Saturday, September 8, 2012

Midwest Family History Expo - Day 1

Family History Expos brought its Midwest conference to Kearney, Nebraska for the first time this weekend. Did you know that Kearney is smack dab in the middle of the United States? It's half way between the East and West coasts of our country. Perhaps that's why I find it amusing when people refer to Ohio as being in the Midwest!

About 300 people are attending the Expo. They came not only from Nebraska, but Kansas, Iowa, Colorado, Wyoming, Arizona, Utah and many other states. Now that I've attended several local, state and regional conferences, it's fun to recognize people and meet up with my genealogy friends.

Nebraska's own Ruby Coleman kicked off the event with a heartwarming keynote. If you didn't know Ruby before, you got to know her well during her talk. I can now say I know someone who has waded through a pig sty and an old outhouse in search of family history. Ruby admitted she's willing to get down and dirty in search of her ancestors!

On Friday, I attended a session on Irish research. I realized I had attended this session in Kansas City two years ago. Clearly, I needed the refresher course as there were many web sites presented that I need to revisit.

Ruby gave a wonderful talk on death records with a lot of tips I hadn't considered. Have you ever thought about tracking down pallbearers to interview them about your ancestor?

I knew that I wanted to get to at least a couple of James Tanner's sessions. He is the author of the Genealogy's Star blog. The blog is aptly named as James is truly a genealogy star! His talk on archives and repositories was very helpful as he shared web sites and demonstrated how to find the buried treasures that won't come up in a Google search.

It was great fun to meet up with my genealogy friends from Lincoln and Omaha, and get to meet several new people who I hope to get to know better. We sat there with our smartphones friending one another on Facebook!

I also had fun tweeting highlights of the sessions I attended and following the speaker notes in the syllabus I had previously downloaded to my Kindle Fire. That made it easy to view and bookmark the web sites the speakers were talking about.

I saw a lot more laptops and computers in the audience being used for note taking than I had seen in the past. It's clear that technology plays a vital role in today's genealogy conferences.

This is the first time I've used my iPhone to compose a blog post, so once I'm back on a computer, I'll add some hyperlinks to this content. For now, I'm getting ready for another full day of learning.

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  1. Having been born and raised in Kansas, I also thought I was from the "Midwest". I'm happy to see that I was right! Your article was a delight to read....I only wonder how in the world you wrote all that on your iphone!!! Thanks for the great Expo coverage, Susan!