Tuesday, 22 September 2015

BIFHSGO Conference 2015 Was a BLAST!

Just back from the 21st annual conference of the British Isles Family History Society of Greater Ottawa. This year's conference themes were: Scottish Research, Technology in Genealogy and Photography. 

The three different streams allowed for attendees who were across a broad spectrum of topics, making it about more than just the country their ancestors emigrated from. It also allowed a nice variety of speakers. 

I had two in-depth pre-conference seminars on the Friday. The were just too much fun. We spent the morning really digging in to the basics of Scottish genealogy research. In the afternoon, we walked through the website for Scottish research, www.scotlandspeople.gov.uk This included some live searches for the last half hour or so. 

On Friday evening I was treated to dinner by Ed Zapletal of Moorhead Magazines (Internet Genealogy http://www.internet-genealogy.com/ and Your Genealogy Today http://yourgenealogytoday.com/) and his wife, Lynne. It was a great night with lots and lots of laughter as well as great food. 

I had the chance to hang out with Thomas McEntee between sessions on Saturday. We had a blast. 

Saturday night was a pay-as-you-go dinner which took Thomas and I by surprise. We patiently waited at the venue after the conference ended, being told that the dinner was an hour later. We arrived, what we thought was 15 minutes early to find there were only two seats left (at different tables and on opposite sides of the room). This meant we didn't get a chance to visit with people we had hoped to catch up with during the conference. Not only were we seated with a table of unknowns, many people in the room were already eating!

After dinner, I headed over to the airport to await the arrival of Chris Paton who was coming up from his gig in Toronto. I knew I was early, but was looking forward to some down time and the chance to read. No sooner in the door of the airport than I received a message from Chris that his flight was delayed by half an hour. No...wait...hold that thought....now delayed 45 minutes. Every time I looked at the arrival board, the time got later and later. In the end, it was 75 minutes delayed. Not to mention the 25 minutes waiting for the luggage to be unloaded. While I often feel very connected to Chris through social media, I rarely get a chance to see him, so it was nice to have the chance to get caught up with him even if it was around a luggage carousel. 

Sunday was another full day and once Thomas and I were finally able to drag Rock Star Chris Paton away from his adoring public, he made the very astute observation that it was "Beer O'Clock" The three of us found a lovely, homey wee pub a block or so away from the hotel and enjoyed a cold one, a wee nosh and some brilliant, brilliant craic. 

Thank you Ottawa. Thank you BIFHSGO. Thank you to my colleagues for making the weekend such a fun time and for making the conference such a terrific one. 

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