Conference Suggestions
From: Jan Meisels Allen (
Date: Sun, 21 Jul 2019 15:52:30 -0700 (PDT)

This will be my 20th IAJGS Conference. A few suggestions to make attending the conference a very enjoyable experience!

1. Remember to bring your registration confirmation – it will expedite the registration process. You will be able to register starting Saturday 7-10 pm. Registration is on the third floor.

2. Visit the FAQs . VIRTUALLY any question you may have will have been addressed there. [Additional information can be found on other pages on the site, including additional topics under the About tab and under the Hotel/Travel tab for Travel Information and Parking.]

3. Be comfortable. Dress in layers. It is notoriously difficult to manage room temperature to everyone’s liking, especially in a hotel conference area with hundreds of attendees and other hotel activities. Wear comfortable shoes and clothing. Remember that Cleveland will be hot in the summer climate. The current ten-day projected forecast is for mid to high 80s (F) in the daytime and low 70s (F) in the evening with most days of the conference listed  with thunderstorms or showers. Before you leave, check with for the 10-day forecast.

4. Leave extra time to take the elevators to the meeting room floors.

5. Seats in the front row are reserved for those with hearing and vision disabilities that have notified the conference of their disability. Do NOT run for a seat in the front row, especially if you have a book bag on wheels as you may hit someone. I was knocked down at one of the previous conferences by just such a person.  Avoid the temptation to save the seat beside you just to give yourself more room.

6. If you use a rolling book carrier for your belongings, or use a walker or other walking aide, put them aside, out of the aisle so that others can walk safely.

7.  Be considerate of the speakers and other attendees. Turn off cell phones and other noise-making devices during sessions. Do not talk to others during a program. Do not open candy or gum wrappers during the session as the crinkling sound disturbs the others sitting near to you.

8. Look to see if a session is being recorded. You can be in two, three, or four places at once by purchasing conference recordings.  To see the list of sessions that are being recorded go to:  For information on purchasing the recordings go to:  Go to:

7. Familiarize yourself with the conference layout to know where the Exhibitor Hall, Resource Room, Hospitality, and especially the Restrooms are located. On the conference APP there is a map icon to help you.

8. You MUST wear your conference badge at all times while in the conference area or security will not permit you to enter. No exceptions.

9. Even if you are a veteran of the IAJGS conference, introduce yourself to the people sitting nearby. What surnames are they searching? What areas of the world? Always network, network, network.

10. If this is your first conference, it is an experience you will never forget.

11. If you are a beginner remember there are beginners workshops offered starting on Sunday. Check the program for more details.

12. One of the unique aspects of the IAJGS Conference is the Resource Room with 26 computers that have links to hundreds of genealogical sites including subscription programs that are permitting free access during the conference. The free access is ONLY on the resource room computers and is not something you may access using your own laptop or tablet. 

13. Wednesday is ProQuest Day when attendees may access ProQuest’s entire historical newspaper database and other ProQuest products.  Bill Forsyth from ProQuest will be giving three 30-minute overviews on how to us ProQuest at 10:30 AM, 1:30 PM and 5:30 PM on Wednesday July 31. Sign-ups are required. During ProQuest Day if there is a line waiting for the computers then time will be limited to 30 minute sessions.              See: for more information.  On Thursday, August 1, ProQuest is also making their databases available to us, however, Bill Forsyth will not be giving any tutorials that day.

14. There will be consultations in the resource room by representatives from the Museum of the Jewish People at Beit Hatfutsot, United States Holocaust Memorial Museum and Yad Vashem. Please check in the Resource Room for sign-up sheets and times and days for these one–on-one consultations.

15.  Bring a USB drive with you to copy any  documents from the resource room computers.  Also for your family tree or have your family tree information on your laptop/tablet and other documents you may wish to share with others who are researching the same names and ancestral towns.

16. Look at the rich program in advance and highlight which sessions you want to attend and which speakers you want to listen to. You can use the conference app, or print from the web site, to plot your personal schedule. When you register, you will also get the Daily Planner that includes the full schedule with room assignments. Remember that we all have multiple areas of interest so we have to prioritize due to the concurrent sessions. Look at the programs sponsored by the Special Interest Groups (SIGs) for the geographic areas of interest, and don’t forget to attend the SHARE Fair on Sunday afternoon.

17. Look through the conference tote bag. There will be fliers for some of the database companies on the Resource Room computers, and exhibitors, as well as other items of interest.

18. There is free shared-access to Wi-Fi in the conference areas. Those who booked hotel rooms in the conference block will also get free Wi-Fi access in their rooms.

19. Above all, keep your sense of humor and flexibility! Sometimes there are last minute schedule changes outside of the control of the conference co-chairs or a technical glitch with the audio/visual equipment. The conference committee members will do everything possible to prevent such occurrences, but they do happen.

Enjoy the conference… looking forward to seeing many friends who I haven’t seen since last year’s conference!


Jan Meisels Allen

Agoura Hill, CA

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