We want the Boston conference to be an enjoyable, exciting, and educational experience for you, whether you are a first-timer or a previous attendee. The following guide will be of help as you plan for the conference and make choices among the many presentations and other activities that take place during the five days. We WELCOME you and wish you an enjoyable, enlightening experience and much success in your family research.

I. Our Conference Website

You will find much information on the conference website. Check it out often since it is frequently updated.

  • All registration information.
  • How to make your hotel reservation and learn more about the hotel.
  • How to join the conference discussion list.
  • How to volunteer some of your time.
  • The program including presentation topics and other activities.
  • FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions with answers).
  • Travel to the convention city and tours offered.
  • All about the Film Festival.
  • Research resources available in Boston.
  • Tourist attractions.
  • And more...

TIP: Remember to check the conference website often, especially the FAQ.

II. Conference Discussion List

Our registration website has information about how to join the conference discussion list. This is a forum for anyone interested in the conference. Individuals can post questions and/or answers. Updates about the conference will be posted there. This forum is moderated so that off-topic messages will not be posted.

TIP: You will receive messages from the list only if you have signed up following the procedure given on the website. It is an excellent way to see if others have the same question(s) you have; learning the answers; and making contact with others who will be at the conference. No question is dumb! You may sign up even before you have registered for the conference. We recommend signing up early so you don't miss anything.

III. Conference Materials

When you check in at the conference registration desk, you will receive various materials. Remember: bring your registration confirmation (with its barcode) and a picture ID.

Registrants will receive the materials listed below. Those items marked with "FPR" are provided only to full primary registrants, including student registrant, and not to daily registrants and spouse/partner registrants.

  • A badge with your name and the city and state where you live along with a badge holder. The badge includes a list of family names/ancestral locations that you filled in at the time of registration. This list lets others know what areas you are researching and helps attendees identify others with similar interests.

TIP: Don't be surprised if someone comes up to you and looks intently at your badge.

  • Tickets for any fee-based events purchased at the time of online registration.
  • Limited number of calling cards with your name and contact information. It is a good idea to also bring your own. TIP: You will receive the digest via email only if you have signed up following the procedure given at the website. It is an excellent way to see if others have the same question(s) you have; learning the answers; and making contact with others who will be at the conference. No question is dumb! You may sign up even before you have registered for the conference. We recommend signing up early so you don't miss anything.
  • A conference tote bag (FPR) to carry all your conference materials. The bag may contain chatchkes such as a pen, as well as flyers from different organizations. These items vary from conference to conference.

VERY IMPORTANT TIP: Put a calling card into the place provided on the bag. This makes it possible for you to get your bag back should you misplace it (or should someone else take it by mistake).

  • A Daily Planner. This is a booklet listing the schedule of programs, speakers, and activities going on at the conference on a daily and hourly basis. It will also have a map of the hotel layout.


You should keep the Daily Planner with you at all times so you can check what is going on and decide what you want to attend.

Put your name on it so that it can be returned to you if lost. We can't provide free replacement copies of the Daily Planner (though we may have extras for a nominal cost).

  • A Syllabus (FPR). This will be on a memory stick. The syllabus is a large document containing all the handouts that speakers have prepared for their presentations. The format in which these handouts appear differs from speaker to speaker. Some simply prepare an outline of the topics they will cover; others write out their information in an essay form. If you want a printed version of the syllabus, you must pre-order it at the time of online registration. There will be other information in the syllabus, so do look through it.

TIP: It is helpful to review handouts prior to listening to speakers. Of course, it will come in handy after the conference is over when you review what you heard, or read about a presentation.

  • A Family Finder (FPR). The Family Finder lists all the attendees, their contact information, and the family surnames and locations that were listed when registering. The Family Finder lists this information by surname and by location, thus allowing you to find others who are searching the same name or location.

TIP: It is probably a good idea to check the Family Finder early on during the conference so you can contact and get together with others searching the same surname and/or location. Put your name on this booklet as well.

Spouse/Domestic partners and Daily registrants will receive a badge, badge holder, Daily Planner, and tickets for any fee-based events purchased at the time of online registration. If available, bags and/or memory sticks may be purchased for a nominal fee.

IV. What to Bring

Bring your questions. You will find a great many attendees who are experts in different areas and who will be happy to share their knowledge and suggest avenues of further research.

Bring a jacket or sweater if you are sensitive to air conditioning that is too cold. Wear comfortable clothes and shoes.

Bring copies of documents you would like translated. We always try to have individuals available who can translate various languages.

VERY IMPORTANT TIP: Do not bring original documents. Always bring copies. You don't want to misplace an important family record and end up going home without it.

Should you bring your entire family tree? Some people do and others do not. It depends on whether you think it will be useful in talking to other researchers. If your family tree is stored on a lap-top, iPad, thumb drive, etc., that is probably the best way to share information at the conference.

Photos. Some attendees bring mystery photos to post on the bulletin board asking if anyone recognizes the individual(s) in the photo. Remember: Bring copies, not originals!

Be sure to bring your good humor, sense of adventure and inquisitive mind.

V. How to Locate Other Attendees

There will be a bulletin board where you can post messages and requests.

Since most attendees stay at the conference hotel, check with the hotel operator and then leave a message on their room phone.

Do not be bashful! Introduce yourself to others and start a conversation.

VI. Doing Research While at the Conference

One of the first things you should do is check the Resource Center and the materials available there. The Resource Center at each of our conferences has a great deal of resource materials that you may not have easy access to where you live. This normally ranges from books considered important for Jewish genealogy to maps to computers with access to databases not normally available without a fee. Printers and copy machines will be available in the Resource Room.

TIP: You are free to use the Resource Center whenever it is open, but you may have to sign up to access something if there is heavy demand. If you "check out" a book, you will have to leave a picture ID at the desk as security. Materials may not be removed from the Resource Center.

If you want to visit one of the research facilities outside of the conference venue, check in the Hospitality Desk to find out where it is located, how to get there, whether you have to make a reservation first, and what type of materials are available there.

TIP: Our website will have information about local research facilities so you can do some of your homework before the conference begins.

VII. What Presentations to Attend?

There will be many sessions that you will want to attend, but some may be given at the same time. How should you decide which to attend?


Check the schedule to see if any of the presentations will be repeated.

Read the handouts in the Syllabus to see which you think will be most useful.

Look at the speaker biographies—are there speakers who you think are particularly interesting because of their background, etc.

Ask other attendees what they would recommend.

VIII. Other Conference Activities

Special Interest Group (SIG) meetings and luncheons. Some of the SIGS have lunches during the conference. They often have a speaker and/or conduct business. You do not have to be a SIG member to attend the lunch but you do need to purchase a ticket for it at the time you register. These lunches are an excellent way to meet others searching the same geographical area.

Birds of a Feather (BOFs). There will be BOF gatherings at the conference. Check the schedule to see if any of them focus on the town/area and/or surname you are researching. Attend: share and learn with others interested in the same locale/surname.

Banquet. The banquet takes place on Thursday evening and is considered a highlight of the conference week. While there is no set dress code, some people do get "dressed up." The banquet is a festive affair and a great way to relax after a week of exercising your mind; it provides the opportunity to spend time with friends and to say goodbye until the next conference. There will be an interesting speaker or fun entertainment. The IAJGS Achievement Awards are presented at the banquet, and that is always exciting.

TIP: The method for making seating arrangements will be announced at the conference. Check at the Hospitality Desk for details.

Schmooze areas (any place where two or more genealogists congregate). Even if you don't know anyone sitting at a table or on a couch, you should by all means join them. Making the effort to get to know other attendees will only enhance your experience.

Exhibitor Hall. Spend time in the Exhibitor Hall. Look at what exhibitors have on display and for sale. You may find just the thing you were looking for (from books to jewelry to artwork to computer programs).

Hospitality Desk. Have questions? Stop by in the conference Hospitality Room. The volunteers working there will be happy to help you with directions, information, city maps, and much more.

IX. Volunteer to Help

If you think you may have some free time to help on-site, please refer to the volunteer section of our website. We welcome volunteers. You will find the work interesting, and you will have the chance to meet new people.



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