Getting the Most From Genealogy Conferences

By attending, you can benefit your family-ancestry research in many ways.

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* Join local and national black genealogy groups and national genealogy societies. Get on each group's email list or ask to be sent information about conferences.

* Check Afrigeneas.com's calendar regularly.

* Bookmark the National Genealogical Society's page dedicated to events and conferences.

* Try "Upcoming events" on Christine's Genealogy Website.

* Explore the Events & Activities category on Cyndi's List, a roundup of sites.

* Also keep in mind About.com's About Genealogy Events Calendar.

When you're choosing a conference, go to the organization's list of classes on its website and look for African-American or slave-research workshops. If there are none, look for research-oriented or Internet/tech workshops, which are general-interest and will advance your work.

Once you're registered, do your homework on the leaders of the seminars you've chosen to attend. Read each leader's biography on the conference-registration website. Use Google.com to search for blogs, websites, YouTube research videos and books the leaders have written. Connect with them by following them on Twitter and "liking" their Facebook pages and/or subscribing to their updates.

After the workshop has ended, introduce yourself to the seminar leader. You'll usually find a contact email address in the handout materials -- use it to ask your research questions.

Conferences are also an effective way to network with other genealogists. Introduce yourself to other researchers during luncheons and banquets and trade information.