Jamboree Day 1

My day started when I woke up at 4:30 (body still on Eastern time), so I did a little genealogy, then went back to bed for a couple of hours. The hotel has Starbucks in the lobby, which just made my morning, so I enjoyed my first latte in the company of the geneablogger crowd, including Donna Peterson, Diana Ritchie, and Caroline Pointer, with Thomas Macantee and footnoteMaven popping by. I also met Gini Webb, who was helping Thomas distribute the awesome Geneablogger swag bags (look for a separate post on the contents, including thanks to all the gifters).

The second round of roundtable discussions were scheduled to begin at 10:45, so I headed out to the Pavilion, which was actually two very large tents. There were a LOT of discussion topics and I wish I had gone to the first round as a participant. Joan Miller was there, talking about social media, which was also my topic for the second session. I only had one person, but that turned out okay, because we had a good one-on-one discussion about various forms of social media. He was very intrigued with Twitter, which happens to be my favorite social medium (other than the blog, of course).

Next up was lunch with Elyse Doerflinger, Terri O’Connell, Patricia Standard, and Dick Eastman.

After lunch, the Jamboree day officially started. I decided to attend “Elusive Immigrants” for my first session. The speaker was Warren Bittner, a newly-minted Certified Genealogist, and his lecture was sponsored by the Board for Certified Genealogists as a Skillbuilding Lecture. I’m really glad I went to this lecture. The lecture notes indicated that it would include case studies, which can kind of dry, but Mr. Bittner did a great job, incorporating a self-deprecating wit and excellent visuals to tell a great story of perseverance – or as he called it – “reasonably exhausting” research. Here are a few tips on finding those elusive immigrant ancestors:

  • Check for ethnic newspapers (i.e. German language, etc.), whether your ancestors lived in cities or small towns.
  • One event creates many records. In other words, with a death event, don’t just locate the death certificate and mark off death on your checklist. Look for every record that a death might create, such as government or civil records, church records, newspaper accounts, property transactions, family bible records, family mementos, other published records, etc.
  • Reasonably Exhaustive Research includes research on the extended family, including children, grandchildren, siblings, cousins, aunts, and uncles.

My second class was “Google Earth for Genealogy,” with Lisa Louise Cook. I had previously downloaded Google Earth and played around with it, but wasn’t seeing the genealogical possibilities.Lisa does a great job teaching technology and I’m sold on the idea of using Google Earth. When I get home, I’m going to order her first DVD on the subject. I’ll follow up with some posts after I get in and start using the product.

The last class I attended was “Using Original and Derivative Sources: How to Evaluate Evidence,” taught by Dr. John Colletta. I had heard good things about Dr. Colletta and I was not disappointed. He is a great lecturer; if you get a chance to hear him speak, you should. A), he really knows his stuff, and B), he’s hilarious. That’s a great combination. A few tips from his lecture:

  • When analyzing records, ask yourself “what is the bias behind this record.”
  • Land deeds in courthouse deed books are derivative sources. The originals are in the hands of the landowner.
  • Information is neutral until we analyze it. It doesn’t become evidence until we determine that it supports or contradicts our hypothesis.

After a quick “Happy Hour Appetizer” dinner with a few geneabloggers, I took a break to write this post and now I’m off to the ice cream social sponsored by Geneabloggers and Geni.com.

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