I left home around 5:30 this morning and headed down to the Family History Expo in Atlanta. I arrived around 7:30 and picked up my name badge. I don't think I ever realized that Gwinnett Center was so huge. The main hall had enough seats for what seemed like a gajillion people, and it was almost full.
So while I was waiting for the keynote address to begin, I heard a familiar voice. It was Pat Ritchley of DearMYRTLE fame! (I recognized her voice from the Beginning Blogging class I took online via Legacy - good work Myrt!) She was sitting about 10 feet away from me. I felt like I was in the presence of a celebrity! I have been following Myrtle since the beginning of time, pre-blog -- when she was putting out newsletters -- sometime in the 1990s. It was very exciting, I was especially excited when I got to attend a Social Networking Q&A session with her and Thomas MacEntee (Geneabloggers), Amy Coffin (We Tree), and Tonia Kendrick (Tonia's Roots). We were joined by Holly Hansen, the President of Family History Expos. This panel of bloggers was amazing. They had so many great ideas, and it was a small enough crowd that it felt more like a casual conversation between friends than a "class" or a "lecture."
I also attended two classes with Lisa Alzo: Tracing Your Immigrant Ancestors and Finding Your Female Ancestors. Fortunately, she provided a wonderful syllabus for each class, because there was so much information given in those two classes that had I tried to write everything down, I would have had full-blown carpal tunnel by the end of the day!
David Dilts with FamilySearch gave me a fresh perspective on census records and the wealth of information they offer, and not only for the person who is the subject of your search. He went over so many things I never even thought of when working with census records.
In between the classes, I visited the vendor hall ... WOW. Everyone was there! I got a lot of information from folks I never knew existed until I went to the Expo. I may not need their services right this second, but at some point in the future, I definitely will ... and when I do, I'll be ready! I did go ahead and purchase a book called Stories to Tell from, well, Stories to Tell Books. While I'm not ready to start writing a book just yet, I thought it might be a good idea to start organizing my information from the beginning, so it won't be so hard when it's time to get started on the book.
Best part of all (for those of you who couldn't make it to the Expo) ... FREEBIES! In addition to the free sticky note pad from Ancestry.com, I picked up this little cutie from FamilySearch. I call him StressMan:
I checked into the hotel, grabbed a gin and tonic and a bite to eat at the restaurant. All in all, it's been a pretty good day. More tomorrow ... good night!
P.S. If any of my family are reading this. I'm officially putting this on my Christmas list!