September 27, 2019
Tomorrow is the fifth annual LCGS Conference for a Cause, and I’m already feeling like a child on Christmas Eve – enjoying the excitement and anticipation of wondering exactly what tomorrow will bring. I know Judy Russell is a great speaker, and I can hardly wait for morning. All of the previous four conferences have left me feeling fired up and sometimes almost overwhelmed about new perspectives and avenues to explore on my genealogy journey. I’m sure tomorrow’s will be the same.
Looking back over past conferences, I think we can say, without any exaggeration, that we’ve been lucky enough to book the best speakers available in the genealogy world. Our first conference featured Josh Taylor, and, even though he arrived feeling under the weather and spent the evening before the conference at a local urgent care, no one who attended would have known. He was informative and enthusiastic, and everyone came away from the conference feeling that their money had been well spent.
We did have a few first year glitches with our locale that year; The Ranch had booked a gun show in the hall adjoining ours, and the entrances to both events were next to each other. I don’t think that anyone got confused, but a few genealogists were misdirected by our gun-toting neighbors who couldn’t believe there was another event scheduled next door that didn’t involve ammunition.
By our second year, which featured Curt Witcher as our speaker, we’d moved to the Medical Center of the Rockies which offered a larger room with a well-stocked cafeteria right across the hall with the bonus of no guns next door. Curt Witcher is a great speaker, probably not quite as well known as some of our other speakers, but his humorous speaking style and great knowledge of genealogical repositories, including the Allen County Public Library where he is the genealogy department manager, made him a sleeper favorite of attendees.
Year three brought us Blaine Bettinger, who was probably the most personable of all of our speakers and offered to come early on Friday to give one-on-one DNA help to a few lucky drawing winners. He also spent some time being a tourist in Old Town and seemed to enjoy the whole experience. His DNA lectures informed all of us and perhaps bewildered a few of us at the same time, but he is definitely the mover and shaker when it comes to DNA research, so we felt we’d been taught by an expert.
Last year’s conference featured Dr. Thomas Jones, and what really needs to be said about him after you’ve said his name? He’s so well-known in genealogical circles that his name says it all. He’s a master teacher, and his use of case studies to explain genealogical research is legendary. He left all of us feeling that “Hey, maybe I can actually do some of this myself!”
Finally, tomorrow there will be Judy. She’s the “Legal Genealogist,” and she has carved out a niche for herself in explaining what relevance the law has to genealogy. Turns out quite a lot, and I’m looking forward to hearing what she has to say tomorrow.
With that all-star cast of presenters, it’s hard to know where we’ll go from here, but we have already booked a speaker for 2020 for the 6th annual Conference for a Cause. Michael Lacapo will be in Fort Collins to present another full-day seminar next fall. Having heard him speak a number of times, I can tell you that you’ll enjoy his cheeky asides almost as much as you’ll enjoy learning about genealogy from him.
After all the rush of getting the conference organized and preparations made, I can hardly wait for tomorrow to see exactly what treasures Santa, or in this case, Judy will bring. Happy Conference!
Researcher/Director at Large