I had been looking forward to this conference for some time now and hoped to be able to attend it with my trusty offsider, Kristy, but unfortunately the poor old thing could not come. Kristy is recuperating from a car accident she had last week in which some moron P plater drove straight through a roundabout and totalled both cars. Thankfully neither were seriously injured but Kristy has whiplash and so sitting at a conference all day was not on the agenda for her.
Not to be deterred I sallied forth down the highway to Parramatta, carefully avoiding looking anywhere near St John’s Cemetery in case the resident ghosts we encountered late last year spotted me and came out for another round. I tell you, I’m never going there again.
But, true to form, I arrived at the venue without my tickets. They were sitting by themselves enjoying a lovely day on my kitchen bench next to my camera battery charger. I don’t take stress very easily, hence the blood pressure medication, and I panicked that I wouldn’t be able to get in. Of course, no need to worry and as my name got marked off the list I did a silent “Yessss” as I entered the conference room.
Quite a few people there and the first I spotted was Thomas Macentee sitting by himself at a little table. I’m not particularly shy since I hit the Over 50’s so over I strode to introduce myself and say hello. Thomas is a lovely bloke and was instrumental in getting me the guest blogger position on Saving Memories Forever so we spoke for a while and he told me that the company had recently won an innovation award. Nice to hear.
Thomas did two talks that I saw. One on cloud computing for genealogists and another on preparing a genealogical toolbox which were quite interesting to have names put to things that most of us would do automatically. There was one lady from outback Queensland who mentioned that the internet access out there is so minimal that cloud computing is only a dream and I could see that what is taken as being the norm in most parts of the world, really doesn’t always sit well with us Aussies. I’m saying this as I am up at sparrows this morning so I can use my superduperextrafasttopoftheline connection which fails miserably every evening up here less than 100 kms from the heart of Sydney. Oh well…
Next on my Meet and Greet menu was Alona Tester from Gould Genealogy, Helen Smith from Unlock the Past and Rosemary Koppitke and her amazing Flip Pal Mobile Scanner. It’s great to put faces to names and I enjoyed chatting like long lost friends with these ladies. Alona had a huge range of books in front of her and seemed a little embarrassed that so many had sold and others had to be ordered. It’s ok Alona, we still love you.
Whilst talking with Alona, Chris Paton was standing beside me trying to wriggle his way out of a delicate situation so I offered to witness his pain in exchange for his cheque in my mail and thought I’d made my first million dollars of the day Chris later spoke on chasing Irish records online and it was a truly brilliant speech. I had spent $24 on his book “Irish Family History Resources Online” just prior to the speech so whatever I missed from laughing at his jokes and trying to decipher his accent I knew I would catch up on later this weekend over a few good cups of tea. Tracing Irish in our house is like finding where the cat has hidden just before bedtime. I turn over everything and still have to get up at 2am to put them in bed. grrrr.
A Geneabloggers photo was taken and I’m going to pinch it from Unlock the Past’s Twitter account to post right here.. I figure that’s ok if I’m in it. That was great to have done but I wish I could have met and had time to speak to more of the ladies in the photo. If you were there, please say so in the comments below.
Over lunch I sat with two lovely ladies who didn’t seem to have any idea of this little cyber blogging world we create and we chatted about all sorts of things before I had a tap on the shoulder from Janelle Collins of Janelle’s Family Tree Addiction (one of the nicest ladies you will meet and a library whiz to boot) to see if I would pop down to meet some more people she had found.
Sharon Muffet of the Gathering Dust blog and Jill Ball of Geniausfame were so lovely. Miss Muffett has the driest wit (which I adore) and Jill is just the Genealogy Queen of Australia and I was humbled in her presence It was a shame we didn’t get to spend more time chatting Jill but I’m sure there will be another chance sooner rather than later.
Now, the only downside to the whole day was that neither Janelle, Sharon nor I won a damn thing in the lucky door prizes. Not a cracker. We positioned ourselves next to the aisle and had cocked our chairs sideways so we could run like Price is Right contestants if our numbers were called and it was all for nothing. Next time we have to rig that draw somehow…. excuse me while I just put a post-it note on my fridge about that…
Overall it was a great day and what I found most wonderful about it all was that if you were alone at any point, all you had to do was whisper the word “convict” and someone would spin around and smile and introduce themselves. Nice to be amongst like minded geeks.
I was thinking about it all on the drive home along the M4 in peak hour traffic (oh what joy) and decided to start going to more of these events. I don’t know why the thought has never occurred to me before.