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12 Tips to Have an Awesome Family Tree University Virtual Conference

By Diane Haddad

Our Family Tree University 2021 Winter Virtual Conference is coming up!

How it Works

Once you complete your registration, you’ll receive an email with instructions on logging in to participate. When you log in, you’ll see the Welcome page with links to each track of video classes (Genealogy Technology, Research Strategies, and Ethnic Research), live chats, the discussion board, the exhibit hall, and FAQs. Click on a link to visit that area of the conference.

The video classes are recorded, so you can watch them whenever you want during the conference, and/or download them to your computer to watch later. You also can visit the discussion board any time during the conference. Live chats do happen at scheduled times, although we post chat transcripts to the discussion board for anyone who missed them—valuable genealogy tips emerge from these chats!

Virtual Conference Tips

Here are some additional Virtual Conference tips to help you make the most of it!

1. Access the videos or discussion boards at any time

Log in any time over the weekend to access videos or the discussion board—even in the middle of the night. (If you have kids, you might need to call Disney into service while you attend the scheduled live chats.)

2. Download videos so you can watch them later

You can download videos to watch later, but if you’re especially interested in one, try to watch it during the conference so you can post any follow-up questions to a relevant discussion board.

3. Learn how to download a video

To download a video or a PDF directly from a link, click on the share or download icon. Choose to save to your desktop, allow a minute for downloading, then open directly from your computer.

4. Print out the handouts prior to watching a video

Print out the handout that accompanies each presentation before sitting down to watch a video. Then, if there is a particular part of the video that you want to revisit, you can jot down the time signature next on the handout so that you can go back and re-watch later.

5. Utilize the discussion boards and start your own thread

The discussion boards are great for posting brick walls and research questions, and getting to know people. We also usually have threads for introductions, surnames (try posting names with places, such as “Depenbrock: Cincinnati, Ohio and Covington, Ky.”), favorite genealogy books and websites, old family recipes, and more. Feel free to start a thread.

6. Make yourself comfortable

Since you’ll be spending a little time in front of the computer, keep your favorite snacks handy. Break out your comfy slippers, too.

7. Attend the live events

Several live events have been planned for the weekend. You can see the topics by scrolling down on the Virtual Conference program. Don’t forget to account for time zones when planning which ones you’ll attend.

8. Don’t be shy about asking questions

Usually, the moderator opens things by asking a question of the group. Don’t be shy about jumping in—that breaks the ice and makes it easier later in the discussion, when you want to ask a research question or comment on someone else’s question.

9. Write out your questions prior to posting it

Write out some questions you have about the topic before posting it to a discussion board. That way you’ll feel less pressure to come up with questions on the fly, and you can engage in the conversation instead of racking your brain to make sure you ask everything you need to.

10. Respond to another person’s comment by starting with their name

In a busy discussion board, if you respond to another person’s comment, it helps to start with their name: “Diane, I hear passport records are…” Other comments will appear between the original comment and your response, so this helps connect the two.

11. Don’t worry about typos in chats

If you think your typo will confuse people, just post another comment “Oops, that should be …”

12. Don’t feel like you need to take notes

No need to scribble notes during a discussion — no comments or posts will be removed from the board.