Planning a Research Conference

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Plans for the 23rd Annual Piatt Researchers Conference are underway!

The twenty-third Annual Piatt Researchers Conference will begin June 17, 2007 at Taylor University in Fort Wayne, Indiana.  Dorm rooms will be $23.00 per person per night, and all will be located on the ground floor.  The building is air-conditioned, has laundry facilities, and has a lounge for our evening meetings.  Researchers will have to provide their own pillows, bed linens, blankets, and towels.  The famous Allen County Library Genealogical Collection has moved into its newly enlarged and updated facility and will be the focus of research for most of those participating in the conference.  The web site at lists details about the extensive collection and now offers some searchable data bases.  To reserve dorm rooms, please contact Joan Piatt Lauer by telephone at 260-456-1072; by federal mail at 4223 Tacoma Avenue, Fort Wayne, IN 46807-2648; or by e-mail at

If you haven't joined us before please consider doing so in 2007.  Our DNA study so far shows that we have been on the right track but we still need to uncover documents which will prove the links and allow us to fill in the gaps in these early generations.
Past Piatt Conferences click here.


Planning a Conference


The key to planning a research conference is organization.  Try the following steps:

1.  Decide the focus.  We meet annually to research the Piatt surname in all spellings.  Your group could focus on anything from the graveyards in the region to all collateral families--let your imagination be your guide, but find a specific focus
2.  Decide the location.  We Piatt researchers have been to several locations.  Pick your location according to what is in the area that you are searching.  Find libraries and other repositories that may hold information and ascertain their availability.
3.  Find accomodations.  We have found that college dormatories work quite well for our week's stay and are very affordable.  Contact colleges in the area and speak with the Campus Housing Director.   Explain the nature of the conference, noting if necessary that it is NOT a family reunion and that all attendees are adults.  If the director has the facilities available, send a written request for a contract which states the exact amount of the accomodations and any incidental items of interest.
4.  Familiarize yourself with the area.  Locate places to eat or go for entertainment, what transportation is available to and from research sites as well as into and out of the town.  If necessary, be prepared to arrange pickup and drop off for guests who do not drive.
5.  If you have not personally been to the location, make a short trip as a dry run.  Be familiar enough to give directions to your attendees when they arrive.  Check handicap accessibility of research facilities and the campus accomodations.  Look at parking and transit costs as well as the general cost of things in that area so your attendees have no suprises.
6.  Set a firm reservation date.  If attendees must pre-pay for accomodations or anything else for thier stay,  make sure you collect this amount at the time of reservation or be prepared to cover any costs you don't get in advance.  This date should be at least 4 weeks prior to the conference start date.
7.  Contact registered attendees with verification, iteneraries, maps, and any additional information they may need.
8.  Make a general plan but also be flexible.  The typical day should include the opportunity (but not necessarily the requirement) for group study.  The end of each  research day should include a time and place for the group to recombine and share.
9.  Arrive at your accomodation location or a registration place that has been pre-determined so that you can greet and check in conference participants.
10. Be ready for anything that needs changed or things that can go wrong!

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