Category Archives: IAJGS

IAJGS 2019, Part 3

Day Five

I began my day in Carole Vogel’s session about creating a town-wide genealogy. Currently indexing all the vital records for a city puts me in a good position to create such a project, so I’ve been considering it.

I continued to shmooze and whatnot until my second presentation in the late afternoon about CSI: Crowd Sourced Indexing. I was in the big ballroom this time and had ten people. I wasn’t expecting a huge crowd, so it was fine. If IAJGS actually had a society day like FGS or a society track, then I might get more people interested because CSI is for societies and SIGs rather than individuals.

Day Six

I started a little earlier than on other days for the last day of the conference, having found a few sessions of interest on the last day. Patricia Edmonson spoke mostly about dating photos and was interesting. Analyzing photos is not something I usually do.

I finished off sitting in on a session about the Czech Republic, but I pulled out my computer and tuned out the speaker, so I have no idea what he was talking about. I meant to listen.

There was some more schmoozing and saying goodbye, but I had scheduled my flight later in the evening. While trying to figure out what to do, another conference attendee somehow appeared, having almost the same flight time as me and wanting to share a ride to the airport, so we set out together for a few hours to see a bit of the city, hopping on the free trolley. It was good to have the company.

All Finished

And that was it. I fielded additional questions about CSI throughout the conference from a few people and I was some kind of rock star to some people over my first presentation.

I enjoyed seeing my conference friends and making some new ones, especially my cousin. I snuck out in the middle of the week and grabbed a few records I needed in from the courthouse across the street, a very convenient location for that. I got a bit from the Resource Room access, and some things I was hoping to get and din’t find. My flight left Cleveland almost two hours late, but my connection was just the right amount of late that I made it.

And now it’s weeks after the conference when I finally finish this post. I am back into my usual routine at home and the swamp cooler is still leaking. I still haven’t been through my Cleveland photos, so I have one more conference blog post in my plans.


IAJGS 2019, Part 2

Day Three

It was time to give my new presentation. I had a bad feeling about the room they put me in and I was right. When I got there, the room was already full, and I wasn’t late. My session was a fire hazard. I had people sitting up the aisles and standing in the back. I heard from several people that they wanted to attend but couldn’t get in.

So Lesser Known Online Resources was a big hit. I have already submit it to other conferences and maybe I’ll finally be accepted to speak at some of those. People have approached me since that time, for two days so far, telling me they either loved it or couldn’t get in.

I next went to the Litvak SIG luncheon. I have never been to a SIG luncheon before, but since I was forced to buy some hotel food, I chose that one for the speaker and topic, which was supposed to be about archives and digitizing. The overpriced buffet meal was a tiny salad bar. And the speaker had been switched for a different topic. I am not happy about that.

I skipped the next two sessions I’d planned to go to for schmoozing or visiting the Resource Room. I got the gravestone images I wanted but couldn’t find anything I wanted from ProQuest.

I finished the conference day listening to Judi Missel and her brother talk about seven cousins who survived the Holocaust.

Day Four

I began the day at Jennifer Mendelsohn’s presentation. Hers was a beginner level session but had lots of Jewish Next Gen support in the room. It was interesting to hear what she taught from a journalist’s point of view.

I had very few things planned for the day but ended at the Webmaster’s Roundtable BOF. We had a small group, some interesting discussion, and finished early.

Quick Summary

Overall, sessions are going well. Speakers are interesting. Everything related to food is a disaster. Well, the conference food is. Going out to eat with cousins and friends is wonderful.

IAJGS 2019, Part 1

It’s summer again. That means it gets up to about 100 degrees for a while, the weeds stop growing making the yard work a little easier, the swamp cooler leaks and I can’t get anyone to come out to my house to fix it, and it’s time for the IAJGS annual conference on Jewish genealogy.

This year, IAJGS is in Cleveland, Ohio. I have some relatives here somewhere, but I don’t know who they are. I was in contact with one person from this branch of the family, but I didn’t get a response before the conference started to help me contact the ones who still live here. I didn’t leave myself extra time to visit people or tour the city or the cemetery anyway. I usually give myself a few days at these things.

Saturday was for acclimating, walking around the hotel to see what was here, trying to figure out where we could go for food all week. And the conference began on Sunday, as it always does.

As the years have gone by, I’ve tended to go to fewer lectures, but as we head in to the third day, I’ve gone to a few good ones, even some repeats from previous years.

Day One

Ron Arons has updated his lecture with some newer content and a new title. I first heard Avrohom Krauss talk about landsmanshaftn research years ago and I think this was the first time I went to his presentation in person.

The keynote was fun, as it usually is. One thing IAJGS seems to do well is find good opening keynote speakers. This year, Daniel Goldmark spoke about Jews in popular music. There were a lot of them.

The presidents’ reception was on the top floor of the hotel. It had a nice view.

The opening reception was different this year. It wasn’t right after the keynote or free, but at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. I wasn’t impressed, with what I saw at the museum or the terrible way they served the food. Apparently there are six floors of the museum. Me and friends walked around one floor and then left for dinner.

Day Two

I began my second day in the Belarus SIG meeting where Miriam Weiner spoke about her research there. I worked for her in my first year of being a professional genealogist and was happy when see she remembered me at the reception the day before.

Walking around at random after, I found myself standing in front of my cousin. We just discovered each other a couple years ago through DNA. She’s my father’s second cousin on his biological side. We sat and talked for a bit before splitting up for some sessions. I’ll be seeing her more.

Cousins Elise Friedman and Hariette Gershon spoke about their Palevsky research and a global surname study. I was hoping for some tips on the ones I’m planning on. I have or have plans for three at this point: Mularzewicz, Nosatsky, and Feldstein. One of those names is going to be a lot more work than the other two, so it might get put off for longer. In the Palevsky case, they had more than one person working on it.

I skipped a couple meetings to see an Ava Cohn presentation on identifying photos. I keep missing her and she doesn’t get recorded, so I made sure to get to one this year.

I had dinner with a friend in the hotel and then back for the JewishGen session. They’re getting a new web site, finally, was the main take-away. That didn’t sound as exciting to me as people made it out to be. They announce the really exciting stuff when I’m not there. Or maybe it’s sitting through the whole meeting that makes it not as exciting and just hearing the highlights after is quicker. The reception after was on par with the opening reception, in how disappointing and disorganized it was.

Quick Summary

So far, so good. I’ve enjoyed all the presentations I’ve been to. The food has been a mess — I’ve heard other stories too. And it’s good to see some of my friends that I only see at genealogy conferences.

IAJGS Conference – Summer 2018 Trip, Part 2

After my family reunion in Maine, I headed out to Warsaw, Poland for the IAJGS Conference on Jewish Genealogy. The two events fell on the same weekend. I missed two days of the conference. Because of that, I felt like the conference was just starting as it was actually ending.

It’s good to be the webmaster because I have access to the On Demand videos, so I will be able to watch the opening session and any others that I missed that were recorded. I’d consider buying them if I didn’t already get them. The opening sessions are usually really interesting.

I met a cousin at IAJGS this year. It’s not easy for Ashkenazi Jews to research enough to find fifth cousins, but I did that during this past year. Sady, I did not get to meet him. He was visiting with his mother and went home before I arrived in Poland. But I did get to meet my fourth cousin, once removed, Myra! We just connected some months ago. She is the first person I have found who attends IAJGS conferences who turns out to be my cousin. I have lots of DNA cousins, but we’ve never found the genealogy connection. She’s also my first confirmed Australian cousin (along with her descendents) and had an exciting story of how her ancestors went from Poland to Siberia and China. Myra found a marriage record and contacted the people in the JewishGen Family Finder with the new-to-her surname, Mularzewicz. And because of her diligence, we also made contact with three people in another branch of our family that we found online too.

I gave two presentations, went to a few SIG and BOF meetings, and attended just a few other lectures. I reprised Search as an Art on Friday and a new session called Three Adoptions and an Ethical Dilemma was on Wednesday. I think they both went really well. The BOF that I lead, the Webmasters Roundtable, was well attended; much more than I expected in Poland.

At the banquet, I received the IAJGS Award for Outstanding Project for CSI: Crowd Sourced Indexing! IGRA nominated me and made me an honorary member after the conference.

I don’t usually get a lot of photos from the conferences because my cameras don’t do well indoors, and I’m picky about good pictures. Also, crowds-at-conferences pictures never turn out the way I hope.

IGRA folks shared some other pictures that include me, but I’m just posting the ones from my camera here.

PWMF Innovation Award – Thank you Gesher Galicia

In my haste to write a conference blog post, I missed one of the big highlights of the week.

PWML Innovation AwardAt the IAJGS Conference in Orlando, I received the Pamela Weisberger Memorial Fund Innovation Award from Gesher Galicia for CSI: Crowd Sourced Indexing.

“The Innovation Award given in her memory is to recognize outstanding individual contributions that shape the future of genealogy research.”

I am honored to be the first recipient of this award, which is a $2,500 prize in addition to the lovely trophy in the photo.

Pam Weisberger was a friend of mine since 2006 and she is greatly missed.

IAJGS 2017

I intended to blog a few times during the week, but here I am, back home from the conference.

As usual, I didn’t really make it to very many presentations this year. I went to my own, the two major keynotes, several meetings, a couple films, and I popped into a couple sessions briefly.

I think my lectures went well. The crowd was a reasonable size for my presentation about CSI: Crowd Sourced Indexing, which was immediately followed by the IAJGS Management Series session where I spoke about the same thing along with Daniel Horowitz and Shipley Munson who both spoke about indexing. My presentation on Search as an Art went well, though it had a smaller crowd than the previous two years.

The keynotes were excellent. I missed the mid-week one, which I was told wasn’t so great anyway. It was on Live!, so I can watch that later if I want. (It’s good to be the IAJGS webmaster.)

Avrami Groll did about a day of history presentations. I caught most of the one he did last year where he told a folklore story that I wanted to hear again. I amazingly happened into his session this year just before he told it again.

I had a few films in my schedule this year, which I haven’t paid much attention to for years. I ended up seeing two of about four or five I had marked, so that was good.

A late night visit to the Resource Room (which wasn’t even locked that night, whoops) revealed a gravestone for someone I’d been searching for. I need to follow up to verify it’s the right person, but I’m pretty sure it is.

Tuesday was my birthday and I got lots of birthday wishes throughout the day. A group of us headed to EPCOT that evening and that was a blast.

After the conference, I hung out with my best friend from college. He brought me to karaoke the first evening and an escape room the next day before dropping me at the airport. What a great ending to the week!

I owe photos to people so here are some of the best ones. Plus a few bonus ones from Facebook.

I had fun.

I’m Still Here

Did you miss me? Holy cow, have I been busy.

A woman approached me rather oddly a month or more ago at the Family History Library. She returned a couple times and finally figured out she recognized me from my blog, and mentioned she liked reading it.

“Thank you. I haven’t written in a while.”

But that was OK with her.

I wanted to write just after that, and yet I didn’t. One of the difficulties I have with this blog is that I often write posts that take a long time, like the Nitpicker’s Guides to WDYTYA, but I feel guilty spending so much time writing on my blog when I’m behind on my client work, most especially writing their reports. I haven’t been behind for a bit, but I’ve been busy helping the IAJGS Conference.

That’s right, they pulled me in again.

So tonight is my flight to that conference. I’m just taking a random few minutes in the middle of packing and last minute prep to write a quick note to my readers. I’m sure I have some left. You wouldn’t have deleted me from your feed if I disappeared from it. :-)

And, as always when this happens, I will try to write more. I have a conference next week, so that should give me something to write about. Maybe some short bits. Those are easier to write and publish anyway.

OK, back to the prep work. My main computer is a desktop, so there are things I can’t do once I leave. See some of you in Orlando.

IAJGS 2016 Wrap-Up

This year’s IAJGS Conference was held in Seattle. I started blogging a couple times during the week, but those didn’t get posted. Instead, here is one long blog post for the whole week.

This year, I was the webmaster for the conference, but that didn’t involve any work during the week. I was rooming with the app person, so I helped a little with that, and I did have some webmaster duties for the IAJGS site during the week. But mostly the week was my own to do what I wanted. I still didn’t go to a lot of sessions. I knew I’d be taking home the recordings for LIVE! sessions (because I’m webmaster), so I could watch all those later.

I gave three presentations this year. The first was a computer lab on Sunday morning called Publish or Perish about using Publisher for family newsletters. Four people were signed up but only two made it. They both wanted to use Publisher for books instead of newsletters, so I went more in that direction.

That afternoon, I presented Seattle’s Colorful Jewish History (A Course in Basic Methodology). I felt bad later calling it basic, but I was stuck with it. I started out with a few people and ended with two, one of them telling me when I was out of time. I had a great time doing the research and rushing to get it into a PowerPoint in time, when I kept researching instead of prepping. It was an unfortunate class size, because I was looking forward to doing another one each year based on our meeting location, but if people don’t show up, then it’s not going to happen.

Wednesday morning was my third lecture, Search as an Art. I had a full house, standing room only, which felt really good. It was a repeat from Israel, but I had to make it longer, and it ended with many compliments. One person was crazy about it because I made it humorous, but I had a subject that worked for that; I was showing examples of bad indexing and some were kind of nutty.

I went to all three lunches I was invited to, Media, Tech, and NextGen. Marlis started these for the SLC conference and brought them back for Seattle. It’s just a small-ish gathering of folks, sometimes some of them not even fitting the demographic, discussing the topics and how they relate to future conferences and the IAJGS in general. I fit all the categories, plus, free lunch. And we have some interesting conversations sometimes too.

I usually go to a few SIG and BOF meetings as well. Webmasters’ Roundtable was extra fun because we sat around a round table. We discussed some things about society web sites and it looks like IAJGS will soon be hosting the site for another society like we do now for Illiana.

I stopped in for the end of the Newsletter Editors BOF, something I helped to get started, but UJGS doesn’t have a newsletter anymore. I’m glad I did because some of that discussion came up later in the tech lunch.

I was warned to expect drama at the Sub-Carpathia SIG meeting, but there wasn’t all that much. Brooke spoke about some of what our previous leader was doing, which got him booted from the SIG, but some folks had no idea. Mostly, someone new was taking over and we were going to actually make progress like we should have all along.

I went to only a few of the regular sessions, including Reclaim the Records from Brooke Ganz. I already knew what she was doing, but she was a great presenter and her PowerPoint was really creative. I caught the end of Kathy Kirkpatrick’s session about Proving the Jewish Heritage of a Catholic Sicilian Family. I really mostly just heard the question and answer session, but it was interesting too. It was her first IAJGS conference, but I met her in SLC years ago.

I enjoyed Judy Russell presenting Don’t Forget the Ladies at the banquet. I watched social media very little during the week, but I managed to see her blog post about the serendipity in the session, even though I already knew about it. Emily Garber saw her great-grandmother’s death certificate in the presentation; Emily was sitting next to me. And I ended with Ron Arons’s Critical and Creative Thinking for Genealogists.

I also enjoyed the evening play from the Seattle Jewish Theater Company, From Door to Door.

The Annual Meeting was a little more interesting than usual with issues regarding the election. We have an election every year, but this year had some new issues. I had already kept Marlis awake for two hours the night before with my concerns about it, along with other things we discuss like the web site, so I didn’t add to the length of the meeting.

Also at the banquet, I was happy to collect the Volunteer of the Year award on behalf of Marelynn Zipser, a Utah JGS founding member. We’ve been trying to get her an award for a few years. The award mentions the stats we had from 2011, so they’re a little old, but we got her recognized.

MyHeritage had a drawing each day and I wasn’t usually around for it. On the last day, not only did I draw one of the early winners, but I won the big prize. I now possess an iPad. I’m still trying to figure out how to use it. I’ve been an Android for years.

I also went out to see Seattle while I was in town. It was my first visit. I didn’t get to see my cousins, who actually live in Tacoma rather than Seattle. It’s difficult to arrange those visits. On my first day, I saw the Space Needle (and never saw it again beyond the tall buildings) and the Chihuly Garden and Glass. So now I know the name of the artist for the piece in Abravanel Hall. After the conference, I visited the waterfront a couple times, Pike Place Market, and went on the Underground Tour.

All in all, it was a good week. I really enjoy this conference and all the people I get to see. And even some of the genealogy stuff I learn, chatting with other people about our research, and presenting (to the big crowds are the best).

Additional: I almost forgot to mention the blogger breakfast, scheduled one morning at 6:30am. Can you believe I made it to that? It was good to meet Judy Russell in person and have breakfast with several other bloggers at the conference. Our picture was already posted to the official conference blog.

I guess it’s time for some pictures now.

 

I’ve Been Doing Genealogy

What’s been happening at IDoGenealogy.com? I’ve been doing genealogy. I haven’t blogged in a while, so I figured I should say something.

1. I’ve been trying to finish up my Bernie Sanders research. I’m very sad he lost the primary. I think I’ll survive. I was trying to get one last piece of information before finishing up that post, when I realized that there was more for me to do in Polish records. I still have to do that.

2. I wanted to write about WDYTYA. Rather than a blog post for each episode, I had things I felt like I needed to say about the last three episodes of the last season. I still need to write that.

3. I’ve been busy with some client work. I’ve gotten a few clients lately that needed research (as opposed to digitizing or just look-ups) so I’m happy about that, but I don’t blog about their families. I still have one waiting for a report and another waiting until next month for me to get started.

4. I’ve been trying to get a new family newsletter issue put together. I have so much stuff for it, but I haven’t gotten it all neatened up yet. I don’t know if that will happen this week, and then it will have to wait a few more weeks until I can get back to it.

5. I’ve been doing unpaid work for the past few weeks in preparation for the IAJGS Conference. I am quite behind in my prep for the lectures I need to give. One of them needed a whole lot of genealogy research conducted, and I’m still working on it.

6. And next week is IAJGS. Of course I go to that conference every year. I’ve been researching for it (see #5) and I need to get things finished up and my presentations put together in the next three days. I think I can do it.

And that’s where I am now. I expect I’ll be blogging from the conference as I usually do, so my blog will finally be active again. Hopefully that will get me going with the other blog posts I need to get written. But at least now, anyone following my blog knows I’m still here and where I’ve been lately.

Israel 2015 – Days 15-21

It was easy to fall out of the practice of blogging, so now it’s time to finish up. I did keep up a little better than this seems, but I didn’t publish it.

Except for one night at Daniel’s after the conference, I stayed with my cousins in Haifa the rest of the trip, taking it easy. Some people would baulk at how I wasted time, but I enjoyed myself. I don’t feel the need to spend all my waking moments on tours and seeing historic sites. I have seen quite a bit and I think it will still be here when I come back in the future.

Here’s a quick family tree, as I will mention their names. Lea is my second cousin, once removed. Her husband is Odi. Her kids: Dikla, Tomer, and Lior. Dikla is married to Ido and Carmel is their daughter. Tomer is married to Michal and Noga is their daughter. Lior lives with her parents presently and Daniel is her boyfriend.

So what have I done all these days? Let’s see if I can remember.

We visited the cemetery in Nesher where Lea’s parents and grandmother are buried. Then there was a party. Lea invited about 40 people on her mother’s side of the family. (I’m on her father’s side.) It was a welcome home to Lior, the youngest daughter, who just got back from eight months in South America after serving her time in the IDF. I also met Lea’s brother Israel and his family at the party.

On other days, Lea, Carmel, and I went to the local zoo. Then we met Lior and Daniel for lunch. Lea, Odi, and I went to see HaMinyonim. Lea had mentioned needing some time to stop by her work (she was on vacation my whole visit) and I told her to drop me at the movie, but they said we should all go. They even found it playing in English, though I would’ve been happy with it in Hebrew for fun. It was adorable. The only drawback was that much of the cutest parts were in the trailers. However, the one phrase Minions speak that is Hebrew was worth it to see in Israel.

A long drive brought Lea, Odi, and I to the Switzerland forest above Lake Kinneret. We visited Yardenit and watched people being baptized where they thought Jesus was baptized but not quite in the same place; that was a weird one. We drove through Tiberias without really stopping. Visited the Magdala church and the synagogue ruins in front of it that were 2000 years old. And finally we stopped at Kibbutz Amir. This was where Lea’s parents lived until just after she was born. She still has an aunt there. It’s also where the family picture was taken that helped me find them.

A shorter trip brought Lea and I to the Israel Valley where we met Lior and Michal for lunch, with Carmel and Noga. Then the two of us drove around to see Nahalal, the first moshav, another moshav, Beit Shearim, and Bet Lekhem HaGalili, or what Google Map calls Bethlehem of Galilee. The Hebrew name is more interesting to me. They sell all kinds of spices and some foods. You can walk through their farm, but it was hot so we just took the quick walk in the front.

Genealogy day began in the evening, typical of the Jewish calendar. Lea went through boxes of photos, then I scanned them on their computer. Many were unlabelled and a good collection were mystery people. Under other circumstances, I might have done her mother’s family and even her husband’s, but there was so much.

Next, Lea and I went through the family methodically like we did at the beginning and this time she typed it in Hebrew. We still did not finish. But I was able to finish up the family for my database, which I now need to add.

I ended my visit with the cousins by visiting Caesarea in the evening. I’m pretty sure a lot of that wasn’t there 30 years ago.

The next day, Lea dropped me off at the train station where I headed back south to Tel Aviv. I visited Beit Hatfutsot and waited for Daniel to arrive. He showed me to the secret room in the basement, after mentioning the urban legend that says they have some of the LDS Polish microfilms, but they never let anyone see them. We mostly spent the day at the Mediterranean Sea. I mentioned to him that I had seen all three major bodies of water, but hadn’t been in any of them. So we walked along the boardwalk for a bit and ended up at the beach. We just hung out there until after the sun went down and I walked into the water a bunch of times. We didn’t change into bathing suits, so I could only walk a little ways in.

And that’s about it. Daniel dropped me off at the airport. Security was pretty easy. The baggage check took so much longer; I don’t know why they couldn’t check the bags of the people in front of me in line for so long. The flights home were brutal. I need to learn how to sleep sitting up I guess. I couldn’t stay awake but I definitely didn’t sleep.

My mom informed me today that we did swim in the Dead Sea 30 years ago. We don’t have pictures because our tour guide was off eating lunch and we didn’t bring the cameras onto the lake. We had the huge hotel breakfast, but he didn’t. I have no recollection of this, but I remember so little of that trip. I scanned in all of my photos and I had a total of 52 for that three week trip. I joked that I wanted to take at least 2000 on this trip. I made that number easily.

So now that I’m home, I guess I have a little more blogging to do about the trip, mostly sharing some of the photos, I think. Watch for those in the near future, but give me a little time. I have to catch up on everything after a three week vacation.

But since it’s easier to upload pictures from home… here’s my last sunset in Israel over the Mediterranean Sea.

Last Sunset in Israel