On Thursday July 15, 2010, Marie Hickey and myself, attended the first NZ Family History Fair in Hamilton, representing the Auckland Research Centre, Auckland City Libraries as exhibitors. It was organised by the New Zealand Society of Genealogists, who the Auckland Research Centre has a close relationship with.
We left about lunchtime so that we could get to Hamilton early enough to do some professional visits to Waikato University and the LDS Family History Research Centre.
Waikato University have some lovelyinhouse databases, of interest to the family or local historian - many of which can be accessed only onsite. Its worth remembering, that you don't have to be a student at the University to access their library.
On Friday morning, we visited Hamilton Public Library, who have a very good Waikato focussed family history collection. One of the things we were surprised and happy about, was the fact that they had Intentions to Marry 1880 to 1956 for the Hamilton district available. Well worth the visit if you have Waikato ancestors.
The Fair started on Saturday morning with seminars being run throughout the day over both days of the weekend. Marie and I alternated between looking after the stand and attending seminars.
We had probably the best position right at the entrance to the exhibition hall and right next door to the main NZSG stand; which meant we attracted a lot of exhibitors.
Our stand was decorated with posters and flyers of our Family History events, and leaflets promoting our Family History collections, as well as a few promoting the Governor Grey Special Collection and the Library as a whole. We had a Powerpoint presentation running on loop on the datashow, which showed off our digital library and what sort of information could be found within, and again, slides of our posters about our FH events.
The datashow proved very successful at pulling people into the stand, and allowed us the opportunity of being able to do live demonstrations on the other laptop of how to search on our digital library. On Saturday morning alone, I managed to find a total of SIX ancestors for researchers - immensely satisfying!
The NZSG seminars were of good quality - they covered all different topics and were relevant for the beginner right through to the more experienced researcher. As I often present to the public these days, it was of interest to me to watch the different presenting styles. Of value, too, was getting insight and inspiration of what might prove useful for future family history lunchtime sessions.
For me, personally, the most useful tip I learned was to use a different colour folder, box etc, for each branch of my family tree, and to start a new folder for each member of the family once they got married. That way you can tell at a glance which branch they belong to. Useful, as my personal research has got so large, its become quite hard to manage and so a major re-filing event is a head for me, when I get a chance.
The Fair closed at 5pm on Sunday - and was extremely successful. Well in excess of 1000 people visited the Fair over the two days, and its hoped that it will be held again in two to three years time.
Can't wait for the next one!