After three days of intense activity at the FGS Conference in Fort Wayne, here are some impressions currently rattling around in my head:
1. Every even-halfway serious genealogist should attend a national conference when one comes close to them. You can really benefit from the concentration of knowledge, and, no matter your particular research area, there is something for you. And we also have some good regional conferences coming close to folks in Indiana--The Indiana Genealogical Society event in Fort Wayne next April, the Ohio Society in Sandusky also in April, and the Midwestern Roots goodie in Indianapolis next August. And don't forget the State Library's Genealogy Fair this October here in Indy. Plan now to be at one or more--you'll be glad you did!
2. I like to browse the vendor area to see all the great resources available, but the truth is I buy less and less as the years go by. Every time I see an interesting book, flyer, or CD, my brain instantly thinks that I can probably find most of the contents online somewhere for little or no cost. If I am at all typical in this, lots of vendors and societies should see the handwriting on the wall. Get a web presence and pack up your site with goodies, especially a mix of free and pay resources.
3. One of the most fun (funest?) things about conferences is the chance to see old friends and talk family history with them and with strangers. The lunch events are great for this; you can sit at a table of eight and find folks from a half-dozen states. Makes me think that my tastes and interests are not totally bizarre.
4. I had to bite the bullet and sign up for the pay-site FindMyPast. They have lots of British Isles materials, and I am at the point of needing to do several of my lines over there. They had a great discount for conference attendees, so I will see how it goes.
5. More Indiana county genealogical societies need to get out into the public arena. The only two county groups at FGS were Allen County, one of the sponsoring groups, and our Marion County society. Many county societies are floundering and hurting for members, especially active members. My thought is that they should do less preaching to the choir and do more converting the heathens. Get out there, people, use these free or low cost venues to recruit. Any group that does not recruit, dies.
6. I like having the conference syllabus on CD or online. That way I can save or print only those sessions I have an interest in and ignore the rest. Less complicated and saves paper.
[And that's all I have to say about that!]