Saturday, June 2, 2018
It's the People
While people usually attend genealogy conferences for the enticing class subjects and engaging speakers, a close third to these prize-winning reasons is to come for the people. At least, that's how I see it from my vantage point at this year's Southern California Genealogical Society Jamboree.
Where there are people, there are opportunities for great conversations. Conferences are networking times. And I love how the connections naturally happen.
Some connections are just interesting or quirky—like coincidentally ending up sitting next to the same person in several of my class sessions. What an ice breaker when two of us realized that! Perhaps we two are just on the same wavelength, but it was enough of a vibe to strike up a great conversation.
Some connections turn out to be sweet or inspiring—like running across a blog reader from Arizona in the doorway as we passed between sessions. (Thank you for your kind words!)
Some are just plain kind and generous—like seeking out author Denise Levenick, The Family Curator, because I know she sells archival quality supplies. I told her about my family photo rescuing project and how it occurred to me that it would be so much more considerate to mail those hundred year old pictures back home, encased in archival quality sleeves. While in the past, Denise maintained a booth at the Jamboree exhibit hall to sell such products, she hadn't planned on doing so this year, but kindly brought some in and dropped them off at Lisa Alzo's booth to hold for me. When I rendezvoused at that meeting place to purchase the items, Lisa told me the packet of supplies was on Denise, who I now will acknowledge as a partner in my rescue efforts. Thank you, Denise! And I enjoyed the opportunity to talk with Lisa, as well—she is one of my favorite conference speakers.
Some meetings are fleeting moments of catching someone in the hallway. It was nice, as the day drew to a close, to have a moment to catch up with blogger Randy Seaver and his wife Linda, regulars at Jamboree. But I'll have to be quicker about speaking up the next time I notice the Barefoot Genealogist, Crista Cowan, slipping down a side hallway.
Other meetings can be leisurely and lingering, like the opportunity to share a table at one of the conference's evening banquets with Donna Moughty, the genealogist who coordinated the excellent research tour of Dublin that I participated in during our family's visit to Ireland a few years ago.
This year was a special treat in that two members of my local genealogical society's board of directors also came to Jamboree. We enjoyed comparing conference notes—and just plain chatting and hanging out together—over dinner last night. While that's obviously something we could have done back at home, somehow the distance and the different setting made it seem more special.
With only one more day left to go, I'm already sad to see the event come to a close. Knowing how responsive the SCGS Jamboree planning committee is to the feedback they solicit from attendees, I know I can expect next year to be even better, so I'll look forward even more to returning next year.