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    In every family, someone ends up with “the stuff.” It is the goal of The Family Curator to inspire, enlighten, and encourage other family curators in their efforts to preserve and share their own family treasures.

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    Entries in nergc (4)

    Friday
    Apr222011

    NERGC Highlights - On the Topic of 'Making a Buck'

    My biggest surprise at NERGC wasn't the New England cold spring wind, it was weather inside the conference Exhibit Hall.

    Instead of the blast of noise, competing colors and graphics, and milling shoppers that I've grown to expect at SCGS Jamboree, NGS, or FHExpos, the NERGC Exhibit Hall more closely resembled a rare books show at a local university. The carpeting helped.

    The foyer area outside the hall was lined with tables staffed by volunteers from local genealogical and historical societies. It made me wish I had Massachusetts roots... hey, maybe I do! Just inside the door of the Exhibit Hall, the first vendor offered books and maps, as did the sellers to the left and around the corner.  It was wonderful. Used books, new books, reprints, pamphlets, maps, ephemera, digital editions on cd. A browser's delight.

    Around the corner, I found NEGHS staffing an extensive book selection. Across the way Bruce Buzbee explained the features of RootsMagic. A few tables away, Old Maps showed their wares next to Legacy FamilyTree software. Interspersed, I found tables offering books from NGS, the Rhode Island Historical Association, APG, and other societies.

    There were no microphones.

    Of course, it wasn't exactly quiet in the hall, but the buzz was a very reasonable din. I actually stood back to look at the room and finally figured out what was missing. It was the mega-commercial vendors that make a large and loud presence. They just weren't there. Of course, if Ancestry.com or FamilySearch knew that NERGC attendance was nearly 900, more than double their last event, perhaps they would have made a bid for space, As it was, I liked it just fine.

    The fact that so many commercial vendors were not present, also meant that the session offerings did not include multiple sessions on product-specific topics typically presented by vendor representatives. This is not a good-or-bad thing. Just different. Instead many of these slots were filled by professional genealogists speaking to their areas of expertise. Most of these professionals did not have a product to sell, such as a book or software, so presumably their only renumeration was the speaker's fees and potential for future clients.

    This was a real difference in focus for the event. I have enjoyed learning about new software and how to search online subscription sites at other conferences, but I also enjoyed the wide breadth of specialized research topics on offer at NERGC. After all, I can pick up tech tips via Webinar, screencast, and online tutorial, but how often can I hear the wit and wisdom of Paul Milner, Josh Taylor, Laura Prescott or Cherry Bamberg?

    Thursday
    Apr212011

    NERGC Highlights - Going Pro

    The current GeneaBloggers discussion on Genea-Opportunities (Let's Make Lots of Money) couldn't be more timely. I have just returned home from the New England Regional Genealogical Conference (NERGC) in Springfield, Mass. and a week of extended ancestor hunting across the Green Mountains of Vermont. In those ten days I met every kind of genealogist and had my eyes opened to "how they do it" in New England.

    Like most conferences, this one attracted a good mix of family historians and professional genealogists. Not surprisingly, when presenters queried their audience in a session, there were relatively few who admitted to "beginner" status. After all, New England researchers have been at this endeavor a very long time. So, if most attendees seemed to NOT be beginners, where did they stand? Of the people I met, I would say that most were serious, experienced, genealogists, even though they may not be making money at their craft.

    I attended the evening Special Interest Session with Elissa Scalise Powell, "Becoming a Professional Genealogist" where the group of 25 or 30 asked pointed questions about the certification process and value of professional status. I faded with jet-lag before the end of the 90-minute session but didn't hear any questions at all on "how to make a living" as genealogist. The assumption was that clients means "paying" clients. There was no devaluation of the desire to achieve this goal.

    In fact, Yankees have a noted affinity for frugality and resourcefulness. It only makes sense that a room of New Englanders would be interested in turning a honing a talent for research into a paying occupation or avocation. I spoke with some attendees who were doing pro bono research and wanted to have the qualifications to justify a fair fee for their services.

    But it wasn't all about the money, either. One of the most popular features at NERGC was the Ancestor Road Show -- two days of free twenty-minute one-on-one consultations with professional genealogists. I thought I could sign up on site, but really missed out. Although there were nearly 40 genealogists (12 CG) making appointments, the sessions all filled up quickly.

    What does all this say about the New England genealogists I observed at NERGC? It tells me that they see professional status as a Board Certified Genealogists as a valuable and helpful skill for anyone wanting to make an income as a genealogist. In addition, it showed that one doesn't need to be CG to be a professional, i.e. earning an income from paying clients.

    Tuesday
    Apr192011

    Why Regional Genealogy Conferences are Worth Every Cent

     

    If you want to talk to the experts about researching in New England, it makes sense to go to the experts on their home turf. NERGC proved once again that you can get a lot of bang-for-your-buck if you can attend a regional conference in the area you are researching.

    Last Spring, the joint meeting of the Vermont and New Hampshire societies coincided with a family baptism in Hanover, and between events I was able to hear a top notch speaker and meet some new local contacts. This year, the 2011 New England Regional Genealogical Conference exceeded my expectations with three full days of excellent sessions focused on research in my target localities. You can't get much better than that.

    Travel for these events can get expensive, so it helps to plan family visits, use airline miles, or share with a friend. I was watching for the NERGC schedule as soon as it became available, and glad to see that I could learn more about Vermont maps, Rhode Island town formation, finding elusive New England women, region migration patterns, and working with colonial land grants, all at one conference. Stay tuned for highlights in the days to come.

    These topics just don't come up with the same frequency at West Coast events.

    Of course, the intensive schedule means planning ahead and pacing as much as possible. By the last day, I was ready for a break and a few days of on site research and family time.

    Vermonters said we were there for "mud season," and it was a bit grim. The trees have yet to leaf out, snow still covers north-facing slopes, and mud lies in the valleys. Good weather for Vermont cheddar soup, hot Green Mountain coffee, and something maple and sweet. I love New England. Must be something in the genes.

     

    Wednesday
    Apr062011

    Ready for Genealogy Good Times at NERGC

    I snapped this photo on a walk tonite... Guess where? Answer? It's a bit cooler in Springfield than Southern California, but I'm looking forward to a great conference this weekend.