17 May 2011

Three conferences in 10 days!

Tracing the Tribe has just arrived home after speaking at three conferences in two countries in 10 days!

Each was very different in format and topics addressed, and Internet access - on a personal level - varied, significantly curtailing communications. Jet lag, surprisingly, wasn't an issue on this trip. Along with the events themselves, Tracing the Tribe also connected with family, old and new friends.

The Society of Genealogists' Centenary Conference (London, UK; Saturday, May 7), was followed by the Jewish Genealogical Society of Great Britain's Northern Regional Conference (Manchester, UK; Sunday, May 8). Just two days later, I flew to the exciting National Genealogical Society's event in Charleston, South Carolina.

At the SOG and NGS, my topic was the IberianAshkenaz DNA Study as a case study - administered by Judy Simon of New York and myself - at FamilyTreeDNA.com. Each time this topic is presented, there is more to update on results and participants. It aways changes.

In Manchester, I spoke on social media for 21st-century genealogists, also an evolving topic.

At SOG and NGS, DNA was an interesting topic as the number of Jewish attendees is traditionally rather small, although there were more who had Jewish ancestry, some recently discovered. It was a different audience, with different questions, and we believe that these two opportunities helped to raise awareness of genetic genealogy - and FamilyTreeDNA.com.

From questions asked in session Q&As to those fielded during the rest of the events (and later emails), it was obvious that people are fascinated by this rather amazing tool available to us. The presentation includes the nuts and bolts of creating a DNA project applicable to any ethnicity, religion or geographic region.

At the JGSGB event - with some really excellent topics presented - it was a privilege to help explain how genealogists (as well as genealogy societies and other institutions) can benefit from today's social media, such as Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, blogs and more.

Watch for separate posts on each conference.

Now back home in New Mexico, I still have a few weeks before the Southern California Genealogical Society's Jamboree 2011 (speaking on creating online ancestral communities) and the Association of Jewish Libraries' event in Montreal (speaking on Sephardic research) soon after.

What do I do when at home, other than reading accumulated email, getting some needed sleep and generally not travel farther than the supermarket? Well, there are articles to write, a stack of books to review, and local genealogy goings-on, including genealogy presentations at local senior centers.

The schedule includes even more as I am genealogy co-chair of the New Mexico Jewish Historical Society, and involved in the creation and organization of the new general Sandoval County Genealogical Society.

Tracing the Tribe firmly believes that all Jewish historical societies should join the International Association of Jewish Genealogical Societies (IAJGS), as the NMJHS has recently done. It always seems that genealogists understand the connection between what we do and history, but that historical societies don't always see that essential connection. More cooperation between local genealogical and historical societies provides more learning opportunities for members of both.

What's on the menu for these two societies? We'll soon begin working on the new program year for both groups and contacting prospective speakers.

The Sandoval County society will be meeting the first Saturday of each month, from 10am-12.30pm, and we are working on the timing for the NMJHS events, which will be on Sundays (to be scheduled) at the Albuquerque JCC.

Back to email!

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