This year is my first year attending the National Genealogical Society conference. It is taking place in Salt Lake City, so I really didn’t have an excuse to miss it.
My week started on Monday when Michael Goldstein came into the city in advance of the conference and I met with him for lunch, some research at the Family History Library, and then dinner along with Daniel Horowitz, Kahlile Mehr, and his wife.
On Tuesday, I brought boxes to Ron Arons at the Salt Palace Convention Center. He had shipped his books to me in advance of NGS for his booth in the vendor room. This was beneficial to both of us as I had no idea where the conference would be in the very large Salt Palace. He thanked me with dinner and then we went to the FHL for a UJGS meeting where Daniel Horowitz spoke to a crowded room about MyHeritage. I only left 30 flyers at the FHL the week before and I was absolutely thrilled at the guest turn-out along with the large number of members in attendance.
Wednesday – NGS Day One
By Wednesday, the first day of NGS, my sleep deprivation was really catching up to me. I have two rare sleep disorders and one of them sometimes dictates that I am basically awake all night and asleep all day. I am in the midst of that one now, but forcing myself to stay awake during the day does not cause me to sleep at night anyways. I was working on only 3-4 hours of sleep each day.
I was only a few minutes late for the 8am opening session. Sitting so far in the back, I mostly listened as there were too many heads in front of me to see much. I was most interested in watching the video of the Granite Mountain Vault and was glad to see later that the FamilySearch booth in the vendor room was replaying it.
After the opening session, everyone crowded into the vendor room as the opening session room was set up for regular sessions. I walked around and spoke with people, picked up some snacks, and learned what some of the companies were about.
I attended some of Laura Murphy DeGrazia’s Prove It! Evidence Analysis for Genealogists, and stepped into Thomas Jones’s Five Way to Prove Who Your Ancestor Was, which was standing room only. Unfortunately, the sleep deprivation was catching up to me and I was wiped out. I headed home early.
I obviously missed a couple sessions I wanted to attend on Wednesday, and the Ancestry presentation, but I learned about the major points overnight from Twitter.
Thursday – NGS Day Two
On Thursday, I again arrived late for the first session I wanted to attend, but this time I could partly blame the weather. Claire Bettag’s Research Reports: Meeting the Standards was not quite standing room only, but I stood outside the door with a small group instead of trying to find the few remaining empty seats.
Again spending time in the vendor room, I spoke to Ron Arons for a while and several other vendors. I stopped at the Genlighten booth (many times during the week) to speak with Dean Richardson and his wife, and the MyHeritage booth to see Daniel Horowitz. I somehow spent enough vendor room time that I didn’t go to an 11am session. I had nothing marked in my calendar, but I’m surprised while typing this blog entry that I don’t recall attending any sessions.
During the lunch hour, Ancestry had a session to speak with bloggers, which I attended. I saw mention on Twitter of the Geneabloggers meeting in the vendor room but never found this elusive location. So I finally saw a few of my tweeps (Randy Seaver, Lisa Alvo, Ancestry Insider, among others) at this meeting.
Afterwards, I sat with Tony Macklin for a while to discuss the Ancestry web site. We ended up looking at the new search and trying to find my great-uncle’s 1930 census page, which caused a great deal of difficulty. Did the transcription get changed (incorrectly) since I first found it years ago or did I have such a hard time finding that one record? In the end, we did find it, and submit the transcription correction.
At 4pm, I went to Thomas Jones’s Organizing Evidence to Overcome Record Shortages. This time, there were still some seats left. I was on time and actually heard the introduction, which he gave himself. I stayed for most of the session, leaving only when he was on his second example near the end. Again, the lack of sleep was catching up.
I wanted to go to the Conference Center for the evening concert but knew that it was unlikely I would be able to stay awake while sitting still in a darkened room for two hours. I checked in again with Ron and, while realizing that I’d be driving home in rush hour traffic, he suggested dinner again to wake me up a bit and delay the drive. (It worked. Thanks again Ron.)
Upon arriving home, I started to catch up with Facebook and Twitter, only to leave that unfinished to go to sleep. I woke up around midnight, but went right back to bed to wake up around 5am. Finally, some sleep! (And in the dark, almost like a normal person.) I don’t suppose I’ll be without the feeling of sleep deprivation all day, but it should help.
Two more days to go at NGS. What do I hope to accomplish? I’d really like to talk to my Geneablogger friends some more and get to know them a little. I only have a few sessions marked in my schedule, but I’m sure I’ll drop in on many of the others.