Guest contributor: Marie Hickey
It seems as if we are currently working from one event to another; in June it was the NZSG Conference, August - Family History Month which has had Seonaid on the road most days and last weekend (26-27th August), the second NZSG Family History Fair was held at Claudelands in Hamilton. Auckland Libraries had a stand which was staffed by Seonaid Lewis, Karen Samsom and myself. There were 52 exhibitors (including us), 40 seminars and 16 workshops; the subjects covered websites, computer programs, research in New Zealand and overseas and specific types of records.
Seonaid and I presented seminars and workshops. All three of us were kept on the go the whole time between trying to attend some seminars ourselves, giving our talks and staffing our stand. We were lucky to have our stand right by the entrance doors so we got to speak to many visitors as they arrived; many returned later in the day after having been around the other stands. I spoke to a number of people from Matamata; and am convinced that my relatives were the only ones left in town as the rest were at the Fair.
The weekend was very successful for us as we got to speak to many people from different localities and were able to show the extent of our resources and how they can assist with their research - one couple had travelled from Australia especially for the Fair! From the buzz in the hall I think that everyone enjoyed themselves and went away having gained something from the experience.
One of the seminars I was able to attend was Brad Argent's talk on "How we do what we do" (he was representingancestry.com.au). This was fascinating as he spoke of how records often have to be conserved before filming can begin, how they do their filming etc. One example he gave was of a sheet from the 1861 census for Manchester that had taken a conservator four hours to unfurl so it could be filmed.
Judy Jones from FamilySearch was the keynote speaker on Friday evening and Sir John Trimmer on Saturday evening. We have been fortunate that Judy, Mark Bayley (thegenealogist.co.uk) and Carole Riley have made time in their schedules to speak at Central Auckland Research Centre and I am sure that those who attended these presentations learned something to help in their research.
Overall, it was a great weekend and hopefully we will be back again next year. Next event - the Karen Kalopulu Lock-in!