Tuesday, June 12, 2012

SCGS Jamboree in Oregon 2012, My Notes

Last week Barry Elwell sent out an email notice about the webinar classes that were being made available by the Southern California Genealogical Society during the Jamboree on Saturday and Sunday, June 9 & 10. Using the link he provided I quickly signed up for all ten classes. When signing up I had no idea if it would be possible for me to view all of them. Then informing my family about attending genealogy classes online for the weekend I hoped they would understand my not being available during those time periods.

What a wonderful opportunity for those in the genealogy community who were not able to attend the Jamboree in person. The only real challenge in this opportunity came when we had a power failure on Friday night and our computer equipment was unplugged for safety reasons. Once the equipment was up and running, things went very smoothly. The access to the webinars was easy to follow and implement. There were a few minutes that I missed from some of the presentations and just as I was hoping that there would be syllabus material available, up popped in my email the connections to the syllabus for those classes. Accessing through DropBox was the quickest format, while other formats were made available for those who do not use that service.

Warren Bittner - Reading for Historical Content
"Beat the Kids With a Fresh Birch Stick So the Animals Don't Get Worms"
He went through fourteen classifications of historical studies, encouraging attendees to read a wide spectrum of historical books. Then he suggested that we should read material to understand the history of the time and place being studied before we write a family history. There was a list of questions one should ask about our ancestor's life and that one should read to find the answers. Finally he demonstrated how to find those history books and provided a lengthy list of selected reading materials.
This was a great start to my participation in the Jamboree.

Lisa Louise Cooke - Projects That Will Captivate the Non-Genealogist in Your Life
Lisa is always a very charming presenter to listen to. Even though I am not really into crafty projects, the projects presented were very impressive. From the Decoupage Plate she made for her mother, the Family History Christmas Wreath, the Family History Wall Displays, the Sweet Memories Candy Bars, Google Earth History Tour and finally the Shape Collage, her professional crafting skills shine through. This past year I actually used the idea of placing family pictures in the small frames and hanging them on our tree. Now I feel motivated to do more projects that will engage our family in future family history discussions.

Steve Luxenberg - Genealogy From the Inside Out: Tracing the Mysterious From a Single Clue, based on the book "Annie's Ghost"
For a presentation by a professed non-genealogist he captivated the audience with his fresh and compelling way he shared Annie's story. With his "PPOD" - Power Point Overload Disorder, he suggested that he would not be offended if those with this disorder chose to leave. Steve presented the five aspects in his research, the First Clue, the First Steps, Recreating Mom's and Annie's World 1919-1940, Tracing Annie, and finally Military Records. His process was thorough and one might wonder if he had journalistic access as a Washington Post associate editor. Now, I just want to get a copy of the book and review the end product of his work. I doubt anyone left his presentation early.

Kerry Bartels - National Archives Website for Genealogists
The National Archives at Riverside
Unfortunately this class had technical difficulties for the first twenty minutes. He started and ended with a compelling story about an ancestor.  Then he proceeded to walk us through how to access material on the NARA website using the following steps: Resources for Genealogists Page, to Online Research Tools, to Forms, Tools and Aides Page, to Federal Records Guide, to Alphabetical Index to the Guide, to Search the Guide, to the Statistical Summary of Holdings by Record Group Number. He suggested using the Archival Research Catalog for more detailed explanations of the records. He discussed the various catalogs, digitized records, Fold3, and Access to Archival Databases.

Joshua D Taylor - Printed Legends and Missing Footnotes: Dissecting the 19th and 20th Century Compiled Genealogies
The class began with five items to be aware of in compiled genealogies. Then he discussed how so many people start with index and never look any further. They often overlook the five major components of interest to genealogists. Next he talked about other aspects of how family histories are created and finding materials helpful in locating such works. Incorporated in the discussion was the life story of Minnie Mary Bahre through a Sample Proof Summary. By providing the sample in the syllabus material, we can all benefit from reading the details of his work.

Barry Elwell - 30 Second Genealogist: How to Find Genealogy Answers You Want Now
By this time of the day the audience was waning. As Barry shared his new business venture, MyGenShare.com, one could feel the excitement that he is feeling. There is free content as well as subscriptions for other materials. We had company coming for dinner so I had to leave this class a little early. The website probably provides access to the information being presented.

Warren Bittner - Complex Evidence, What Is It? How Does It Work? Why Does It Matter?
This discussion covered The Genealogical Proof Standard, Evidence-Evaluation Standards, A Case Study and Direct Evidence. Unfortunately the syllabus material is only one page for very complex subjects. He emphasizes that, "The goal of family history is to establish identity and prove relationships. If this is not met, then all other family history goals and activities are a waste." He also focuses on the importance of indirect evidence vs. direct evidence.

Kerry Bartels - Military Service Records at the National Archives
He notes that the best resource for information on these records is in the book, Guide to Genealogical Research in the National Archives in the United States. To help find military records for ancestors he lists four basic questions based on the known information about the military service. The discussion focused on time periods of services and types of records that are available. I was a little late logging in, so I missed his personal story. By working online, he again had difficulties with slow downloads. Using a pointer with the computer would have alleviated the need to move between the two projector screens.

Curt Witcher - Historical Research Methodology, Engaging the Process to Find All the Answers
Curt certainly captures the audience with his frank and honest appraisal of genealogists. He encouraged us to step back and examine our own research methodology. With tact he awakened some of us to the need to be short and to the point when we discuss genealogy with others. Then he talked about how gathering and archiving materials are viewed by the archivists and librarians. He discussed how we need to work to find all of the answers to our research questions. Curt did not even begin to cover half of the material in his syllabus pages.

Laura Prescott - Diaries and Journals, Finding and Using These Valuable Resources
This was a great class for ending the conference. Laura shared how she finds diaries and journals through many repositories, online information, online auctions, and published indexes. In the course of the presentation she shared the diaries of six individuals. Finally she talked about considering the possibility of donating for those in our personal collections and how to maintain them for long-term preservation.

Each of the presenters did a fantastic job of sharing their knowledge and work experiences. I appreciate being made aware of these free webinars through SCGS Jamboree. My special appreciation to Paula Hinkel and her staff for their dedication to making this event happen. You could sense the frustration of the technical glitches, but they kept on working until things were functioning correctly. This conference had 1700 attendees and I am pretty sure that does not include those of us viewing the webinars. Now I am off to view the Genealogy Idol Competition hosted by Geoff Rasmussen of LegacyFamilyTree.com., which had a time conflict with the very first class on Saturday.

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