Today was very busy for us. It was the day of the UK SIG meeting and lunch and the GerSIG meeting and lunch. For those that don’t know, SIG stands for Special Interest Group, of which there are a great many at the conference. They cover not just UK (United Kingdom) and Germany (Ger) but Poland, Lithuania, Ukraine, Bessarabia, Canada, Belarus, France, Alsace & Lorraine, Hungary, Galicia, Latvia, Austria Czech, Romania, South Africa and many other places. At the SIG meetings and lunches people who have research interests in the particular area receive updates on the activities of the SIG and presentations on relevant topics. For the UK SIG I gave an update on the Jewish Community and Records UK website (www.jewishgen.org/jcr-uk/) explained the usefulness of the community pages on the website to find out more about the locality and associated records and data. The JCR-UK discussion list (www.jewishgen.org/jcr-uk/subscribe.htm) was promoted as a good place to post questions about finding family. We also discussed other useful sites such as Cemetery Scribes (www.cemeteryscribes.com/) and British-Jewry (www.british-jewry.org.uk) as ways of finding information or asking questions. As part of the UK-SIG meeting, I had the privilege of presenting two JGSGB members with their Roll of Honour scrolls. The members were both from Scotland, Michael Tobias and Harvey Kaplan. Michael has been instrumental in the development of the JewishGen databases and website amongst many other things and Harvey has been one of the principal key people involved in the development of the Scottish Jewish Archives (www.sjac.org.uk/)
The UK-SIG meeting was followed by a paid for lunch and presentation on immigration to the UK by Dr Nicholas Evans, one of (if not) the most knowledgeable people on the subject in the UK. As ever he presented information about many under-used resources and explained the migration process, including the fact that people often returned back to their homeland for visits or on a permanent basis. We had a very good turnout for the UK-SIG meeting and for the lunch, with people from the USA, Canada, Australia and of course the UK.
The SIGs and the Birds of a Feather (BOF) are for most attendees major highlights of the conference and help them to meet people with the same research interests.
The UK-SIG lunch was followed by the GerSIG meeting, which Jeanette Rosenberg chaired along with Roger Lustig. The SIG members were told about new developments and also reminded about the many different activities of the SIG.
Following on from the SIG meetings there was a sequence of UK-related lectures. The first was delivered by Jeanette on UK Newspapers as a resource for genealogy research. The benefits of using newspapers for research cannot be under-estimated and the UK is blessed with many thousands of historical newspapers that contain information about Jewish people, from the national dailies through to the local parish newspapers and on to specialist journals. Many titles are now being digitised, which is making them far more accessible to people all over the world.
The final lecture on UK records we attended was given by JGSGB member Daniel Morgan-Thomas on records relating to deaths in the UK. Daniel explained about death cerificates in England and Wales and finding graves, wills and other related records. Daniel did extremely well in delivering his lecture considering that he is only just 18.
The recent late nights have taken their toll on us and tonight we have made it an early night, though I am finishing this blog post at 11.30 p.m. – better than trying to do it at 1.00 a.m.
So here’s to the next day’s events.