Saturday, June 11, 2011

SCGS Jamboree 2011 - A Virtual Perspective

The Southern California Genealogical Society's 42nd annual Jamboree is underway.  I would love to be there. I live in Tennessee.  The Jamboree is (obviously) in southern California.  Attendance at Jamboree is cost- and time-prohibitive for me.

Good news!  With the help of RootsMagic, SCGS webcasted five of their sessions today.  I attended them all, as any self-respecting genea-addict would.

First up was Lisa Louise Cook (of Genealogy Gems) with Google Search Strategies for Genealogists.  How amazing is she?!  I could have sat there all day and not gotten tired of learning new search strategies for Google.  I took 2 full pages of notes, in addition to the downloadable handouts that were available.

The next webcast was Fingerprinting Our Families - Using Ancestral Origins as a Genealogical Research Key by Curt Witcher.  Curt is a great speaker, and I was thoroughly enjoying his class.  Unfortunately, there were some technical difficulties that caused most of the web attendees to miss 10-15 minutes of the session, and no handouts to use as a reference.  What I did manage to watch was fascinating.  I took lots of notes on this class too, and will definitely be utilizing a lot of the sources that Curt described.  If anyone has a handout or better notes from this class, I would love to borrow them :)

The third webcast was Researching Your Union Civil War Ancestors by David A. Lambert.  I haven't found any Union soldiers in my ancestry yet, but I haven't really looked for them either.  I definitely wanted to be ready if I ever ran across them, so I was glad this was one of the sessions that was available by webcast.  It was slightly frustrating because he talked kind of fast and there was no handout for the class, so sometimes it was hard to keep up.  I took a lot of notes, but I was writing so fast I may not be able to read them later!  

After a lunch break, I attended But it Ain't Really the ORIGINAL Record! with Kory Meyerink.  Very interesting class.  I never knew that most of the records I thought were original are actually copies.  I will be looking at my documentation in a whole different light.

I was really looking forward to the last webcast of the day ... The Many Facets of the National Archives Website with Kerry Bartels.  I knew it was going to be a long one, so I planned ahead and had my drink and a snack, and my comfy socks (admit it ... right now, all you folks who are in person at the Jamboree with your tired feet are envious of my comfy socks).  I'm really glad I sat still for this session.  Whenever I go to the NARA website, I get pretty overwhelmed by the amount of information available, and I don't even know where to begin ... so I just don't even go there.  Scary stuff.  

Kerry has a great sense of humor ... for an archivist (I'm kidding!  He's pretty funny).  He did a very good job of showing us how to navigate the important parts of the NARA website and what all that stuff meant so we weren't so intimidated by it and - more importantly - how to request it if it hasn't been digitized!  So now, not only do I know how to better find what I'm looking for, I also have about a billion times as many records to search because they are ALL potentially genealogically related!  AARRGGHH!

All that being said, I still do wish I had been able to go to the Jamboree in person, but since I couldn't, this was the next best thing.  I really appreciate all the work that went into putting this together for all of the web-attendees.  Thank you SCGS and RootsMagic!

All of these recorded webcasts can be viewed at the SCGS website, if you are a member.


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