Genealogy in the Time of COVID-19
It is regrettable that COVID-19 has had such a devastating effect on so many aspects of our lives. For us as an organization, one of our greatest challenges is to keep offering educational opportunities for our members and non-members. Our spring and fall meetings and other workshops have also been great opportunities for socializing with people of like interests—to network and build connections that sustain us as we move on in our genealogical endeavors. So, what happens now as we join the growing number of organizations who are going "virtual" rather than "in person?"
We have decided to hold our fall meeting October 3 online as an effort to keep everyone safe. We are trying to out-guess the virus without really knowing what the status will be a few months from now. Making the decision now rather than later makes it easier for everyone to know exactly what to plan for. Teresa Steinkamp McMillin has already had experience presenting via electronic media and is willing to provide us with this resolution to the dilemma. I think we can look at this as a positive solution. As much as we don't like change, there are some benefits to holding the conference in this manner.
We can more easily reach people who live at a distance. This might broaden our base, and it certainly saves our distant attendees some travel expenses. We are not as closely bound to time restraints. Those who could not attend in person during our normal hours on October 3 will have an opportunity to "attend" by viewing recorded sessions. Teresa has agreed to make the recorded video of the presentations available for some time after that date.
For those who might feel intimidated by technology, we will be offering several test sessions and you can contact us for more assistance. My family members are doing an amazing job keeping their social life active, all online. We might be surprised how much socializing we might be able to do, even if it's virtual.
This experience will also give us more options for future presentations. We hope to be able to hold our regular conferences in person again as soon as possible, but we will be better prepared to offer additional learning opportunities using technology. Through our new chapter website (more about this later!), we hope to offer more ways to share our successes and enthusiasm for German genealogy through an online venue.
Thank you all for your understanding and stay safe!