Sponsors and exhibitors help to make a Congress happen. The two major sponsors were Ancestry and FamilySearch and there were numerous sponsors and supporters as reflected on the conference satchel.
The Sydney Convention Centre is huge and all the exhibitors were spaced around the seminar rooms. This meant a long walk from one end to the other so I tended to visit exhibitors depending on which sessions I was attending.
In this post I am just highlighting things that others might like to know about. There are some other conferences coming up. In August there is Australisches Deutschtum: Reconnections Recollections Resilience with the German Australian Genealogy & History Alliance. It is at the University of Adelaide on 17-19 August 2018 and there is a Facebook page for Alliance. The NSW & ACT Association of Family History Associations is in Bateman’s Bay on 14-16 Sep 2018 with the theme Sailing Into History. Closer to me is the Waves in Time conference in Caloundra on the Queensland Sunshine Coast 24-26 May 2019.
Western Australian Genealogical Society (WAGS) has a new business name Family History WA and for visiting their stand I received a copy of their latest journal. I’m also going to be speaking in Perth in June so it was a good opportunity to catch up with a number of society members. Their website has over 1500 links to genealogical and family history sites plus a members only area. The Enrolled Pensioner Guard Special Interest Group of WAGS has its own website with lots of information on soldiers who came to WA between 1850 and 1874 as convict guards.
Every Congress we are tempted by a wide range of books, both new and second hand. Unlock the Past was present tempting not only with books but genealogy cruises to Alaska in 2018, Singapore in 2019 and the Mediterranean in 2019. I always love catching up with the lovely ladies from Anchor Books Australia and as I have quite a few of their books already, the temptation was not as great as some of the other stalls. There is something about second hand books that tempt me so I couldn’t resist rummaging through the various options.
The Biographical Database of Australia continues to grow and after a data upgrade in March 2018 the database contains 1.25 million entries. If you have early NSW convict families it is definitely worth a search which is free and subscription is quite reasonable.It includes biographies, convict records, specialist datasets and other major works. It was good to catch up with Carol Baxter and her list of true crime best sellers continues to grow. Plus she has published a number of genealogy and writing guides.
I met the editor of the new Traces magazine and I’m looking forward to the 2nd issue due out soon. The Ryerson Index (Australian death and funeral notices) now has over 6 million records and it is updated with approximately 10,000 notices each week. An amazing resource with lots of wonderful volunteers.
The lovely FIBIS (Families in British India Society) members are always welcoming and they even remember my queries. It is so good talking to people that actually put you in touch with records that mention your ancestors. It was good to see the National Library of Australia, Australian War Memorial, National Archives of Australia and the State Library of New South Wales all had display tables and every time I passed, people were asking questions. There is so much on their websites for genealogy and family history – look for research guides, indexes, eresources and digital records.
There were lots of family history societies and the major subscription genealogy companies and others but I want to move on to a summary. Congress 2018 in Sydney was probably the largest Congress ever and it went smoothly. I saw no technology hiccups which is always a worry with a big event. Even morning teas were easy to access and plenty of tempting food. The venue was good, acoustics in all the rooms good and possibly my only gripe is that it was hard to spot some people in the crowds. I got home and saw from Facebook people who attended but I never caught up with them in person!
The conference organisers and the Society of Australian Genealogists are to be congratulated on a wonderful Congress which has given so many people good memories and lots of motivation and inspiration to carry on with their family history research. Well done everyone and I hope you are now enjoying all that spare time.
Congress 2018 will be a hard act to follow and at this stage, no Congress has been announced for 2021. If it is the last one, we have gone out on a high note, but I hope it isn’t, as I really like going to Congress every three years when I can.
There are state based conferences as outlined above which are usually on a smaller scale and in regional areas. They are lots of fun and good for networking too. The major difference is that we don’t usually see the keynote speakers from England, the US or Canada but perhaps that will change in the future too.
This is my final post for Congress 2018 and Jill Ball (aka GeniAus) has been collating congress blog posts from the wide range of bloggers who attended. Have a look at some of the posts to learn about other sessions and experiences. It’s not quite the same as attending but it is the next best thing for inspiration.
Now to start ticking off all the to do things from the sessions and my chats with others. Thanks for reading.