Saturday, June 11, 2011

SCGS11 Jamboree Part 2

Friday afternoon, I went to Elusive Immigrants - European Case Studies in "Exhaustive Research" led by Warren Bittner, CG. He shared a case study from his own family history, which was an attempt to locate the European hometown origin of his Bittner ancestor who settled in NewYork City. The speaker gave a real-life example of an exhaustive search and shared with the audience all the ways he tried to cross the pond with this line. The pieces started to fall in place when he expanded his search to siblings, friends and other family members. Researching a larger group led to the discovery of other brothers and eventually the German village from which they came. Bittner stressed the importance to going back over the books and records you studied before. The puzzle piece that solved his problem came from a book he had already reviewed. This was a skill-building session sponsored by the Board of Certification of Genealogists. I encourage you to attend these type of sessions even if you have no intention of pursuing certification. BCG sessions often give good research advice and leave you with new ideas for exploring your old research.

The next session I attended was Best of Class Testing: Do You Need It and Why? with Bennett Greenspan. I'm currently on DNA overload with all the sessions I took at the Clayton Library last week, but this was a chance to see the founder of Family Tree DNA in person so that's how I landed in this session. Thanks to all I learned from Debbie Wayne, I was able to follow along nicely through most of the presentation. I did get stuck at the mutation part. I'm still trying to figure that out. The take-away I got from this session was that it's not necessary to purchase the most expensive test right away. Take further steps when you have a question or are trying to get clarification. After the session I mozyed over to the Family Tree DNA booth and asked my question about margin of error and my Family Finder test. I now understand what it means and how it is measured, but there's no way I can explain it here.

I did not attend a session during the last time slot of the day. Instead, I had a nice chat in the hotel bar with Thomas MacEntee. Everyone thinks genealogists + hotel bar automatically equals hijinks, but that's not the case. This was a chance to catch up and bounce ideas off each other. I got some great ideas on self-publishing. From this little visit, I took away as much--if not more--than I would at a traditional session. I always tell conference attendees to budget at least 33% of your time for casual meet-ups with your peers because a lot of learning happens in these social groups. If nothing else, you'll laugh a lot.

That's all for the educational part of Friday at Jamboree. There were some evening festivities, too, but those events get their own post.


  1. (Posting this again - Blogger does not want to accept my comments) Ditto on getting together with your peers. I learned so much from getting to presentations early, sitting together with genealogy friends, and talking 15-20 minutes beforehand. This has quickly become my favorite part of going to conferences.

  2. I think I may have talked future hubby into going to SCGS Jamboree with me next year! Well, I didn't talk him into going to the conference, but I did talk him into taking a vacation out there during the conference. Yay!

  3. Great advice, Amy. The more conferences you attend, the more important it is to catch up with your peers.

  4. Thanks so much for sharing Amy. I'm looking forward to catching up with everyone at FGS in September. And Greta hit the nail on the head, it was really great to chat with folks the 15 mins or so before the presentations began at NGS!