Last minute details to ensure a great conference experience

Things are getting pretty exciting around here! I am finishing my new presentation slides and planning to pack tomorrow. Here are a few things I always try to have with me to ensure my conference experience is enjoyable and productive:

Receipt for registration


When you originally registered for the conference you received a confirmation with a bar code via email. If that is lost somewhere in the bowels of your inbox, never fear – the conference organizers (bless them!) sent out duplicates this morning via email. Have the bar code accessible on you mobile device or print it an have it with you when you check it. It will allow for express check-in. If you forget to take it with you to Seattle, you will still be able to register – just not in the express line.

The app

Download it or update it if you already have previous-year’s version. Detailed information on how to do so is on the IAJGS 2016 conference homepage. The app allows one to see the conference program (including speaker profiles, talk summaries, handouts, and locations). There is even a venue map to help you find meeting rooms.

The calendar function allows scheduling what you wish to do each day, each hour. I have found that even when I cannot decide in advance which talk I will attend at a particular time, I can put more than one on the calendar and, then, make the choice on-the-fly.

The app allows one to take notes during presentations and also to review presentations. Make sure to do that. Speakers really crave feedback and using the app is a somewhat painless way to provide it.

The app also allows the conference organizers to push updates, reminders, and announcements out to those in attendance. So, if there are are any changes in the program, or reminders about up-coming events, you will get them first.


Sweater or light jacket

Aside from the weather outside, one can never be sure whether the temperature inside the conference rooms will meet your liking. Dress in layers.

Walking shoes/exercise clothes

Sitting most of the day can be a challenge. I find I am rejuvnated if I can fit in some exercise during the day. The hotel has a gym and a 40-foot lap pool. If you like to walk and can do so, downtown areas are wonderful for exercise.

Even during the conference day, there may be some distance between meeting rooms, the exhibit hall and resource room. Comfortable shoes will make walking pleasurable.

Something on which to take notes

If you like the old fashion way of taking notes (i.e., pad and pen), make sure your pad has a hard back. Most meeting rooms will feature chairs and no tables. So, a hard-backed pad will be your friend. Of course, one may also take notes on one’s

Tablet, smart phone and/or laptop

If you have a mobile device, take it with you to Seattle. Don’t forget chargers, too! Aside from the ability to use the app – which will work on all these devices, you will also have internet access in the conference area and in one’s Sheraton room. Chances are you will want to try out new webpages you learn about during the conference. Which reminds me, don’t forget to have an accessible copy of your

Family tree

If you have it accessible via your computer or tablet, all the better. Your tree may come in handy when talking to others about your research, brick walls or possible  common ancestors.

Extra space in your luggage

Have extra space in your bag for goodies you may wish to purchase at the conference. Some vendors in the exhibit hall will be offering discounts and speakers who have written books will be selling them. Don’t forget to get their autographs.

Business cards

If you have business cards – even if you are not a professional genealogist – take some with you to the conference. They are useful when you make a request of a speaker after their talk or another genealogist offers to send you something or contact you after they get home. You may write your request on the back of the card and hand them your card with all your contact info.

Looking forward to seeing you on Sunday!