I have been weighing the pros and cons of attending the FGS convention in Springfield, IL, Sept 7-10 and would appreciate your wisdom in this regard.
Even if I get no opinions, I am hoping that by writing it down, I will be better able to decide what would be best for me.
Here are the facts:
* I have asked my local genealogy group if anyone was interested in attending and sharing expenses. No one has replied.
* Springfield is a five hour drive, and I would be driving by myself most probably. Cost of gas will be about $80.
* I investigated taking the train just because it sounded like a great adventure, but the train was very full and the time would be several hours longer. It still sounds like fun!
* I am only willing to take 1-2 days off work (I am a teacher) so that means I would be there Friday and Saturday if I leave right after school on Thurs.
* I have missed the deadline to get a better rate and also to get a discount for volunteering which as a single attendee was very appealing.
* Unless you attend the entire convention, single days are $99 each so $198 ( the entire convention is $235). I have considered attending the lectures for only one day and then going to the vendor mall on the other reducing my cost by $99. Can you attend a luncheon on a day you are not registered ( such as my vendor mall day) because that really appeals to me, but not if I only have one day?
* Hotel rooms for two nights are approx. $116 each night, and I assume tax on top of that. I wrote to the designated person who is working with individuals who want a roommate, but have not heard anything yet. Maybe the fact that I told her I snore (so I am told) has something to do with that. Besides, I only will need Thursday and Friday nights.
* Food - I have no idea how to estimate this but I am sure it won't come cheap. How in the world did our ancestors pack food to take on a 4-6 week journey to the United States?
As you can see, the costs have mounted and nothing yet adds to my family history research. Why then do I want to go?
* I have many ancestors from Illinois, but predominantly from the Chicago area. Will this still be a benefit?
* I have attended local genealogy days at the library and enjoyed it tremendously. This should be that experience on steroids. I have found a number of lectures that sound interesting.
* Are the military records for Spanish American War veterans here or at NARA? Records at the Illinois State Archives would be available. I think the muster in and out records are there.
* There are many vendors that I want to see and talk to - Newberry Library, Illinois State Genealogical Society, Roots Magic, NARA, Flip Pal, etc. Spending a day in the vendor mall will be easy.
* If I like this shortened experience, then I would feel more comfortable planning to attend a full conference such as NGS in Cincinnati next May which is also about five hours from my home.
* I am sure that there are more but this will have to do for now.
If you are going, I would like to know how you decided. Do you attend conferences often? What am I missing in my considerations????