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.
- 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.
- 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.