Tracing the Tribe just spoke with Ellen Silverman of Philadelphia who is attending the conference.
Ellen demonstrates the diversity of attendees. While not Jewish herself, her husband was and she's helped Jewish friends with their research. Our conferences provide many general topics as well as specifically unique Jewish topics.
Each year we learn something new. Ellen just told me about the First Friday program at the NARA branch here in the city at Chestnut near 9th Street.
On the first Friday of each month, genealogists and researchers gather noon to 2pm to share success stories, ask questions, collaborate, network. These are people who regularly use the archives and gather once a month.
She's even found a family member at one of these meetings - they discovered that they were researching the same families from the same localities!
A staff archivists is always on hand to answer questions and assist.
Jefferson Moak, one of the local NARA archivists, will be presenting three talks at the conference this week. Ellen reports that he is often the archivist who joins in the First Friday get-togethers.
She suggested that other attendees may want to join the group this Friday after our conference ends.
Thanks, Ellen, for the information!