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Take Advantage of Classes and Conferences

Society classes and conferences are another excellent resource for genealogists. One local club in my area holds a newbies class before every monthly meeting. Specialty interest groups (SIGs) within the society meet after the main presentation to discuss their projects, share information, look at new resources, discuss problems, brainstorm, and network. Computer interest groups (CIGs) are especially helpful to researchers new to the ways of computers and Internet.

Conferences are usually held for a larger region than the hosting group covers, and allow members and interested person to hear the experts speak on a range of topics. National conferences such as the U.S. NGS conference in May, and the GenTech conference in January are two of the largest conferences, with a large number of lecture choices.

When attending a conference, be sure to keep the syllabus (if the society includes it as part of your registration). Syllabi are another good source of information, especially in the form of a bibliography -- simply look up a lecture of interest, and note the information contained in the syllabus. Some syllabi consist of a few paragraphs, others are outlines of the lectures, and others are full articles, but almost all contain some sort of bibliography useful to researchers. If you are unable to attend a society conference, you may still be able to purchase a copy of the syllabus -- contact the hosting society for syllabus availability.

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