In a comment on one of my posts on the FGS Conference, Janice Brown at Cow Hampshire asked which was my FAVORITE session of the conference. . . It would be difficult to select just one, there were so many that were well done and informative.
If I had to choose a favorite speaker it would have to be John Philip Colletta. I attended all three of his lectures and was blown away with his savvy presentation techniques. He involved the audience immediately and kept our attention for the full hour regardless of the topic. He didn't just explain the concepts he was trying to get across but used examples that were informative and entertaining at the same time. He was able to bring life to dead people! Not only were his presentations interesting and exciting, I actually learned some techniques that can be utilized in my research and took away some ideas that can be used in writing biographical stories of my ancestors and other relatives, particularly pulling descriptive information out of a photograph to paint a word-portrait of a person. Research the time period in which the photograph was taken, investigate every detail to reveal as much as possible about the person or people or place depicted. What clothes they are wearing, their hairstyle, what objects are included in the photograph. I think I really already knew that, but seeing and hearing about the examples he gave really emphasized the importance of studying the photograph, not simply looking at it. Actually, I'd have to say that all three of his lectures were favorites!
Probably the most informative, in terms of brand new knowledge for me, were the two lectures given by Megan Smolenyak. Pretty much because all I previously knew about DNA was how to spell it! Now I know enough to know that I'd like to get my mtDNA tested and will probably approach my brothers to see if they would contribute a sample for DNA testing. I'm still not sure what it would tell us, but I think it is important enough to at least contribute to Sorenson Genomics or the National Geographic Genographic Project.
One of the most exciting sessions for me was "Building a Digital Archive" when Brigham Young University, the Family History Library, and the Allen County Public Library announced their collaboration project for digitizing books, maps, and city directories. Even though I had nothing to do with it, it was neat to be present at the announcement and to see the excitement in the presenters as well as in the audience, which was comprised mostly of librarians and vendors. Much more fun than just reading a press release about it!
You can read more about all of the lectures that I attended: