Day 5 – Thu 31st July
Quite a British day was had, with a UK-SIG meeting starting the day. We workshopped with a number of attendees with British connections in their research, and a roomful of Brits, such as Jeanette Rosenberg, Sue Fifer, Jeremy Frankel and Michael Tobias were on hand to be experts. This was followed by Mark Nicholls and Laurence Harris presenting on the latest developments in British Genealogy, immediately after doing their bit as experts in the UK-SIG meeting. Michael Tobias gave an excellent session on his Scottish Research to end the day.
The only other session of note was Warren Blatt on Jewish Given Names, and I finally learnt how to pronounce the name of one of my great grandfathers, who does not have as unusual a name as I’d thought. According to WB, “Tunchem” and not “Tenachem” (which led to the English name “Tanny” for one of his grandchildren) was used traditionally in Poland.
There was a conference banquet tonight but I decided to skip it as it was expensive and spent 3 happy hours at the Family History Library instead, whizzing through Polish microfilms. It is so much easier to figure out the Polish compared to the Russian I’m used to!
Day 6 – Fri 1st Aug
The final day of the conference was just the morning, which was a bit tame by the high standard set earlier in the week. Pamela Weisenberger was on at 7.30am and went at a much better pace describing a tour of three countries and numerous archives. I’m sure we’ll be in for a treat at her talk at the JGSGB conference in October. My second session was cancelled at the last minute, which is a polite way of saying that the speaker didn’t bother to show. She was a filmmaker on the topic of the Jewish White Slave trade to Argentina at the turn of the 20th Century and was going to talk and screen her film. (I was particularly interested because I have a distant relative who disappeared to Argentina as a teenager and nobody in the family knows why… She came back in 1911 and married immediately but it was never talked about.) The final session was about finding missing maiden names for the women in your tree which was good fun if a little US centric.
There then followed a mass exodus down to the Family History Library, and I personally spent another 8 hours in front of the microfilm whizzers, and have scores of new records to decipher when I get back home, in both Polish and Russian. Even so, I kept going until they threatened to turn the computers off as I was in search of one particular Polish record in Russian that proved elusive. My head is spinning now…
My overall impressions of the conference are that it was exhausting, educational, entertaining and very inspirational in terms of doing more to improve my genealogical research. Would I go again? Definitely, provided the location makes sense. Next year is in Jerusalem and I’d love to go if I can afford the time and money. My concern would be that it might not be well attended because there was a very large American contingent who may not all travel to Jerusalem. Just like the Family History Library here in Salt Lake City, there are places in Jerusalem that have to be visited, such as Yad Vashem. However, I probably wouldn’t attend a future conference if it was in Orlando, or Paris, as Universal Studios and Disneyland don’t really do it for me. But I hear there are thoughts of future conferences in New York and Warsaw and I’d be first in line…
Early flight tomorrow back to Blighty. Time to pack…
Signing off from IAJGS 2014 – next year in Jerusalem!
Your roving reporter,