The international genealogists descended on Washington DC and MyHeritage was there to meet them.
The 31st International Conference on Jewish Genealogy – August 14-19 – was organized by the Jewish Genealogical Society of Greater Maryland in conjunction with the International Association of Jewish Genealogical Societies. The annual conference is held in a different city each year, with Paris the venue for 2012.
Chief genealogist Daniel Horowitz, UK genealogy advisor Laurence Harris and US genealogy advisor Schelly Talalay Dardashti were ready for the more than 1,100 family history researchers and genealogists from the US and around the world.
The conference program featured more than 120 lectures, workshops and other events, including a concert. This event is one of the longest genealogy conferences, beginning on a Sunday and running through Friday.
Days started very early with breakfasts with the experts, walking tours, special interest group luncheons, followed by late evening programs. At all times of the day, attendees were seen gathering with old and new friends, sharing and collaborating with those researching the same names and places.
It is always an excellent event for connecting each year with friends from countries around the world.
This year MyHeritage challenged attendees to bring their GEDCOMs and let us find Smart Matches. We were happy to see so many conference-goers visit us in the vendor room and participate. We met many happy current users as well as many who had not yet used MyHeritage. Some people just dropped by to say “We love MyHeritage."
Technology is always a major component of the conferences and expert-run workshops included software (PC and MAC), blogging, specific country research, creating virtual ancestral communities and several on Internet features.
Another major research category is databases. This annual conference is important as many organizations wait for the event to announce new databases, updates to existing databases and future plans.
This year, numerous programs were presented on Sephardic resources. Author and pioneer Sephardic genealogist Dr. Jeff Malka was responsible for several programs in this category, including useful websites, databases and Spanish archival resources.
Several embassy receptions were also organized for conference-goers. The researchers had opportunities to impress upon officials their interest in family history and obtaining access to records.
Programs were organized by tracks.Attendees could choose from sessions strictly for beginners, internet and software, special programs for genealogy society leadership, DNA and genetics, maps, geographic areas and much more.
One excellent workshop was D. Joshua Taylor's "Attracting the Younger Generation." In a two-hour session, Josh discussed that the future of genealogical societies depends upon attracting new audiences, including younger generations of genealogists and family historians. He provided methods to create unique programs for those under age 25. The workshop included interactive discussions and a hands-on planning session with many ideas to bring home to our own genealogical societies. Daniel, Laurence and Schelly are all active members of various societies and the ideas in this session will help our societies plan future programming.
But for MyHeritage team members, our attendance at international conferences continues. Laurence is scheduled to represent MyHeritage at events in the UK and Sweden, Daniel and Schelly will attend the Federation of Genealogical Societies 2011 event in Springfield, Illinois, September 7-10, where the GEDCOM challenge will run again. Remember to prepare yours and bring it on a flashdrive or CD.
We will continue to let readers know where we will be and when. We are always interested to greet MyHeritage users at our exhibit area displays at these events. If you will be attending, please come by and say hello!