IAJGS 2014 – Tuesday- July 29

In this post I continue to share my experience at the 34th Conference on International Jewish Genealogy in Salt Lake City, Utah.

At 7:30 a.m., I attended the “Breakfast with the Experts – Discovering the Jewish Resources at the Family History Library” presented by Heidi Sudgen of the Family History LibraryHeidi gave a great overview of the resources available and some hints on how best to search for what you’re looking for. Of most interest to me was how to find records in Vienna by searching the Jewish Registers of Austria (1784-1911), the Trauugsbucher (Wedding Books), and the Vienna Population Cards (1850-1896).

1929 print ad for my great-grandfather’s
business in Vienna. The copy translates to:
“The Perfect Finish”

Heidi shared that the Family History Library (FHL) has many Jewish records from Hungary, Germany, and England. She suggested using FHL records in conjunction with those found on the JRI-Poland website, a large database of indexes to Jewish records in Poland.

A great piece of information was about FHL’s Photo Duplication Service. This service allows you to request up to 5 records per month and have them emailed to you at no charge! Fabulous! Saves a trip to your local Family History Library.

I met Heidi again later in the week when she assisted me during my visit to the FHL. Heidi suggested I visit the website http://www.digital.wienbibliothek.at/  to help in my search for information about my great-grandfather’s hat business. I had used this site before, but never really explored it in depth. Once at the website, I clicked on Lehmann, which brought me to the Vienna address books (1859-1942). Within a few minutes I had located a 1929 print ad for the store! This site will be very helpful in the future as I map the locations of my family’s businesses and residences.

Following that talk, I went to “Evaluating Evidence: Ask a mini-Minnie Question” presented by Ron Arons. (I’ll go to anything with the word “mini” in it! No, this had nothing to do with my other hobby, dollhouses…) Two of my goals at this conference were:

  1. Learn techniques so I can cite sources correctly 
  2. Learn about GPS (Genealogical Proof Standard – strategies to employ to assure you have the correct information)
Example of a Genogram template from:
The information from this presentation will help me meet both those goals. Ron described the 5 steps of GPS as well as the basic concepts. Using the story of his great-grandfather, Issac Spier, a bigamist, Ron shows how he used the GPS to evaluate evidence and answer the question, “Did Isaac have children with his second wife, Minnie?” He also demonstrated how to use a genogram to show relationships as well as a great suggestion to use a table in order to sort out discrepencies.

I had a lunch date with Doris Nabel, the president of our Connecticut genealogical society, the JGSCT. Poor Doris had experienced some health problems which delayed her arrival. I was really looking forward to spending some time with her during the week, getting to know her a little better and, of course, to network with her. We had an enjoyable lunch then went our separate ways. That was the last time I saw Doris as her health problem forced her to leave two days later. Hopefully, we’ll catch up as soon as she’s feeling better.

My next session was “Jewish Genealogy in Romania” presented by Daniel Jurca of JewishGen. Daniel has, single-handedly I believe, photographed many records in Transylvania and Moldova. Of greatest interest to me was the information about Iasi, Romania where my second-great-grandfather, Josef Spiegel lived at the time of his death in 1908 (aged 105).

Daniel also gave some pointers on how to do research if you are lucky enough to travel to Romania. He listed the following steps:

  1. Identify what collections are available (before you go on the trip!)
  2. Order the books
  3. Do the actual research (photograph the records on the spot and do the research later in order to save time)

Hopefully, Daniel will be able to get his records transcribed and available online in the near future. That work depends on the generosity of volunteers who read the original record and transcribe the information onto a simple form that then becomes the basis of a searchable database. It’s actually not that hard to do if one is able to read the handwriting. You don’t even need to understand the language most of the time as the information is usually names and places. (Yes, I volunteered!)

Next, I went to Ekkehard Huebschmmann’s talk entitled “From Germany to North America in the 19th Century – The Bavarian Example.” Unfortunately this lecture was in the same hall as the one for the keynote. (See previous post about my hearing difficulties.) The presenter certainly appeared knowledgeable about the push/pull factors that affected the emigration patterns of German Jews but his presentation style, reading straight from his notes,  made it all the more difficult to follow.

The Joseph Smith Memorial Building

Source: http://en.wik

Dinner that night was organized by the Hospitality Committee. It’s a great chance to meet new people and is geared towards those attending the Conference alone. We went to The Garden Restaurant on the 10th floor of the Joseph Smith Building. What a gorgeous building! Formerly the Hotel Utah, it is now an office building. The view from the windows at sunset was beautiful. My lousy photography doesn’t do it justice. The inside of the building is as impressive as the outside. Oh, yes. The food was good too, as was the company. Maybe the company was a little too good. Apparently, my natural charm and wit was misunderstood as I had to explain to one dinner companion that I was married and not interested in any after-dinner activity. Awkward.

Lobby ceiling in the Joseph Smith Memorial Building

View from the 10th floor of the
Joseph Smith Building.
Overlooking Temple Square

My final activity for the evening was a talk given by Ron Arons, “What’s in a Name.” Presenting in his usual humorous way, Ron shared strategies he used when researching his great-grandfather, Issac Spier. He found at least four men with the same name and explained the methodology he used in order to determine which one was actually his relative. This is a common problem in genealogy and I found it interesting to follow the process Ron used to assure he had the right man.

Next post: My busiest day of the week.

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