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The Genealogy Event Recap

Author's collection

Author’s collection

Today was DNA Day at The Genealogy Event, which I opted not to go to, since I’m not just ready to leap into that in my research yet.  I still covered it the best I can via my  RebelMouse page, so be sure to check that out.

Meanwhile, I thought I’d reacap my experience and impressions of the third Genealogy Event.

What I liked:
  • Where it was located: 1 Bowling Green is in lower Manhattan, practically at the tip of the island.  All I had to do was take the train down to Grand Central, then the 4 or 5 line straight to Bowling Green.  No searching for the subway station, no transfers;easy-peasy!  Best of all?  Starbucks was right across a not-too-busy street!
  • The venue itself:  The Alexander Hamilton US Customs House is an absolutely gorgeous late 19th/early 20th century building.  The architecture inside and out was stunning, as well as beautiful artwork painted on the ceilings of the most public areas.  I could have spent all day looking at it, but that is not why I was there!  So I’ll just have to satisfy myself with this link  that our NARA tour guide recommended.  By the way, this is a new office for NARA in New York City and it still  doesn’t house their entire collection!  To learn more about NARA in New York City, click here.
  • Enclosed rooms:  In the past, the Genealogy Event sessions were merely curtained off in a large, kind of echoing room.  This year sessions were in separate rooms with doors that closed.  It was so much easier to hear the speakers!
  • Advanced Sessions:  After last year’s little advanced break-out sessions, it was discovered that there was a big demand for more advanced offerings.  I went to three of them:  Reading Old Documents, Understanding Our Families, and Passenger Manifests.  I learned even more than I expected to at each.
  •  New Topics for the General Sessions:  Some of the topics that I especially enjoyed were Lineage Societies, Old Fulton NY Postcards, and Caring for Keepsakes. It was nice to have new offerings and new speakers this year.
  •  Lunch for VIP’s:  One of the biggest reasons I signed up as a VIP this year was to have lunch on-site, which was in the Learning Center at NARA.  It was a great place to eat, socialize or just to hang out if there was a long time between the sessions I was interested in.
  • Social Event:  This was at the Fraunces Tavern, where George Washington gave his farewell address to his soldiers at the end of the Revolutionary War.  There is a museum here that I did not get to see, but now I know about it!  Anyhow, it was nice to unwind and talk genealogy with others that share that passion!
  • Meeting the Speakers and Other Attendees:  Yes, I got to be a bit of a fan girl with some of the big names in the business!  It’s a small enough venue where you can actually have a real conversation with the likes of Michael J. LeClerc, Maureen Taylor, Ron Arons and the ladies from Family Tree Magazine (and others, of course).  I even had a family connection:  Denise Levenick (aka The Family Curator) is very distantly related to me through our ancestor, Roger Williams.  I made some new friends and finally met up with a fellow #genchat tweep:  Molly Charboneau of  Molly”s Canopy.
What Could Use Improvement:
  • Exhibit Hall:  The exhibit hall was kind of scant this year, though I do understand it’s probably due to limited space in the hallway.  I wonder if there may have been another meeting room to stick this in?  I especially missed Maia’s Books from last year, although my wallet is probably grateful!
  • Temperature in the Auditorium:  The general sessions were held in the auditorium felt, quite honestly, sub-arctic.  Even though I attended several general sessions in a row, I had to step out between sessions just to warm up a little.
  • Handouts Available On-Line Ahead of Time:  Several times, speakers would say “in your handout”, though there was none (yet).  Perhaps having a special place so sign in and download (maybe with a code that comes on your paid ticket?) would be good.
  • Wifi was Spotty:  We were in the basement, so I don’t think a lot could be done about it.  It just kept me from updating RebelMouse as quickly as I would have liked, but it was not impossible.

As you can see, I did enjoy myself overall.  I want to thank everyone for following along on RebelMouse; there have been over 700 views!  I am humbled and flattered.  I think one of the biggest things that I learned this weekend was that genealogists come in all sorts of shapes and flavors.  Such a variety of skillsets and workstyle preferences!  Even outside the classroom, I have been given a lot to think about.

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