30 July 2017

IAJGS 2017, Day 4 (Wednesday, 26 July)

Wednesday at the conference was like running a marathon. I joked with someone on Tuesday that I would need to wear sweats and running shoes on Wednesday. 

I introduced Israel Pickholtz's presentation at 8:15 and then presented four talks. The last was over at 6:15. A looong day.

Israel Pickholtz - "Why Did My Father Know That His Grandfather Had an Uncle Selig?" 8:15-9:30 AM

Israel specializes in addressing complex problems with, sometimes, complex  solutions. Such is the case with this study. Using records from Jewish Records Indexing-Poland and DNA results, Israel took us on a wild ride though the Pickholtz clan to identify and explain why his father may have known about one particular otherwise fairly remote relative. 

I had heard this talk before a couple of years ago. Hearing it again was great because I could concentrate on how Israel made the finely-tuned case. Definitely a tour de force.

Emily Garber - LIVE! "Learning Our Craft: Online Opportunities for Improving Our Research Skills," 11:15 AM-12:30 PM

Well, I will not review my own presentations. This talk covered the gamut of online offerings including podcasts, webinars, non-credit courses and virtual conferences. It may be viewed with a subscription of LIVE! One may also listen to this presentation (an all my others) if one purchases the audio recordings of conference presentations.

Emily Garber - "When it Takes a Village: Applying Cluster Research techniques," 2:00-3:15 PM

After a lunch break, I was back to it with a discussion of locating, losing and, then, relocating a woman named Feiga Grinfeld who had accompanied my great grandfather to the United States in November 1922. If not for her extended family members, friends, and acquaintances I would not have located her far-removed from where I would have expected her to be.

In addition to standard genealogical records, I was also able to use DNA results from numerous cousins to bolster my case for the relationahip of Feiga to my Garber family members. 

Emily Garber - "Memory and Mystery: Breaking Down Family Lore," 3:30-4:45 PM

I have presented this talk several times, but never before at IAJGS. I provide two examples of family lore that needs examination.

The first features 18th century characters, Marmaduke Swearingen and Shawnee Chief Blue Jacket. The questions is: are they the same person. The discussion centers on a 1994 National Genealogical Quarterly article proving the case via standard genealogical techniques. I then examine Y-DNA evidence collected and analyzed in 2006 (ancient history in genetic genealogy!).

The second case example deals with my own family mystery featuring four brothers in the Russian Empire whose surnames were purportedly changed to avoid Russian Empire military conscription. 

Emily Garber - "Where's the Beef? Well-Done Research and Evidence Analysis," 5:00-6:15 PM 

I had to do something I know is not good form: apologize at the outset of this presentation. When I started planning this presentation back in the fall, I researched Clara Peller (f Wendy's hamburger fame) and intended to use her case study as one example among three. 

But, recently, as I completed the presentation, it became clear that Peller's case was not the best example. In addition, I realized that the case I wished to present would take the entire lecture period all by itself. So, Clara wa unceremoniously dumped. Serves me right for trying to be clever with my presentation title!

I renamed the talk, "Conflict Management: Evaluating Evidence of Identity." It's not as catchy, but ... oh, well!

JewishGen 2017 Annual Meeting 

After my last talk of the day, I dragged myself to my room, removed my dressy duds and took a short walk outside. True to form, my (naturally curly) hair puffed out into a halo of Florida frizz. 

After a light dinner, I headed to the JewishGen Annual Meeting. Avraham Groll, Warren Blatt and Michael Tobias summarized accomplishments during the past year and discussed plans for the future. There are ongoing efforts that will result in some technological improvements during the next few years. Numerous partnerships are under negotiation. We should see many positive changes.
There were more than 1,000 active volunteers this past year.
Janette Silverman, is one of the most productive, hardworking (maniac) genealogists I know. A couple of years ago, she took over JewishGen's Ukraine SIG. Among her efforts for Ukraine SIG, she spends huge amounts of her scant free-time massaging spreadsheets until they meet JewishGen's exacting standards for online sharing. I am in awe and, apparently, so are the powers that be at JewishGen. She was awarded Volunteer of the Year. Huge congratulations to someone who is hugely deserving!

Another notable announcement: JewishGen is starting the JewishGen Ignition and Signature Grants initiative to stimulate creative work that will result in additional records available to genealogists. Jewish societies and synagogues will be eligible to apply (starting August 15, 2017) for grants of up to $5,000 or up to $25,000. This is wonderful news. I already have some ideas!

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