Sunday, January 12, 2020

RootsTech2020 for Jewish Genealogists

It's almost that time of year--RootsTech is coming!  And while Utah isn't the first place one would think of for Jewish genealogy, there's so much that RootsTech offers the Jewish genealogist.

(Note:  If you're coming or thinking about coming, keep reading to learn about a dinner for Jewish genealogists.)
Just a small part of the HUGE exhibit hall at RootsTech

You can see the whole (incredibly huge) schedule here.

I'm giving two talks, both of which will be of interest to those doing Jewish genealogical research.

On Wednesday afternoon, you can hear me speak on "Finding Relatives in Russian Empire Records for non-Russian Speakers."  You know all of those Russian Empire records that are coming online that totally intimidate you because you don't speak Russian?  Well, I'll give you hints and tips about how to find your relatives in those records.  You won't be fluent in Russian at the end of the hour, but you'll be able to skim through records and know which ones are your relatives.

And then on Thursday morning I'm speaking on "Jewish Genealogy--How to Start, Where to Look, What's Available."  It'll be a comprehensive overview of the types of resources you can use to research your Jewish family.

Janette Silverman is giving two talks geared towards Jewish researchers: "Challenges of Jewish Research: Names, Dates, Places" as well as "'A' My Name is Alice - What's in a Name," talking about Jewish immigrants' name changes.

On Thursday morning, Schelly Dardashti is giving a talk on Sephardic resources.  If your research tends to be more Ashkenazi-focused (like mine is, since most of my family's been in what's now Ukraine for as far back as I have traced), this is a great way to learn about Jewish genealogy resources that I might not have used before.

Thanks to the RootsTech organizers for making sure that my talks weren't scheduled on Friday afternoon or Saturday!  RootsTech, despite being in Utah (which isn't quite a center of Judaism or kosher food), has been so incredibly thoughtful over the past years about accommodating my needs.  In fact, I didn't even have to ask about kosher food at this year's speakers' social; look at the options when I registered for it!

Thank you, RootsTech!
There are hundreds of other talks that, while not specifically focused on Jewish genealogy, are very applicable to Jewish research.  I noticed several talks talking about Polish resources which could be applicable to Jewish genealogists.  There are talks on genealogical methodology, DNA and various sorts of resources that could be applicable to your research.  There are classes on how to record and tell your family's stories.  And sometimes I just go to talks that are completely not relevant to Jewish genealogy, and I learn about incredible resources available in other countries and see the kinds of logic that people use in their research.

And one of the highlights for Jewish attendees at RootsTech is an informal (kosher!) Friday night dinner that we have held for the past three years.  It's a great chance to start Shabbat with other Jewish genealogists.  We spend a few hours eating, drinking, talking (mostly genealogy), and hanging out.  We span the religious spectrum from Orthodox to not-at-all-religious.  If you're going to be in town, please let me know so we know how many to expect.  The dinner is held on North Temple Street, just north of the Salt Palace Convention Center, so it's nice and convenient.

So go register!  See you in Salt Lake City!

(Note:  I am a RootsTech Ambassador.  This means I get some perks like free registration--which I'd get anyways since I'm speaking.  And it means I periodically write posts about RootsTech.  Plus, I may get more people to know about our dinner.)

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