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If you are going to Rootstech or Who Do You Think You Are? Live or the Australasian Congress on Genealogy and Heraldry in early 2015, do these now!
1. Order your Contact Cards
Contact cards are a personal version of a business card. Give them to conference delegates who share your interest in a surname, locality or project, and use them to publicise your Web site, online family tree, genealogy blog or social media pages.
I always order my cards from VistaPrint. (If you use that link, the commission goes to charity.) Depending on what discounts are available and whether you choose 'Starter Business Cards' or 'Premium Business Cards', the cost of 250 cards is usually between $8 and $28. That's a great price for good quality cards, which you create by entering text into an online template. When you are happy with your design, submit the order, pay with either BPay, PayPal, VISA or Mastercard, and watch for the package to arrive by post.
Before you design your contact cards, consider what details you want to include. You won't be able to fit all of these, so make a list in order of importance to you.
- Your name is essential, of course.
- Your email address that will be valid long-term if you leave your current service provider. (The best option may be a free Gmail address from Google).
- Your postal address (or at least your State and country).
- Your Web site URL.
- Your blog URL.
- URL of your public online family tree - but check that it really is public (eg, a free tree on Rootsweb's WorldConnect, which is not locked away behind a pay wall on a subscription site).
- Your social media URLs (Twitter, Facebook, Google+, Flickr etc).
- Short list of surnames that you're researching, especially any unusual names. (Putting these on the back of the card costs a few extra dollars.)
- Phone number (but if you list this, mention your time zone compared to Greenwich Mean Time).
I created this contact card with VistaPrint, and 250 of these only cost $7.99.
For the Australasian Congress in 2015 you can register your research interests online. They are immediately searchable by others who have registered, so if someone else is interested in the same family you can contact them before the Congress (which is a lot easier than finding them in the crowd).
Use a spreadsheet to prepare each of your entries for easy cut-and-paste. The fields are:
- Name/s (either surname only or with the family name first, eg, 'PEACOCK, Jonathan'; alternative spellings can be included here)
- Location (remember to specify the country)
- Extra details (put the most important details at the beginning because only about 96 characters including spaces will be immediately visible to people browsing the interests list).
3. Plan what to take and what to do
There are lots of great tips in:
- Prepare Before Attending a Genealogy Conference (by Sue Maxwell).
- Rock Star's Guide to Genealogy Conferences (by Amy Coffin).
(This post first appeared on http://genie-leftovers.blogspot.com/2015/01/top-3-things-to-do-before-genealogy.html.)