30 July 2014

IAJGS2014: Day 2

I am behind in my blog posting due to (way too much) socializing and networking and, unfortunately, poor quality wireless access to the Internet. I cannot access the network when I am in my hotel room. And when I sit downstairs and try to blog I am usually (although not unhappily) approached and engaged in conversation with other conference attendees. 

I attended several presentations on Monday, 28 July 2014.

Andrew Zalewski, "The War that Spelled the End to Galicia"

Since 1914 is deemed the centenary of the start of World War I, the IAJGS decided that this year's conference would emphasize experiences during the war. Zalewski's talk focused on the eastern front. Much of Galicia was repeatedly caught in the crossfire as the area was several times lost and retaken by all sides in the conflict. 

The Austrian Empire evacuated several communities in anticipation of enemy action. Krakow, for example was evacuated in October 1914 and Jewish people moved to Vienna. When Russia occupied the areas, many of those who remained were arrested and deported to Russia for the slightest offense.

Fighting was often brutal and many towns were bombarded to dust. 

In 1917, in the midst of the war, the Russian Czar abdicated. As a result, the Russian army disintegrated. In the end, the Galicia area of the Austrian Empire was left in ruins. Lviv escaped major bombardments, but in the end suffered greatly from a pogrom as mobs went through the Jewish district on 22-23 November 1918.

While the armistice ended the formal fighting, for Galicia the conflict morphed not into peace, but into sectarian conflicts.

Zalewski has two books of interest: Galician Trails and, coming in the fall, Galician Portraits.

Shipley Munson, "Marketing Your Society"

Munson, Chief Marketing Officer, SVP Marketing at FamilySearch, discussed making and keeping genealogical societies vital to their members. 

Munson's work with FamilySearch and promoting RootsTech taught him that the key to a vital society is to host a conference or event. 

His group at FamilySearch found that societies spent an average of 2000 hours developing and implementing each event. In order to encourage more events for more societies the marketers at FamilySearch have developed a "conference in a box," a package that reduces event preparation time to 200 hours. The package includes online materials: a handbook and promotional materials.

Using these materials, one small Kentucky society held a genealogy event that drew 130 people and 12 new members. The key was not just conference content, but also getting the message out about the event.

Sallyann Sack Pikus, Adam Brown, Gary Mokotoff and Israel Pickholtz, "Internet Collabotation: How Do We Share Our Family Trees Online?"

Last summer at the IAJGS conference in Boston, Adam Brown and Randy Schoenberg presented their vision of the future of Jewish genealogy as a completely collaborative enterprise enabled by the Geni.com platform. Avotaynu printed written versions of their presentations in the fall.

This was seen by some as a salvo over the bow of the good ship Genealogy and resulted in responses this past winter from both Israel Pickholtz and Gary Mokotoff  in Avotaynu

The discussion continued in Monday's panel event. The argument seemed to center over use of or lack of sourcing one's  evidence and control over product trees.

To a certain extent, I think the arguments are beside the point. Trees are graphic presentations of the results of our research. They may help us in our analyses of evidence, but as static trees are not capable platforms for presenting complex analyses of evidence or proof arguments.

For that, we will continue to need written analyses of evidence. If these could be included and displayed with graphics of the conclusions, then we'd have something.

Check here for earlier blog posts and blogs posts by other bloggers in attendance at the IAJGS conference.

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