Blog post

Friday, February 23, 2018

Getting ready for Congress 2018

The biggest event on Australia’s genealogy calendar is the triennial Australasian Congress on Genealogy and Heraldry and it’s only two weeks away (Friday 9 to Monday 12 March).

Travelling to another city to attend a genealogy conference takes time and money, and if you don’t know anyone it’s intimidating. Perhaps that’s why I had never felt moved to attend until three years ago when it was was held in my home town. I enjoyed the conference immensely and got a lot from it. After that experience, I had no doubts about going to the next one.

There are going to be two big differences (that I know about) between my experience this time and last time. First, I’ll need to travel. Second, this time around I’ll be speaking at the conference which adds a few substantial to-do items and I’m sure will give me a new perspective on the event.

I’ve been reading Jill Ball’s (aka GeniAus) posts about preparing for Congress (and other conferences) with interest, and adding relevant items to my own checklist.

Let’s see how I’m doing with preparations:

  • Conference Registration: Done, as soon as registrations opened. I also paid for a seat at the conference dinner.
  • Work: Leave request submitted and approved.
  • Family: Leave request submitted and approved.
  • Accommodation: Booked and paid for. I’ve arranged to share rental of a small house near the venue with two other genealogists. It’s going to be fun!
  • Travel to Sydney: Booked. Although I usually prefer to take the train, this time I chose the bus. It’s quicker, a little cheaper, but most importantly the timetable is more flexible. I can return home at a civilised hour and get to work the next day in a fit state to do some work.
  • Travel within Sydney: I’m close enough to the venue that I will be able to walk. I’m sure I’ll appreciate a bit of exercise at the start and end of each day. I already have an Opal card from previous visits to Sydney for when I need to use public transport.
  • Devices: I’m planning on taking my phone and my laptop. I need to make sure any information I might want is synced to the laptop. Still to do.
  • Note taking: While I like technology for storage, I prefer to take notes on paper. I have a Whitelines note book with a hard cover that I plan to use. The pages are light grey with a white grid, and it comes with an app that will hide the grey background, resize and sync to wherever you want online. It will be easy to keep a soft copy of any of my scribbles that I think are worth keeping.
  • Contact cards: I’ve had a small batch of business cards printed up with details of this blog, various contact details for me, and family surnames I’m researching.
  • Blogger beads: If you’re not a blogger, you might not be aware of the trend at US genealogy conferences for bloggers to wear identifying beads. Jill Ball has imported this to Australia and it’s a fun way to break the ice at events. I’ve put my hand up for some. Thanks Jill!
  • Clothing: It’s too soon to pack my bags, but I’ve invested in some new comfortable shoes that I can test out and break in before the day. I’m not too worried about attire for the conference days, but I still need to work out what I will wear to the conference dinner.
  • Speech: I’ve submitted my handouts and slides to the organisers. All I have to do is continue to practice – and keep an eye on developments relating to my topic.

I think I’m as ready as I need to be at this stage.

Let the countdown commence!