One of the largest genealogy conferences in the U.S. is the National Genealogical Society's conference, held in a different city each year. The next conference will be held May 11 through 14, 2011, in North Charleston, South Carolina. If you would like to attend this major event, I would suggest the time to start planning is now.
The annual NGS conferences typically attract 1,500 to 2,000 attendees. Seminars and lectures are offered on a wide variety of topics, aimed at beginners, intermediate, and advanced genealogists alike. This year's conference theme is: Where the Past is Still Present.
April 2011 will mark the 150th Anniversary of the beginning of the Civil War at nearby Fort Sumter, so the four day family history conference will feature talks on both Revolutionary War and Civil War records. More than seventy-five nationally recognized speakers will provide over one hundred and eighty lectures on a wide variety of topics including research in South Carolina and the surrounding states, migration patterns, religious records, research methodology, and problem solving. The conference program will also include lectures about researching various ethnic groups including Germans, Cherokee, African Americans, Huguenots, Irish, Scots, and Scots‐Irish. Special Saturday workshops include an all day beginnerʹs workshop, ʺGenealogy 101: Getting Started with Family Historyʺ and a ʺKidsʹ Kampʺ for children and young adults ages eight through sixteen.
You can find a list of all the scheduled events at http://goo.gl/haOiU
My favorite area is always the exhibits hall. In fact, many genealogy companies and other organizations traditionally introduce new products and services at each NGS annual conference and I suspect this year will be the same. More than one hundred exhibitors are expected to have booths showing the latest in genealogical software, online research providers, and DNA testing services.
Attention to everyone in the Charleston area: even if you cannot attend the full conference but can stop by for an hour or two, you will want to know that the exhibit area will be open and FREE to the public Wednesday through Saturday. That's right, you can see the latest products and services and talk with representatives from more than one hundred companies and societies without paying any admission. Not everyone can take four days off from work but many people can skip away for an hour or two on a weekday or on Saturday. If you can do that, you can visit the exhibit hall free of charge.
The NGS 2011 Family History Conference will be held in the Charleston Area Convention Center, 5001 Coliseum Drive, North Charleston, South Carolina, 11–14 May. This location is about ten miles from downtown Charleston and is a short distance from the Charleston International Airport, about three miles from the train station. It is also adjacent to the Embassy Suites hotel.
I will write a separate article about travel and the nearby hotels.
Online registration for the NGS 2011 Family History Conference is now open. If you register today, the four-day registration fee is $175 for NGS members, $210 for non-members. (It costs $60 to join so you might want to join first, then obtain the $35 discount on registration.) One day registrations are available for $95 for NGS members, $100 for non-members. Early registration ends on March 11. If you procrastinate until after March 11, you will have to pay an additional $35. Registration details may be found at http://www.ngsgenealogy.org/cs/attendee_registration
Early registration also allows for a printed syllabus for an extra fee. I prefer the syllabus on CD, as it takes a lot less space in my luggage and on the bookshelf when I return home. I save and use CD versions of a syllabus often for years afterwards whereas I usually throw printed syllabi in the hotel room's trash before checking out. I typically copy CD-ROM syllabi to my laptop computer on the first day of the conference and that gets replicated to the desktop computer at home soon afterwards. I simply don't have room to save all the syllabi from all the conferences I have attended. Even if I had the room, manually poring through dozens of printed syllabi looking for a specific reference is a painstaking experience. Performing the same search electronically requires a few seconds.
You can watch a video of NGS Conferences-What to Expect at http://www.ngsgenealogy.org/cs/video_conference
I hope to be at the NGS 2011 Family History Conference in the Charleston Area Convention Center on May 11 through 14. Will I see you there?
NOTE: There is a rumor of a Saturday evening dinner for EOGN newsletter readers. Stay tuned!
You can read more about the NGS 2011 Family History Conference at http://www.ngsgenealogy.org/cs/conference_info