Today was the first day of the 2012 NGS Family History Conference in Cincinnati. For those of us working in the exhibit hall, the day went from 0 to 60 in the blink of an eye. One minute we weren’t open yet; the next hundreds of people were streaming through the main exhibit entrance.
As always, early visitors to the genealogical.com booth came well-prepared, book lists in hands, intent on purchasing their books early. All the book vendors, however, were crowded, calling into question the often touted death of the printed word – it definitely is not among this group! That being said, several individuals asked about the availability of titles as e-books (the majority mentioning the weight of the title in question!).
For the several days of the conference, the exhibit hall is a small and tightly-knit community offering an amazing depth of knowledge of methodologies and resources. Individuals with questions that staff in one booth may not be able to answer are referred to other booths whose staff may have the specialized knowledge to assist. Networking and informal mentoring occur throughout the day. Today I was part of conversations on as disparate topics as Scots in Jamaica (genealogical.com did have a book on the topic) and Irish immigrants who came to the United States via Trinidad in the early 1800s (which resulted in a referral to an Irish expert). A chance conversation in the lunch line may lead to a future client project and I enjoyed conversations with former library friends and colleagues, and meetings with genealogical friends whose company I enjoy, but regrettably see only a few times a year.
I was able to leave the booth long enough to attend a very informative (and enjoyable) lecture on the War of 1812 presented by Craig Roberts Scott, who offered me a significantly clearer understanding of how to determine if I might have a War of 1812 ancestor and how to proceed with research concerning this military period.
After a full day in the booth, I was happy to adjourn to Nicholson’s Gastropub, one of my favorite Cincinnati restaurants, in part because it looks almost exactly like The Mitre on the Royal Mile in Edinburgh, and in part because of the great food. My pint of Strongbow cider, mussels in white wine and garlic sauce, and sticky toffee pudding put a fine point on the day.
Tomorrow will include more lectures and exhibit hall demonstrations, so stay tuned for tomorrow evening’s conference blog installment. If you are attending the conference, please stop by the genealogical.com (Genealogical Publishing Company/Clearfield) booth and say hi.