OGDEN - Free is key.
That's what organizers of this year's Ogden Family History Center genealogical conference, titled "Find Me," are saying.
The event. planned for Sept. 11 in Weber State University's Shepherd Union Building, will be the first time in a handful of years that the conference has been free.
Organizers are expecting a big crowd to take advantage of the offering, which is for anyone of any faith who has an interest in their roots.
"Most conferences are between 50 and 75 dollars," said Emil O. Hanson, director of the center. "It's going to cost us some money, but we're not going to charge the people for it."
The event is sponsored by the History Department at WSU, and conference organizers will take advantage of the free space they've received and pass on the savings to participants.
Hanson said each time the center has offered such a conference, the small spaces where they've been held have been packed.
This year, he's hoping for the same problem but with thousands of people attending instead of hundreds.
"We will be able to have two or three thousand," Hanson said.
While the conference runs officially from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., Hanson recommends people arrive early to register for the classes they want. Registration begins at 7 a.m.
The conference will open with a keynote address by Ron Tanner at 9 a.m. in the main ballroom.
Tanner is product manager for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints Family History Department. He assists in the research and design of New Family Search and companion products.
He has a master's degree in computer science from Brigham Young University. Previously, he worked as a product manager and engineer for Novell, Citrix, and Bell Laboratories.
Following his talk, there will be six workshop sessions each hour from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.
Available during those sessions are 72 separate workshops from 39 other presenters, including Tanner. All presenters have extensive backgrounds in the subject areas they will present.
For a complete list of workshops, including downloadable conference and course materials, visit http://orfhc.org/New/2010Conference.html.
Workshop topics range from basic computer operations to scrapbooking and from how to conduct Internet research in the Netherlands to doctoring family photographs.
Hanson has arranged for the university food services to provide conference participants with $5 lunches in the Atrium if they are interested. But conference enthusiasts likely will have to eat on the go as workshops are scheduled through the lunch hour.
Participants also may want to arrive plenty early and stay late to consult with vendors who will have their special genealogy-related products from all across the country available for purchase.
"There will be vendors showing their products that are related to family history," Hanson said. "There will probably be 50 vendors. It's going to be a big affair."
He said many of the vendors will be giving away gift products to those who attend. "People will enjoy it," he said.
At 4 p.m. will be a drawing for vendor gifts in the Wildcat Theater.
Hanson emphasized that the event is for everyone, and that people should not stay away just because they don't know anything about genealogy work.
"We have introductory courses for brand new beginners," he said. "Those are our favorite kind. We love brand new beginners."
And he said participants don't have to be members of any particular religion or of any religion at all.
"If you are at least 98 degrees when they stick a thermometer in you, you are eligible," he said.
For more information, call the Ogden Family History Center at 801-626-1132.