Whether or not you are attending RootsTech or another Genealogy Conference or Convention, whether you're going as a participant (speaker, presenter, etc.) or as an attendee, you should have a card. Call it what you want - a business card, a calling card, a Genealogy calling card..... but you should have one.
A calling card allows you to connect more easily with other genealogists. You're more accessible with your name and contact details on a card.
The business cards for my Olive Tree Genealogy website that I printed for RootsTech 2011 were too simple. I wish I'd done color for my logo, not just black and white. I like simple. I like uncluttered. But mine don't contain enough details and I may remove my cell phone number. If I want someone to have that I can easily add it, because my cards are not glossy and they aren't double-sided. It's a personal preference re glossy or matte, there's no right or wrong. But my next card for my genealogy website will be quite different.
Do you have a blog? A website? Are you a passionate genealogist? Are you a member of some genealogy societies, a volunteer for a genealogical organization? Are you on Twitter, Facebook, Google+, Pinterest, Periscope, Instagram, LinkedIn or another social networking site? Do you run a genealogy business or publish genealogy books? You need a card to let other genealogists know about your interests and how and where they can contact you!
Perhaps you aren't involved in any of the things I mentioned above. But you love genealogy and you like to meet other genealogists. You could benefit from a genealogy calling card. Think of the 19th Century when visitors handed their calling cards to servants who placed them on a silver tray for the head of the house or his wife to look at later.
I'm not advocating anything as fancy as the Victorian calling card shown here but if you like this style, why not? Whether ornate or simple, a calling card is a great introduction and a good way to ensure that genealogists you meet will remember you.
Perhaps you've sat through a wonderfully inspiring and informative presentation on a genealogy topic. You managed to introduce yourself to the presenter. She gave you her business card. Wouldn't it be great for you to hand her your calling card too? Now she has a name, an email and any other information you want to put on it, to remind her of your meeting. Who knows, maybe you'll connect in the future.
Or you got chatting to the genealogists sitting on either side of you. Hand them your card if you think you'd like to continue to engage with them. Maybe you went to the Conference alone and you don't know anyone there. You might decide you'd like to meet one of them for a quick supper. If your card doesn't have your cell phone number, you can scribble it on the back and invite a phone call or text to arrange a meetup.
So I created my new author cards this year. I've got a funky case I can carry them in (thanks to my granddaughter who gave it to me in 2011).
Oh and no QR codes on mine. A lot of people don't know what those codes are for on a business card, and I'm not convinced of their usefulness on a card that already has the information printed.
Think about creating calling cards or business cards for your next genealogy convention or think about whether or not it's time to revise old ones. There are many online companies such as Moo that print business cards for a reasonable fee. So don't wait, think about which you prefer - modern business cards or old-fashioned calling cards. Or maybe you will surprise everyone with a combination of the two. As for glossy or matte, remember that you can write on matte but not glossy. Perhaps you want to omit your cell number on your card but keep the ability to jot it down on the back if needed.
Lorine McGinnis Schulze is a Canadian genealogist who has been involved with genealogy and history for more than thirty years. In 1996 Lorine created the Olive Tree Genealogy website and its companion blog. Lorine is the author of many published genealogical and historical articles and books.