February Genealogy Blog Party: Conferences, Workshops & Institutes, Oh My!

Being a retired teacher, Elizabeth O’Neal’s theme for the February Genealogy Blog Party is right up my alley – How Do You Learn About Genealogy?

There weren’t too many options for genealogy education back in the olden days when I began this journey almost 40 years ago. Learning was basically done by experience and attending my local Pomona (CA) Genealogy Society’s monthly meetings.

There also was the Southern California Genealogy Jamboree each spring in Pasadena, which was THE event to attend. I can’t believe Jamboree is celebrating its 50th anniversary this year!

As I was working full time, I didn’t have the opportunity, or much spare cash, to head off to larger conferences that involved long distance travel, but I did love attending the National Genealogical Society’s conference in San Diego in the 1990s.

Thankfully, there are so many more opportunities for genealogy education today and with much easier access!

First, I am a huge fan of webinars and view them regularly, often live, but occasionally after they are archived. Legacy Family Tree Webinars can’t be beat for either quantity or quality. Even though their broadcasts are free when viewed live, I am a subscriber because I love them and the company has to make money to stay in business!

Second, I do try to keep up with genealogy books that touch upon my areas of research interest. I’ve been fortunate to have received a few complimentary copies to review, but I’ve also purchased used and new books. Last year, I built a small collection about Carpatho-Rusyn history and customs. Robert Charles Anderson, FASG, published Puritan Pedigrees: The Deep Roots of the Great Migration to New England. If you ever wondered how thousands of English men, women and children decided to leave the only life they had ever known to begin again in the wilderness of Massachusetts in the 1620s and 1630s, this book will explain the detailed complex web of interrelationships that brought on The Great Migration. It’s a fabulous book, which I highly recommend.

Third, I am a member of the Pima County Genealogy Society, as we now live in Arizona, and attend their excellent meetings and seminars. Last year, CeCe Moore was one of our speakers. It’s a very active group with interesting monthly topics and SIGs.

Fourth, being retired, I do have the opportunity to travel to genealogy events. I’ve attended five RootsTech conferences, including 2015 when they partnered with the Federation of Genealogical Societies to co-host in Salt Lake City. I will be off to RootsTech in less than three weeks and am considering the FGS 2019 Conference in Washington, DC this year. I get to SCGS Genealogy Jamboree about every other year and went to it last year.

I’ve considered SLIG (Salt Lake Institute of Genealogy) held each year in January. So far, I haven’t been able to bring myself to sign up because it will easily cost $1000 between tuition, travel, hotel and food. That’s a big chunk of change out of a retirement budget. I am thinking about it, though, even if I attend just once!

If you are heading to RootsTech and the Family History Library for the first time, I’ve published articles about arriving prepared. Actually, if you remove the location and specific library, most of my tips apply to any genealogy conference and repository visit.

Preparing for RootsTech 2019 & the Family History Library – Part 1

Preparing for RootsTech 2019 & the Family History Library – Part 2

One last thought – lifelong learning, regardless of the subject area is so important. Learning keeps us on top of new advances and sharpens our brain as we go through life. No one should ever push learning to the back burner in his/her life.

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