My first genealogical conference
Generally the hobby of genealogy can be rather solitary and you spend much of your time hunting down dead people and the live people you meet up with are cyber acquaintances with strange usernames. Apart from a small local family history fair and a U3A talk in the village, and several Coffee Time workshops in the West Sussex Records Office, much of my genealogy time is spent online. I was lucky to be invited up to the Ancestry headquarters in London for a workshop and I have met one or two of my cyber friends socially, but generally there has been little human contact! I decided that I needed to get away from the computer and talk to “real” human beings, so I have joined the local U3A now as they have recently started a monthly genealogy group which is a start.
I won a pair of tickets for the Family Tree Live Show last spring but was unable to get there in the end. However, over the years, I’ve read about the big Rootstech conferences held in the USA. Since I don’t fly, and wouldn’t be able to justify the expense anyway, I’ve not been tempted to go along and have happily watched many of the workshops online later. Last year, I read that they were coming to London this autumn and immediately booked a one day ticket as getting to the venue should be straight forward from the Sussex coast. They were advertised then as Early Bird prices but the prices are still the same and special offers are coming through now which would be cheaper – still, never mind, I will know next time!! I’ll be going up and back by train in one day as hotel prices in that area are very high as Comic Con is also on at the Excel the same weekend!
This will be my first experience of being alone among crowds of total strangers but I hope I will be able to meet up with some of the names I have “met” online since I started this absorbing hobby seriously back in December 2002. Judging by my Twitter feed there should be lots of people to meet up with and to be able to put faces to names.
The three day programme features over 150 workshops: Rootstech Programme. The day’s programme for the Friday gives me many options of what I could be doing – surnames, places and DNA seem to feature on my selections on the mobile app alongside the keynote speakers. There will also be exhibitions and displays to explore in between the workshops. I am sure coffee and lunch breaks will be fitted in too. It’s going to be a very, very long day but I am sure that it will be worthwhile.
In October 2015 I finally decided to see what an Ancestry DNA test might show. I had vaguely started a one name study of my maiden name as we have been trying to join all the isolated pockets of the name together. I had a little luck and identified a match who from...