[APG Public List] National Genealogical Meetings

jfonkert at aol.com jfonkert at aol.com
Fri Oct 2 12:45:37 MDT 2009

This thread and the concurrent "Who are we?" thread have at times confused two questions: 1) the content/subject matter of talks, and 2) the presentation format (lecture v. forum and discussion).? Just a few observations from my vantage point...

- There clearly is room for a broad range of subject matter in a national conference program -- both lectures about how to find and use records and presentations that illustrate research and problem-solving methodology.? Personally, I'd like to see a bit more of the latter.

- Programs indeed need to appeal to all levels of experience, beginners to advanced professionals.? It strikes me that it isn't easy to figure out where the boundaries are between beginner, intermediate and advanced.

- Basic education is an important part of national conferences, but national conferences are not the primary educational resource for most genealogists and family history researchers.? Most genealogical education occurs at state and local levels.? At least in MInnesota, I can attest that local and state societies offer classes on things like census research, immigration and land records that are the equal of many talks I've heard at national conferences.? On the other hand, national conferences are uniquely situated to offer more specialized educational topics such as offered by people like Claire Bettag and Valerie Melchior.

This is not to say that such topics should not be on national programs.? They by all means should be.? From what I'm told, national conferences draw a significant part of their attendance from people of all experience levels?living within driving range of the site.? But, I would like to see more presentations based on research and problem-solving.? And, I would enjoy some of the speaker-audience interaction that others have advocated.

I'm sure we don't all agree, which is why putting together conference programs -- both nationally and locally -- is a very difficult task.

Jay Fonkert, CG

Saint Paul, MN

President, Minnesota Genealogical Society

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