There are times in a professional career when you find that gaping hole; the void in your occupation that leaves you with lingering ideas, thoughts that just won’t quit. These are the “great ideas”, the right brain/left brain arguments that keep you awake at night.
We’ve seen some great one’s in genealogy. Some of my personal favorites? GeneaBloggers by Thomas MacEntee, collecting all genealogy related blogs in one place and creating a community. The “Legal Genealogist” by Judy G. Russell, patiently explaining how law and family history intertwine. Facebook pages like “Evidence Explained” and “Technology for Genealogy”; giving social media user’s a consistent and reliable platform to have discussions with colleagues. And, of course, sites like The In-Depth Genealogist; allowing for researchers of all levels to learn and develop.
Recently, I stumbled across a void that had yet to be filled. I performed what I considered to be a reasonably exhaustive search, including reaching out to my peers, and came up empty. I had spent – quite literally – hours looking for the major genealogy related conferences across the United States, so I could make an educated decision on what to pursue as an attendee. It seemed as if I had been missing out; that I was consistently hearing of these events after the fact, and that troubled me. I wanted a “master list” type of site, a place I could compare dates, locations and general themes all together, instead of Googling over and over, creating my own notes and lists, then having to back track because of a missing or forgotten link. It was frustrating, to say the least. I wanted to be knowledgeable of what was going on, and instead, I was lost in a sea of society and organization websites. It was simply too much.
It came down to a simple decision. The void was there, it needed to be filled. I wasn’t the only person who thought, so, either. Everybody that commented indicated how great something like that would be to have. And I knew just the person to do that.
Bragging? Hardly. This “little project” I began has turned into a major commitment, with a significant amount of time. I called it, and yes, I’m darn proud of it. In just a few days, the site has grown considerably, and I still find myself awake at night with ideas spinning in my brain. Ok, maybe I’m bragging a little. Forgive me? I hope so, because I’ve created this site with every genealogist in mind, and I want you to use it.
The mission I have chosen is to compile and maintain a list of all genealogy and family history related conferences and events, worldwide, in one website. I have been able to identify at least one event in nearly every state; and am slowly working on Canada, Australia, and Europe. I have conferences, workshops, summits, special events, and a cruise or two.
The largest contributing factor, however, is you. There is a simple form on the site to contact the administrator, and I hope you take advantage of it. I want to know about all of it, and if you send me the basic info and the link to a website, I’ll put it up. (Meaning; please do not send information on your regular meeting of the local society; I’m looking for special events only.)
There it is, in a nutshell. As a IDG reader, you have been officially and cordially invited to peruse the pages of Conference Keeper. I hope you will find it useful, and I hope you will visit often.
Is it truly my “great idea”? Only time will answer that, of course, but I think it’s a pretty good contender.
© Jen Baldwin 2012
Jen Baldwin is the author of The Family Atlas, a monthly column in The In-Depth Genealogist which shares the wonderful resources that can be found in states across the US. She can also be found blogging at Ancestral Breezes.