West Coast Genealogy Tour I

West Coast Genealogy Tour I
Daniel lecturing at NGS

Daniel lecturing at NGS

I have finally found time to write about my recent trip, which featured two intensive genealogy-focused weeks. I returned to a huge backlog of emails and other tasks and then had to firm up the details of my next trip.

First, I want to thank all the wonderful people who hosted me during this trip.

It kicked off in Grand Junction, Colorado, where Dale Seibert, of the local LDS Family History Center, invited me to the Family History Fair. This small town is simply beautiful, everyone is friendly and doors are open all the time. I gave four lectures on “Face Recognition” and “Family Tree Builder software”.

People were so kind – as they have been in every other place I have visited. I think the most amazing thing for them was to have someone from so far away visit. Believe me, I did it with pleasure.

The next stop was Sacramento, where Morton Romberg hosted and drove me around, before and after my lecture at the Jewish Genealogical Society of Sacramento. It was very impressive to see the letters the group has received from Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger. This group is really into hi-tech, with Wifi Internet and digital lecture recording. Soon I hope to have it available for everyone to view. After the meeting, I joined the group’s past presidents at a nice “all you can eat” restaurant and we talked about the problems most genealogical societies are experiencing.

San Jose – Silicon Valley – was next, where I stayed with Rosanne and Dan Lesson in Los Altos. They are a delightful couple who are 120% into genealogy. They are also as crazy about sushi as I am and we went to the most incredible place to enjoy it. The food was so beautiful that I took a photo. I spoke to the local branch of the San Francisco Bay Area Jewish Genealogical Society on “How to Preserve Memories in a Digital Era.” The next day, I attended a DNA program by Steve Morse at the Santa Clara County Genealogical Society, in a beautiful venue with a large audience. I hope someday to speak there myself.

After a short rest, I went to Stockton to speak at the San Joaquin Genealogy Society, where geneablogger Sheri Fenley – The Educated Genealogist – had made all the arrangements. The weather didn’t cooperate. It was pouring and the parking was a mess due to an upcoming festival, but more than 60 people showed up and some newcomers joined the society. Following my quick six-hour visit to Stockton, I went to San Francisco for some meetings and to catch a plane to Salt Lake City, Utah.

After a week of sleeping in a different bed every night, I was finally able to unpack! I headed to the FamilySearch Developers Conference, invited by Gordon Clarke to speak about “Genealogical Developments for Europe and Asia.” It was great to share experiences with other industry tech guys about translation processes and challenges.

Daniel and Sebastien at MyHeritage Booth

Daniel and Sebastien at MyHeritage Booth

The next day, I began to set up our MyHeritage booth in the NGS conference GenTech area. Sebastien, of the US MyHeritage team, and I were there for the four conference days, and I also gave three lectures on the technology tools we have developed for genealogists.

Immediately before NGS began, I presented a talk for the Utah Jewish Genealogical Society, in the Family History Library. This was a great honor and a milestone in my career, as this is THE place for hard-core genealogists. It was also something of an embarrassment as we had a miscommunication about the program start time. I arrived – still having to set up – when the event was to begin. The audience was seated and waiting for me. If you were there, apologies again and I hope you enjoyed the talk.

The NGS conference was a fantastic opportunity to see all the industry’s major companies gathered together and learn about new technologies and resources to come.

I was also able to meet personally with the wonderful people who keep us updated all year long, such as Randy Seaver, Dear Myrtle, Dick Eastman, Lisa Alzo, Paula Stuart-Warren, Stephen J. Danko, Sheri Fenley, Kathryn M. Doyle, Janet Hovorka, Illya D’Addezio, Amy Urman, Madaleine J. Laird, Angela Packer McGhie, Megan Smolenyak Smolenyak, Lou Szucs, Maureen Taylor, Diane Haddad, Donna Pointkouski, Elizabeth Hansford and many more. I’m just sorry I didn’t have more time to talk to all of you at NGS, but I invite you to visit our booth at the Southern California Genealogical Society Jamboree in a few weeks.

Daniel Horowitz with Genealogy blogers

Daniel with (left) Sheri Fenley & Kathryn M. Doyle, (center) Randy Seaver, (right) Illya D'Addezio & DearMyrtle.

Yes, it was really exhausting – 16 days, 12 lectures, 9 planes, 5 cities – but I would gladly do it again. In fact, I AM doing it again and I’m preparing now. I’m back in the US again – from June 07 on the West Coast – and will stay longer and visit more cities:

  • June 8: Antelope Valley Genealogical Society, CA.
  • June 11-13: Southern California Genealogy Jamboree, Burbank, CA.
  • June 17: Napa Valley Biographical & Genealogical Society, CA.
  • June 19: Computer Genealogical Society San Diego, CA.
  • June 20: Jewish Genealogy Society San Diego, CA.
  • June 27: Jewish Genealogy Society Conejo Valley & Ventura, CA.
  • July 01: Jewish Genealogy Society of Oregon, Portland, OR.
  • July 04-07: Association of Jewish Libraries Convention, Seattle, WA.
  • July 08: Eastside Genealogical Society, Seattle, WA.
  • July 11-16: IAJGS International Conference on Jewish Genealogy, CA.
  • July 16: San Fernando Valley Genealogical Society, CA
  • July 17: Santa Barbara Genealogical Society, CA.

I hope you can make one of these programs and look forward to sharing some of our genealogy experiences. If other groups would like me to speak, I will try to schedule it.


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  • Sheri Fenley

    May 20, 2010

    I’m so glad you had a great trip. I know that everyone here in Stockton were so pleased at the turnout for the presentation you gave. You must come back again soon!

  • Thomas MacEntee

    May 20, 2010


    I will finally get to meet you! I will be at SCGS Jamboree as well as IAJGS Conference in Los Angeles in July!

  • Sebastien @ MyHeritage

    May 20, 2010

    The itinerate genealogist!
    It was a pleasure meeting all of you as well at NGS and getting a chance to work side by side with Daniel .

  • Amy Coffin

    May 21, 2010

    You are very busy! I will be at Jamboree in Burbank. See you there!

  • Jenny Wiesel

    May 24, 2010

    Wao Daniel, por fin me digne a leer tu blog. Estoy muy impresionda y orgullosa de ti y mas aun de Debbie por quedarse tanto tiempo sola, sobre todo para tu proximo viaje. Que siga todo asi de exitso. Espero algun dia por aqui 😉

  • Elizabeth O’Neal

    May 25, 2010

    I’ll miss you in Burbank and Santa Barbara due to other commitments. Sounds like a fun trip!