What to Bring, What to Bring?

What does one bring to a genealogical conference anyway?  

I had this thought almost immediately after registering for this year's FGS Conference in Ft. Wayne.  I was too excited just knowing that I was actually going, but now I had to discern what to bring?  I mean, OTHER than my toothbrush and footie-pajamas?  This is my first conference and I have to admit, I'm feeling a little green with regards to conference protocol.  I'm the noob.  I may have been doing this genealogy gig for years, but to actually network with real, LIVE human beings and not just the dead ones from my family?  I'm feeling very...uncertain.

The "problem" being that this trip to Indiana is at the tail-end of our family vacation time.  The last leg in our journey through Gettysburg, Washington D.C., a brief stop in Ohio for a day at Cedar Point to keep the monkey children from rebelling, and THEN I will finally be there.

Yep...hubby and monkey children will be accompanying me...but not to the conference.  Are you kidding? They have as much desire to do that as they do to go on any of the jaunts through local cemeteries that I've taken them on. ("Oh mom.....another one?"  Yes kids, just....one...more...oh look! Another one!)  No, no - no worries.  While I am taking in the wonder and glory of all that is before me at FGS 2013, they will be sight-seeing to their hearts content at all that Ft. Wayne has to offer families.

But still...that is a LOT of packing.  So, here is my list...consider it to be a forewarning for that morning when we leave our home, and Mr. D. is giving me that look that says, "Really? You need all of this?"

Do I bring my computer? - You betcha!  First of all, when I'm not sitting in on a conference lecture, I plan on being at the nearby library/genealogy research mecca (Known as the Allen County Public Library Genealogy Center).  And although, unfortunately, I am still not a paperless genealogist, I am pretty comfortable knowing what I have available to use on my flash drives and my computer.  I imagine if I were a tablet user I would probably bring it, but I'm not.  It's a personal preference, as some people prefer that level of portability.  When I am sitting in on the specific lectures that I've already picked out, I will be tap-tap-tapping away on my computer...I think.  I don't want to be a distraction, but there will be notes to be taken!  I'm an avid note-taker!

**QUESTION:  Do YOU take notes at these things? Do YOU use technology to do so?**

Speaking of notes...I have the Evernote App on my computer as well as my phone.  This is fantastic for jotting a note down from a passing thought and then researching it further on my computer, or for maintaining notes on a topic, and then being able to reference them later on my phone if I don't have my computer with me.  Look into it, it's a freebie!

(And if all else fails...I have my trusty notebook and pen that travels with me pretty much everywhere.)

I am also bringing (actually, I still need to buy) a lock for my computer.  Not that I don't trust my fellow genealogy friends that I will be working beside, but let's face it, I put a lot of time, thought, and saving into my computer purchase. I also have a lot of personal family goods on my computer.  This is my baby, and nobody is going to get their hands on it while I'm off searching library stacks for that one vital piece of information.

Another item that many who share this fascinating hobby with me are in love with is the Flip-Pal mobile scanner.  I've seen it.  I was impressed with it, in that it is a portable scanner.  But, I don't have a Flip-Pal, and instead I use the iConvert portable scanner, and it's a fantastic little gadget!  I definitely plan on bringing this with me.  I've checked the Center's site, and it seems that most items (minus court records and oversized maps) are available for photocopy, so a scanner should be within my rights to use. (But I will certainly double check before I make that first image.) 

Don't forget your camera too!  Whether it's photographing documents instead of scanning, or just while out sight-seeing in the city, my camera is going to be very busy on this trip!

I mentioned that I'm not a paperless genealogist - so I will probably be bringing my file boxes with me. There are two of them - one for each side of my family.  Are they necessary?  No.  But have you ever been away on a research trip and you found something...a reference...a name...and you wanted desperately to double check the information .... and you couldn't because you left your files at home.  So I'm bringing them with me.  They'll probably stay in the hotel or even in the van...only to be brought out at the end of each day if needed.

A To-Do List:  I have a list...a list that I began a year ago of articles that are available there at the Genealogy Center in the Allen Co. Public Library...articles that pertain to becoming a professional genealogist.  It's been a dream of mine to do this genealogy thing professionally, and these articles were "required reading" by some top-of-the-line and well respected genealogists.  Adding to this list, will be to check obituaries and  family histories, maps, and look into the early colonial New England resources...heavily.  I'm even going to venture west of the Mississippi River in my research for my friend whose family has roots in the state of Kansas.  Why not?  The opportunity is there to get my hands on resources that I wouldn't normally be able to.  I plan to take every minute that is available to me to look at!

Anything Else?  You mean other than my previously mentioned toothbrush and footie-pajamas?

What else is there?


Brenda Leyndyke said…
You will be amazed at the genealogy conference experience. I was a newbie two years ago and had a great time. I hope you do to.