After a month and a bit more on the road, I’m now back home. It’s time to take a break before my interview on Sep. 15 with Susan E. King and tell you all about my genealogy tour in the US during the month of August.
My first stop was in New Jersey where I spoke to the Genealogical Society of Bergen County in Ridgewood. More than 50 people heard about the latest MyHeritage.com tools to help genealogists with their research and families to better stay in touch.
The public library where the society meets has a large genealogy section with old phone books, genealogy magazines (old and new), a nice collection of books with family information, and many computers, printers and copy machines. The library is about to redesign the space to give researchers more space and to access additional materials.
The participants were especially interested in the face recognition technology that MyHeritage uses to tag people in photos.
The next day I spoke to the Bernards Family History Interest Group, where I told 60 people about the MyHeritage tools.
I had the chance to have a nice early diner with Ruth Lufkin, who took me for a small walk around town and showed me the cemetery and the churches (basic places for a genealogist).
My friend Illia from Genealogy Today took the time to come to hear me again, and we talked about the new ways in which genealogy and technology are merging. He even took some photos of me. The image above is only one of many he took. Thanks, Illia.
In fact there were so many questions and comments that the group was almost kicked out of the building because it was getting so late. It is impossible for genealogists to get together for only two hours, so we talked more in the parking lot!
My next stop was Philadelphia where the International Association of Jewish Genealogical Societies and the Jewish Genealogical Society of Greater Philadelphia co-hosted their annual IAJGS event. 950 people from all around the world joined to learn, talk, chat, eat, walk, sleep and dream about genealogy.
I was happy to meet old friends and make new ones, do a little personal research and deliver five lectures:
- Genealogy Super Search Engine
- Jewish Genealogical Resources in Latin America
- Engage Children in Learning by Teaching Family History
- Family Tree Builder 4.0
- Face Recognition and Photo Tagging for Genealogy Research
Among the high points of the week were meeting Dr. Dorin Dobrincu, Director General of The National Archives of Romania and hear Father Patrick Desbois provide a very emotional recollection of memories concerning the research for his book “The Holocaust by Bullets: A Priest’s Journey to Uncover the Truth Behind the Murder of 1.5 million Jews.”
The conference devoted a special track to technology during which I could tell people about the many databases that will soon be added to our Genealogy Search but also hear interesting ideas on how to use the Internet, Facebook, Twitter and other social networks (like MyHeritage.com) and recommendations on how to choose the correct genealogical software for researchers from Crista Cowan and David M. Kleiman .
Although David recommended MyHeritage and Family Tree Builder during his program (Thanks, David), he was impressed after I gave him a private preview of Family Tree Builder 4.0, which was released a few days after the conference.
During my days in Philadelphia I was working almost around the clock – attending or giving lectures during the mornings, fulfilling my duties as an IAJGS board member in the afternoons, and at night, I was managing all the translations for the release of Family Tree Builder 4.0.
But that didn’t stop me from making more plans; before the conference ended, we had already started preparing for next year’s IAJGS conference, which will be hosted by the Jewish Genealogical Society of Los Angeles, in California (July 11-16, 2010). I’m planning to be in the Southern California area from mid-June to mid-July, so if your organization would like me to present a program, send me an email and let’s start planning right now. I’ll be happy to come over.
Find the end of the story in my next post.