Getting the Most Out of the Conference

The following is a set of very helpful suggestions from Jan Meisels Allen, for whom this will be her 20th IAJGS Conference.

  1. Remember to bring your registration confirmation—it will expedite the registration process. You will be able to register starting Saturday 7—10 pm. Registration is on the third floor.
  2. Visit the conference FAQ. VIRTUALLY any question you may have will have been addressed there. [Additional information can be found on other pages on the site, including additional topics under the ABOUT tab and under the HOTEL/TRAVEL tab for Travel Information and Parking.]
  3. Be comfortable. Dress in layers. It is notoriously difficult to manage room temperature to everyone’s liking, especially in a hotel conference area with hundreds of attendees and other hotel activities. Wear comfortable shoes and clothing. Remember that Cleveland will be hot in the summer climate. The current ten-day projected forecast is for mid to high 80s (F) in the daytime and low 70s (F) in the evening with most days of the conference listed with thunderstorms or showers. Before you leave, check with weather.com for the 10-day forecast.
  4. Leave extra time to take the elevators to the meeting room floors.
  5. Seats in the front row are reserved for those with hearing and vision disabilities who have notified the conference of their disability. Do NOT run for a seat in the front row, especially if you have a book bag on wheels, as you may hit someone. I was knocked down at one of the previous conferences by just such a person. Avoid the temptation to save the seat beside you just to give yourself more room.
  6. If you use a rolling book carrier for your belongings, or use a walker or other walking aide, put them aside, out of the aisle, so that others can walk safely.
  7. Be considerate of the speakers and other attendees. Turn off cell phones and other noise-making devices during sessions. Do not talk to others during a program. Do not open candy or gum wrappers during the session, as the crinkling sound disturbs the others sitting near to you.
  8. Look to see if a session is being recorded. You can be in two, three, or four places at once by purchasing conference recordings. The list of sessions that are being recorded can be viewed HERE. For information on purchasing the recordings go, see HERE.
  9. Familiarize yourself with the conference layout to know where the Exhibit Hall, Resource Room, Hospitality—and especially the Restrooms—are located. On the conference APP there is a map icon to help you.
  10. You MUST wear your conference badge at all times while in the conference area or security will not permit you to enter. No exceptions.
  11. Even if you are a veteran of the IAJGS conference, introduce yourself to the people sitting nearby. What surnames are they searching? What areas of the world? Always network, network, network.
  12. If this is your first conference, it is an experience you will never forget.
  13. If you are a beginner, remember that there are beginners workshops offered starting on Sunday. Check the Program and Schedule for more details.
  14. One of the unique aspects of the IAJGS Conference is the Resource Room with 26 computers that have links to hundreds of genealogical sites, including subscription sites that are permitting free access during the conference. The free access is available ONLY on the Resource Room computers and is not something you may access using your own laptop or tablet.
  15. Wednesday is ProQuest Day, when attendees may access ProQuest’s entire historical newspaper database and other ProQuest products. Bill Forsyth from ProQuest will be giving three 30-minute overviews on how to use ProQuest at 10:30 am, 1:30 pm, and 5:30 pm on Wednesday July 31. Sign-ups are required. During ProQuest Day if there is a line waiting for the computers then time will be limited to 30-minute sessions. On Thursday, August 1, ProQuest is also making their databases available to us; however, Bill Forsyth will not be giving any tutorials that day.
  16. There will be consultations in the Resource Room by representatives from the Museum of the Jewish People at Beit Hatfutsot, United States Holocaust Memorial Museum, and Yad Vashem. Please check in the Resource Room for sign-up sheets and times and days for these one-on-one consultations.
  17. Bring a USB drive with you to copy any documents from the Resource Room computers. Also, put your family tree and any documents you may wish to share with others on the USB drive or on your laptop/tablet. You may want to share the informaton with others who are researching the same names and ancestral towns.
  18. Look at the rich program in advance and note the sessions you want to attend and the speakers you want to listen to. You can use the conference app, or print from the web site, to plot your personal schedule. When you register, you will also get the Daily Planner, which includes the full schedule with room assignments. Remember that we all have multiple areas of interest, so we have to prioritize due to the concurrent sessions. Look at the programs sponsored by the Special Interest Groups (SIGs) for the geographic areas of interest, and don’t forget to attend the SHARE Fair on Sunday afternoon.
  19. Look through the conference tote bag. There will be flyers for some of the database companies on the Resource Room computers, and exhibitors, as well as other items of interest.
  20. There is free shared-access to WiFi in the conference areas. Those who booked hotel rooms in the conference block will also get free WiFi access in their rooms.
  21. Above all, keep your sense of humor and flexibility! Sometimes there are last-minute schedule changes outside of the control of the conference co-chairs or a technical glitch with the audio/visual equipment. The conference committee members will do everything possible to prevent such occurrences, but they do happen.

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