy research and technology. Exhibit hall includes hundreds of vendors and product demonstrations, April 26-May 1.
Special Events: Mormon Tabernacle Choir with author David McCullough. A concert and multimedia tribute to family history, April 29, 7 p.m., LDS Conference Center, 60 W. North Temple, Salt Lake City. Free tickets online beginning Tuesday.
Several of the conference hotels are already sold out. However, their prices are a bit high anyway. Luckily, there are dozens of other hotels within walking distance or within a short ride on the local trolley system, called Trax. I will list many of the nearby hotels in a separate article.
I am staying at a lovely hotel about three quarters of a mile away. The prices at that hotel are only about two-thirds the prices of the official conference hotels. Even better, I can jump on the free trolley system in front of the hotel and take a five-minute ride to the trolley stop that is only a few steps from the convention center entrance. Not bad for a free ride! I have stayed at this hotel several times before and loved it.
The Salt Palace Convention Center also offers two convenient covered parking garages for those who drive to Salt Lake City or fly in and rent an auto.
Finally, I will offer one more hint: there will be a “special dinner” for this newsletter's readers to be held after the conference's end on Saturday evening. Stay tuned!
All in all, I expect this to be a great conference: hundreds of genealogy and technology workshops and presentations, great conference facilities, reasonable hotel prices, and the big attraction of the Family History Library. Salt Lake City serves as Mecca for genealogists, and April 26 through May 1 will be a great time to be there. I'll be in Salt Lake City that week. Will I see you there?