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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, 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 order my cards from Vistaprint. 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.
Some conferences allow you to register your research interests, which are then published or displayed at the event. It's amazing how often a delegate finds someone else who is interested in the same family!
Use a spreadsheet to prepare each of your entries for easy cut-and-paste:
- Name/s (either surname only or with the family name first, eg, 'PEACOCK, Jonathan')
- Location (remember to specify the country)
- Time period
- Extra details.
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.)