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Upcoming family history conferences
09 February 2007 10:37

In my previous post I mentioned the Family History Technology Workshop. This is a yearly 1-day conference that was originally designed to be a forum where BYU graduate students doing research in family-history related emerging technologies could present on their research. Each year there are usually a handful of students who present, and often a number of individuals from companies like MyFamily.com and folks from the Church Family History Department who provide thought-provoking presentations on the amazing things happening in this area.

Each year the conference begins with a very interesting keynote speaker (2005 was Ransom Love, head of the church FH department, and last year was Peter Norvig from Google). Each year also includes a panel session with several influential members of the community. There are usually a number of vendors and individuals providing demos of their products and ideas. More info on the scope of the conference can be found at the FHT Website. For me, the FHT is my 'Mecca event', I look forward to it all year long.

One nice thing about the FHT is that you get to hear all the presentations of the workshop. They're not stacked like other conferences where you have to pick and choose which sessions you'll attend, while always wondering what you're missing in the other rooms.

Perhaps the best aspect of the conference is the "hallway track", the opportunity to rub shoulders and share ideas with other folks who are interested in family history technologies. It's a great opportunity to put a "bug in the ear" of the folks who are building the tools we use for family history work.

At only $60, the conference is an incredible bargain. For the price you get a full day of excellent presentations, plus a delicious catered meal (lunch or dinner). Snacks are provided during morning and afternoon breaks. Free WiFi (which works great compared to other conferences I've been to) is provided for all conference attendees as well.

FHT is usually held on a Thursday, and if one day of family history geekliness weren't enough, the following Friday and Saturday are occupied by the BYU Computerized Genealogy Conference. Where the FHT workshop if targeted more towards "tool makers", the Computerized Genealogy Conference is targeted towards "tool users". As such it's a little bit toned down geekiness, but it's still a great conference if you're interested in family history and technology.

The Computerized Genealogy Conference is also a great bargain. For $120 you get the full 2-day conference, with loads of presenters and a large collection of vendors presenting their offerings. The cost includes a full syllabus of all the presentations of the conference, so if you miss a session, you at least have the notes from what you missed.

Last year's conference had a number of presenters from the Church's Family History department, who spoke in length about the new Family Search, the digitization of the images in the Granite Mountain Vault, and the new indexing program so it's a great place to be to learn more about what's coming down the pipe from the church.

This year's FHT will be held on March 15th, and the Computerized Genealogy Conference will be on March 16th and 17th. Hope to see you there!


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I'm a system administrator working for Omniture

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