I have to say, I make no apology for the late post today. There was absolutely no chance of me doing justice to a final day report on the OGS Conference without spending some time downloading/uploading photographs and really considering the highlights, the people who need a mention, etc. etc. So, if you stayed up late to read my blog and it’s now tomorrow, you’ll be glad you had to wait (I hope).
My Day 2 blog was posted swiftly prior to the banquet dinner yesterday. Due to having a very short window of time between my final lecture session and the welcome drinks, I decided to greet my table buddies with t-shirt, jeans and my rucksack and ask for their vote: were they happy for me to remain in my comfortable (though not smart) attire, or would they prefer if I retired to the residence (in the rain!) to change? I was delighted that the unanimous vote was that I should remain ‘as I was’. Last year, I was taken under the wing of Marian Press (sadly, not in attendance this year due to her European travels), James F.S. Thomson and Jane MacNamara at OGS Conference 2014 at Brock University and so, three of the original four amigos reconvened at the banquet this year, along with several other attendees, Branch members and another fellow speaker, Guylaine Pétrin.
As well as being wowed by the hilarious ideas from Dr. Maurice Gleeson regarding Genealogy 2020, I was delighted to hear of the new additions to FamilySearch with regard to Canadian records. I have to confess though, I was slightly less enamoured that the white wine ran out before most of us had even been served the main course…. Hmm…. Hey ho. I tried to take a decent photograph of Maurice in action, but he moved around so much that most shots are pretty blurred unfortunately.
Before the weekend, I had only heard the dulcet tones of Mrs Andrea Harding – Goddess of Marketplace – over the JoinMe airwaves of Conference Committee meetings. Meeting her in person was just fabulous and her husband, Matthew, was voluntold (I believe) that he was going to help at conference this year. Do you know, I think he may just have enjoyed himself….! However, his key role (from my perspective) was that he was also voluntold (by his wife, not me) that his role on Saturday evening was to find the nearest LCBO to purchase the most ridiculously named white wine for my sole consumption. Great job! (see right!)
We had the hugest ‘after-hours’ gathering I have seen at any conference I have been to and I took Potty, Fartwell and Knob with me, which caused much hilarity (transported all the way from the UK in my case). I presented some English Breakfast Tea which I had brought over from England for the King of Tech, Steve Fulton and to say that I am ‘flavour of the month’ would be an understatement – he was enormously chuffed (and did/does a damned amazing job too).
I retired late and proceeded to throw the contents of my suitcase around the kitchen area of my residence room – the largest uninterrupted area of floor space – so half of my luggage was packed before the morning. Sleep was not long enough and the alarm went off at 11:30am. Yes, you did read that correctly. I have not changed the timezone on my tablet so I just set the alarm for the UK equivalent time. 6:30am is rather early for the third day in a row but hey, it’s conference weekend. I can collapse later when it’s all done!
Today – Sunday – was not such a hectic schedule for me lecture-wise. However, I was soon to realise that the lack of lectures would make no difference whatsoever to my busy-ness. Sales of FTDNA kits went through the roof and my Tracing Your West Country Ancestors books were selling like hot cakes. Zipping by like a flash, I found myself at 12:30 and presenting a Fast Track on the Society for One-Place Studies and then literally running to my final Ask The Experts slot as the previous Fast Track presenter overran on time, making my talk late starting.
Quite frankly, I have no clue where the afternoon went either. Suddenly, I was aware that preparation time for my closing presentation was short so I confined myself to barracks for a short while to collect my thoughts on ‘Back to the Future’. Standing at the back of the auditorium whilst the Conference Chair for 2016 gave an overview of the plan to date, I realised that OGS Conference 2015 was shortly coming to an end. How? Is it really possible that three whole days have passed by? Surely, this is not possible at all …. a time capsule is definitely needed to turn back time and do it all over again.
I have had a simply amazing experience at Barrie – I am honoured to have worked with the Program Committee and on the Conference Committee for the event and the volunteers who support the Ontario Genealogical Society are second to none. I have organised my fair share of conferences and this team has been nothing short of phenomenal. I have met many new genie-mates (how did I not know Ruth Blair and Elise Cole before?) and I sincerely hope that I will return to Canada in the very near future. You guys rock – thank you so much for making me feel so welcome!
[Photograph of opening ceremony (above), reprinted with kind permission of Brandy Fulton.]