I have a few initial observations. First of all, attending a BYU Conference is a lot different than attending any other conference in a number of ways. It is not as commercial as other conferences, there are no featured Bloggers, no industry keynote speakers, and the conference is decidedly about genealogy, not much high tech here in Provo at this conference. The BYU Conference has been going for 43 years. In the opening there were at least two people who had attended the first conference.
BYU is a wonderful place for a conference. The summer weather is great. The accommodations are very good and the classes at the conference are, for the most part, excellent. You do have to remember that this is BYU, Brigham Young University. Contrary to most secular conferences, this one is decidedly religiously oriented. If you are at all familiar with both The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and its doctrines, you will feel completely comfortable coming to this conference. Since I am a missionary at the Mesa Regional Family History Center, it feels to me like I am coming home. I love BYU, even though I actually went to the University of Utah. All seven of my children and their spouses all attended BYU. I assume that most of my grandchildren will also. It is also a commentary that in the first class I attended, by The Ancestry Insider, more than half of the class were volunteers at Family History Centers. Bear in mind, that everyone else will feel welcome. BYU is much more inclusive than exclusive and you should not hesitate to come, regardless of your religious persuasion.
By the way, the view from some of the classes out over Utah Valley is spectacular. One note, BYU is always in a state of construction. So pay attention to the current online map of the campus because the parking lot you used or the road you turned on previously may now be a new building. BYU has a superb Family History Library, not as large as the main library in Salt Lake City, but still very useful. The library is located in the building for the main BYU Harold B. Lee Library.
The syllabus for this conference is about the size of a phone book for a major city and all the suburbs. (You do remember phone books, don't you?) Really, it is about 500 pages long. I figure all the subjects for all my blog posts are set for the whole next year.
I mentioned that I had a class from The Ancestry Insider. It was a very informative class covering some of the free online helps, including wikis, FamilySearch.org and forums. It is too bad that the same class could not be given as an introduction to everyone attending the conference and, in fact, every one who starts out to do genealogy.
This is just the first of my posts from the Conference, so I hope to have time to write some more this week. I have been working on getting my book, The Guide to FamilySearch Online, finished and published. I hope to have the book out for purchase by the end of the week.