06 April 2008

Mensa & Jewish genealogy

American Mensa members score in the top 2 percent of the general population on standardized intelligence tests. Some 50,000 people belong to the US group, with some 100,000 worldwide members. It is estimated that some 6 million Americans are eligible for membership.

This year's 2008 Mensa Colloquium - "Tracking Granny's Granny" - will focus on genealogy during September 12-14 in Salt Lake City.

The event invites Mensans from around the country to discover new genealogy techniques, share stories and uncover shared family histories.

Planned sessions will cover records, methodology and accuracy, problem solving, Internet resources, resources on the ground and more. The tentative program (subject to change) includes the following speakers and sessions:

James Warren:
If Our Ancestors Had E-mail

Colleen Fitzpatrick, Ph.D:
You Will Never Look at Your Old Photos the Same Way Again!
A Different Kind of DNA

Sharon DeBartolo Carmack:
He Lived, He Married, He Died - But I Want More!

Christine Rose:
Problem Solving: Strategies for Success

For speaker bios, click here.

It is interesting that the five largest Mensa chapters (New York Metro, Chicago area, San Francisco Metro, Washington DC Metro, Greater Los Angeles) are in areas with major Jewish genealogical societies. I'm curious as to whether these JGSs have ever asked how many members are also Mensa members?

I did ask Mensa why there was no Jewish genealogy session and American Mensa director Jill Beckham replied: "I am sure you can understand that when preparing a program we are not always able to cover all the areas that registrants might like. With a short time frame we had to choose broad areas to cover."

I wonder when Mensa's surveys will include genealogy as a check-off box when asking about members' interests and activities.

The last survey (2005) with responses from nearly 45,000 members indicates that 1,755 are interested in astronomy, 383 are coin collectors, 2,048 are into golf and 809 into martial arts. Among the respondents, nearly 30,000 have college degrees and nearly 5,500 speak at least two languages in addition to English.

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