It's a multi-faceted show, with something to appeal to all family historians, whether they're just starting out, have already made some headway and are ready to move up a notch, or are seasoned professionals. Some come out of curiosity, some are attracted by the opportunity to receive free face-to-face research advice (see Friday's blogpost),; others come to pick up special 'exhibition' bargains in the market place, or to talk to service providers about their research services.
Of course, most visitors come to the RDS in Ballsbridge for a healthy mix of reasons, but there's usually one common motivating factor: the desire to discover more about the life, times and culture of our ancestors. They come to learn.
In short, the presentation schedule is there to ensure every visitor leaves the show a better family historian or with a more educated understanding of how their ancestors lived.
The lecture programme has been organised once again by the Association of Professional Genealogists in Ireland (APGI). Several members of APGI (MAPGIs) will be making presentations, but so will many other well-known historians, authors, genealogists, and research and database experts. The line-up reflects a wide range of specialities and features experts from Ireland, the UK and the USA.
I'm not going to start singling out individual lecturers – heaven forfend that I should reflect my personal interests on my own blog! – but a quick glance at the programme will convince you of the high standard of expertise on offer and the great choice of themes including military history, civil registration records, local archives, emigration, Gaelic history, the role of the Internet, gravestone inscriptions, and many more.
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All lectures are presented on a first-come-first-served basis, and they're free to all those attending BTOP.
With only four days until lift-off, it's time to start planning your visit around your favourite lecture topics.
You can view the full three-day lecture programme on the Back To Our Past organisers' website or, if you want your own hard copy, you can download a pdf here.