08 June 2015

SCGS Jamboree: Day 1 presentations (5 June 2015)

I really like the apps provided for conferences during the last several years. Similar to other conferences I've attended, Jamboree provided a downloadable app, a syllabus with all handouts for the entire conference on CD (some conferences provide thumb drives, instead) and, if one wanted to pay for it, a hard copy syllabus. 

I've come to depend upon conference apps as I plan my time:  selecting presentations to attend during each session and downloading handouts. Having a handout before me during a talk helps note-taking (substantially reducing it). 

I usually do not look at the CD/thumbdrive (if at all) until I get home. Unfortunately, for some reason, there were several handouts included on the Jamboree CD that did not also appear on the app. This was very annoying. I attended several presentations where the speaker would say, "This information is included on the handout." But, there was no downloadable handout in the app.

Thomas W. Jones, "The Jones Jinx: Tracing Common Names"

Such was, unfortunately, the case with Tom Jones presentation. Jones' handout was somewhat minimal compared to those he's produced for other talks (I've previously had the pleasure of hearing him speak at NGS and Rootstech/FGS). Nevertheless, it would have been helpful for following along.

The topic was strategies for identifying people with common surnames. His recommendation is to focus on an ancestor's identity, not just their name. Once we know the unambiguous facts about a target person, we then look at him/her in context: who were the family members, friends, associates and neighbors? 

As we move from record to record, from associated individual to individual and from generation to generation, we must trust no record and make sure our conclusions are based upon multiple points of correlation/corroboration among information in records.

Sara Gredler, "Using Reunion for Mac to Document Beyond the Individual"

I did not expect to love this presentation. I've been using Reunion software on my Mac for a while and, while not an expert, I am far from a novice. 

While I knew that I might learn some new tips and tricks for using Reunion software for managing my research, I was pleased that Sara Gredler's concerns match some of mine: how does one use Reunion when conducting research on multiple, possibly related families, communities, etc.? How does one deal with those people (I call them "floaters") who one knows are related to one's family, but one has yet to figure out links?

Gredler explained how to add unrelated people to a tree file; how to keep custom source formats when one moves from one tree to a new one; how to use flags attached to people to aid one's research.

I could have left the Jamboree right then and there feeling that my time had been well spent!

Volunteering at the IAJGS Booth

I worked the International Association of Jewish Genealogical Societies (IAJGS) booth from about 5 P.M. through shut down at 6:30 P.M. I spoke to quite a few people, some of whom were Jewish genealogists, some of whom were genealogists who thought they might have Jewish ancestry.

We told people about the July 2015 IAJGS conference in Jerusalem, but also rolled out information about the IAJGS 2016 conference in Seattle.

The Records Preservation and Access Committee's (RPAC) Genealogists' Declaration of Rights was placed at our booth, thanks to Jan Meisels Allen (IAJGS representative to RPAC). This was good because those who might not have sought out the IAJGS booth came to visit looking to learn about and sign the declaration. 

The declaration addresses concerns with increasing restrictions on access to what should be public records, including the Social Security Death Index and vital records. These records often are critical to genealogists for their research on their families.

The following genealogical societies are part of RPAC and have been instrumental in developing the Genealogists' Declaration of Rights:
If you have not already signed the declaration, get in touch with your local genealogical society and do so.

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