The first unique component was the name tag. No, in this case a name tag is not just a name tag. It is a way to find new relatives or new resources through folks researching the same countries or towns. The way this accomplished is through the largest name tag I had ever seen! I did have to smile at first as I noticed how everyone seemed to be peering at each chest that passed them. But although I was not as lucky there were people finding matches as they walked around through the week. Each fully registered participant received a conference bag, a flash drive with all presenter handouts, a Daily Planner, and The Family Finder. The planner, of course, included the schedule of all meetings for the week but also the Film Festival Schedule for the week. Each day there were films that would be of interest to this particular audience. I had seen several prior to the conference and was so glad that others would be having a chance to see them as well.
Clearly you don't meet everyone so the Family Finder was a really special resource. It listed the surname, town and country and the name of the researcher for every surname that was being researched by those attending the conference. If you saw a name of interest to you it was easy to contact the researcher because the book also included name, address, phone and email of each conference attendee.
But there was even more that took advantage of today's technology. A conference app that was created by an outside company whose name I could not find in the app. It was planner/calendar/note taker app. When the schedule was displayed the user could tap and get more info and then select the session. Returning to the calendar the user found the session had been sent to the calendar. Tapping on the session title in the calendar moved you to a Notes page for the session.... not the presenter's notes but a space for you to take your session notes. Ease of use was determined by the tool you were using. It could be downloaded and used on a laptop, a tablet or a smart phone. When the conference ended there was a key that said "Email all notes." Doesn't that sound wonderful?
This year the conference is being held in Salt Lake City and I am hoping that they will be using this tool again. Yep, I will there with bells on. And, yes, I am excited about going to explore the amazing Family Search Center. Well, enough for now. I will be back to tell more about the sessions which really provided not only new ideas that made me think about the direction of my research. You can expect more genealogy in coming posts.