Some people eat, sleep and chew gum, I do genealogy and write...

Sunday, May 6, 2018

Surprises at the Washington, DC Family History Center Conference
On the 5th of May, my wife and I presented at the Washington, D.C. Family History Center Conference in Kensington, Maryland. We each taught two classes and I also presented the Keynote. There were about 300 people in attendance and it was a lovely conference. We are very grateful for the opportunity we had to meet and talk to so many wonderful genealogists.

Now the surprises. When I teach at a conference, I regularly ask people how many of them are familiar with or using When I started asking this question the response would be almost no one, maybe two or three people in the back of the room. At this conference, I am estimating that close to 90% of the people indicated they were using the program. This is a major shift in the use of an online genealogy and an indication of the effectiveness of's usefulness as a website. Although once you subscribe to you will get a lot of followup email, they have pretty much avoided saturated media advertising. But I think the response now shows a real interest in the program rather than a response to any advertising effort.

As a group, I found the Conference attendees to be more involved generally in serious genealogical research than when I teach more casual or invited groups of people. The level of questions and discussion that I overheard were more specific and not an indication that the participants were novices or uninformed. This may be a reflection of the area. The attendees also appeared to be as diverse a group of people as I have seen at any conference previously.

One thing that was not surprising and mostly confirms again some of the things I have been writing is that there were virtually no younger people at the Conference. Some of the attendees might have been as old as I am.

Thanks to the organizers and participants for a wonderful one-day conference. They did a great job of organizing and supporting a really nice conference.


  1. Thank YOU and Ann for making this such a success!!!

  2. I loved your class on online books and your wife's class on Family Search Memories. I always enjoy this conference and learn so much. I have to say I noticed the same thing you did about the audience (of course, I am one of those older attendees.

  3. I am thinking that those attending conferences are not young, but I have been finding a lot of young people (in their 20s and 30s) asking me about my trees and DNA matches! I have been pleasantly surprised! I think sometimes that the younger generations are more comfortable with webinars!