Thursday, April 27, 2017

NERGC weekend - Geeks unite

The process of researching is hardly a lonely road. I've met many people over these past 20 years in my research and through genealogy events. Many have come to be very good and dear friends to me. I've said this blog is primarily for my children and descendants to read so they will know some of our family stories. And that is true.  But I think it is important for them to understand what genealogy is for me and how it has become such a big part of my world. It is, in itself, one of my stories.

This weekend I am attending NERGC--The New England Regional Genealogical Consortium Conference in Springfield, Massachusetts. As I pack up my genie gear for a conference, my grown daughters just roll their eyes and say, "Another one? Didn't you just go to one of those things?"

Listen, I tell them. I don't run marathons. I don't shop. I don't knit. I don't scrapbook. I do genealogy. This is what I love. This is my hobby, and this is what I feel truly alive doing. It is a perfect compliment to my daily life. I love being a mother and a wife and a Community TV  Executive Director. But genealogy is something just for me, and something I never tire of.

So what's the difference between one conference and the next? Lots, for heaven's sake!

I attended RootsTech in February and while it was absolutely my Nirvana...a conference like NERGC is so much more manageable. Smaller workshops, more access to talk with speakers here, and more time to meet new people.
Highlights so far:

Wednesday, Pre-Conference Day
There were lots of options on this day, a Librarian Day, DNA Day, Tech Day and more. I chose the Tech Day (no surprise from those who know me).

What I really enjoyed about this day was that we had four workshops all in the same room. There was a break for lunch, but you basically hung out with the same people all day long. It's a great way to make new friends on the first day (pre-day, really).

Jennifer Baldwin gave me hope with her presentation about Project Management that I could finally get organized. I've been wanting to write the story of one of my ancestors, David Edgar Chase, for a while now. Not only did Jen talk about programs like Trello and Podio that I could use for something like this...she was honest in saying if you are not consistant in using a new program like...it will never become a habit. And once it is a habit, you will start to use it for the rest of your projects. I left that workshop inspired that I could actually, finally get organized to pull this story together!

Lisa Alzo is always a favorite speaker of mine. I've attended many of her webinars, and have seen her speak at RootsTech and Jamboree. I feel like she and I could be best friends (I mean that in a non-stalker way, Lisa). She thinks like I do in her methods, in her humor and how she expresses her ideas, and I get affirmation of that each time I hear her. It makes attending her workshops very enjoyable. At NERGC she presented on E-Books and Publishing. It was great! Jen gave me the tools to organize my project and Lisa showed how publishing has come a long way and that it is something I can totally do --and do it well. Two huge things off my list of tools I need to write this story.

A workshop on Pinterest, in all honesty, was a little too basic for me. Not the speaker's fault by any means. This was geared towards very beginner pinners, which I am not. But I did like the examples she had of building a story about your ancestor using Pinterest.

The final workshop was about free resources for genealogy. Dayna Jacobs was very funny knowing it was the last workshop of the day and we would all be a bit sleepy and our brains overflowing with a day of geek goodies. She wove in genealogy of Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs into her presentation just to interject some lightheartedness. It worked. We all stayed engaged and awake for her very resourceful talk. Many of the resources I knew about, but there were definitely some new ones for me, such as a list of genealogy Podcasts. I've just discovered Podcasts and I love them! Listening to genealogy stuff when I'm cooking dinner? Heck yeah. Alexa, play Genealogy Gems.

Official Day one highlights I will talk about more tomorrow. But as I sit in this workshop about finding your relatives in death records, I feel new ideas flowing into my brain which I will sort out later with a glass of wine, in my hotel, while I look over my notes.

That, to me, is a great way to spend a day.

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