Category Archives: IAJGS

Israel 2015 – Day 7 – IAJGS Day 2

Today was a short day on lectures. I had two at a time in two time slots, but I still didn’t go to the first one at all. Both were broadcast On Demand. Conveniently, as webmaster, I will be getting all of those to put on the web site, so I can watch them later.

I went to Ask the Experts: Adventures in Archival Research in Poland, Ukraine, and Austria with Alex and Natalie Dunai. Pam Weisberger moderated, I think, a little too much. There were many questions posed in the description, but instead of answering those, they took audience questions and just barely glanced over those listed questions. I know the Dunais have information. I’m still waiting for them to provide a session that shares it. I’m usually disappointed by the lack of details they provide.

I gave my first lecture today, Insider’s Guide to the Family History Library. I timed myself to 45 minutes exactly… then finished in 32. But, this year, it was supposed to be 30 minutes, so I don’t feel bad for finishing that early. I had a small crowd, but people were told not to attend sessions that were on demand because there are no other recordings this year to buy.

And that was it for the conference itself. It was time to leave the hotel again, so I went out to the First Station with Daniel and Rose, then we walked by the Liberty Bell and Montefiore’s Windmill, ending up at an auction for a little while.

No picture today. WordPress and Androids aren’t cooperating. I wanted to share the windmill.

Israel 2015 – Day 6 – IAJGS Day 1

Time for the IAJGS Conference.

I started out in the session for New Attendees. Marlis Humphrey, as President of IAJGS, presents that. But she asks me to help, this year specifically with demonstrating the app. We had a good crowd but ran short on time.

Next, I went to Sensitive Subjects in Genealogy: What to Reveal, What to Conceal from Jane Neff Rollins. She was a Jedi level speaker, only answering the main question in the last few minutes. She wasn’t specific enough for me though, with what I should do about the big family secret that I know.

I went into Footnotes, Side Notes, and Remarks in European Vital Records with three speakers, but it wasn’t long until I was summoned by Daniel to help someone with tech support on the app. The session sounded like it might get interesting, but the parts I heard, I already knew.

Daniel asked me to the Bukovina BOF to introduce me, since I scan a lot of records for them.

Sub-Carpathia SIG was next, where Marshall Katz finally admitted publicly that he had digitized records and would get them indexed, verifying that he would never share the images. He told me this quietly in Paris a few years ago too, specifying that I didn’t need to go back to Ukraine. I still will. I want the records, not the index, and unlike him, I get permission from the archivist so I have no problem sharing the images. I recently posted the index of records I digitized in 2012 of over 1100 Mukacheve births, along with 15,000 names of the Uzhhorod 1938 Voters List on my new site, Jewish Genealogy Indexing and Research Collective.

The Keynote Session was good. Rabbi Lau spoke mostly in Hebrew but switched to English sometimes. The simultaneous translation did good. I only wish I wasn’t so tired by that time of the day.

And there was plenty of socializing and networking throughout the day and at the President’s Reception and Opening Reception.

Israel 2015 – Day 5

After joining the Shabbaton unexpectedly yesterday, today I joined a tour. I went on the Masada and Dead Sea tour.

Masada was hot. I brought back one souvenir and it’s red and all over my face and arms. So much for the sunblock.

We skipped the Dead Sea for the most part. Many people were very annoyed, including me. I was last in Israel 30 years ago. My family saw the Dead Sea but didn’t go in. I wanted to do that this time. Obviously we could see the sea on the drive, and we did convince the driver to stop so we could take pictures. But I wanted more this time.

They said that many beaches are closed because of lower water levels and a plethora of sinkholes. But one person abandoned the tour at the start and he got to go.

We stopped at the old synagogue at Ein Gedi and at Qumran, but just for the gift shop of the latter.

It was a fun trip, but I thought it would be better.

I had dinner with four friends and almost fell asleep at the restaurant.

Today’s picture is the Dead Sea.

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Israel 2015 – Day 4

The events of the IAJGS Conference have begun. There was a Shabbaton and, following instructions, I blended into the group by the end of Saturday.

I was hoping or expecting to do a couple of things, but trouble with the web site handouts meant I had some work to do. After making plans for that, I went to the Ramada hotel in the afternoon, catching a ride from Michael, where I joined the tour of the Israel Museum.

After a few hours of archaeology, history, and culture, followed by a speaker at the hotel, I headed home with Garri to fix the web site.

It was a day of seeing a small number of good friends among the conference attendees, adding on to those first visited from yesterday.

When some final evening plans fell through, Garri invited me to stay with her for the night. The offer was accepted due to the morning transportation back to the hotel. It’s good to have friends, but it’s even better to have the right friends. Among this group, I have often had the right friends to deal with several situations over the years.

No photo today, as I forgot to take one with my cell phone for this purpose.

Israel 2015 – Day 3

I wonder how long it will be until I forget what day I’m on.

I finally made it over to the conference hotel today. Rony Golan had arranged a tour of Tel Aviv for eight of us and it made for a lovely day.

First, I got see a bunch of conference people in the lobby. Then we hopped on a van and went for a drive. We had to earn our lunch by hiking up quite the hill. Then I compared our tour with a timeshare — where you earn something for free, but have to listen to a sales pitch to get it. In this case, we heard about a genealogy project to better identify and fill in the details of the lives of fallen soldiers of Israel.

The rest of the tour was spent in Jaffa and Tel Aviv. There were a few times that I wanted to get off the van to walk around and/or for pictures, but not badly enough to actually say so. It was hot and that first hike made me want to walk less. Instead, we did a lot of driving past things, but we did get out and walk in a few places, notably through Jaffa and Sarona.

While we were stopped for a late afternoon coffee break in Sarona, I had to deal with some conference stuff in my email. I connected to the free wifi available throughtout Tel Aviv at that time. I’m glad I read about that.

At the beach, we stopped by a monument to the illegal Jewish immigrants to British Mandate Palestine where we heard a great story from Rony about his father’s immigration. The short version is that he was immigrating illegally but ended up on the first ship of legal immigrants to the State of Israel.

We ended the tour at a restaurant on the beach of Herzliya for dinner. Some more conference business was taken care of with the lead co-chair of next year’s conference, Janette Silverman.

Shabbat Shalom from Israel.

I wasn’t thinking about a picture for the blog for most of the day, which has to come from the cell phone camera. I leave you with the sunset in Herzliya from inside the restaurant.

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Israel 2015 – Day 2

Michael suggested that I visit Yad Vashem today and I took his advice. It turns out that he was more correct than he realized because the main museum was open a few hours later than all other days of the week.

I took the light rail out to it’s final stop to the south and walked down the hill. There was a huge crowd of IDF soldiers already there and it was an otherwise busy day, it seemed. I went to the archive first for research. I heard a few people mention the conference while there.

Similar to my visit in DC to the US Holocaust Memorial Museum, I wasn’t sure what I was looking at. Someone got me started but they just don’t have the time to explain exactly what they’re setting me up with. One database searched the Pages of Testimony, but those are online and I don’t need to see them when I visit in person.

The other database she sent me to had ITS files indexed. I found a few unexpected records. On the first, the woman helping me was surprised to find a file where someone seemed to request information about a relative, but she couldn’t find that person’s name anywhere on the pages. I was then able to continue the search in the way that she did and I found some interesting things. I still obviously need to comb through everything, and with a German dictionary, but I will make time when I get home.

I couldn’t save the digital files. She suggested I print them and pay per page. I really didn’t have an issue paying them a little, but the files were already digitized and that’s the format I want. So she suggested I could email and ask for them. I’ll do that when I get home, but I did take around 100 photos of the pages on the screen.

About to keel over from starvation, and nodding off a little from sleep deprivation, I left the research room a bit short of them kicking me out at closing time. I had a quick bite at the cafe and walked around the grounds. I’m pretty sure there should have been about twice as much as I saw, but I’m not sure where it was. I’ll need to consult a map and possibly return for another visit later.

As I mentioned, the museum was open late and I walked through. Two things stood out to me. At one point, there is a display of three bricks from the Warsaw ghetto wall. I was there a few years ago and saw the remainder of the wall. If I recall correctly, three bricks were missing and the wall said where they were. One was at Yad Vashem, one at USHMM, and one in Australia. I wonder where the other two bricks came from.

At the end of the museum was the Hall of Names, and now I know why it is called that. Pictures always show a display overhead of photos in a conical shape up to the ceiling, but all of the walls in the room were bookshelves lined with binders, containing rhe Pages of Testimony submitted over the years. And they have room for plenty more.

No pictures were allowed in the museum, but in the Hall of Names, one guy walked in while I was there and snapped several, not even muting his phone, so I didn’t feel too bad about doing the same (but without the camera noises). He even dared to do that right in front of the security guard at the exit.

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(Those white “dots” in the back are the binder labels.)

Israel 2015 – Day 1

Today, I got to see some of Israel.

I’m staying with the IAJGS conference co-chair, so I do a bit of helping out with the conference. I have already been helping out with a few things, but now I’m sometimes helping with random jobs that need doing. I spent some of the morning doing that.

Then I headed to the Old City of Jerusalem. Another friend, Barbara, has been here for about a month taking Hebrew lessons, so I met her at the Jaffa Gate and we went for a walk. We took pictures, did a little shopping, stopped for lunch, and walked on to the Western Wall.

She has been here for a while, so she sat in the shade while I visited the Wall and took a slew of pictures. We then went to the nearby Davidson Museum, an archaelogical museum. We watched the video in Hebrew and English. The only ones in the room, we joked around quite a bit. Then we walked around the area to see what was found there.

It doesn’t sound like much when I write it here, but we took our time walking around and just enjoyed ourselves. Sometimes I might want to see so much that I’ll run around like crazy, but most of the time, I’d rather take my time and enjoy what I’m doing, which we did.

Michael was surprised by how early I got back, but it felt like a pretty good day. And I know I’ll go back, probably a few times, in the coming weeks.

I then had a quick car tour from Michael of the areas nearby his home and we went to dinner.

The app really doesn’t want to cooperate, but I think I’ve improved the method for getting a photo online over the previous post. So today, I will leave you with the Western Wall, the Israeli flag flying in front of it.

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Israel 2015 – Day 0

It’s a long flight to Israel, and I was in a middle seat. But I survived it. And my cell phone plan upgrade that dumped my data plan — the entire reason for upgrading, I got that straightened out too.

My flight landed a little early. Passport control had a long line but soon moved. I wasn’t even asked any questions. I took a sherut to Jerusalem, where my friend Michael offered to let me stay with him until the conference.

Surprisingly, I was not tired, so we went out to eat in an Arab neighborhood.

I think I slept well, though it wasn’t for long. I hope I did, because I’m in Jerusalem now and there’s a lot to do here starting today.

I leave you with the view from my bedroom window.

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IAJGS 2014

IAJGS 2014 is finally over. What a busy time it’s been. As co-chair of the conference, I had a lot of work to do, from overseeing all of my local volunteers in addition to some non-locals, covering for people who didn’t get their job done well, and taking care of a huge job that we didn’t think we’d have to do at all. And most of that took place in the last month.

All in all, the conference went really well. I was impressed by how much some of my local people stepped up. I had already seen some evidence of it, and seen some evidence of problems, but some came through much more than I had expected.

Many people told me how great they thought the conference was going, many thought there were no problems at all. Of course, from behind the scenes, I knew about the problems.

I especially appreciated how many times my co-chair, Hal Bookbinder, and the IAJGS president, Marlis Humphrey, thanked me for all the work I put into it. I’m glad they noticed. That last month before the conference, I got no client work done; too busy with the conference preparations.

I’m not complaining. I was the one who bid on the conference coming to SLC. I volunteered to be co-chair. I put my name on the conference and I had to make sure things were done well. And so I did. I learned a lot about how the IAJGS conference comes about and plenty about where improvements are needed.

I only attended four sessions and I dropped in on a few SIG meetings but never stayed long. Of course, I was in both of my sessions and one that I facilitated. My facilitating job came on Friday. Sadly, the speaker just read her slides, and they had lots of text. She had a great story and it could have been a fantastic presentation, but she skipped past all the genealogy parts of it too quickly, just barely letting us glance at the records she found. I also sat in on Josh Taylor’s session about attracting the younger generation to our societies. It reminded me of things I’ve heard him say before, or I’ve heard elsewhere, or thought of myself, and how much work it will be for me to try to do that without any help from my society members.

I’m really hoping that after all the work they did for this conference, my UJGS members will be willing to step up for our society. So far, they have done little to nothing for the society. But it gets tiring to run a society by yourself, especially after helping to run a whole conference. I hope they aren’t volunteered-out and we can make our society greater than it is. Now that I know they can put in the effort, I really hope they do.

And I look forward to getting back to my normal routine, getting some client work done, blogging more, etc. I have a lot of catching up to do.

IAJGS 2013 – All Done

I blew off the one session I might have gone to on Friday and headed out to Boston. It was raining. The first weekend, I walked the Freedom Trail, save for one of the earliest stops. (Some years ago, for NaNoWriMo, I had written my characters walking the Freedom Trail, so I knew I had to do that.) I visited an interesting book store with Hal Bookbinder where we flipped through some old atlases, had lunch, then finished the Trail at the Massachusetts State House, where we took the tour. I especially remember some of the fun things, like where we get the expressions “costs an arm and a leg” and “red tape”. I also liked the stories about the Sacred Cod and the Holy Mackerel. Hal and I walked along to visit the Cheers bar, then through the Boston Common back to the hotel. It rained the whole time.

My last 24 hours in Boston included a walk-by of the New England Historic and Genealogical Society (when it was closed). I visited the Mapparium and walked through the Boston Public Library. The BPL has one architectural tour per day and I had missed it, so I just walked around a bit.

Thus ends another year of IAJGS conference. Next year is my conference. We will be in Salt Lake City and I am one of the co-chairs. I have a lot of work to do this coming year.

I leave you with some pictures.