29 July 2017

IAJGS 2017, Day 3 (Tuesday, 25 July)

Ann Rabinowitz, Marian Wood, Mary-Jane Roth, Janice Sellers, Barbara Zabitz, Lara Diamond and Israel Pickholtz
Ann Rabinowitz, Emily Garber, Mary-Jane Roth, Janice Sellers, Barbara Zabitz, Lara Diamond and Israel Pickholtz
Jewish Geneabloggers' Breakfast - Tuesday started at 7:15 A.M. (my fault for setting the time so early) with the Jewish Geneabloggers' breakfast. This is our fifth annual meeting at IAJGS. The first one was a dinner get-together in Boston in 2013.

We had a nice showing with bloggers Ann Rabinowitz (formerly blogger for JewishGen and now mostly FaceBooking), Marian Wood (Climbing my Family Tree), Mary-Jane Roth (Memory Keeper's Notebook), Janice Sellers (Ancestral Discoveries), Lara Diamond (Lara's Jewnealogy), Israel Pickholtz (All My Foreparents), me (Extra Yad) and blogger-to-be Barbara Zabitz.

We had a discussion about the pros and cons of using Blogger versus WordPress. We also encourage Barbara to just do it! - i.e., don't sweat the stuff one may change easily later. Just start writing now!

Emily H. Garber - "Beyond the Manifest: Methods for Confirming One's Ancestral Origins" 

After breakfast, it was back to the cave to do final prep for my 11:15 presentation on what one should consider when nailing down the location of one's family community in Eastern Europe. This is a presentation I have given several times before - and is probably my favorite.

I did think of an innovation this year. In the past I have always had Janette Silverman introduce me and she has always stressed that people should review my presentation in the app. With that encouragement last year, I, apparently, had many more reviews than most speakers. 

This year, I figured I'd do all my introductions myself. In addition, I included a slide at the end with an image of the app page and an animation showing how to access the app. People seemed to really appreciate that. Some, apparently, did not know prior to seeing my slide how to find the presentation review function. 

I hope this will result in significant increase in reviews of my presentations. I do find them valuable for improving my talks.

Also, be aware, even though the conference is over, if one intended to review someone's talk and did not complete it, one may still use the app to do so. Not only the presenters, but also next year's conference planning team will appreciate your effort.

Phyllis Berensen (Ukraine SIG Luncheon)- "The Trip of a Lifetime - And then Another, One Year Later"

Phyllis did a nice talk (with slides) about her two trips, in short succession, to Ukraine with Alex Dunai and her brother. The success of her first trip bred the need to do another. Made me pine to go back to Ukraine!

Alex Denysenko - "Volhynian Quiz"

Alex, a Ukrainian researcher and guide is well known in Jewish genealogical circles. His talk centered on my pet area: Volhynia Gubernia (the Russian Empire province of my father's family). Alex explained a bit of the history of the area and why there are several archives one must now search to locate records from towns in the province.

As an example, Izaslav was the capital of the province until 1795. Novograd-Volynsky was the administrative center until 1804. After 1804, administration was moved to Zhitomyr.

It may seem confusing or, perhaps, illogical. But, this is the kind of information one must understand when planning research in the area. 

Rabbi Avrohom Krauss - "Charting: A Tool for Evaluation and Data Display"

I am always interested in innovative ideas for helping us manage, analyze and evaluate complex data. He visualized his data by placing it in charts and color-coding. The speaker showed the successes and pitfalls of the technique.

I have done something similar in spread-sheets: color coding like information so it stands out from the rest. A very useful strategy.

I was not completely convinced, however, by the example Avrohom presented: trying to determine an exact birth date for an ancestor from a variety of conflicting evidence in several records. 

I think, if we cannot locate a birth record, we must sometimes be satisfied that we may never know the exact date of birth. An estimate can be satisfactory.

I also think that if he'd used patterns indicated by birth order of siblings, that much of this charting would have been unnecessary. Or, at least, his first foray into the evidence would not have been, as he'd noted, so far from the mark.
I spent the afternoon doing some prep before the onslaught of Wednesday, when I will be on my feet for four presentations.

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