5 Tips For Enjoying Your Next Virtual Genealogy Conference

Video is king, as we’re discovering on our YouTube channel. But video learning has a culture and challenges that must be understood so we can have a positive experience in the online webinars and conferences we will attend.

I’ve included five tips that will help you to participate in a virtual conference, especially one organized by Family History Fanatics, without the frustration.

1. Read Your Confirmation Email

After you register, you will receive an email with details about the conference, the schedule, and when and how to log in to attend the conference.

If you have any questions, be sure to email the conference organizers.

2. Watch for Follow-Up Emails

As the conference approaches, you’ll receive reminders on when to attend and how.

You should also receive links to the webinar handouts, in some cases. For Family History Fanatics eConferences, we send out the handouts the day before a live event so you don’t misplace the email.

After the event, you should receive a follow-up email with links to the replays. Some conferences also send a post-conference survey.

3. Chat DURING the class

If your conference allows live chats during each session, then follow these tips for being engaged.

  1. Log-in to the sessions and then introduce yourself and where you’re from.
    “Howdy. I’m Devon Lee from Texas!”
  2. Share why you’re excited to be attending and what you hope to learn.
    “I love Amy Johnson Crow. She’s so knowledgeable. I’m hoping to learn tips that will help me with researching my female ancestors.”
  3. React to the presenter
    1. Share what parts you especially like.
      “I really love how you said you liked small courthouses because they let you touch the books!”
    2. Mention what you don’t understand.
      “Can you repeat the resource you used for searching manuscript collections across the country?”
    3. Ask a question as they come up rather than saving them for the end.
      “You said DNA triangulation helps to decide which ancestors are really my genetic ancestors. Is AncestryDNA Circles triangulation? If not, what is it?”
    4. Share links to resources the presenter might not be aware of
      “Eric – I’m pleased with the services at https://photosmoviesmore.com for outsourcing my digitization projects. They’re similar to the companies you featured.”

4.  Respond to others

Any virtual conference that opens the live chat during a presentation is a GOLD mine because you can interact with other participants.
Just remember, each platform is different when tagging other attendees but generally if you type “@screenname” the person in the chat with that screen name will be flagged. (Replace ‘screen name’ with the actual screen name of the person you’re trying to notify.)
    1. If you know an answer to a fellow attendee’s question, feel free to answer in the chat.
      “@FHFanatics – to answer your question about researching Amish Ancestors, the FamilySearch Wiki has a great article to get you started.  familysearch.org/wiki/en/Mennonites” 
    2. Be social! If you know a fellow attendee, feel free to say hello during the introduction period.
      “@FHFanatics – It’s so good to see you. Where are your kids while you’re learning today?”
    3. If you have a similar question or experience that another attendee shares in chat, let them know.
      “@FHFanatics – Me too! I thought I was the only one with boring ancestors. We’re kindred spirits!”

5. Resolve Technical Issues

Many issues can be resolved by doing three things during the live sessions:

  1. Close all other programs on your computer or device.
  2. Make sure you only have one copy of the live stream window open
  3. Refresh your browser.
  4. Close your browser and sign in again.

If after you do these four things and something isn’t working, let the organizer know in chat.

Organizers will then check to see if others are having the same issue and work to resolve it on their end. Some issues are, unfortunately, your computer or bandwidth service provider’s problems. However, we’ll do everything on our end to resolve presenter or organizer issues as they arise.

Ultimately, if your difficulties can’t be resolved during the event, you’ll have access to the replay.

Participate in a virtual event today

An explosion of virtual genealogy webinars, workshops, conferences, and boot camps has happened in the last year. Hopefully, these tips can help you fully participate in these events.

Andy and I coordinate virtual conferences which are unlike most webinars and online workshops that you’ve attended. They’re affordable, fun, and engaging so we call them eConferences.  Visit our central eConference website to sign-up for an upcoming event.

Visit the FHF eConference Site

Devon Noel Lee

Devon Noel Lee

Devon Noel Lee is passionate about capturing and preserving family stories so no one alive today has to be researched, or forgotten, tomorrow. She has authored 6 how-to books, a memoir, two published family history biographies, and over 60 family scrapbooks. She's an enthusiastic speaker who energizes, encourages, and educates at the same time.

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