Friday, September 20, 2019

Grabbing Another Learning Opportunity

\When it comes to researching family history, there is always something more to learn. I took the opportunity this week to fly in to Salt Lake City—not a bad spot for this type of learning—to attend the Association of Professional Genealogists' Professional Management Conference.

This is my second year attending, as I was impressed with the different atmosphere at last year's PMC in Kansas City. Unlike many genealogy conferences, this one is, as I prefer to put it, intimate. It is also focused, considering many of the attendees are longstanding genealogical researchers, coordinating their own business ventures.

However, don't think the only ones attending are those for whom genealogy has been their lifelong vocation; I met several this year in stages of transition. For instance, there are those who are planning career changes, either upon their early retirement from other professions, or as a mid-career move to switch vocational focus. I enjoyed chatting at lunch yesterday with two women who started their career-switching trajectory by taking Boston University's online studies program. Others have been building up to the big jump by diligently attending genealogy institutes around the country, year after year. Yet another group is starting out in their college years, following a course of studies for their bachelor or master's degree in a related field, such as library science. I've spoken with attendees sporting a wide variety of educational and business backgrounds, situated on this wide spectrum of professional timelines.

The variety of training resources offered at this event is also refreshing. I tend to gravitate towards any sessions focused on genetic genealogy—and was certainly pleased to hear Dana Leeds (of Leeds Method renown) present an up-to-the-minute overview of how her color cluster methodology has melded with various other technology-driven assists. But the conference certainly offers information and support on so many other pertinent issues. I was glad, for instance, to be able to catch a brief session on creating instructional videos—something we need to hear more about in this field—by Shaunese Luthy of Untangle Your Roots.

This conference extends through the weekend, and I look forward to not only hearing from more of  such luminaries of the genealogical world as Elizabeth Shown Mills and Thomas W. Jones, but pioneers from the start of the explosion of interest in family history, such as Kory Meyerink, who was there at the formation of what later became What makes the conference refreshing, though, is APG's willingness to introduce bright, fresh faces and voices to the mix, with speakers from other nations, generations, and ethnicities. This weekend will provide plenty of inspiration to carry me forward for a long time. And there's nothing like refreshed enthusiasm to pick up the momentum. 

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