UJGS June Meeting – Genealogy in the Round

My spirits were low when I headed out early for the UJGS meeting last night. I stopped by the Family History Library intending to do a few look-ups, but I never got to them. I headed down to the British floor to visit Todd Knowles and chat for a little while. I’ve come to consider him my only “co-worker”. I talk to others who work there, but I hang out at Todd’s counter for a while and we find that we have a lot to chat about.

I headed to the JCC for the meeting, after receiving only one RSVP, but assuming a few other people would also show up. With one person arriving a bit late, we had twelve. That’s not too bad for an average meeting. The JCC moved us to a smaller space, so we really couldn’t handle more this time anyway.

I didn’t have a lot of business or announcements and we went right into the show and tell. I still remember last year pretty well. I was getting over a cold so once I got the meeting started, I didn’t share any stories. This year I started. Only a few days ago, a “new” cousin found my web site and we traded a bit of information. I also sent her some pictures. She is the granddaughter of Sidney Wolfe and he’s a conundrum even to her. He was married three times and had two kids in each family. She came from the first marriage.

Louise was learning PowerPoint, so she showed print-outs of some slides of the family she’s working on. Mary Ann brought a framed ketuba that she (or husband Gerald) talked about at last year’s meeting. Robert had a small collection of books including one that his father wrote and he translated. Marelynn announced that she had just finished indexing the microfilms of Bratislava for JewishGen. Wilma recently returned from a trip to Pennsylvania and New York where she visited the National Museum of Jewish American History in Philadelphia and an ancestral cemetery in Queens that was overgrown with weeds. (It reminded me of my yard, but without the gravestones.) Ruth and Dick talked about a relative who wrote a memoir about her time in Dachau. Kahlile discussed FamilySearch, which turned into a discussion amongst the whole group concerning where they are filming and what. We like having someone on the inside to let us know what’s going on. Anne shared the chewing gum story about one of her ancestors. Fred offered up a story about finding things by accident. And John finished off with the story of an ancestor and what he did that made them all move to another town.

At the end, I reminded everyone of my intention to have the group photograph the gravestones at the local cemetery and got a willing volunteer. That’s exactly what I wanted: someone who hadn’t done anything before to volunteer to help. My faith in UJGS was restored. I don’t know why I lose faith in this group sometimes between meetings. I’ve apparently resorted to my pessimistic ways, expecting the least from people. They’re not that bad. It’s hard getting them to volunteer, but somehow they always come through just enough.

We’ve got a bit of a break before our next meeting in September, so maybe we can get that cemetery work done before we reconvene.

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