Sunday, April 29, 2012
First Genealogy Speaking Engagement!
Several months ago I was asked to present "Introduction to Genealogy" at the local public library. For some unknown reason I agreed without hesitation!
I have stood behind the podium for events many times in the past. Mainly introducing speakers and giving closing remarks. This would be my first time as the main presenter.
Over the last several weeks there were moments of self doubt and the concern I was over my head. Really, what did I get myself into?!
Luckily our library has a very knowledgeable genealogy librarian on staff. She offered great pointers and tons of encouragement. Additionally, I have a dear friend who aided with the PowerPoint presentation and offered moral support.
I had chatted on Twitter with several genealogy friends about the upcoming presentation. It was overwhelming the amount of encouragement and advice freely offered. From how to prepare for the big day to useful websites. These friends were extremely generous with their support and resources.
Then my co-workers jumped on the "you will be great" bandwagon. They reminded me how much I love genealogy. They were certain that passion would translate itself to my audience. Hearing this sentiment voiced I started believing the evening would go well.
The last two weeks have been spent creating folders for each attendee and practicing the presentation in front of the mirror (thanks, Jenna!). During each rehearsal I made sure to project my voice and enunciate every word.
The day of the program dawned with a few butterflies in the stomach. Then, for some unknown reason a calm settled over me by late afternoon. That in itself caused a few moments of concern! Why was I not a basket case?
Arriving early to the library branch we prepared for 17 patrons to attend the program. Standing at the door to greet the attendees I soon realized the number was growing by the moment. Finally we counted 26 newly minted family history buffs!
Spending a few moments chatting with several people before the program calmed the last of those pesky butterflies. The love of family history we shared made it feel as if I was chatting with old friends.
Once the program began the time flew! The group listened to each detail about repositories, vital records, genealogy websites and technology. They asked thoughtful and interesting questions, which helped the entire group further their knowledge.
Before we knew it the branch was getting ready to close. Several people came over to offer thanks and ask a few more questions. You know us genealogy enthusiasts, have to practically shove us out the door!
My favorite conversation was with a married couple. The wife asked me about several databases. Her husband stood back while she shared her recent discoveries.
I then asked the husband if he had been bitten by genealogy bug. To which he replied his wife "drug" him along to the program. As he walked out the door he admitted he was becoming a wee bit interested!
In closing I would like to thank several people for their assistance and support during this process.
To Ann, the genealogy librarian extraordinaire, for amazing insight and help preparing an excellent program.
To Jennifer, friend and genealogy partner in crime, thanks for having my back and providing technology support. I most certainly would not have survived this process without your calm presence.
To my Twitter friends, Jenna, Caroline, Katheleen, Laura, Stephanie and Jen. Thank you for making my mornings start with lively chatter and priceless genealogy advice.
To Irmgarde, branch librarian and friend, for offering me the opportunity to grow and gain confidence.
Finally, to my husband, Doug, for listening to my fears and making me believe I can overcome any challenge.