Friday, June 14, 2019

Where do I start?

A week ago I was in cold wet Birminghmham, England preparing for my first talk at THE Genealogy Show 2019. How and why did I get to be on stage preaching to an audience of mostly British Genies?

GeniAus presents at #THEGenShow2019

Roll back the clock to a morning late in March 2018 when I was sitting in bed enjoying my coffee. My phone pinged with a Facebook message followed by a chat. It was my young genimate, Kirsty Gray, telling me of her latest project. She had realised that since the WDYTYA Live Show was not longer being held there was a space for a new geneaconference to fill the gap. Kirsty is always up for a challenge so she decided to stage THE Genealogy Show, she had booked the venue and organised the money side of things. She invited me to be involved. I had a chat with Mr GeniAus (who is always keen to take a trip to England) and let Kirsty know that I was up for it. An invitation to join the Show Board followed.

Kirsty pulled together an international team of genies to be members of the Board and organised the wonderfully efficient and calm Kat to be the Conference organiser. This group from three continents and many countries communicated by email and in a private Facebook Group; some of us met in person at various events but our communication was mostly online. I was also part of the program committee that was chaired by Canadian genealogist, Ruth Blair.

The main role of members of the board was to advise, discuss and comment on all matters relating to the Show, this wasn't an onerous task but we were made to feel that our contributions were valued by those at Show headquarters. Wasn't the Green Carpet a good decision! I enjoyed this process immensely as I am opinionated plus I got to know a new group committed genies from all over the world.
Build day at THE Show
We board members all volunteered to work on the show. John Boeren, DearMyrtle and I also nominated our partners to work at the event (love in action) thanks to Matt, Gordon and Robert. We arrived at The NEC on the Thursday before the conference and with a few extra volunteers, some of Kirsty's staff and her Ma and Pa set our minds to all the tasks that had to be done prior to the Show.

Busy hands make light work - the day prior to THE Show
On Show day we volunteers worked to a roster,  I had great fun selling merchandise and tickets with my genimate Pat, aka DearMYRTLE. Both of our husbands worked tirelessly doing ticket collection and other duties for all of the two days. The volunteers are now our TGS Family, we all worked together filling gaps in the roster as they appeared. While it may have appeared chaotic to us behind the scenes it has been wonderful to hear and read all the positive comments congratulating Kirsty and the Board on the smooth running of the show.

The TGS Family minus DearMYRTLE and Gordon and Kirsty's Ma and Pa - didn't we look smart in our Tshurts!
In between my rostered duties I gave two presentations and took part in two panel presentations. While I enjoy my individual presentations I love participating in the less formal presentations that give me an opportunity to work with and learn from fellow genies. While I had presented with Kirsty previously I hadn't joined DearMyrtle, Mags Gaulden or Janet Few on stage, what an honour it was to be up there with these geneastars. I hope that we can schedule more panels in the program for #THEGenShow2020.

Panelists DearMYRTLE, Kirsty (back) Mags and GeniAus (Front)

There was something for everyone at THE Genealogy Show, there were big name speakers from the US, there were speakers from  all over Europe and one from Australia giving talks on research and resources in their countries and there were many family history societies and small vendors available. One could even buy a DNA kit from MyHeritage or LivingDNA. The Wizards who gave free genealogy advice were most appreciated but they were worked off their feet.

One of the many Groups represented at the Show
Best of all there were plenty of chairs inside the hall where genies could rest, chat and network. Watching the delight on an English visitor's face when she realised that she was chatting to THE Blaine Bettinger, was priceless. My only regret is that I didn't have much time to sit and chat but experiencing the good vibes from the sidelines gave me an enormous sense of pride.

Towards the end of the the event Kirsty asked my husband who had worked all day (mind you he got to see 5 excellent talks from his post at the door)  if he would come again next year for #THEGenShow2020. His immediate response was "Yes". That a non-genie from halfway across the world would proffer such an immediate and positive response says so much about THE Genealogy show. It was a friendly, affordable, accessible and polished event.

I was proud to serve on the Board for 2019 and look forward to working with Kirsty and her team on planning #THEGenShow2020.


Alona Tester said...

Sounds like it was a fabulous event. Congrats to everyone involved. Glad Kirsty had a great team to help out, as I know how much work is involved in the events we put on, which are small compared to TGS.

Margaret said...

Well done, Jill and Mr Genius. And it's great to meet new people, especially those one has heard about for years.

Brigitte S said...

You did such a great job, this conference was awesome, and I'm shure the 2020 venue will be even better.
See you next in London :)
Brigitte, from France


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