A recent post by my friend Pat Richley (aka DearMyrtle) made me realize that I haven't posted anything about my last trip to the USA, where I gave a series of talks and met many interesting genealogy people.
It was a great opportunity to be able to be there and exchange experiences and knowledge, so I decided to share it with you.
In mid-March, I stopped in Salt Lake City, Utah on my way to nearby Provo, where I would give a few talks at the Computerized Family History and Genealogy Conference, held at Brigham Young University.
In SLC, I met with Kahlile Mehr, who also serves with me on the board of the International Association of Jewish Genealogical Societies (IAJGS). He gave me a personal tour of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints complex, home of Family Search.
Even for an expert genealogist and considering all the information on the Internet today, visiting the LDS Family History Library - the largest genealogical library in the world - for the first time was quite impressive.
I also met with Church members Gordon Clarke, Rob Thomas, Ransome Love, Alan Packer and other staffers.
In Provo, I attended the 2009 Family Search Developers' Conference and the ninth annual Workshop on Technology for Family History, where the discussions centered on projects developed at the university and genealogy's upcoming new tools and technologies.
Suzanne Russo Adams of The Generation Network invited me to visit Ancestry.com's offices, where I met the team in charge of records digitalization and heard all about the process. Believe me, those people are performing miracles. I also met with Gary Gibb and Quinton Atkinson and spoke about interesting projects we may be doing with different genealogy organizations in the near future.
On March 13 and 14 I spoke on Smart Matching Technology and MyHeritage's Family Tree Builder at The Computerized Family History and Genealogy Conference. People were very happy to learn how Smart Matching really works and all the tools and features included in the Family Tree Builder.
Later in March, I attended the Fairfax (Virginia) Genealogical Society Conference, where I met president Chuck Mason, education chair Jennifer P. Dondero and other society members. They invited me to speak at their next conference on March 25, 2010.
I had a very nice meeting with well-known genealogy blogger Pat Richley (DearMyrtle) and updated her on all MyHeritage's new tools and features.
Since I was in the Washington, DC area, I visited the famous US Holocaust Memorial Museum (USHMM) were Megan Lewis showed me how to search the "Bad Arolsen" database. Surprise! I found what I hadn't been looking for - and located six relatives in less than an hour. This included all the information and digital images I needed to confirm the information on my family tree. This database is available only at the USHMM; in Bad Arolsen, Germany; and at Yad Vashem in Israel. If you are thinking about using this database, it is a good idea to do your homework first and get as much information as you can about your family!
I had some time to play tourist and visited Congress, the Washington and Lincoln Memorials, and the White House.
What are the odds that two people who know each other will run into each other at a specific time and place? Although the chance should be very small, it happened to me. I met my company colleague Chris Shearer Cooper on vacation with his family. Neither of us had known about the other's plans, so it was a very small world kind of experience.
Still in the DC area, Arline Sachs and Chuck Mason interviewed me for the cable genealogy TV program "Tracing Your Family Roots" -. We discussed MyHeritage's unique photo management and face recognition technology. The interview was broadcast April 25 and can be seen here
My next stop was in New Jersey, where I spoke at the Genealogical Society of North Jersey about My Heritage's latest technology for genealogist tools, such as Smart Match, Smart Research, Genealogy Search, FTB and Photo Tagging.
Illya D'Addezio (Liveroots.com and GenealogyToday.com) was a guest of honor at that meeting. We had a very interesting chat about how future technology will help genealogy and how Second Life may promote virtual meetings among researchers.
I enjoyed every minute of the trip, every lecture I gave and every person I met. That's why I'm already planning my next trip during the summer, where I will be combining work with a family vacation. My schedule includes:
- July 27, Genealogical Society of Bergen County, New Jersey
- July 28, Bernards Township Library's Family History Interest Group, New Jersey
- August 2-7, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania; The 29th IAJGS International Conference on Jewish Genealogy where I will speak on various genealogy tools, techniques and sources of information.
- August 13, Blair County Genealogical Society in Pennsylvania.
- August 23, JCC in Memphis, Tennessee.
Still awaiting confirmation are talks at local genealogy and historical societies in Pennsylvania, New Jersey and New York.
I'll be back in Israel at the end of August, but will speak October 29-31, at the First International Black Genealogy Summit, Ft. Wayne, Indiana.
On November 1, I will be likely to speak at the Jewish Genealogical Society of Michigan and, on November 3, at the Utah Jewish Genealogical Society and meet again with people from the genealogy community. I'll post more about those trips later on.
If your society would like me to speak, email me at Daniel@myheritage.com.
If it's possible, I'll be happy to schedule a visit to your neighborhood.