Our genealogy extravaganza is has come to an end and Mom is now en route to her home in Tucson, Arizona after the adventures of last weekend at the Southern California Genealogical Society 2010 Genealogy in Burbank. I posted Mom’s report yesterday; here’s my take on the event.
The weekend kicked off Thursday afternoon with our GeneaBlogger Welcome Bag stuffing work party and then moved into the main event of Jamboree weekend. The three days were a whirlwind of meeting new and old friends and soaking up great genealogy techniques and information.
Mom and I arrived at the Marriott Friday morning where we found the Welcome Bag distribution was in the capable hands of Geneabloggers Thomas MacEntee and Amy Coffin already headquartered at the unofficial official GeneaBloggers lounge area adjacent to the hotel main lobby. footnoteMaven, Kathryn Doyle, Miriam Midkiff, Cheryl Palmer, and Becky Wiseman were already there, and in the course of the morning (and next few days) we met up with Craig Manson, A.C. Ivory, Randy Seaver, Joan Miller, Susan Kitchens, Elyse Doerflinger, Shelley Talalay Dardashi, Holly Hansen, Steve Danko, and Gini Webb.
I was fortunate to get a ticket to one of the mini-workshops offered at Jamboree for the first time this year, and spent two information-packed hours working with “Using Google Earth to Map Your Ancestor’s Home.” Presenters Anne J. Miller and David J. Armstrong gave a well-paced lecture followed by hands-on lessons in how to place a plat or an historic map as a layer on Google Earth. I have been researching a rural neighborhood in New York and tried to do this on my own with only moderate success; I knew that there had to be an “easier way.” This mini-workshop was a great how-to lesson I am anxious to put into practice.
Hands-on computer instruction is always tricky for instructors. It is inevitable that students will be at varying levels of expertise and preparation; network connections become unavailable; space is cramped for equipment and mouse-driving elbows. I was impressed with Miller and Armstrong who took everything in stride with a smile and a solution. Their able assistant (both presenters brought their helpful spouses) solved network problems, helped attendees install files, assisted with late-comers, and just kept things humming along. I strongly recommend this duo to anyone interested in learning about using historic maps with their research. Fortunately, they were also scheduled for two more Jamboree session, and many attendees had an opportunity to hear their presentations.
The mini-workshop extended into the 3:00 speaker time-slot, so instead of attending Michael John Neill’s talk, “Re-Stacking the Blocks: Organizing Your Information,” I bought the recorded lecture offered by Jamb-Inc. and look forward to listening to the presentation soon. If it has anything to do with getting better organized I will probably have to listen to it more than once.
Mom and I met up for the last class of the day with Maureen Taylor, The Photo Detective, on “Identifying and Dating Family Photographs.” Maureen really knows her subject and she inspired me to pull out some photos at home for a private consultation on Sunday. Her presentations are always a priority for me at any conference.
There was time for quick trip through the Exhibit Hall where I picked up a few used books at Society tables, and then it was on to the banquet featuring speaker Chris Haley. More GeneaBlogger fun ensued at dinner and afterwards back at the Bloggers’ Lounge.
I was up early Saturday morning for another land mapping mini-workshop with Miller and Armstrong. Mr. Curator had reserved a ticket for this session, but was unable to attend at the last minute and passed on his ticket to me! Lucky, lucky. This class focused on using the complicated-sounding land description in a deed to construct an accurate map (or plat) of the property. Computers were replaced with protractors and rulers for this class, and former math instructor David Armstrong demonstrated his experience with teaching by guiding everyone in drawing the correct plat. Anne Miller gave an informative introduction and walked the class through the steps of extracting pertinent information and collecting useful data from adjacent properties. Again, an excellent session.
I then hustled over to the Bloggers Summit where I caught Part 2, moderated by Thomas MacEntee of GeneaBloggers, with the panel of Craig Manson, Lisa Louise Cooke, Shelley Talalay Dardashti, and Katherine Doyle. Thomas kept the session moving along with well placed questions of the panel and comments from the very enthusiastic and engaged audience. The room was packed with bloggers and (perhaps) would-be bloggers wanting to hear more about genealogy blogging and social networking.
Then, it was time for lunch with the Eldest Daughters, a curious coincidence discovered during the meal with footnoteMaven, Katherine Doyle, and Miriam Midkiff. We wonder, does birth order having something to do with a passion for genealogy? What do you think? Are you the eldest daughter, or son?
My Jamboree day ended after lunch when I got the call that Baby Boy was in town for a visit. I sped off for home and we made a little family history of our own for the rest of the day!
Sunday morning found me back at the Jamboree for Geoff Rasmussen’s Legacy presentation on “Timelines and Chronologies.” I am a big fan of using personal timelines to track down elusive ancestors and Geoff showed a few new tricks that will be very helpful. He also demonstrated two mapping software programs which I am excited to try (more on those in another post).
I spent some time in the Exhibit Hall catching up, and showing Maureen Taylor, The Photo Detective some puzzling photographs. She had some good ideas which I am anxious to research further. Then it was off to Maureen’s presentation “Hairsteria,” a roaring good-time look at celebrity look-alikes for some old-time photos. What a hoot! The day ended with “City Directories” by Lisa Lee where I caught more good tips, and final good-byes to the GeneaBlogger crowd.
After three consecutive years attending SCGS Jamboree, I continue to be impressed with the caliber of presentations, exhibitors, and overall organization of this regional conference. Paula Hinkel and Leo Meyers direct a host of volunteers to present an outstanding program that gets bigger and better every year.