Tuesday, July 25, 2017

IAJGS Conference, Days 2-3

(I'll be blogging about IAJGS2017 all week.  You can see all IAJGS2017 posts here and posts for all IAJGS conferences I've attended here.)

I made the highlights clip for Day 1!  You can see it here (I'm right at the beginning), and you can also see the whole talk if you have a LIVE! subscription.

On Monday (day #2) of the conference, I started off with a FamilySearch breakfast (shout out to them for including boxes of cold cereal & milk, so I was actually able to eat something) where they discussed the potential for FamilySearch and some of the project/SIG leaders to work together.  Some of the SIGs already have agreements for joint projects with FamilySearch.
My Second Talk of the Conference

I spent most of the morning trying to make it to sessions but instead kept getting stopped by people who had various questions.  So I sat down with several people to look at their DNA results or talk about potential resources to help with their potential research.  Then I went to the Media Lunch where IAJGS leadership spoke with media (apparently blogger counts) about some upcoming efforts.  Stay tuned for that!  And on the food front, they did supply me with kosher lunch.  Thank you!

Then I went to the Chenigov Guberniya BOF.  My Lefands, Halperns, Tolchinskys and Marienhoffs lived in Chernigov Guberniya, in and around Nezhin.  Beth Galleto discussed some of what she has begun to transcribe, and Chuck Weinstein & I were able to speak to some of what Ukraine SIG is doing--and Beth will be coordinating with Ukraine SIG to make sure that the two groups aren't working in parallel doing the same thing.  I've found a significant amount of documentation for my Nezhin family, since many of the vital and census records for the area were microfilmed.  Only now are they beginning to be fully indexed though.

I then gave one of my own presentations about how people moved within Eastern Europe and how that can impact where you're looking for records and the types of things you might find.  I had ancestors in the audience, as my parents came in from the east coast of Florida for the day.

I then led the Subcarpathian SIG meeting.  We've done quite a bit of work in the past year (transcribed over 23,000 vital records, 17,000 of which are already searchable on JewishGen), and we may have a lead for even more documents from the area.

By this point, I was exhausted and decided to go to bed.  And then I started hearing booms.
View from my Hotel Room
Seems the Epcot fireworks are nearby and visible from the hotel.  So that was a nice end to the day.

Tuesday morning started off bright and early with a blogger breakfast with other bloggers.  Thanks to Emily Garber of (going) The Extra Yad for organizing!
Bloggers at the Blogger Breakfast (minus Emily who was taking the photo)
I then attended a talk by Rose Feldman who spoke about "Filling in the In-Between."  She stressed that while dates and places of birth and death are important, there are all of those in-between events that can really fill out a person's life story.  Examples include school records, youth movements, sports, military records, immigration, citizenship, politics, community (synagogue, memorial donations), professions, hobbies, vacations, etc.
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She gave examples from IGRA that can help fill in this sort of information, but which can be applicable wherever your ancestors lived.

Janette Silverman, Ukraine SIG Leader
Janette Silverman led the Ukraine SIG General meeting. She was looking for volunteers in a number of areas--translation, Town Leaders, KehilaLinks creators and more.

She also introduced Harvey Kabaker. He is working on the Odessa 1895 revision list which is a total of 45,000 pages. He has gone through the first 4 microfilms and narrowed it down to 848 pages with Jewish records.  About 30% of those are translated now, and they need Russian readers to help translate additionally.  Harvey will get more microfilms when these are done.

I talked about the benefit of leading a project to get records for yourself and others. If you are sitting around waiting for records for your town to be obtained, why not go out and do it yourself?

Janette then talked about a huge batch of newly-acquired records--125GB of images from Vinnitsa, Khmelnitski, Ternopol & Kiev Archives. This includes some records which survived the Kamenets-Podolski archives' fire. We need lots of translators for these and donations to fund acquisition of these documents and also to pay for translations.

Rabbi Avrohom Krauss
Next up was Rabbi Avrohom Krauss speaking about "Charting: A Tool for Evaluation and Data Display."  He showed many documents that give his grandmother's birthdate--which range all over the place and are inconsistent with one another.

He created an excel-like chart. The top row is sources of information, the next is the age given in each document, and the third row is the implied birth date for his grandmother.  He also color-codes the first row as white (a stronger source) or black (a weaker source). It is subjective but something that can be assisting visually.

He groups similar year implications in in the same color for the second and third rows.  These colors help you to see patterns.

He then showed the actual birth record and compared it to how it differed from the other sources for his grandmother's birthdate.

Proximity to the date can make it more likely to be nearly correct.  Jewish year also needs to be taken into account. The end of the secular year is already the new Jewish year. So that can influence late-in-the-year events being put a year off in secular records.

He says that charting can be helpful in evaluating evidence and visualizing what the information is telling you.

And that's it for me today.  Stay tuned for more from Wednesday & Thursday of the conference!

Note:  I'm on Twitter.  Follow me (@larasgenealogy).

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  1. Your enthusiasm is infectious.

  2. Great roundup of presentations and goings-on at the conference--especially appreciated because I attended other sessions. TY!

  3. Thank you for taking the time to post all this...from an at home follower :)