Everything you ever wanted to know about ConferenceKeeper.org
About the website
- Does ConferenceKeeper charge to use the website, or to share events?
A. No – Using the website is completely free for everyone. Submitting events and having them included on our calendars and in social media posts is also completely free.
- Are all of the events posted on ConferenceKeeper free to attend?
A. No. Many of the genealogy events are completely free for you to attend or participate, but not all. Costs are set by the hosts of the events, and ConferenceKeeper.org has no involvement other than to pass on the information. Don’t overlook an event just because it may have a $ next to it… Some events may only be asking a small fee or donation, and some events will be worth every penny you pay.
- How do I find all the different pages, like Cruises, Calls for Papers, Podcasts, etc.?
A. All of the sections and pages for the website are under the main tabs in the menu bar. Most of these “special” pages can be found under the tab “Other Events and Opportunities.”
- Can I search for specific topics or speakers?
A. Yes! From any of the green calendar boxes on any of the pages, in the upper left of the green area is a small search box. If you are on the page for Ohio events, it will already have “OH -” in it. If you are on the Virtual calendar page, it will have “(V)” in the box. To search for a topic, like CENSUS or GERMAN; or a specific speaker, like Gena Philibert-Ortega, just replace the type in that box with your search term and hit enter. (To revert that page back to it’s original search term, just refresh the page!).
- Who do I contact if I have trouble signing up or signing in for an event I found on ConferenceKeeper.org?
A. ConferenceKeeper.org is not associated with any of the events that you will find on our calendar — we’re just sharing the information. Please contact the event host — the society, library, business, or individual — for assistance with your event issues.
- Why don’t you just share a Google calendar that we can add to our own?
A. There are a couple reasons for this. First is that our calendar base has literally thousands of events listed, which is quite overwhelming to look at by itself. Within the structure of a Google calendar, it is difficult to display that many events and still be readable and usable. By using a separate calendar interface, we’re able to provide event information in different views (calendar, agenda, and pinboard), as well as include event logos and artwork, and make the calendars easily searchable as well. In addition, our interface allows us to include more information and provide better exposure to societies and other venues.
- It must cost you something to operate the website, doesn’t it?
A. Yes. The costs include annual hosting fees, domain fees, and subscriptions for several automation programs that help keep the website organized and running smoothly. The website is run entirely by unpaid volunteer effort. While initially I was paying those fees all myself, over the last few years, user donations have helped to cover those costs. Sidebar ads for genealogy events have also helped. Every cent helps make the website better.
- Do you accept advertising on the website or weekly email?
A. While ConferenceKeeper doesn’t accept money in return for sharing events on the website or on social media (that’s all completely free), we do accept paid advertising for genealogy events or products, which appear in the sidebars of most pages of the website. We also occasionally accept sponsorship/advertising for a weekly email. If you’re interested in promoting your event in this way, please contact me (firstname.lastname@example.org).
- Who started ConferenceKeeper?
- A. Many years ago, Jen Baldwin set up a website called ConferenceKeeper to track genealogy conferences. In 2015, Jen passed it over to Eowyn Langholf Walker and me, Tami Osmer (Glatz) Mize, and we expanded on the original idea to encompass all types of genealogy events. For the full background, see https://conferencekeeper.org/conference-keeper/
- Who now runs ConferenceKeeper.org?
- A. The website is managed by Tami Osmer Mize, but is now a part of the National Genealogical Society.
- Is this your full-time job?
A. The answer used to be “no,” but everything changes. I’ve chosen to leave my day job in order to volunteer full time to manage ConferenceKeeper. Life is too short to not do what you love.
- Why do you do this?
A. I believe strongly in service and volunteer work, and this is the website I was always hoping to find. I only hope it is helpful for others as well.
About event submissions
- How do I submit an event?
A. Use the form on the “Submissions” tab on the menu bar.
- How can I make changes to an event I submitted?
A. Choose any of three ways: 1. Re-submit the event (and please add a note that it is a revision to an existing event); 2. Use the “Contact” tab to send me a message with the new information; or 3. Email the revised information to email@example.com.
- I just submitted an event – why isn’t it showing up on the calendar?
A. I review every submission for relevance and accuracy (no gynecology, no geology — believe me, they do get submitted!). I do this as often as I am able, but sometimes it may be a day or two. Sometimes longer, but hopefully not much.
- I included a logo – why isn’t is showing up?
A. Adding logos to events is a separate step and quite honestly sometimes I run out of time or just plain forget. I try to get them all caught up by Saturday night though. If time passes and you still don’t see your logo, don’t hesitate to email firstname.lastname@example.org and give me a nudge!
- Who can submit events?
A. Anyone! Individuals, genealogy societies, public libraries, private businesses, schools — ConferenceKeeper.org will share information about any genealogy event.
- Does it cost anything to have an event posted on ConferenceKeeper.org?
A. No. ConferenceKeeper.org is completely free to use – both for viewers and for those submitting events.
- Is there a limit to how many events I can submit?
A. No. As long as they are relevant to genealogy, you can submit them all.
- My society’s events are all on the society’s website/calendar already. Do I have to submit them individually to have them appear on ConferenceKeeper.org?
A. If your society plans out their meetings several months to a year in advance, and would like them shared on ConferenceKeeper, just email me a link to your society’s events page and I will add the events. If your events change, please let me know and I can make the changes on ConferenceKeeper as well. You can still add individual events at any time.
How it all works
I use several automation programs, including Google, Airtable, Zapier, and Tockify. Here’s how it all works:
- You submit a new event via the Submission tab on the website
- The information on the form automatically populates in my database.
- I review the information to make sure it isn’t gynecology, geology, or any other subject that is completely unrelated to genealogy. I try to review and upload new submissions several times during the week, but always by Saturday night.
- The submitted information uploads to the calendar, where it is parsed based on type, location, etc., and then populates on the website pages as appropriate (i.e., Virtual events on the Virtual calendar, Calls for Papers on the page of the same name, Location-specific events on their appropriate location page, etc.)
- Next I add the images and logos that have been included in submissions. As this is a completely separate step and I can’t automate it yet, sometimes this doesn’t happen right away. And yes, sometimes I just plain forget. Don’t hesitate to use the Contact form or email info@ to give me a nudge.
- Every Saturday night I prepare the “What’s New” email and website post that will publish on Sunday right about noon, linking to the listing of all the events that were submitted the previous week. None of this is automated. I try to add useful information in the email, including deadlines and major upcoming events. I rarely, if ever, email otherwise, so can with confidence say that you should receive just one email a week if you subscribe (you can subscribe here if you like: https://conferencekeeper.org/mailing-list/)
How you can help
If you would like to help with our mission, please like, comment on, and share our social media posts whenever possible, This helps them reach an even wider audience! And if you know of any upcoming events that aren’t yet on our calendar, please let me know! If you see a new genealogy contest or call for papers that isn’t on ConferenceKeeper yet, send me the link. You could also have your society or your library’s program coordinator submit their events, or contact me and I can put them on my list to check on monthly. The more events, the better the service is for everyone!
Donations and advertising revenue are what keeps the website operating and improving. Every penny is truly appreciated. Genealogy ConferenceKeeper.org, Inc. is a registered non-profit organization with IRS 501(c)3 status. Your donations are tax-deductible. (Talk to your tax advisor for specific details).
And if you have ANY suggestions, I’m always interested in making things better and as useful as possible. Email me at email@example.com !