1    Jul 20090 comments

Genealogy blogging: A hit in California

Here's a list of some of the many bloggers (and their blogs) who attended the Southern California Genealogical Society 40th Jamboree.

As we arrived on the first day of the event, we met in the lobby and managed to grab this shot.

Click to view photo in full size
PHOTO: From left, top: Susan Kitchens, Schelly Talalay Dardashti, Elyse Doerflinger; seated: Kathryn Doyle, Sheri Fenly, footnoteMaven

If you haven't visited these blogs before, do take a look at them - you may find vauable information for your own quest:

Shades of the Departed

George G. Morgan
George’s Genealogical Gleanings
The Genealogy Guys http://genealogyguys.com/

Lisa Louise Cooke
Genealogy Gems Podcast
Genealogy Gems News

Dear Myrtle
Dear Myrtle
Teach Genealogy
Internet Genealogy

Randy Seaver
The Geneaholic
Chula Vista Genealogy Cafe

Thomas MacEntee
Destination: Austin Family
Continue reading "Genealogy blogging: A hit in California" »

1    Jul 20091 comment

Anatomy of a genealogy conference

Genealogy conferences are not only for experienced researchers. If you are just starting out, consider attending a regional event.

The just-concluded 40th annual Jamboree of the Southern California Genealogical Society is a completely volunteer-run event providing an excellent experience for researchers of all levels. Their team does a great job in providing the right mix of expert speakers, diverse topics and technological innovation, along with a good dose of creativity in out-of-the-box thinking.

More than 100 speakers presented sessions; there were seven programs at each time slot, and more than 1,500 researchers of all experience levels attended, making it one of - if not the - largest regional US conferences. the 400-page syllabus included speaker bios and session handouts, and was also available on CD.

This year, some 35 genealogy bloggers attended. Eight of us were on the second annual Blogger's Panel offering our own perspectives on blogging in general, and on genealogy blogging specifically.

Click to view photo in full size
PHOTO: From left, Lisa Louise Cooke, Dick Eastman, Schelly Talalay Dardashti, DearMyrtle, Craig Manson, the mystery Ancestry Insider, Leland Meitler, Steve Danko and moderator George C. Morgan of The Genealogy Guys.

The double session panel fielding questions and answers about genealogy blogging, while bloggers in the audiernce tweeted and blogged in realtime. Randy Seaver of Genea-Musings.com posted some 87 tweets over the course of the session; others posted photos of the panelists as we spoke.

Many speakers were interviewed for video or audio podcasts. I was interviewed by Drew Smith and George C. Morgan of The Genealogy Guys, and also by Lisa Louise Cooke of Genealogy Gems..
Continue reading "Anatomy of a genealogy conference" »

30    Apr 20091 comment

Genealogy conferences: Great experiences!

Put tooltip hereA family history or genealogy conference can be a life-changing experience. Have you considered attending one?

Everyone at the event will be interested in and passionate about family history and in finding more information about his or her ancestors. Each event provides an educational and networking opportunity to connect with researchers and experts, learn new information or skills and ask questions.

Some beginning researchers feel they don't know enough to attend such an event, but I think everyone will benefit. Researchers of all skill levels will become inspired, meet interesting people, learn new skills and methods, receive expert help, and hear breaking news about technologies and new resources.

Beginner sessions are always scheduled; experienced researchers make efforts to help newcomers. Most importantly, remember that even professional genealogists were once absolute beginners - learning never stops and there are no silly questions!

Through the years, I've attended conferences in several countries. I've always learned something new, met others researching my geographic area, and seen new resources and innovation. Many people I met years ago are good friends today.

Family historians and genealogists are friendly; people often ask me why. We never know if the next person we meet might just hold the key to our personal mystery of history. We share information, help with strategies, offer advice and we hope that, as we help newcomers, they in turn will help others.

You might sit next to someone researching your families, villages or towns. Researchers who focus on specific areas or topics may form special interest groups to share information, collaborate to develop resources to help others. These groups may hold meetings or meals with speakers and are a great way to meet the experts.

How do you know if a certain event is right for you?

- What pieces of your family puzzle do you want to investigate?
- What sessions target your quest?
- When are those sessions scheduled?
- Who are the expert speakers?
- Look at the conference site for all details.
- View and printout the program, marking topics of interest.

Do check for more general topics, such as geography or changing borders, reading different alphabets, organizational skills for a project or how to break through sticky research problems may also be of interest.

Are there books or software you'd like to see before buying? Will a vendor have it so you can buy or order a copy? Will a resource room offer maps, databases and reference books?

Each event attracts experts, including international archivists from countries your ancestors may have lived. There may be opportunities to meet with the experts in one-on-one sessions, and volunteer document translation assistance may be available.
Continue reading "Genealogy conferences: Great experiences!" »

31    Jan 20080 comments

Conferences are for connections

Many genealogy conferences are set for the summer months and cover a wide range of topics. While there are general conferences, specialized conferences also abound, such as Eastern European, Jewish, German and others.

Go to www.chicago2008.org

The longest (at six days) genealogy conference in the United States is the annual International Conference on Jewish Genealogy which will run from Sunday-Friday, August 17-22, under the aegis of the International Association of Jewish Genealogical Societies (IAJGS).

This year's 28th edition is set for Chicago, Illinois, and co-hosted by the Jewish Genealogical Society of Illinois, the Illiana Jewish Genealogical Society and the IAJGS.

The daily schedule begins in the early morning and continues through evening with special events and programs, an annual banquet, film festival and omany activities encouraging networking, and collaboration among the international attendees who gather each year to learn and share expertise.

Participants include international archivists, experts in all areas and researchers of all skill levels from around the world, with programs in some 20 topic areas. Additionally, many special interest groups offer focused programming, meetings and lunches with special speakers. Breakfasts with the experts are also very popular.

Chicago - home to a large active and historic Jewish community whose descendants today live around the world - offers many opportunities for research. These include the Spertus Institute of Jewish Study (Asher Library and the Chicago Jewish Archives); the Newberry Library; many public institutions and the Great Lakes Regional branch of NARA (NationalArchives), along with university resources and special collections.

Programming includes aspects of Sephardic ancestry, the Midwestern Jewish experience, Latin American research, Canadian research, computer sessions, immigration records and more, and a resource room with a wide variety of materials.

A mini-symposium, "Genetics, Jewish Diseases, and the Role of Genealogists," underwritten by Genzyme Corporation, will offfer programming by physicians, genetics counselors and other experts.

For all details, including conference and hotel registration, click 28th IAJGS International Conference on Jewish Genealogy.

Good luck in your quest! I look forward to reading your questions and comments.

1    Oct 20070 comments

Highlights: 13th FEEFHS Conference

If your family comes from Eastern Europe, this annual event offers much useful information for your interests.

The 13th annual conference of the Federation of East European Family History Societies took place July 12-14, 2007, in Salt Lake City, Utah.

Some 32 sessions were offered by experts in the field, covering Ukrainian, Polish, Czech, German, Slovak, Russian, Croatian, Hungarian, Romanian, Galician and Jewish research.

Click to view photo in full size
Map of Poland

Speakers included Family History Library experts Kahlile Mehr, Daniel Schlyter and Tom Edlund; Galician records specialist Brian Lenius. Hungarian/Romanian specialist Beth Long, Polish/Ukraine specialist Marek Koblanski.

Very useful sessions included Tom Edlund's two sessions on reading Cyrillic and Daniel Schlyter's on Polish. Jewish research sessions included Mike Karsen (Immigration Online), Joanne M. Sher (Jewish Internet).

Additional subjects touched on Galician parish registers and finding Galician records; Polish vital records and names; German immigration, records and periodicals; Central and East European maps and gazetteers, European vital and census records, German Russians.

The three-day conference offered a lot for researchers of this area. Again, most programs offered resource material in the 132-page conference syllabus.

The 2008 event will take place in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, and again will offer great programs by prominent experts in this area of research.

If you have recommendations, comments or need more information, let me know. I am always happy to read your comments.

1    Oct 20072 comments

Highlights: Southern California Genealogical Society Jamboree

Genealogy conferences are fast becoming a great way for researchers of all levels to learn about new resources, new tools and publications. These events provide networking opportunities for those searching either the same names or same geographical locations. The speakers are experts in their field and provide essential information for conference-goers interested in those topics.

While there are international conferences on a major scale running from three to six days, there are many one-day seminars of local importance. There are also excellent regional conferences. One of the best regional conferences is the annual Southern California Genealogical Society (SCGS) Jamboree, which will be held June 27-29, 2008.

I was honored to take part in the 2007 event, and presented a program on how writing for a general readership on genealogy helps to open that audience's eyes as to the possibilities of family history research and encourage them in gathering information on their unique histories.

Readers who live in Southern California might want to attend the 2008 event - some 1,000 people were at the 2007 conference - it is one of the largest regional events in the US.

The Southern California Genealogical Society, estabished in 1964, has a library of some 35,000 volumes, one of the largest collections in the southwestern U.S. The non-profit society is entirely supported by volunteers.

Its collection includes Alabama records, New England Historical Genealogical Society series, Pennsylvania archives, French Canadian records, German Genealogical Society of America volumes, Genealogical Society of Hispanic America Southern California chapter, Los Angeles City Historical Society, Cornwall England collection, Massachusetts town vital records, Connecticut vital records, passenger lists, Confederate veterans and sources for every U.S. state.

Among SCGS special interest groups are the French-Canadian Heritage Society of California and the Germanic Research Team and German Interest Group, both with specialized research collections.

The SCGS research team offers specialized research for a nominal fee. Major material collections include Revolutionary War (40 volumes), American Colonial War, Massachusetts Town Records, Los Angeles County, German and French-Canadian, Colonial Virginia, Cornish Records and California Gold Rush records.

Some 44 speakers were featured, and special topic tracks included Creole heritage (Creole Heritage Center and the French-Canadian Heritage Society), DNA in genealogy, software and technology, and also featured a day-long family history writer's conference. The vendor room was packed with booths selling books, while major genealogical subscription websites offered free access to attendees.

Roots Television interviewed speakers and attendees. Go to the website to see the video interviews.

The conference includes a technology center with free access to many for-fee subscription sites, such as Ancestry, Footnote and others. The vendor room was filled with many of the "names" in genealogy, including DNA and genetics, specialized ethnic societies selling books and publications and much more.

Among major conference speakers were:

Megan Smolenyak Smokenyak: Tracing your roots with DNA, and finding lost loved ones through reverse genealogy.

Loretto Dennis Szucs: Finding naturalization records and ethnic origins.

Colleen Fitzpatrick: Deciphering clues in old photographs and explaining DNA to researchers who are not scientists;

Bennett Greenspan of Family Tree DNA: 2007 DNA Update.

Leland Meltzler: Using websites, breaking through brick walls, using tax records and finding the women in your family.

Beau Sharbrough of Footnote.com: Genealogy in 2020.

Drew Smith: The organized genealogist

The last day of the 2007 event featured the Family History Writers Conference with a great line-up of genealogy writers who covered journaling, writing a literary family history, uncovering past lives and publishing.

Conferences produce syllabus volumes (looseleaf or bound) containing resource materials submitted by each speaker; this event's bound syllabus contained 242 pages of information. These are always valuable for future reference.

Do let me know if you have recommendations, comments or need more information. I'm always happy to read your comments and answer your questions.

26    Aug 20070 comments

Home again after a busy genealogy summer

Hello, readers.

My summer was very busy, filled with several genealogy conferences and speaking engagements in California, Washington and Canada.

If you're interested in discovering your family history, I highly recommend that you attend a genealogy conference. These events usually offer special sessions for newcomers, some provide classes in essential skills, and all provide information on new resources, publications and much more.

There are numerous genealogy conferences each year and they highlight different research areas. There are events for people researching Polish, German, Dutch, Eastern European, Jewish and other specialties, as well as general events addressing topics common to all genealogists and family history researchers.

My summer began as a speaker at the Southern California Genealogical Society Jamboree in early June, which was attended by more than 1,000 regional genealogists, offered many top speakers, sessions on technology and ethnic research, a vendor room packed with books, software and useful displays. This year's event was co-sponsored by the Cajun research group, so there was a definite Louisiana flavor to special sessions.

My topic was "Creating Hope," which focused on how writing on genealogy for general publications and newspapers presents the possibilities of family research to a wide audience that has never thought about pursuing their roots.

From Los Angeles, I visited genealogy friends along the way and spoke in Seattle and Vancouver BC on the same topic, adjusting the content to the specific audience.

In Seattle, Washington, the joint program was sponsored by the Jewish Education Council and the Jewish Genealogical Society of Washington State, while in Vancouver, the event was sponsored by the Jewish Genealogical Institute. In Victoria BC, I connected with a long-lost branch of my husband's family, and we spent a delightful day in the mountains about an hour's drive away.

On my way once again, I arrived in Salt Lake City to attend the annual Federation of Eastern European Historical Societies (FEEFHS), followed by the 27th IAJGS International Conference on Jewish Genealogy.

Unfortunately, I missed the two major general genealogy conferences, but perhaps I can schedule them for next year.

In the next few postings, I'll provide you with highlights of each stop, the programs and more. Readers who have questions or comments about these events are invited to write in, and I look forward to hearing from you.

15    Mar 20070 comments

Networking: Genealogy conferences

A great way to learn about genealogy is to attend a major event where announcements are made regarding new resources and databases, authors hold book-signings and vendors show off new software or important updates.

The name of the game is networking with research colleagues and international experts. Each event covers programs in many categories or focused on a single region (Eastern Europe) or subject (computers). Some are aimed at professionals, and many schedule beginners' sessions.

From two days to an entire information-packed week or longer, they attract ever-growing numbers of participants. In 2007, events will take place in 22 U.S. states, Toronto, Montreal and British Columbia in Canada, as well as London and even two cruises devoted to family history.

Here are some upcoming meetings; click on each website for more information.

If technology is what interests you, there are two annual conferences in March, so you can plan for 2008:

Carl Sandburg College (Galesburg, Illinois) will hold its Genealogy Computing Week in March 2008. Classes - limited registration - are held in state-of-the-art computer labs. The just-completed week offerd such topics as Deedmapper (working with land records), online military research; promoting, publishing and preserving your research; online Swedish church and vital records; using Ancestry and more.

The Computerized Genealogy Conference at Brigham Young University (Provo, Utah), in March 2008, is designed as a how-to guide for everyone - beginner, intermediate and advanced. The goal is to help everyone learn how new computer programs and advancements in existing programs can assist in genealogy and family history work.
This year's 10th event featured such speakers ias Dick Eastman of Eastman's Online Genealogy Newsletter and Alan Mann of the Family History Library in Salt Lake City, in addition to representatives introducing new Mormon family history databases and programs.

On the other side of the Big Pond, in London, the Society of Genealogists will present its three-day Family History Show and Who Do You Think You Are?, from Saturday, May 5 - Monday, May 7. Some 15,000 visitors are expected, including family historians, military history buffs, and those interested in house history, historical travel and other topics.
The exhibitor area will feature: the Society of Genealogists' Family History Show; The Family History Zone for everyone from novice to advanced historian; The Military Zone for military memorabilia, information and specialist products; House History Zone - resources to research homes and buildings; Lifestyle Zone - where fashion, work and sport history come together; and the Historical Travel Zone - special interest destinations every historian wants to visit.

A major US show is the National Genealogical Society annual event, this year set for Wednesday, May 16 - Saturday, May 19, in Richmond, Virginia. Co-hosts are the Virginia Genealogical Society, the Fairfax Genealogical Society and the Genealogical Research Institute of Virginia. The event brings together genealogists and family historians from around the country and beyond.

The Quebec Family History Society is celebrating its 30th anniversary with the largest English-language genealogical conference ever held in Quebec. Roots 2007 - An International Conference on Family History Research will take place from Friday, June 15 - Sunday, June 17 in Montreal, Quebec, Canada.
Well-known speakers will discuss all aspects of family history research, computer demonstrations and a book fair.

The Federation of East European Family History Societies' conference is called "Access Your Ancestors: One On One Will Get It Done," and takes place from Thursday, July 12 - Saturday, July 14, in Salt Lake City, Utah. This year's event features individual consultations by appointment with experts and Family History Library staff. Thursday evening's event will be "Got Culture? See, Hear and Experience Your Ethnicity."

Click to view photo in full size

The 27th IAJGS International Conference on Jewish Genealogy, the premier event of the Jewish genealogical world, runs from Sunday, July 15 - Friday, July 20, also in Salt Lake City. It is hosted by the International Association of Jewish Genealogical Societies, and always includes announcements of major resources and new databases.
This year's event offers some 100 speakers and 200 program sessions of all types, networking with international researchers and experts, a film festival, breakfasts with experts, computer training workshops, photographic exhibits, a resource room, meetings, luncheons and programming for many special interest groups (regional/topical), vendor room, tours and the extensive resources of the Family History Library.
Program categories include: Eastern/Central/Western Europe; Eretz Israel (pre/post-1948); Genetics/DNA; Holocaust; immigration/naturalization/migration; Jewish history/sociology; methodology; Sephardic/Mizrahi; non-European (e.g. India, China); photograph/document preservation; rabbinic research; repositories; South/Central America; technology/Internet resources; U.S./North America (includes specific locales) and Yiddish theater/Jewish music.
At last year's 2006 conference in New York City, more than 1,400 international participants attended 280 programs.

Designed for advanced, experienced researchers, the National Institute on Genealogical Research takes place from Sunday, July 15 - Friday, July 20 at the National Archives in Washington DC and College Park, Maryland. It is designed as an intensive program offering on-site examination of federal records.
This year, the program focuses on commonly used immigration, military, land, cartographic, African America and non-population census records, and includes presentations on lesser-known but useful federal records. One day will be at Archives II in College Park, with optional evening sessions at the Library of Congress and the DAR Library. With limited enrollment, this popular event sells out months in advance.

Does your family include Germans from Russia? Then you might want to attend the 37th International Convention of Germans from Russia Heritage Society , Thursday, July 19 - Sunday, July 22, in Bismarck, North Dakota. Planned are workshops on genealogy, customs, history and using today's technology.

The Federation of Genealogical Societies conference is set for Wednesday, August 15 - Saturday, August 18, in Fort Wayne, Indiana. This year's theme is "Meeting at the Crossroads of America."

I promised you a genealogy-themed cruise - there are really two!

The Third Legacy Genealogy Cruise, sponsored by the Millenia Corporation (Surprise, Arizona), will sail on the Carnival Spirit from Vancouver B.C. to Hawaii (Kona, Kauai, Hilo, Maui, Honolulu) from September 19 - October 1. The event focuses on Legacy Family Tree software and other Millenia products with expert Geoff Rasmussen and other speakers, including Dick Eastman.

The Third Genealogy Conference and Cruise www.WhollyGenes.com/cruise.htm, hosted by Wholly Genes, Inc. (Columbia, Maryland), will set sail from October 28 - November 4 on the Caribbean Princess. The event attracts more than 400 family researchers who learn about research methods, tools, techniques and software from a list of prominent experts.
Onboard experts will include John Grenham (Ireland), John Titford (U.K.), Dick Eastman, Hank Jones, Megan Smolenyak Smokenyak, Cyndi Howells, Sandra Hewlett, Robert Charles Anderson, Marcia Hoffman Rising and Tony Burroughs.

Do you have a question about genealogical conferences or want to share your experiences at these events? Do you want to inform fellow readers about other conferences? I look forward to reading your comments.

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