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End of an Era: Taping of Genealogy Presentations at Conferences

The following article is from Eastman's Online Genealogy Newsletter and is copyright 2006 by Richard W. Eastman. It is re-published here with the permission of the author. Information about the newsletter is available at

One of the time-honored traditions at national genealogical conferences has been the audio tapes of the sessions. Those unable to attend in person often later ordered audio tapes of the presentations. While not as good as attending "in person," the audio tapes added a lot of value to those unable to attend the live events. Sadly, the practice is disappearing. The reason apparently is because of dropping sales of the tapes.

For years, most of the tapes at the U.S. National Genealogical Society (NGS) and Federation of Genealogical Societies' (FGS) conferences have been recorded by Yet a search of the company's web site at shows no genealogy conference tapes recorded after May 22, 2004. The company is not offering audio tapes recorded at more recent genealogy conferences. To my knowledge, no other recording company has stepped up to make the recordings.

The National Genealogical Society has a blog about the upcoming national conference to be held in June in Chicago. At, that blog states:

The National Genealogical Society (NGS) will not be using a taping company to tape sessions at this year's Chicago conference (June 7-10, 2006). As most of you know, they have done this in previous years and the tapes were offered for sale to attendees at the show and also to the public to purchase after the event.

NGS has made this decision due to lack of demand for conference tapes and cost considerations.

It looks like the NGS announcement is a "sign of the times." Apparently, very few future genealogy conferences will be recorded.


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As a physician, I used to use audiotapes for education. However, for the past three years I have switched to CD-ROMs of all the professional presentations at the American Academy of Neurology annual meeting.

Legacy has switched from VCR to CD-ROMs. NGS should get a clue and get up to date too!

Although many national conferences are no longer being taped, St. Louis Genealogical Society is pleased to announce that this year’s Fair, “Coming Home….,”will be recorded and available for purchase.

Check out <> for lecture details. Each lecture will be recorded onto a CD, which may be purchased for $15.00 postpaid. The complete set of all 15 lectures is available for $185.00 postpaid.

Contact StLGS office at 314-647-8547. The Society accepts VISA and MasterCard as well as cash or check.

Pat Stamm

Many of the top speakers will not allow taping of their sessions. It's regrettable, but understandable considering the time and talent it takes to prepare an hour lecture. Many are now selling their tapes themselves. It seems fair that they get a return on their investment. The large national conferences are becoming cost prohibitive for attendees and will probably soon go the way of the tapes.

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