Video Conferencing & Genealogy Societies

Some random thoughts from me as I’ve pondered this over the past several weeks.  Are there any genealogy societies out there that Skype in (or use other videoconferencing apps) to the meeting people who wish to participate but are not able to physically be there?

Over the past few months, I’ve seen some interesting articles on various genealogy blogs describing some interesting approaches to running a genealogy society meeting.  Dean described presenting at the Elgin Genealogical Society meeting in July and his very positive impressions of how the meeting was run and their venue in the public library.  Dick Eastman posted in September about a genealogy meeting he attended at a Massachusetts Public Library where the number of people who showed up was far higher than his initial anticipation.   Randy Seaver posts a synopsis of the meetings of the Chula Vista Genealogical Society’s Research Group meeting over on their blog that I always find interesting due to their format of sharing their latest research efforts and how guidance is often provided to each other.  As I read posts like these, I feel like I am missing out tremendously.

I would love to be able to join in on genealogy meetings but often am just not able to get to them.  For example:

– the genealogy society in my grandmother’s home area, Washington County, North Carolina is having a meeting October 21st that I would have loved to be able to attend

– the Chula Vista group had a speaker on Sept 30 who spoke about cemeteries of San Diego. I’ve got absolutely no research interests in that area of the country, but I would have paid to be able to listen in to the speaker as I love cemeteries.

– I received a flyer in the mail just on Saturday from the Middle Tennessee Genealogy Society of a meeting they are having in a couple of weekends.  Even though it is being held here in the city where I live, I won’t be able to attend in person.  I would though, pay to be able to listen in virtually.  That would save me the hassle of trying to find a sitter for the children.

– Over Halloween weekend, there is going to be the International Black Genealogy Summit held in Fort Wayne, Indiana. Again, I can’t go, but I’d pay to be able to listen in to the presentations or even be happy if select presentations were available for videoconferencing.  I bet there are a lot of other genealogists who are in my same position.  Unless I’m missing it though, I don’t see any hints of this feature on their site.  I’ve not seen this on any other major genealogy meetings either.

There really are numerous talks, presentations, etc. that I get to learn about through my online reading, yet I only wish I could participate in more.   Are any organizations making efforts to experiment with allowing people to pay to attend lectures/conferences virtually?  I know that Ancestry has their webinars, and GenealogyWise dose a chat series – both ideas that I think are great, but this is not exactly quite what I’m looking for.

Elyse had a great post in July about the need for genealogy societies to look towards the future and more fully engage & embrace Web 2.0 applications — I would love to see this also expand to include videoconferencing techniques.   Denise also had a post in July describing how the American Legion offered members to join by videoconference and she too mentions that it would be great if more genealogy organizations offered this ability.

I wonder who’s going to be the first to systematically do this?  For those of you that present frequently (see Geneabloggers Speakers Bureau and Dick Eastman too), why not get set up so the rest of us can participate too!

Comments (5)

  1. Kathryn M. Doyle

    You are speaking directly to me from across the country. This is definitely something I hope to accomplish in 2010. It will be on the top of my “to-do” list for the California Genealogical Society but I’m going to need a LOT of technical help. Thanks for pushing us to do better! Hey – this might be a great topic for the new Carnival of Genealogical Societies which I’ll be starting in January!

  2. Kathryn M. Doyle

    You are speaking directly to me from across the country. This is something I’ve been talking about at the California Genealogical Society Library for a long time. Thanks for the push – I’m putting it at the top of my goals list for 2010. This might make a great topic/theme for the new Carnival of Genealogical Societies which will start in January!

  3. Elizabeth O'Neal

    Taneya – This is a fantastic idea, and an opportunity for gensocs – and even lineage societies – to look towards future technology. As a stay-at-home-mom who frequently can’t find anyone to babysit, I would love to see this happen!

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