Before You Attend a Genealogy Conference...

Genealogy conferences can be wonderful opportunities to learn something new and to meet people who also love genealogy and family history. Before you attend a genealogy conference, make sure to read what the rules are. Conferences can change their rules from one year to the next, so it’s best not to assume the rules from last year are still in place this year.

The following questions will give you a general idea of what to find out before you attend a genealogy conference – or any other type of conference. It’s best to be prepared so you don’t end up unpleasantly surprised by an unexpected change.

Are bags allowed?
It has become common for conference venues to check people’s bags before allowing them into the event. The purpose is often to ensure that people don’t bring in outside food or alcohol. They prefer to have conference attendees buy food from the vendors at the conference.

Some conferences have restrictions on bags. Check to see if there is a limitation on the size or amount of bags you are allowed to carry. You might be restricted to carrying clear bags that are see-through.

Are photos allowed?
In general, conferences do allow attendees to take some photos for their own, personal, memories. Before you start taking photos, find out if there are any restrictions. For example, many conferences do not allow people to sit and take photos of every single slide that a speaker uses during a presentation. But, you might be allowed to take a photo of the speaker (if you ask the speaker for permission first).

What are the social media rules?
Typically, conferences allow (and encourage) attendees to post photos and comments about the conference on social media. You should read the conference’s social media policy.

There could be a specific hashtag the conference would like you to use. There probably are rules that limit the amount of information you can post on social media that is a verbatim portion of a speaker’s presentation.

Are interviews allowed?
Some conferences allow attendees to interview speakers – so long as the speaker gives permission. Other conferences only allow people with press passes, or certain kinds of tickets or badges, to do interviews. Those interviews are typically done at an invite-only event that the general attendees are not allowed to enter. Find out what the conference allows before you initiate an interview.

Can you mention your blog?
Most conferences allow attendees who have a blog that is about the topic the conference is focused on to mention their blog to other attendees. The conference you are about to attend will have it’s own rules about mentioning your personal blog or podcast to attendees. Find out what is allowed before you go.

Related Articles at

* AAHGS Black History Month 2017 Genealogy Conference

* Family Tree University Offers Virtual Genealogy Conference

* You Are There- Roots Tech Conference

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