Friday, April 8, 2011

New England Regional Genealogical Conference

I am home for a pause from the three day NERGC (New England Regional Genealogical Conference) and just wanted to share a few thoughts. I had such a wonderful time yesterday! I love genealogy conferences in general, but I REALLY love NERGC. Here are my top reasons:

1) The People. I was trying to explain this to husband. I told him I almost felt like I was going to a high school reunion (I don’t think this helped him “get it” very much). What I meant though is that one of my favorite things about NERGC is connecting with “genealogy people” from all over New England – and beyond – that I don’t get to see very often. For just three days, they are all in one place. It’s great! I was talking to someone in the hall and he explained it to one his friends this way, “I’m going to a conference filled with people just like me, people who are all nuts about genealogy.”

2) Great Lectures. There are a wide variety of topics at NERGC, and at any one timeslot you have a number of lectures to choose from. Since the conference is in New England, you’ll find lots of lectures targeted to New England topics, even research in specific New England states. But, you don’t have to have New England roots to benefit from the conference. I spoke about immigration research yesterday, and saw other talks on census research, probate records, and on tracing ancestors from different countries. There are well-known speakers from around New England – and from across the country giving these lectures.

3) Well Run and Extremely Organized. I have the opportunity to have a very small part in the planning of NERGC. I oversee the Special Interest Groups which occurred last night. (These are informal discussion groups led by knowledgeable facilitators on different topics such as Italian Research, French-Canadian Research, Irish Research, Becoming a Professional, DNA Research, etc.) Being involved just a little gives me a peek into the running and organizing of the conference. Once again this year, I have been amazed at how well everything comes together. Everybody does their part and works together to pull it off. And of course some of these people devote a huge number of hours to making this conference run smoothly.

4) Close to Home! I only live about 40 minutes from the Springfield Marriott and Sheraton where the conference takes place. This means that I can sleep in my own bed and work around my family’s schedule a bit more. Yesterday, I got my kids on the bus, dropped my toddler off with a babysitter and headed to my third grader’s school – dressed in my suit since I was speaking at 12:15. At Taylor’s school, I helped the kids with some activities designed to increase their understanding of children’s lives in the 1700s and 1800s. One of these activities consisted of shaking milk until it became butter. As I was shaking this Tupperware in my suit, the teacher commented, “Don’t worry if some buttermilk leaks from the container and sprays on your clothes. It always does this.” Yikes! I tried to shake it away from me so I wouldn’t have to stand in front of a room full of people with buttermilk all over my clothes. Then, I jumped in my car and headed to NERGC.

I feel sad to miss out today, but I suppose my husband does have to go to work sometimes! But, I’ll be back tomorrow for the last day. I am doing a book signing at 11 a.m. in the Exhibit Hall at the Family Chronicle booth. So stop by and say hello! Then, I’ll be hosting a German discussion table at the NEAPG (New England Association of Professional Genealogists) luncheon, followed by Ancestor Roadshow appointments – where people have signed up to come and talk to me for about twenty minutes each about their German brick walls.

Conference attendance was nearing 800 yesterday – which I believe is a record for NERGC. So, if you weren’t able to come this year, keep it in mind for 2013!


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  2. When I went to USITT in March, which is a theatre technicians conference, one of my very favourite parts was just being around a whole lot of people who loved what I loved! It was a great feeling to be a part of a group like that.