Last week I posted about what I was looking for in an virtual genealogy conference and what my recommendations would look like. Grace was kind enough to let me know that Family Tree University had just announced their Summer 2011 Virtual Conference. Therefore, I thought I would take a closer look at it for you guys and give you the lowdown.
First some of the details. This conference is scheduled for Friday Aug 19th to Sunday August 21, 2011. There are currently planned 15 pre-recorded video classes that will occur over these 3 days. There will also be live chats and forums occurring during or after the presentations, I’m not clear on that just yet. Family Tree University staff and the instructors will be a part of the chat.
The cost is $199.00 and if you register before July 15th you can grab the early bird special of $149.00. The price is right.
For genealogy conferences this is definitely a step in the right direction. However, I think the dates may be a hindrance to many. Not to discourage you, by all means if it meets your criteria then go for it. But for me I prefer conferences in the winter or early spring, especially online when I am house bound by the cold Canadian winters. August is usually reserved for holidays, kids and vacations. I tend to use the summer months for cemetery hunting, genealogy trips while the weather is good and save my online learning and hunting for the long winter months.
I was a little disappointed to learn that the classes are pre-recorded. While this is wonderful for those who can’t fit it into the schedule, and can’t attend all of the lectures, it does take away from the urgency and the feel of coming together as a community online, and learning live and interacting, an experience I valued in other online conferences. I prefer the idea of them being live during the weekend, however, once they are completed the recorded lecture is then posted for those who have paid there registration fee, and one can download it at their discretion. Or if they can’t attend them all or miss a couple they can download it later. From personal experience, I know if I commit to the three days, I will set the time aside. I have downloaded sessions I couldn’t attend only to never find the time to get back to them. I guess for me, it works better if I'm into a forced dedicated time situation.
I think this conference is great for beginners, based on the choices of classes currently being offered. Some great presenters who can offer some good solid research techniques, Lisa Louise Cooke with Goggle Surname Search Secrets, Build Your Research Toolbox with Thomas MacEntee, and Making Sense of Pre-1850 Censuses with Maureen Taylor and Using Naturalization Records with Lisa A. Alzo. These are strong presenters with some good solid information to share. Although, for those of us who have been around for awhile we may not find these topics new and fresh. For instance, Build Your Research Toolbox has been offered before through Legacy Family Tree. I listened in on a couple of other presentations on Goggle research techniques by Lisa. I’m not discounting them by any means, and I recommend them highly if you haven’t seen these speakers in action. Personally, I was looking for lectures that were bringing some new to the table, that would speak to me, something that said this is new and I can’t miss out.
If you’re a more experienced researcher, these courses may come more as a refresher course. I’ve often sat in on a lecture I thought would have nothing new to offer me and have been pleasantly surprised, clearly I don’t know it all.
Only some of the agenda has been released at this point and the full 3 day program will be revealed in due time. I will keep you posted perhaps there will be something for the intermediate/advanced family historian. Regardless, for those getting their feet wet this is a great place to start and you will walk away with a ton of information and certainly get value for your money.
Although there is no mention to an Exhibitors hall as previously mention in my Recommendations for a Virtual Genealogy Conference, there is mention of a swag bag of freebies from ShopFamilyTree.com
So we will follow this new virtual conference, and see how this form of conferences develops in the coming months and year along with any others that may surface. Let me know if you attend and your review of the conference. I’m still on the fence post about attending, I will wait and see the entire 3 day program before deciding. I will keep you posted.
Does this virtual conference meet what your looking for in an online conference? Will you be attending?