Personal Highlights from the Colorado Family History Expo

Posted On: June 13th, 2009 | Posted by: Dean

Just a few more potential “rush periods” left between class sessions at the Colorado Family History Expo. Soon I’ll be packing up the booth and heading to the airport to return to Chicago.

It’s been pleasantly hectic at the booth almost the whole time, so I’m only just now getting around to posting about my experiences. Here’s a list of personal observations from the Expo:

  • Colorado is gorgeous and Loveland is no exception. The interplay of tall mountains and towering thunderstorms has been magnificent to watch (if not to drive through.)
  • Holly and her crew at FHExpos have managed to pull off a successful conference, despite this being their first time in Colorado. Logistics have gone smoothly, booth traffic has been disproportionately high (nearly as good as at NGS, I’d estimate) and the attendance at my presentations has been surprisingly good.
  • A lot of genealogists in Colorado (and even New Mexico) are interested in offering lookups from their local records. I’d estimate between 20 and 25 people indicated solid, detailed interest in becoming Genlighten lookup providers. That’s 2-3 times what we typically see at a regional-level gathering.
  • At past FHExpos events, the balance of booth visitors has tilted more toward genealogy beginners looking to use Genlighten to find source documents. Here most of them have been interested in finding documents for others. I credit that shift to Holly’s efforts to get local genealogical societies involved. Both the Larimer County Genealogical Society and a collective of other Colorado and Wyoming Genealogical Socities are represented in the exhibit area. Their members have also given some well-attended presentations. This has raised the level of research experience among the attendees, in my opinion.
  • Family History Center consultants seem hungry for how-to help with Footnote.com. They recognize its potential value, but have yet to find success with it for their own research. That makes it tough for them to recommend it to their patrons, even though it’s accessible at FHCs for free. One attendee at my talk asked if I’d write her FHC a “manual” on how to use Footnote. Maybe someone (not me!) needs to do that.
  • Just as the “Genealogy Demographic” has turned to Facebook, they now seem willing to explore Twitter. Will they be turned off by the increasing levels of spam on the site? Very possibly. But if they could post their genealogy queries and questions to Twitter and receive “real-time” help from their followers, I think they’d join in droves. Facilitating that kind of interaction is definitely on Genlighten’s product development roadmap.
  • Our MiFi Wireless hotspot has provided reliable internet connectivity throughout the Expo, whether in my hotel room, at the exhibit booth, or in the presentation venues. The amount I’ve saved on wireless charges this trip has already offset the initial purchase price.

Time to pack up the booth and hit the road. Next on the Genlighten schedule? The Southern California Genealogical Society Jamboree in Burbank, California, June 26th-28th.


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