by Dawne

A few weeks ago, I attended the McHenry County (IL) Genealogical Society’s seminar on the same day that my colleague, Cynthia, attended Abrams Foundation Family History Seminar in Lansing, Michigan. Both took place on a Saturday and both featured some nationally-known genealogy speakers as well as some talented and knowledgeable local or regional speakers. Then a week or two later, our manager spoke at Midwestern Roots down in Indianapolis and Cynthia attended that seminar. That was three superb learning opportunities less than a day’s drive away within a couple of weeks.

This is not an unusual occurrence. Especially from Spring to Fall, local, regional and state genealogical societies around the country sponsor partial day or day-long seminars and bring in one or more of the nationally-known genealogy speakers to anchor their programs. What this means for you and me is the opportunity to learn from these national experts, as well as hear from local experts on a variety of topics with which they have familiarity, commune with other like-minded individuals (our fellow genealogists), and get motivated by new ideas, techniques, sources and technology!

National conferences are terrific! I would always recommend that if you have the opportunity to go to one, you do so! But sometimes it is difficult to clear the calendar for about a week’s worth of time and travel to a distant location for a national conference. Or the personal budget doesn’t allow a week’s worth of hotel nights and meals out, combined with the registration fee for a national conference and the airline or gasoline expense to get there. That’s where these regional events can shine. There are many of them. Chances are good there have been several of them within a day’s drive of you this summer. Registration fees usually are modest. Sometimes a box lunch is included. You might need to get up very early on seminar day to drive there, or pay for a hotel room the night before, but you won’t have the expense of multiple hotel nights.

To find a seminar near you, consult the following resources:

•    Federation of Genealogical Societies/Society Events listings
•    Eastman’s Online Genealogy Newsletter/Calendar of Genealogy Events
•    Conference Keeper