Monday, July 28, 2014

IAJGS2014 Conference - Day 1

Day 1 of the International Conference on Jewish Genealogy.  My entire summary, day by day, here.

I attended part of Steve Morse's talk. I've used his one-step pages many times, and this was an overview. I jotted down some notes while he was talking.

He began with an overview of his one step website. It was started 2001 when Ellis Island was putting their records online. He observed that it took many steps to do a search, but he felt he could do it in one step. It the became the "one step" website.

The overall website consists of 17 folders which contain about 200 different tools.

Why do you need one-step tools?  He generally ties into data from other websites. Some do not have good search engines. Even links back to his site.  They don't even allow for a sounds-like search to do not make it obvious.  These tools provide more powerful interfaces for searching these databases.

Each "one step" tool has a help area to explain what data is being searched and how it is being searched.

He then stepped through the various forms for searching New York ship manifests.

In some of the forms, you can search by travel companion to help narrow down the right person-- this was something new for me, so I'll play around with it when I get home.

Many records on the Ellis island website are mislinked. His site can be used to tie to the right record.  He has a trio of tools to help with immigration records:
1) Passenger names
2) Ship arrival information
3) Microfilm location

There are also links to pictures of ships to see how ancestors immigrated.

There are similar search tools for census records. Census takers misheard names, had bad handwriting, etc.  can also look for an address and find the census page number.

I then left--because I had to get ready for my talk!

I was really pleased with (and a little nervous about) the large turnout. There was a lot of interaction with the audience and I think it went well. In fact, the keynote speaker for the conference (David Laskin) realized that we are related!  In fact, I apparently got a shoutout during the keynote. But because I'd flown out early Sunday morning and was still on east coast time, I was in bed at the time.

As co-president of JGS-Maryland, I was invited to he Presidents' Reception. I met lots of new people and got to see others who I hadn't seen in a while. Which also summarizes much of Day 1 for me.

After a nap, I met up with the NextGen group. If you are reading this and are at the conference and are under 45 (NextGen takes on a new meaning at a genealogy conference), we meet up every night. So come join!


  1. Glad to hear your presentation went well (as I knew it would!). It's great that you were slotted for the first day. Now you can relax and enjoy the rest of the conference. I also attended a Steve Morse lecture at the IAJGS conference in Washington DC in 2011--he's a very entertaining speaker, and you learn a lot from him, too.

  2. It's too bad your presentation wasn't available to those of us who are watching from afar. How do they decide which presentations will be streamed and which won't?

  3. I saw Steve Morse twice last year at IAJGS in Boston (the second presentation was about navigating the New York Census) and I'm so glad I did! Both presentations were very good and informative. Glad to hear your presentation went well.