13 August 2008

On the road again: To Chicago

This afternoon (Wednesday), we head from Seattle to Chicago by train, arriving Friday afternoon. I'm spending some time scheduling posts to appear while we are Internet-less on Amtrak.

Yesterday, I met a really nice group of people at the Mercer Island Library (Seattle) while presenting a program on getting started in Jewish genealogy. Some participants were just beginners, some were quite advanced - a very nice group.

The program was sponsored by Endless Opportunities of the Jewish Family Service in Seattle. EO offers various educational programs at different venues.

Towards the end, I went online and looked up family names for some of the attendees. It is always amazing when someone sees the name of a father, an uncle, an aunt, in a database. I was waiting for someone to jump up and do a Happy Dance - no one was that exuberant - but from the reactions of the audience, I could tell that genealogy has found a few more aficionados!

Thanks to Lyn Blyden, president of the JGS of Washington State, for arranging this.

Last week, Lyn and I also drove up to Anacortes - about a two-hour drive - to meet with a small group of interested people, Jewish and not, and I delivered much the same program.

Our host, Michael, also shared some history of the very small Jewish community of the town of Anacortes - he's been there since the 70s.

Lyn is great at organizing these kinds of outreach programs and it is one reason why the JGSWS is growing! She never misses an opportunity to connect with prospective researchers, either right around the corner or a two-hour drive away.

Outreach is the lifeblood of genealogy societies - societies cannot just sit and wait for people to show up at a meeting, they must make the effort to get out there, offer programing and excite new individuals.

The word is outreach, ladies and gentlemen - and Lyn says it is really an "endless opportunity." 

The JGSWS also cooperates with the Jewish genealogical societies in Vancouver, BC; Portland and Eugene, OR, in bringing in name speakers and sharing expenses. This is another excellent format for regional JGSs to emulate. Cooperation among societies enables so many more people to hear expert speakers.

Kol hakavod! to the JGSWS.

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