Today was the second and final day of the family history and heritage expo held in Glasgow, Scotland. In short, it was a lot like the first day, only busier. I guess that makes sense; more people can attend a family history expo on a weekend than can make it on a weekday. The crowd today certainly was larger than yesterday (Friday).
Of course, the Expo in Glasgow was a first-ever effort for the Who Do You Think You Are? Live organizers. Everyone expected the event to be smaller than the annual events in London and that expectation turned out to be correct. However, I was surprised when talking to some of the vendors in the exhibits hall this afternoon: most of them reported larger sales than they had expected.
One book and magazine vendor offered a theory as to why they sold so much. The crowds every year in London have a high percentage of repeat visitors. That is, many of the people were at the same event last year, the year before, and so on. That certainly is not true of 100% of the attendees but does apply to many of them. The theory is that these repeat attendees typically look at the stands to see “what’s new” and tend to purchase only the newly-published books and other items that have been released in the past twelve months. After all, they already purchased the older items of interest in previous years.
In contrast, this one (unnamed) vendor reported that the Glasgow crowd purchased older and newer books alike. Since this was the first large family history conference ever held in Glasgow, most of the attendees had never seen the older books before. Everything was new to them and they opened their wallets to purchase whatever appealed to them.
I am not certain if that is the only reason for increased sales but it certainly sounds plausible to me.
The two DNA vendors in the exhibits hall certainly were busy all day as well. In fact, almost all the vendors looked busy to me.
The various lectures and workshops looked as if they were also well attended. I mentioned in yesterday’s report that Marie Dougan’s Keynote Workshop was well attended and that she would be offering a similar, although somewhat different, talk on the second day that would focus on developments in technology for use in genealogy research. I had the honor of being one of the members of a discussion panel held at the end of both of Marie’s workshops so I had a close-up view of the crowd at both of her presentations. Yesterday’s presentation was nearly full but today’s was overflowing.
I arrived at Marie’s lecture hall about fifteen minutes before the start of her presentation and the crowd already was standing in line up the aisle and around the corner in anticipation. I later heard they probably could have doubled the number of attendees if the room had been bigger. Admission was by tickets only and Marie’s presentation sold out quickly.
You can see a picture below of the crowd waiting outside the lecture hall waiting for Marie Dougan’s Keynote Workshop:
One thing at this family history expo was different from what I have seen elsewhere: there were kilts to be seen everywhere! Of course, that makes sense, given the location. I have seen kilts occasionally at family history conferences in London, New Zealand, Canada, and the United States. However, there were far more of them here in the land of kilts.
I also had a chance to attend an interesting symposium late in the afternoon entitled, “The Future of Professional Genealogy.” I will write about that in a separate article.
Sadly, I’ll pack in the morning and head to the Glasgow airport. My ten-day trip to Scotland is about to end. I have been fortunate to tour the Lowlands, the Highlands, the Isle of Skye, Glasgow, and also to spend two great days surrounded by genealogists. I’d like to thank everyone who helped make my trip memorable but, to be blunt, everyone helped. I could never thank ALL of them!
Here are a few more pictures that I took today. These are “thumbnail” images; click on any of these to view a larger version: