In the interest of full disclosure, my husband serves on the FGS Board, but the opinions expressed herein are strictly Myrt's own.
Competition for national conference attendance is getting stiffer, particularly with the prevailing world-wide economic challenges of some years duration. In yesterday's blog posting RootsTech 2011: Report to management, Ol' Myrt here suggested that NGS and FGS combine their annual conferences and hold them in the late summer. Already there have been some "interesting" email from people favoring both sides of the suggestion.
Our flush days of easy-to-administer disposable income are a thing of the past. Picking and choosing which genealogy conferences to attend is getting trickier for the average attendee.
The National Genealogical Society and Federation of Genealogical Societies could host their annual conferences jointly, to avoid duplication of effort, duplication of content material and wear-and-tear on attendees budgets. This would leave RootsTech as the other annual national genealogy conference for us to attend. This would personally save me about $1,200 annually.
It's an appealing option to travel where one's ancestors once lived either before or after attending a genealogy conference. But showcasing local talent and featuring a few nationally-recognized presenters is easily accomplished by major regional conferences such as Southern California Genealogical Society's Jamboree, the New England Regional Genealogical Conference and the conferences provided by Family History Expos that currently extend to California, Arizona, Utah, Colorado, Kansas and Georgia. Additionally strong state organizations typically host annual conference such as the Ohio Genealogical Society, the Illinois State Genealogical Society, the Iowa Genealogical Society and the Virginia Genealogical Society. (Please forgive Ol' Myrt if I haven't mentioned your regional society. I am referring to those where my ancestors once lived for this blog entry.)
Genealogy institutes are clearly different from genealogy conferences where one is permitted to take a quick 60 minute class. Instead, participation in week-long, intensive, mentor-driven studies at the National Institute of Genealogical Research, the Salt Lake Institute of Genealogy and the Samford Institute of Genealogy and Historical Research are for more experienced researchers.
Both NGS and FGS host partial-week conferences annually, at changing venues throughout the US. With the exception of an APG Professional Management track, the Librarians track, and a society management track, the class content and the exhibit hall are largely a carbon copy of the others conference. To compete for attendees participation is counter productive and a lose-lose for all concerned.
Happy family tree climbing!
Your friend in genealogy.