Four weeks from now, a major genealogy conference will be held in Portland, Maine. If you have an interest in ancestry anywhere in New England, now is the time to make your plans to attend this event. The last New England Regional Genealogical Conference attracted more than 600 attendees from all over the U.S. I don't know the expected attendance at this year's event, but I know the host hotel is already fully booked for the weekend. Luckily, there are plenty of rooms available at other hotels within walking distance.
March 7 UPDATE: The organizers report they now have more than 700 advance registrations. The last event also saw a lot of "walk ins" at the door so we can assume the same will be true this year.
The 8th New England Regional Genealogical Conference (or NERGC, often pronounced "nerk") will be held from March 31 to April 3 at the Holiday Inn By The Bay in Portland, Maine. The theme of the Conference is "New England Crossroads 2005." There is a long, long list of speakers for this program, including:
- Tony Burroughs will speak on "The Six Phases of African American Genealogy" and "The Digital Office"
- Cyndi Howells will discuss "Evaluating Web Sites" and "Planting Family: Your Family Tree Online"
- Elizabeth Shown Mills' topics are "The Identity Crisis: "Right Name, Wrong Man? Wrong Name, Right Man?" and "Finding Females: Wives, Mothers, Daughters, Sisters & Paramours"
- Craig Scott will discuss "Settled Accounts: The New England Experience in Federal Records" and "Putting Ink on Paper: Getting Your Genealogical Material Published"
- Maureen Taylor will speak on "Telling Your Family Story: Heritage Scrapbooks to DVDs"
- Dick Eastman will speak on "BLOGging for Genealogists" (who scheduled me for 8:00 AM on a Saturday? I don't get up until noon!)
- Walter V. Hickey, an archives specialist at the National Archives and Records Administration-Northeast Region (Boston) will speak on "Getting the MOST from Census Records"
- More than 40 additional speakers at this three day Conference will discuss a wide range of topics in tracks devoted to New England Research, Ethnic Genealogy, Federal Records, Libraries and Records, Writing and Publishing, Skills and Methodology, DNA Research and Computers, the Internet, and other technical topics
Numerous other events will be held, including:
- At the "Ancestors' Road Show" participants will have the opportunity for complimentary one-on-one consultations with experienced professional genealogists.
- Small group "power lunches" with the lead speakers and other nationally known genealogists.
- Genealogical Societies from all over New England will be in attendance, offering information about their resources and specialties.
- Special interest groups will hold mini-gatherings for anyone interested in similar topics.
- There will be a special session for First time Conference attendees.
Finally, a large exhibitors' hall will feature more than 30 genealogy companies and organizations. A full list can be found at http://www.nergc.org/floor.htm.
Again, the host hotel is already fully booked but there are numerous other hotels nearby. Room availability should not be an issue. Information about the conference hotel may be found at http://www.innbythebay.com. Nearby hotels include:
- Eastland Park Hotel: http://www.eastlandpark.com/
- Hilton Garden Inn - Portland: http://www.hiltongardeninnportland.com
- Portland Harbor Hotel: http://www.portlandharborhotel.com/
- Portland Regency Hotel: http://www.theregency.com/
If you will have an automobile available, there are probably 50 more hotels within a short driving distance, including nearly all the moderately-priced chain hotels.
For those of you not familiar with downtown Portland, I can report that a large number of excellent restaurants are available, including many within walking distance of the conference hotel. The seafood is especially good. I suspect I'll have a lobster dinner before leaving! For an out of the way, low-cost restaurant with excellent seafood, I'd suggest Newick's at 740 Broadway in South Portland: http://www.newicks.com. It is about a ten-minute drive from the conference site. This is a very informal family-style restaurant; blue jeans and flannel shirts are appropriate attire.
I am looking forward to this conference and hope to meet some newsletter readers there as well.
For more information about the New England Regional Genealogical Conference, visit http://www.NERGC.org