Tina Lyons asked this question of Ambassadors to the FGS conference that will be held in August in Fort Wayne, Indiana.
Unfortunately I'm unable to attend FGS this year but I am going to two other conferences. I'll be at NGS (next week) and Jamboree (next month). So, why do I go? I go
1) To learn. I consider myself an intermediate researcher, but I have numerous "brick walls." And I'm not comfortable with some types of records. So I go to attend sessions to help me with the "gaps" I feel I have. And I've been know to attend 3 sessions during 2 conferences on the same or similar topic because I want to get different perspectives.
2) To find out what's new. The exhibit/vendor hall is an important part of my conference experience. Where else can I learn about what's new? And I can ask questions about what it does, how it works, what I can gain from using it, etc. Reading blogs is another way I learn about what's new, so I look forward to reading other's blogs to see what they have learned. Because I definitely don't always know the "right" questions to ask.
3) To buy books, CDs, DVDs, postcards and stuff. I have to set a budget, but this is the place where I can touch and look through books to see if they have info that I want. (I really have trouble buying books without touching them first.) The CDs and DVDs are for my continuing education. Postcards and other stuff help me add interest to my writing. (And I really don't like to shop. But this is different!!)
4) To be around others who have a passion for genealogy. I've met great people. But I haven't been very good at getting the meeting into the start of a long-term relationship. I'm not really a "party" person, and I don't function well staying up late. Because I attend sessions almost every time period, I'm not networking. This is something I really want to get better at.
5) To return home energized. Oh, I'm often so tired when I get home. My mind is on overload with all of the new information. I have these new ideas, new techniques to try, new web sites to look at, etc. BUT, I also have so many ideas to help me with my research and my writing. Too bad that life still interferes with genealogy once I return.
So why are you going? Or why aren't you? Hope to see you in a session or in the exhibit hall. Please say Hi.