Find cousins in August?

“Why would family historians from all over the U.S. gather in St Louis Park, Minnesota, on August 5 and 6, 2016?”

That’s the opening line of a press release we’re sharing with a number of media sources. After I learned many of the early conference registrants were coming from both coasts as well as Texas and Oklahoma, I decided to try contacting a few. The information I gathered from them is woven into this story, which follows the opening question:

As the site of Celtic Connections Conference ’16, the Minneapolis suburb of St Louis Park will be where the action is! The 2016 event is the second genealogical conference co-sponsored by Minnesota-based Irish Genealogical Society International (IGSI) and Massachusetts-based The Irish Ancestral Research Association (TIARA). CCC ‘16 follows the smashing success of the 2014 conference in Waltham, Massachusetts.

This year’s conference theme, “Irish Roots across America,” was carried out to perfection by the first 2016 registrants, who are coming from all corners of the U.S.

Among the first to register was Barbara from California, who read about the event in the newsletter of the British Isles Family History Society–USA as well as on the Southern CA Genealogical Society blog of conferences/events. Barbara said, “I was afraid it would sell out so I registered and got a hotel so I was sure to get in.”

What drew Barbara to the conference? Her enthusiastic reply: “The program/speakers are FANTASTIC! It’s like the dream team.”

Featured presenters from Ireland and Scotland are Brian Donovan, Dr. Bruce Durie, John Grenham, Brian Mitchell, and William Roulston – all internationally-known genealogists. Also making presentations are ten other family history history experts from around the U.S.

The discounted registration fee of $150 is available until May 31. Advance registration closes July 1. Conference details including the complete program and online registration are available at

You can also opt for conference “extras” like the Friday evening banquet featuring Irish-born, MN-entrepreneur Kieran Folliard – or the Saturday lunch with Erin Hart, well-known author of Irish mysteries.

Barbara said direct flights from Los Angeles were another benefit to the Minneapolis conference location. Several U.S. genealogy conferences are held in cities that can’t be reached so easily or affordably. All the positive factors made it easy for Barbara to influence a friend from Michigan to register and join her for the fun.

Another early-bird registrant to the 2016 MN conference was Katie from Texas. Katie is a repeat attendee; she and her cousin Anne from upstate New York attended the 2014 conference in Massachusetts. Katie recalls the amazing sense of camaraderie she experienced at the Waltham gathering, knowing that 300+ other people were engaged in similar searches as she.

Katie and Anne had such a good time at the 2014 conference they vowed to attend a subsequent Celtic Connections program. Challenged by the search for their shared ancestors, Katie and Anne have convinced yet another cousin, Dennis from Florida, to join them in Minneapolis.

Barbara and Katie, like virtually all family history researchers, readily share their successes and challenges. The interviews with them disclosed a surprising coincidence: Barbara, Katie, Anne and Dennis are all researching the SULLIVAN surname! Will distant cousins be re-united at the Minnesota conference?

More importantly, are critical hints about your own Celtic heritage waiting to be disclosed to you at the August 5-6 conference? Register now and start making plans for your trip to Celtic Connections 2016.

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