[APG Public List] National Genealogical Meetings

Cafi cfcohen at pacbell.net
Mon Oct 5 08:51:49 MDT 2009

Hello Barbara, 

As co-chair of several local high attendance conferences, I fully understand
the importance of titles. We often ask presenters for permission to re-title
their presentations based on what we think will sell. We try hard to make
the titles entertaining and intriguing as well -- similar to titling an
article in one of the mass market genealogy magazines, rather than titling
an article in one of the journals (although those are improving in this
respect as well:)). The unstated assumption? Often attendees do not read
beyond titles. That conference flyer/brochure IS a sales tools, on many

In addition, as you pointed out, you do not want newbies to miss valuable
material simply because they do not understand that they can learn something
(perhaps a great deal) from almost any case study.  

Cafi Cohen/California
Bridge To Yesterday

I wanted to share with other listers an experience I had as program co-chair
of the New England Regional Genealogical Conference. I had a full-day track
of case studies. The first speaker had no one at his lecture. Needless to
say, I was appalled. I had heard his lecture in the past and knew how much
people could learn from it. 

Later that day, I was joined by one the leading New England speakers. She
took me to task for the titles of the speeches in the case study track. She
was right in her comments and I will factor the issues in should I ever be a
program co-chair again. Her comment was that attendees would not identify
with the one family or individual in the title of the case study. She told
me the attendence would have been better had the title been Solving Problems
with ______ Records: the Case of So-and-So. With titles like that, attendees
would have identified the issues with possibilities in their own work. How
right she was!

As a novice program chair, it never dawned on me that I should take a heavy
hand and tell speakers what to call their lectures. I have a lot to learn!

Yours, Barbara

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