Category Archives: Conferences

RootsTech – Photos

Since I didn’t embed any pictures into my recaps of RootsTech posts, I’ve decided to post all the good shots together. I have a new camera that fits into my shirt pocket, but it took me a couple days to start really taking some pictures. Still, it’s better than I’ve done at other genealogy conferences, so it’s a start.

With this new camera, I haven’t yet figured out how to do a serious zoom (or even kind of a wimpy zoom) and still get a non-blurry picture, so I took a picture of the audience and the camera from the keynote on the first day. I arrived a little late and stood in the back, clearly.

I ran into Rochelle Kaplan, an officer in UJGS, in the Expo Hall the second day. She took a picture of me leaning on the red phone booth that brightsolid brought, but she didn’t get the booth in the picture. She did get all of my ribbons.

In return, I took a picture of Rochelle Kaplan while we were at the MyHeritage booth.

Minutes later, I got a nice photo of Daniel Horowitz and Shelly Dardashti and the MyHeritage booth.

Later, I spotted another UJGS member, Gary Bowen, chatting with Shelly Dardashti.

At the showing of Who Do You Think You Are? I caught Amy Coffin and Lisa Alzo tweeting. Judging by the timestamp, it looks like we had a few more minutes before the show started.

An audience picture at Who Do You Think You Are? night at the FHL.

The next day, back in Blogger’s World, I met Kerry Scott (@cluewagon), Missy Corley (@baysideresearch), and Kimberly Powell (@lovegenealogy).

Thomas MacEntee and Amy Coffin were often found at their favorite seats when in Blogger’s World.

And another shot with Laura Prescott, Kerry Scott, and Missy Corley.
[Thank you to Amy Coffin for identifying Laura.]

Tami Glatz came to Blogger’s World a few times. I was at her session, so we talked about it for a bit and then I asked for a picture.

I stopped standing at their booth and finally sat down inside, where I got another shot of Daniel Horowitz. (I needed to make sure a got a decent picture of him. He just spoke at his second UJGS meeting and I still didn’t have one.)

I learned something from Jill Ball (@geniaus), who is from Australia. Apparently, down under, they pronounce the A in genealogy, unlike how it’s sometimes misspelled as geneology around these parts.

Steve Morse visited Blogger’s World after his DNA presentation. I also captured Shelly Dardashti (@TracingTheTribe) and Lorine McGinnis Schultze (@LorineMS) in this one. I believe that’s Lorine’s husband, Reg, in the hat.
[I have learned from another blog that the backpack was standing in for the @AncestryInsider; no wonder it wouldn’t get out of the way, it was posing!]

Seems that by the third day, I was finally behaving more like a shutterbug. Moments later, I captured Lorine, Illya D’Addezio (@illyadaddezio), and Jill Ball.

Oh no, I didn’t get a picture of Pat Richley. Someone took one of me and her together, so I hope that shows up somewhere.

RootsTech – Day 3

I thought I’d make it to the keynote on time finally, but didn’t. Twitter was buzzing about the keynote as I prepared to leave, so I watched for maybe ten minutes then headed out to make a 9:45 session.

I went to hear Christopher Starr speaking about Family Social Graphs. From the syllabus, it sounded like he would be speaking about an idea I had for the Developer’s Challenge. Unfortunately, he was having trouble getting his laptop to work with the projector; tech support finally got it somewhat after 20 minutes. I stuck it out for another 20 minutes but lost interest, as the topic didn’t seem to be what I thought it would.

More Blogger’s World Perks

Back at Blogger’s World, I met Missy Corley (@baysideresearch), chatted again with Pat Richley and Dick Eastman (who I’d seen in the Radisson lobby the day before), and then Kerry Scott (@cluewagon) and Kimberly Powell (@lovegenealogy) came around too.

Grant Brunner from Geni came over to talk to us, bringing T-shirts. I had a conversation with him for a bit about the privacy issues on his site and the private and public trees, and he informed me that the GEDCOM upload which I’d once had trouble with wasn’t even available anymore. Really? I’d have to add all my 3000 names manually? Not likely to happen, sorry. He said they were also working on supporting adoptions too, which was their biggest priority.

What’s a Blog?

Visiting my friends at the MyHeritage booth again (yes, I was there more often than I’ve mentioned, if you hadn’t already noticed), we saw Steve Morse sitting in Blogger’s World. So I asked him about his blog, he said, “What’s a blog?” I then relayed a question from Schelly Dardashti, inquiring when he was coming out with the one-step tool for being in two places at once. He explained that that was a two step tool, and he didn’t cover those.

Blogger’s World seemed a little nuttier each day. It was a blast.

A new set of bloggers had sat down including Jill Ball (@geniaus) and Illya D’Addezio (@illyadaddezio), who I’d seen for two days before, but I finally engaged him in a bit of conversation.

A quick lunch before the next session with my previous dinner companions Schelly and Christine, and I took off for the Developer’s Challenge Presentations.

Session 1 – Dev Challenge

This was kind of sad. There were only three people who had done enough to present something for the challenge. I had an idea that I think was better than two of the three. If only I hadn’t wanted to attend the conference and sleep for 8 hours (spread out over 2 days), I probably could have won one of the prizes. But even though I read about it just before RootsTech started, I knew I didn’t want to take the time to try to program something for it. Sadly, I probably should have.

That’s All Folks

The closing session gave away a bunch of prizes, announced the winners of the best speaker votes (which I had forgotten about) and the developer’s challenge (the results were exactly as I thought they should be).


Unlike NGS, a lot of the Twitterers/bloggers that I chat with online attended, so I got to meet and talk with them in person. Blogger’s World was a fantastic idea; we loved hanging out in there together.

Tech support was sadly lacking for a conference that should have been about half “tech”. With each presenter needing to hook up their own laptop, they needed more tech support at the start of every presentation in every room to be sure things worked smoothly.

Wi-fi was also badly missed. We did figured out that there was wi-fi in the session rooms but not in the expo hall. That was just goofy. Blogger’s World had wired coverage, which I used with my laptop the one day I lugged it around.

I had lunch twice in the expo hall, so that was convenient to have a huge area of tables and a few choices for lunch. It was pricey, but that was to be expected for the convenience.

The MicroSoft Playground was a great idea. I didn’t use it much but wanted to.

Repeating myself here, I thought the Developer’s Challenge had sad results. I might have participated, but I had this silly notion of actually participating in the conference instead. I saw it in the syllabus just before the conference started, but was it anywhere on the site sooner? Maybe next time, they’ll start that a week earlier so we have some time to formulate a clever idea and get working on it.

There were other things going on that I didn’t pay attention to like the uncoferencing and product demos. There was just so much happening at once sometimes that I focused in on a few things to keep from being completely overwhelmed.

Overall, I enjoyed this conference immensely and I’m looking forward to next year. Hopefully with the feedback from this year, and a few more than seven months for planning, it will be even better. Twitter is full of people declaring their attendance in 2012 already. We should probably warn the committee that Blogger’s World may need to be even bigger.

RootsTech – Day 2

It felt like a good five hours of sleep, but the lack of sleep caught up to me in the afternoon. I woke up two hours before my alarm, did my morning catching up online, and even wrote another blog post.

I almost made it downtown in time for the keynote speech. I missed the beginning, but Curt Witcher, of the Allen County Public Library,¬† had plenty more to say, going overtime, with The Changing Face of Genealogy. He was great to listen to, but one of the funniest lines for me was when he recalled a conversation where he claimed that his library “had just become the largest genealogical library in the Milky Way galaxy… [with] our pretty decent collection of stuff in Fort Wayne. And then we have our remote storage facility in Salt Lake.” Being in the room, I paid more attention to what he said than the previous day from home.

I stopped in to a session about API Development, but it turned out to be FamilySearch API specifically, which was a new title from the syllabus. I couldn’t get into it that early in the morning, so I chatted with someone at random in the hallway and headed back to Blogger’s World, where I got to speak to a couple people before I headed out for the next session.

Session 1 – One Step

All those years going to IAJGS conferences and I never heard Steve Morse speak. I finally changed that today when I went to his session on Creating One-Step Search Tools. He was finished in 20 minutes. “That’s all. We’re finished. That’s all you have do to… Really, I’ve told you everything you need to know about how to do this.” Then he continued explaining about more options and customization. I had never tried his one-step creation tool, knowing I could program such a thing myself and didn’t need it, but I may just use it someday. At the very least, I’ll take a look at his search algorithms and learn something from them, I’m sure.

Wandering back to Blogger’s World, I was hungry an hour earlier and eventually had lunch with Sue Maxwell (@geneasue) and Renee Zamora (@rzamor1). Then I headed off for my volunteer time.

Session 2 – Stories Online

Tami Glatz’s Finding Your Family’s Stories Online was next. She had been recently relocated to the big room where the keynote was given, and she had quite a crowd in there. I’m not even sure I read the description, and just before going, I predicted it would be about online newspapers. To my surprise and delight, it was about finding online books, journals, libraries, other things, and newspapers weren’t mentioned until at least about half way through.

Session 3 – Wikitext

Another FamilySearch themed session that wasn’t named as one, Don Stringham presented Building Programming Libraries Using Wikitext. About a year ago, I was beginning to put all my genealogy data into a wiki, and I eventually gave up because the old wiki and newer version (of TikiWiki) weren’t so compatible. The wikitext Don spoke of was specifically for MediaWiki, the same wiki used by Wikipedia, and specifically the FamilySearch wiki. I found it unexpectedly interesting, considering I was interested in their wiki when I first learned about it, though I haven’t been back to it in quite a while.

Evening Entertainment

Returning to the vendor room and Blogger’s World, I spoke with Pat Richley (@DearMyrtle), Joan Miller (@luxegen), Lorine McGinnis Schulze (@LorineMS), and Lisa Alzo (@lisaalzo). I know I’m probably leaving out at least one person here. I’m not good at remembering people in bulk.

Dinner with Schelly Dardashti and Christine Mueller, then to the FHL for the party.

Watching Who Do You Think You Are? with all those genealogists was a blast. There were a few great moments where Tim McGraw asked a specific question, and so conveniently, the genealogist/historian said¬† “I have this other record…” and everyone laughed.

A bit of research, then a much later dinner with Daniel Horowitz and Ran Peled, and back at home and I’m blogging again.

I was also happy to see three UJGS members so far. One walked by me quickly on day one, and I saw two in the expo hall on day two; one was just visiting the expo hall, which was free to the public.

RootsTech – Day 1

I just got home, after 10pm, from the first day of RootsTech. I didn’t sleep last night, knowing I’d never be able to wake up early enough, and I still didn’t make it downtown as early as I wanted. I watched the webcast of the keynotes.

Keynotes from Home

I found my mind wandering quite a few times during Shane Robison’s (of HP) talk on A World of Information, but I think I got most of it. That was followed by the “cool-down” from Jay Verkler, CEO of FamilySearch International, Turning Roots, Branches, Trees into Nodes, Links, Graphs. My favorite part was near then end when he listed the similarities between technologists and genealogists. I am both!


I arrived downtown a bit after 11am, checked in as a volunteer quite a bit early, then wandered around the vendor room. I stopped to say hello to Daniel Horowitz at his MyHeritage booth, then headed for Blogger Central. I saw Thomas MacEntee, Schelly Dardashti, a couple others I didn’t actually speak to yet, and met Amy Coffin. Yeah, I’ve met another one of my geneatweeps! (I have two more days to meet more. Oh, and now I’m officially listed on GeneaBloggers, finally!) I collected some ribbons from Thomas’s stash and headed around the rest of the vendor room, finally making it to the FamilySearch booth, where they have you visit all the sponsors to get a free T-shirt and enter the iPad drawing, so I had to go back to a few, finishing just in time to get a shirt and get to my afternoon session.

Volunteering is Sometimes the Way To Go

Having decided there were only a few sessions I really wanted to attend a month ago, I asked if there was a possibility of volunteering for entrance to those, which there was! I found out when I arrived that they were quite short on volunteers. If I had known a few days sooner, I would have tried to recruit from UJGS.

Session 1 – TreePad

So my first session was to oversee the computer workshop from Jan Gow, Create Your Own Family Reference Library. Having finally read the description, unfortunately the title sounded more appealing to me than the actual topic — how to use a certain program. I had a list of pre-registrations and a crowd of about 30 people. The three on the list got in first, then I just let the rest pile in and it was standing room only. I didn’t catch much of the presentation, but Jan was teaching what she loved about the program TreePad. Unfortunately, Jan is so excited about the program, she spent 45 minutes on her PowerPoint and only 15 on the hands-on stuff. She had to repeat it later, so I hope she switched the times a little.

Session 2 – Browser Plug-ins

I was told to stay on watch at that room, so I was there for David Lifferth’s Lessons from Building Browser Plug-ins. I didn’t even realize it wasn’t supposed to be a computer lab, even though the topic was programming. I actually found his talk very informative, though it wasn’t on my must-hear list. Some people found it a little beyond their skill level. In my previous life, I was a computer programmer, so I followed along just fine. (OK, yes, I’m still a programmer now.)

Session 3 – No SQL

From there, I went to another technical presentation. When I registered, I chose technology “user”, but I think I chose wrong, especially given my lecture choices. Jimmy Zimmerman was teaching about No SQL – Exploring the Super Powers of Graph and Document DBs. He mentioned they were kind of new, but I somehow recall vague mentions from college, making them not quite so new. He reviewed three document databases and one graph database, then listed a few others that he wasn’t so familiar with. Some of the information from the document databases sounded interesting for genealogy use, but I don’t know that I want to reprogram my entire database. But I may keep it in mind for the future.

Fun Time!

From there, I collected Daniel Horowitz and we arrived at the planetarium at 6:30. He had the 5:30 ticket and I had the 7:30, so we were right on time. Hubble 3D was first. I know my brother hasn’t gotten that close to a shuttle launch and he lives in Orlando and has gone to them often. We were actually in the steam as the shuttle lifted off! Yeah, it was a good film. The second film was about Saturn, but after over-stuffing the larger theater before, the smaller theater couldn’t hold all the people who wanted to see the film. The only other option at that time was Hubble 3D again, so we grabbed a bit of food and walked over to Gateway so Daniel could do some shopping for his kids. (Sweet, right? He bought them shoes.)

We made it back just in time to run upstairs to the Laser Light Show, Rock on Demand, again in the smaller theater. It wasn’t crowded that time. I enjoyed that one too, but not as much. The crowd got to choose the artists. At one point, someone yelled out “Justin Bieber”, to which the host replied, “I’m sorry sir, but I’ll have to ask you to leave now.” They played a lot of classic rock.

I must say that for the problems they are encountering, which isn’t bad after only having seven months to plan this conference, if nothing else, doing the planetarium night was awesome.

We took Trax back to the Radisson and parted ways for the night. Day two is tomorrow and I need to catch up for skipping a day of sleep. I want to meet some more of my tweeps, so be visible. I’m hosting 1:30-4pm, but the rest of my time is mine.

Disclaimer, because I think it’s one of those rare posts that I need one: I am attending the conference for free because I have volunteered my time to help. I am not otherwise being paid for my service or for promoting anything on my blog.

JGSLA 2010 – Day 6 Recap

Friday is always a short day at the conference, with everything ending at 12:30, but it was even shorter for me. There were two sessions I was interested in but missed both while waiting for breakfast. Then I went to the one place I found where my cell phone works well, called a certain mechanic in Salt Lake City about my car, signed up for AAA online to cash in on the towing when I get back to Utah.

No, that has nothing to do with the conference, but that’s what I did.

I then sat it on Seth Front’s The Jewish Zodiac: A Culinary History of Jews in America. I had already spoken to him in the vendor room when he noticed I was the JGS President and from Salt Lake City. After his talk, I told him that my JGS members might not appreciate his talk as much as the synagogue audience probably would.

And that was the end of the conference. I headed out to Junior’s to meet my cousin, Howard Miller, then returned to the hotel where I’m writing to my blog. Tomorrow after check-out, I’ll go to Hidden Hills to meet Ron and Monica Wolfe and any of their kids who might be around; I’m not sure if there are any right now.

JGSLA 2010 – Day 5 Recap

The day started with another IAJGS Management Session on Affordable Creative Programming led by Jan Meisels Allen. She mostly mentioned things I have already tried or thought about, but I came away with a few new ideas.

I ended up at a restaurant in the lobby for lunch with Judi and two people she knew from Arizona, only to rush to the next session and still show up late. Hal Bookbinder presented Why Did Our Ancestors Leave a Nice Place Like the Pale? I was tired and couldn’t concentrate on his session, though it sounded very interesting. I’ll have to listen again to the recording.

I was signed up to meet with someone from the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum and headed to the Resource Room. I was told they were searching the ITS records, but apparently they weren’t or the person I spoke to didn’t think of it. It seems unlikely that she’d skip over a source like that. She mentioned a couple things I didn’t know but didn’t help me with any new information for now.

Having first procrastinated then later forgetting to purchase a ticket, I didn’t go to the banquet. Mark Heckman took me to Pink’s in Hollywood, as an earlier email from him said, “I’ll have to take you”. We arrived back in time to see another added showing of Who Cares Who Do You Think You Are? which Mark had missed during the opening session.

JGSLA 2010 – Day 4 Recap

Wednesday was a day for IAJGS business. The first session I attended was the panel on Celebrating Jewish Genealogy Month led by Schelly Dardashti in which we discussed programming and other things that weren’t necessarily related to IJGeMo (International Jewish Genealogy Month, as it will now be called) but left me with a few interesting ideas.

Lunch was a repeated restaurant with Bob Wascou and Rochelle Kaplan.

The IAJGS Annual Meeting was not long after lunch. The meeting wasn’t as bad as some people let on last year when they told me I should be happy I missed it. (I was supposed to represent Utah, though I wasn’t yet the president, but my computer lab was scheduled at the same time.)

I went with Barbara Hershey to Daniel Horowitz’s session on How Do We Share and Preserve Memories in a Digital Era? but didn’t stay long. It naturally turned into a talk about, which neither of us was interested in hearing at the time.

After a quick visit to the concierge lounge, I did a bit of bookkeeping in my room and missed the next presentation, then arrived a few minutes late to Zvi Gitelman’s What’s in a Name? The Origins and Meanings of Jewish Family Names. There was a fun moment in that one when he mentioned that some Jews bought their names to get good ones. Just as I whispered to Judi sitting next to me that my Rosenthals did that, he listed a few names that were usually purchased and the first one he said was Rosenthal.

I finally made it to the Film Festival room after that (having seen a film earlier in one of the other lecture rooms) where I saw the very end of Yoo Hoo Mrs. Goldberg and Genealogy Goes to the Movies before I headed back to my room to turn in for the night.

JGSLA 2010 – Day 3 Recap

Tuesday started early for me. After waking up in time to wait for the pathetic little beep-de-beep from the in-room alarm, I went to the Professional Genealogists Birds of a Feather (BOF) meeting. This used to be an active group and just barely started up again two years ago. It sounds like this year might have the chance to be the beginning of a good group again. All we need are some people to… yeah, I kind of volunteered to help get that going.

I had a few hours of a break after that and got a few things done unrelated to the conference. I had offered to volunteer some time in the Resource Room, and that was one time I meant to go, but I was tired. Sorry to Barbara Algaze for not finding time in my schedule to hang out and help people. I really did mean to, but this conference just has a lot going on that I’m interested in doing; seems like there’s more than some other years have had. I did stop in and sign up for time with the USHMM person and their database. While in there, Steve Luxenberg came in and I bought Annie’s Ghosts from him, having previously exited after his session quickly to escape the crowd.

After lunch with Mark, Kathy, Bob, and Michael Goldstein, I headed to Ilene Schneider’s Yiddish: A Fun Look at the Language of our Ancestors. I bought her book a couple days ago. The only problem I had with this session was the lack of translation. Most of the audience understood the few things she didn’t translate, but I never learned Yiddish and only knew the most basic words. However, I was able to figure out what one of the phrases was by saying it in my head a couple times.

I headed over to You Can Go Home Again: … Ancestral Visit to Eastern Europe (they must not have had word limits to titles this year) with Sol Sylvan and Alexander Dunai. Sol lost my attention very quickly, did a commercial for a bag they were auctioning, and showed a film. Alex gave a bit of advice for traveling to Europe, and then it was over. I was not impressed. I would have preferred to hear a lot more from Alex.

My second session for the week, Newsletter Editors BOF, was next. Kahlile Mehr was really leading it but had been putting my name on the session so I could help him. This group had also met for the previous two conferences and the discussion had been interesting. This year, I think we accomplished a few things, especially by getting the IAJGS Board more involved.

I skipped the JewishGen presentation for dinner with roommate Judi and six other people, returning for The Bialy Eaters: The Story of Bread and a Lost World. It was interesting, but I was getting tired, so I might have enjoyed it a little more if not for that. However, I now realize I should try a bialy. We were bagel people and I’ve never had one before.

JGSLA 2010 – Day 2 Recap

The second day of this conference began for me with the last session before lunch. I presented a computer lab called Publish or Perish Using Microsoft Publisher. The person who was supposed to assist or introduce me did not show, but my roommate, Judi Missel, was kind enough to volunteer and she arrived a few minutes after I had begun. I received a lot of questions about the benefits of Publisher over Word and was glad when some benefits revealed themselves during the session. I don’t use Word, so I couldn’t really tell them the true benefits other than what I thought they were. Judi was extremely helpful to the point where I stayed in front of the class teaching while she ran between the few people that needed the most help. Usually I have had to do that in previous years. I had a small class of only nine people, but at least a few came away saying that they liked the program and would not be afraid to use it.

I initially thought I might do beginner and intermediate levels of the class after last year, but with the small attendance, I won’t repeat that lab again without at least one year’s break. Mark Heckman gave me a great idea for a lecture for next year and I’m already thinking about what to put in it.

After lunch with Judi, I continued the day at A Different Memory: Poles, Jews, and What We Think We Know About Them with Anna Przybyszewska Drozd. The session didn’t quite match up with the title. She had some interesting stories to tell, and convinced a couple other people to tell their stories. I think her presentation could use some improvement. I don’t think she was quite confident in her English, but other than asking for help with a few words, it sounded pretty good to me. After all, these people who learn English as a second or more language, no matter how bad they think their English is, it’s usually better than most of the rest of can speak any other language.

Steve Luxenerg presented Genealogy From the Inside Out: Pursuing the Elusive and Unknown, sharing the genealogical view of his writing of Annie’s Ghosts. I thought he led a great session. It was standing room only.

I volunteered to assist with Daniel Horowitz’s computer lab, but found Elise Friedman was there for the same reason. I found a film on the schedule that I wanted to see, but when I went to the room, saw that the schedule was wrong. There have been a few scheduling issues this year.

I sat in for a bit of Lisa Louise Cooke’s Solving Family History Mysteries with Google Earth, and visited with Gary Mokotoff briefly, and a few others, in the Vendor Room on my way out with my roommate. We went to the concierge lounge and had a nice dinner snack of hors d’oeuvres.

After setting up briefly in the hallway with my computer before going to that film, a private screening for five people of The Legacy of Jedwabne, I finished the day watching the Jewpardy game, arriving a bit late because the film started late.

JGSLA 2010 – Day 1 Recap

Sunday started a bit slowly for the conference as it usually does, but just for me. Things were already in full swing in terms of sessions for attendees. Usually Sunday has a couple of meetings, lunches, and beginner sessions, but there was a lot more to do this year.

Missing the early session that interested me, I visited the Resource Room, the Vendor Room, and the Market Square, which was new this year. I wandered around a bit talking with people. There are always plenty of people at this conference that I know and others that are happy to talk about their genealogy with complete strangers.

I spoke with Eileen Polakoff for a bit where she was sitting at the APG table in the Market Square, along with the people at the Washington DC and France tables, where we spoke about upcoming conferences. I even stopped at one table and bought a book. I had her session marked for another day and I’ll likely still go.

I went to lunch with Mark and Kathy and Bob Wascou, who had just arrived to register before we saw him.

A little more schmoozing time and I went to the first IAJGS Management Seminar which was led by Thomas MacEntee teaching about 21st Century Marketing. He went through the usual suspects of Facebook, Twitter, web sites, blogs, newsletters, email marketing. He said a lot of things I knew but also threw in some things I hadn’t thought of. Watching the time, he basically skipped over LinkedIn, and that’s one site I haven’t really used yet but was curious about.

From there, I went to the President’s Reception where I schmoozed some more. There’s a lot of schmoozing at these conferences.

I spent some time talking with Barbara Hershey from Portland, Oregon, until it was time for the opening ceremony.

The conference co-chairs were introduced and it was explained that outside is not fog but the “marine layer”. They got very detailed announcing who was already registered, giving counts by country and by US state. Eleven people are here from Utah. I know seven, are they counting the vendors from Ancestry for the rest? So far, 1016 people were registered for this conference.

The winning poster for Jewish Genealogy Month was revealed and it was a nice one. I never much paid attention to those, but I don’t think they’d ever been that classy looking.

We were treated to a comedy film that probably ran a little longer than it needed to, a parody called Who Cares Who Do You Think You Are? which added a new episode into the series featuring Jordan Auslander. Eileen Polakoff, Ron Arons, and Karen Franklin also appeared in the episode.

Steven Smith (or Stephen?) introduced himself and then the keynote speaker, Daniel Mendelsohn.

Daniel is the author of two books, the second called The Lost. His speech started out by talking about errors in records while doing genealogy research, but it turned into a story about the difference between family history and genealogy. He didn’t call it that, but that’s how I refer to it. In genealogy, we collect records to learn the facts about people’s lives. In family history, we collect the stories. Unfortunately, some of us can’t get any stories, so we are missing the narratives of the lives of the people who came before us. He shared some incredible stories from his family, including the one about a record he found on which he knew everything was a lie except for the person’s name. It makes you wonder how much you can rely on some of these records, but most of us have no choice but to believe them since we have nothing to contradict them and no narratives to go along with them.

Then the crowds headed out to the dessert tables. I got out pretty quickly and grabbed something, then went back into the ballroom, where it was less crowded. Pamela Weisberger was working her way out of the room and she introduced me to Daniel. He stood around talking to me and a few others for a few minutes. It’s good to know the people in charge. :-)

I eventually talked to a few other people, grabbed a few more snacks, then headed up to my room where I was too tired to blog and went to bed pretty quickly.

And that was just the first and usually slowest day. Today, I present my computer lab just before lunch and I have a few other things in the schedule that I want to attend.