Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Conference Week on a Budget

Conference on a budget As far as the NGS Conference, by now you all know I recommend attending the whole shebang. But I also realize that $245 plus four days of expenses may be beyond some. There are ways to participate in conference week for less.

Here is a range of lower-cost alternatives to the $245 NGS conference fee:

  • $210: NGS members can attend NGS for $210, that’s a $35 savings. That’s more than half the membership dues. You ought to be a member to increase your genealogical maturity in any case. So depending on how you wish to think about it, you’re either saving $35 on the conference or on dues. Click here for more information.
  • $120: Attend the BYU Conference on Computerized Family History and Genealogy on Monday and Tuesday of conference week. Your $120 gets you two days of conference sessions, keynote by David Rencher, and 12 classes chosen from among 120 choices. Like NGS, this conference is at the Salt Palace Convention Center.
  • $100: Register for a single day of the NGS Conference for $100. For more information about this option, watch for my Vault Vednesday article tomorrow. Click here for more information.
  • $60: Stay home, join NGS for $60, and enjoy an entire year of member benefits. Click here to join.
  • $40: You don’t have to be a conference attendee to attend either NGS workshop, Genealogy 101 or Genealogy 201, on Saturday. $40 each includes a sack lunch. Click here for more information.
  • $25: If you’re a student, attend the BYU Conference (see above) for just $25.
  • $15: If a family member is already a member of NGS, you can join for just $15. Click here to join.

Free is Good

If all the alternatives, above, are still beyond your price range, perhaps I can entice you with one last price point: FREE! Find yourself in Salt Lake City during conference week and there are a number of opportunities available to you at no charge:

  • The NGS Conference Exhibit Hall may be the largest assemblage of genealogy vendors ever assembled. Look for these extras:
    • Show specials on many of your favorite genealogy programs and products.
    • Sit-down demonstrations, not unlike conference sessions, are offered by several vendors of genealogy programs.
    • Ancestry.com typically has several computers available for free access to their website. Consultants are on hand to give personalized research help.
    • I don’t know if Legacy will be holding their usual drawing for a free Netbook computer, but if they aren’t, you are likely to run into other prize drawings. When the FGS conference was last held in Salt Lake I won a hotel stay for 2 at a property close to the Family History Library.
    • At that same conference, I picked up a nice collection of free publications at the National Archives booth. I have high hopes they’ll do the same thing this year.
    • SWAG. That’s the official, programmers’ term for free promotional items given out at trade shows: pens, high lighters, post-it notes, stickers, rulers, pocket flashlights, and miniature magnifying glasses—all labeled with someone’s logo—are SWAG I’ve seen at recent genealogy shows. (Back in my professional SWAGger days, I once bagged 21 t-shirts at a computer trade show! Those were the days. But I digress…)
    • Chocolate. Or breath mints. They’re available at every other booth. The chocolate is worth mentioning, the mints not so much.
  • The GenTech Technology Hall in or adjacent to the Exhibit Hall offers views into technologies useful to genealogists. The hall will include a mixture of vendors and technology demonstrations. Also,
    • Tour the FamilySearch Digital Pipeline in the FamilySearch GenTech booth. They may have other technology demonstrations as well.
    • Attend 20 minute mini-sessions demonstrating products and technologies.
    • Use a computer lab connected to the Family History Library desktop and its amazing collection of premium websites and resources.
  • Ancestry.com is offering free document scanning. Signups for each day are held first thing in the morning. Inquire at the Ancestry.com booth to learn where to sign up.
  • Ancestry.com is sponsoring a free Who Do You Think Your Are viewing party Friday night. Watch the final episode and enjoy free snacks.
  • A Celebration of Family History – I hesitate to mention this event because officially it is sold out. Although there is no charge, tickets are required for this event.
    • David McCullough, nationally renowned, Pulitzer Prize winning author, is coming to Salt Lake City to speak on the connections that tie families together through the generations. Hosted by President Henry B. Eyring of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, this celebration will feature special audiovisual presentations and music by the Mormon Tabernacle Choir and Orchestra at Temple Square.
    • The event is Thursday, 29 April 2010 at 7:00pm in the Conference Center. Those with tickets should be in their seats 30 minutes before the event start time. Doors will open at 5:30 p.m. The program will last approximately 90 minutes.
    • Best dress is requested. Cameras, recording devices, backpacks, food, and beverages are not allowed in the Conference Center.
    • Why tell you about this event if you can’t get a ticket? Because standby seating is available. It is on a first-come, first-serve basis. The standby line starts at the North Gate on Temple Square. Depending on the number of people that show up, if you are in the standby line by 5:00pm, I think you have an excellent chance of getting into the event.
  • Yesterday I mentioned a full day of no-cost events available to family history consultants of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.


  1. Another way I found to keep expenses in check is to stay at a Youth Hostel/Guest House! There are a few in Salt Lake and they are close to Trax. I am well over the typical age of "youth" (!) but it is costing me only about $20 a night for a private room AND i get free wireless and use of the kitchen!

  2. You are the bomb. With a lock for your door. Ear plugs for the all night music partyers. This is a great option.

  3. I'm not quite sure what you are getting at...the doors are locked, it has gotten very high reviews and sure beats paying $100 a night for a hotel. http://ut123.com/CG.htm
    Not all of us are rich, you know. I've saved for a year to come to this conference. I'm really looking forward to 7 days in Salt Lake and don't want to waste so much money on a hotel and outside meals.


Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.