Thursday, August 8, 2013

IAJGS2013 Conference - Day 4, Part 2

Day 4 of the International Conference on Jewish Genealogy.  My entire summary, day by day, here.  The first part of day 4 can be seen on that link as well.

I attended the Ukraine SIG meeting. This meeting marked the transition of the leadership of the SIG from Ron Doctor (who has done incredible work revitalizing the group) to Janette Silverman.

Ron covered some of the things the SIG has accomplished in the 2 years since he announced that they wanted to revitalize Ukraine SIG. They have made considerable progress towards that mission. 

They changed the culture of sig to otimism and helpfulness. The SIG has actively been seeking out new records and working on making them available. They also changed the leadership structure of the Sig and shifted from being Gubernia-focused to emphasizing specific towns and villages. They created a fabulous new website to help find data sets available for towns. 

There is still a lot more to do.  More and more datasets will be available over the next year.

People with interest in Ukraine should subscribe to the discussion list and Facebook page.  There is also their Ukraine database which has all data from the areas covered by Ukraine SIG.

They now have 214 Kehilalink websites 259 yizkor book translations, 33 Cemeteries, and more

An upcoming project will index names from yizkor books and from separate kehilalinks pages in a searchable database.

There are also 175 town leaders who coordinate data and other informations on the towns (I'm a town leader for 3 towns).

They are also transcribing fields on Ellis Island ship manifests that haven't yet been indexed. This includes town of birth, who is meeting them, and who was left behind.

It was stressed multiple times that Ukraine SIG needs lots of volunteers. There are opportunities for those with language skills, but there are also opportunities for those who just read English.

That volunteer culture was stressed over an over. Everything the Volhynia SIG has achieved is due to volunteers and donations. They need transcribers and people with computer skills. So volunteer!

The next session was pretty much a continuation. It was for current volunteers (including Town Leaders) and continued to stress the thanks--and new opportunities for volunteering.

I then went to an informal lunch to talk about how to integrate more technology into Jewish genealogy in general. I'm still thinking through that discussion.  It kind of continued after with a new subset of people--mostly younger technologically savvy types.  I am not the only genealogy geek under 40 here!

I then went (a bit late) to a panel discussion titled "Ask the International Archival Experts."  It was a great idea--about 8 people with experience in different countries' archives answered questions.  Most were specific to individuals' towns, and it was interesting to hear how much different (and easier) it is to get records in other European countries.

Then off to dinner in Brookline (Rubin's is great!) and then a NextGen get together. Another long (but good) day.

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