13 July 2015

IAJGS 2015 Jerusalem, Day 3

I started Wednesday early with Jordan Auslander's talk:

"American Jewish World War I Service"

Jordan summarized the state of the U.S. military prior to U.S. entry into World War I as "unprepared." There were few soldiers in the U.S. military at a time when changes in technology affected the the scope of warfare. In 1915 there was a stalemate in the trenches; zeppelins dropped bombs on civilian targets in Great Britain; airplanes were weaponized; and submarines wreaked havoc on trans-Atlantic travel from Europe, effectively stopping immigration.

Prior to the U.S. declaration of war on 6 April 1917, American volunteers were sought by other nations such as, Great Britain, Canada, and France. There was no significant combat participation by Americans until about the Spring of 1918.

Despite the fire in the archives that destroyed some WWI soldier records, there are some documents for genealogists interested in their WWI ancestors' records at Fold3 (Bureau of Investigation report on "slackers") and Ancestry (War records of the American Jewish Committee). Documentation may be available on a state-by-state basis. 

"JewishGen 2015"

Warren Blatt, JewishGen's Managing Director; Avraham Groll (Director of Business Operations); and Michael Tobias (Vice President for Database Programing) presented at JewishGen's annual meeting.

Avrami Groll presented a wonderful tribute to Bob Wascou whose volunteer efforts to acquire records for the Romania Special Interest Group were exceptional. RomSIG is struggling to replace him. 

JewishGen started in 1987. There are now more than 700 volunteers working throughout the world.

Dick Plotz, who has worked tireless (and brilliantly - in my opinion) as lead for all discussion group moderators on JewishGen received the Volunteer of the Year Award. I have worked with Dick for several years in my role as one of the moderators for the JewishGen Discussion Group and I know first hand of his fair and even managerial style and his well-reasoned opinions. Congratulations. Well-deserved!

Another big announcement came from Michael Tobias who introduced fuzzy matching. JewishGen has allowed exact and Daitch-Mokotoff Soundex matching for searching their databases for some time, as well as starts with and contains. There is  fuzzy matching, fuzzier matching and fuzziest matching. With the addition of fuzzy matching, one may direct one's search to include spellings with one letter different than what one had entered. Fuzzier matching will allow results with two chages from the searched name. Fuzziest will allow up to 1/3 divergence from the searched word. 

"IAJGS Annual Meeting" 

As chair of the Phoenix, AZ Jewish Genealogy Group, I attended the IAJGS Annual Meeting. There was discussion and voting on by laws and guidance for the organization and discussion of some of IAJGS' desire to create "Society in a Box" - tools for developing a society for IAJGS' member organizations. Phase 2 will be developing templates for society use. The IAJGS is also working to develop one-hour videos that may be used by member societies for meeting content.

Blogger Luncheon

Last year I started a new "tradition" - the geneablogger get-together. This year we met for lunch on Wednesday at a restaurant a short taxi ride from the conference venue. We were honored this year by the presence of Dick Eastman, long time blogger (Eastman's Online Genealogy Newsletter) and IAJGS 2015 banquet speaker. The other participants were Tammy Hepps (Treelines), Banai Feldstein (The Ginger Jewish Genealogist), Smadar Belkin Gershon (Past-Present-Future), Israel Pickholtz (All My Foreparents), and me, Emily Garber (The Extra Yad). A very pleasant luncheon. Unfortunately, we forgot to take a group photo. :-(

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