What will probably be the second-largest genealogy conference of the year in the US will occur next week in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. The National Genealogical Society’s 2016 Family History Conference will attract genealogists from all over the United States, along with quite a few from other countries, to the four-day conference with more than 150 lectures on a wide range of topics.
The conference will be held at the Greater Ft. Lauderdale/Broward County Convention Center, 1950 Eisenhower Blvd, Fort Lauderdale, FL 33316. I attended a non-genealogy conference in the same convention center a few years ago and can report that it is an excellent facility for an event of this size. It is a modern convention center (with numerous wi-fi hotspots) that has plenty of parking. It is surrounded by a number of excellent hotels and restaurants within walking distance. Hotels are listed in the conference brochure at http://conference.ngsgenealogy.org/wp-content/uploads/2015/11/2016-Registration-Brochure.pdf.
Daily parking (no in-out privileges) is found at the well-illuminated and security-patrolled Northport Parking Garage, which also offers covered and air-conditioned skywalks to the convention site.
The convention center also is located next to the Port Everglades Cruise Terminal that serves Fort Lauderdale. You will see numerous cruise ships arrive and depart during the genealogy conference.
Some of the closest hotels are also now fully booked. You can find several lists of nearby hotels by starting at https://goo.gl/GJplPt and those lists will lead to hotel web sites that have up-to-date information about room availability in each. All the closest hotels offer free Wi-Fi in each room during the conference.
Nearby restaurant information may be found by starting at https://goo.gl/Qlk7Cc.
The conference will feature more than 150 lectures on all sorts of subjects of interest to genealogists: federal records, the law and genealogy, methodology, analysis and problem solving, military and land records, DNA, BCG (Board for Certification of Genealogists) Skillbuilding, and the use of technology. Among the local topics planned are Florida and Caribbean research.
In fact, Florida has a longer history of discovery, colonization, and settlement than any other US state. The Spanish discovered of Florida in 1513. That discovery was soon followed by exploration by the French and Spanish and the colonization of Florida’s interior, to its later involvement in military conflicts, science, technology, and entertainment, follow the first footprints of the American saga in the sands of Florida.
My primary interest is the exhibit hall. The annual NGS conferences often see the introduction of new genealogy products and services. In addition, all the leading genealogy vendors and many of the smaller ones have exhibits there as well. In fact, I will be making three presentations in the exhibit hall at the MyHeritage booth during the conference. Many other genealogy writers, lecturers, and product developers will also be available for discussion in their own booths and several of them will be making presentations during the conference.
NOTE: The exhibit hall is free and open to the public Wednesday through Saturday. Even if you are unable to attend the lectures, you can stop and visit the exhibit hall and the many exhibitors at no charge.
The conference website provides a list of current exhibitors. See http://conference.ngsgenealogy.org/exhibit/ for the list.
Other activities at the conference include:
- Meetings and presentations by the Records Access and Preservation Committee (RPAC).
- Several roundtable discussions.
- A DNA Workshop
- Conference Banquet
- A Society Roundup with Florida genealogical and historical societies available in the Exhibit Hall Lobby. For a complete list of participating societies see http://conference.ngsgenealogy.org/societyroundup
- The Florida State Genealogical Society will host a “Taste of Florida” on Thursday. You can relax with colleagues and sample foods showcasing six of the diverse ethnic cultures of Florida: Cuban, Indian, Jamaican, Bahamian, Greek and Mexican. Can you hear the beat of the steel drums?
- A Youth Camp will be held on Saturday morning.
- The NGS Annual Meeting will be held Saturday evening.
- Tours of the local area, focusing on historic places.
The full schedule of events may be found in the conference registration brochure at: http://conference.ngsgenealogy.org/wp-content/uploads/2015/11/2016-Registration-Brochure.pdf. A conference mobile app for Android and Apple iOS devices may be found by starting at http://conference.ngsgenealogy.org/mobile-app/. Another method of finding the NGS mobile apps is to search the Apple App Store or Google Play for “NGS Family”.
If you can be in Fort Lauderdale next week, you won’t want to miss the NGS 2016 Family History Conference! More information may be found at: http://conference.ngsgenealogy.org/.