IAJGS 2014 – Salt Lake City – Sunday and Monday

Finally sitting down to review my notes from the IAJGS conference. It was a very busy week. Here are some of the highlights:

Hilton Salt Lake City Center
-from their website

Arrived at the Hilton Salt Lake City Center about 2 p.m. If you ever stay there be sure to make use of the transportation service they use, Haroon Transportation. Just $12.00 from airport to hotel door. Excellent!

After checking into my room, I attended “Using the FamilySearch.org Website for Jewish Research.” W.Todd Knowles gave this talk. I heard him present last year in Boston. Amazingly, when his family arrived in London, England they were befriended by a Samuel family. Todd has no idea of which particular Samuel his ancestor was referring to. We both chatted for awhile and hope to find the answer to this question someday. My guess is it wasn’t our Samuels. Pretty sure our English ancestors didn’t have resources to help themselves much, never mind another family. But, you never know!

The website is totally free and managed by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (Mormons.) In case you don’t know, Family Searc is a genealogy organization operated by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. It is the largest genealogy organization in the world. (Thanks, Wikipedia for that info!) Todd gave us some good tips on using the familysearch.org website, particularly about the Books Collection and the Research Wiki. He also suggested starting out at the Map, choosing the area you are researching and then accessing the Catalog references. This is opposed to beginning your search with a specific name, which is what I was doing and getting nowhere!

Squatters – from the their website

I found Squatters, a great restaurant, just a block away and got a huge sandwich for dinner. Good choice. Saved half for the lunch the next day

The keynote speech that evening was my first hint that my hearing is getting worse!! It was held in a large room with two speakers in the front and no visuals to help me focus. Honestly, I can’t tell you one thing the speaker, David Laskin said about how World War I affected the lives of Jewish people.

Kind of glad I didn’t get a roommate. It was very relaxing just hanging out later in my room, not worrying about making any small talk.

Each attendee gets a badge with names
and countries of interest listed on it.

This was my first full day. I started my day (and most days!) attending a session at 7:30 a.m. The first presentation I attended was “Finding Live People on the Internet.” The presenter, Ron Arons, is a funny guy whom I saw once before in Boston. His lectures are sprinkled with bits of humor and he is very easy to listen to. Ron shared many sites to use when attempting to locate living people. Although he denied it, I do think he may have a bit of “stalker” in him!

I had chatted with Ron the previous evening at the Reception held after the Keynote speech. He looked at my badge and said, “I know where Hamden is.” Turns out his aunt is Tobi Gillman, a substitute at our school!! Small world. BTW – I was surprised at the number of people who knew where Hamden was – at least 5 people!

I next attended the annual ROM-SIG meeting. SIGs are special interest groups for specific geographical areas, in this case Romania. There are many of these groups which run discussion boards hosted on JewishGen, a completely free website chock-full of resources specific to Jewish genealogy. The groups also maintain their own pages on JewishGen and share their research databases on JewishGen as well. At this annual meeting, the main discussion was how to encourage people to volunteer so the research work that had been started could continue.

I next attended a presentation by Ava “Sherlock” Cohen, “Clued-In: Petticoats and Puttees: Identifying the Clothing in World War I Family Photographs.” In this talk, I learned many terms for clothing worn during this period as well as tips to use in identifying and dating photos taken during that time.

What I learned helped me understand this photo of my uncle, Paul Nevins (formerly Nebenzahl)

Paul Nevins (Nebenzahl) in circle. Photo from my family collection.

I learned that since Paul was born (1894) and living in Poland , one can not automatically assume the country he fought for. Since Poland was not actually a country during this time, he could have fought for any of several countries in the region. I also learned that due to shortages, uniforms may have been “cobbled together” from bits and pieces of previous uniforms w
hich may account for soldiers in the pictures wearing different uniforms. Sometimes soldiers even had to supply their own uniform!
My last meeting of the day was the Gesher-Galicia SIG meeting. They have a terrific website and loads of great information. This group covers the area formerly called Galicia, which was a province of the former Austro-Hungarian Empire. Today that area is part of eastern Poland and southwestern Ukraine. I can remember my mother telling stories about her paternal grandfather, Sigmund Lichtenthal. He would state vehemently, “Ich bin ein Galitizianer!!”

I had dinner with several bloggers. (See previous post.) That was really enjoyable. Some were profilic bloggers like James Tanner (Genealogy’s Star) and others were people like myself, either fairly new to blogging or trying to get back into it. The dinner was organized by Emily Garber of (Going) The Extra Yad

It was a nice opportunity to put faces to names I had heard before as well as learning several new blogs I had not been aware of previously.
Me (in gray sweater) chatting with Jane Neff Rollins of Kitchen Sink Genealogy.
Thanks to Rose Feldman (IGRA) for pic!

To see who was there as well as links to their blogs and Facebook pages, see Emily’s post on her blog.
Then it was off to bed as I had a 7:30 a.m. breakfast meeting!

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