We are here in Marseilles to attend France's biggest genealogy conference, held every two years. It continues to grow in prestige and sophistication, though the jolly humour and entertaining folks in fashion of yore remain.
This year, there seem to be more stands than ever, with the majority still being from the many local and regional genealogy associations from all around the country. There are more commercial stands than in the past, representing software companies, heraldry researchers,and publishers. Some of the Departmental Archives sent representatives and we see, for the first time at this affair, representatives of a number of municipal archives.
The congress has, as these things do, a theme: "Retour aux sources, Marseille carrefour des cultures", which translates roughly as "Back to the roots [of] Marseilles, the crossroads of cultures." Indeed it is, having been a major Mediterranean port city for over 2000 years. Italian, Spanish and Greek genealogy groups are present, with the latter offering plaster copies of Praxiteles's finest at their stand and a soirée, complete with dancers and Retsina, for all on the first evening.
That theme, along with the upcoming anniversary of the beginning of The Great War, also informs the lectures and presentations. Topics among them covered:
- Researching immigration in the Departmental Archives
- Greek colonisation in Provence and Corsica
- Corsican immigration to Marseilles
There are also workshops:
- Genealogy in schools (a big subject this year)
- Genealogical research on the Internet
- Researching families of the Ottoman Empire
- Researching Polish ancestors
Somehow, the lectures seem fewer and less dynamic than in the past, but we have more to hear, yet. Otherwise, nice conference centre, wonderous sunshine, ghastly Mistral, lovely people.
©2013 Anne Morddel