Friday and Saturday were the official Jamboree Days and the theme this year was Unlock Your Lineage.
Between Friday and Saturday I attended another 9 sessions and a workshop. Here are some of the highlights of what I learned:
Friday began with a Breakfast Banquet and Thomas McEntee’s talk entitled How Do I Know What I Don’t Know? Fast Tracking Your Genealogy Education. Thomas started by reminding us that it’s OK to admit that we don’t always have the knowledge when it comes to researching and methodology. He gave us tips on creating lists of where our knowledge gaps are so we can determine where to go to build our new bank of resources.
Annette Burke Lyttle’s talk was entitled Reconstruct a Life: Chasing Uncle William through the Wilds of Cyberspace. Annette took us through online research of her Uncle William to determine his occupation in Laramie and how many wives he really had. She demonstrated the techniques she used for answering her questions by using Wikis, Cyndi’s List, Google, Online Trees, digitized books and newspapers. I think I prefer learning new techniques when they are demonstrated through the use of a case study.
Lisa Louise Cooke’s talk was entitled Reconstruct Your Ancestor’s World with Google. Lisa is a great presenter who is very enthusiastic and easy to listen to. She showed us several places beyond the typical Google search (such as; Google Books, Google Scholar, Google Patents, YouTube and Google Earth Pro) where information can be found about your ancestors that make your stories much richer. I had heard Lisa’s talk last year about Google and YouTube and added some interesting clips (click on the links) to my post entitled Recording A Family Thanksgiving Tradition which I think made the story a lot more interesting.
Friday afternoon I took a 4 hour workshop with Blaine Bettinger entitled Visual Phasing Workshop. Blaine walked us through how you can use your sibling’s DNA to reconstruct your Grandparents DNA. WOW! Can you imagine that is even possible. After he walked us through the painstaking manual process for comparing the segments of chromosomes to make this determination he thankfully showed us a computer program that Steven Fox developed that makes this entire process soooo much easier. The workshop was a pretty intense 4 hours but I was able to keep up, more or less, and I understood why Blaine felt it was important for us to understand the process. We all definitely needed a break after that.
Craig Roberts Scott’s talk entitled Civil War Medical Records demonstrated his depth of knowledge on the subject. Craig took us through NARA (National Archives and Records Administration) finding aids for medical records that are often rich in genealogical information. I had thought that the records I have on my ancestors who fought in the Civil War were complete and now I know I have a whole new untapped source to look at.
Lisa Louise Cooke had a Mini Power Session at the Genealogy Gems booth in the Exhibit Hall where she talked about 4 great apps that can help you with your story telling. Several of them I will need to try very soon.
Annette Burke Lyttle’s talk entitled How Research Plans Can Up Your Genealogical Game really made me think about my ‘research plans’. I have listened to discussions previously on Research Plans and have used them at times but I think you need to hear some topics over again until it really resonates for you. Annette discussed coming up with that specific research question and how to identify sources that are available that my provide you with answers. My big take away from this when I am researching in a new area is not to just hit the SEARCH button but to research all the possible sources of information in an area about a topic before I hit the Search button. I kept thinking about my post on Mary ? King. I have no idea whether she was born in Germany or in Pennsylvania. The other problem is what records are even available to search in Pennsylvania in 1814? Definitely a technique I will try with this question.
Thomas MacEntee’s talk entitled Secrets of the US Federal Census: How did Enumeration Really Work raised some really good questions about our probably number one source of information when we are researching. Thomas, who is a great speaker, talked about how each of the Census’ had their own quirks, sometimes hidden information and the different ways to access the census data. I use the census so much that this will really cause me to go back and look at the information in them with new eyes. This was a great way to end Jamboree.
There were several talks I would have liked to have heard but just not enough time in the day. I was able to buy and download the talks for a fee. Another great perk of the conference. If you were unable to attend but think you’d like to investigate some of the sessions I attended be sure to go to Southern California Genealogy Society website and click on Jamboree and Buy Past Recordings to order yours.
I was very pleased to get my first set of Blogger Beads on Friday night from Elizabeth Swanay O’Neal and the GeneaBloggers Tribe.
If you have any corrections or additions or stories to share I look forward to hearing them.
Enjoy the journey,