SCGS Genealogy Jamboree – Day 1

The big day finally arrived and 2016 Jamboree was on. I didn’t sign up for the DNA Day that ran all day Thursday and didn’t arrive at the hotel until about 11:00 a.m. on Friday morning. I missed the free Jambo sessions, which I’ve heard were very good, but registration was quick and easy. Many attendees were milling around in that area because the exhibit hall was due to open at noon.

The hall opened promptly at noon and I took a quick look around, knowing that I would be making a return visit More details on the vendors will be coming in a future post, but my initial reaction when I saw the vendor hall map before I left was correct. There are far fewer vendors here than back when Jamboree was in the Pasadena Center. However, there was plenty to look at and I enjoyed seeing some old familiar faces from the Pasadena Center who don’t go to RootsTech. Like I’ve already said, more to come in a future post on the exhibit hall.

I had my four sessions all picked out before I got here. First up was Thomas W. Jones presenting “Getting Beyond the Bare Bones: Reconstructing Your Ancestors’ Lives.”

This is a big off topic, but does the background behind Dr. Jones appear to be a typical hotel meeting room? Nope, it isn’t and that is a big complaint I have about Jamboree. The two largest venues that held 200 attendees each were called Pavilion 1 and Pavilion 2. This was Pavilion 2. If you aren’t aware of it, Southern California is in the midst of a big heat wave. The high in Burbank today was 97 degrees and the Pavilions were tents with no air conditioning. I made it through 50 minutes of Dr. Jones’ talk, which was excellent and then I had to get back in some air conditioning.

Back to the subject at hand. Dr. Jones reviewed types of records, aside from vital records, that could fill in details about an ancestor’s life, which then could be told more as a story and could possibly even paint a picture of the ancestor’s personality.

I’ve heard Dr. Jones several times before and this talk was as good as each of the others. This was an excellent beginning to the conference, aside from the hot tent experience!

My second session choice was, unfortunately, a session I would have enjoyed, However, it was scheduled for – Pavilion 1 – and I decided I wouldn’t do well sitting in those tents for two hours in a row.

Instead, I chose to attend Elissa Scalise Powell’s talk on “Problems and Pitfalls of a Reasonably Shallow Search.

This session was targeted for beginners and intermediates and I think she completely hit the mark. A great overview was given explaining why it was necessary to document sources and to review original records to make sure that information found on derived sources was both accurate and complete. Ms. Powell gave multiple examples of what can and does go wrong when researchers don’t perform a reasonably exhaustive search.

This was the first time I had attended a presentation by Elissa and she did an excellent job.

Before I knew it Session 2 was over, but Session 3 was in the same (nicely air-conditioned) room so I didn’t have far to go. This speaker was another new-to-me speaker. I knew Paula Stuart-Warren by name, but haven’t ever heard her speak.

Paula’s talk was unique – one that I enjoyed and learned something new. The title of the presentation was “Tracking Migrations and More: The Records of Old Settlers Organizations.” My family didn’t migrate through the middle of the United States, where many of these organizations sprouted up, but my husband’s ancestors did. She talked about the different types of organizations that were created, where some of those records might be housed today and what types of ancestral information might be found in the organization’s records. I definitely will be looking around a few of the Plains states to see what might exist in places where Stufflebean ancestors lived. A great talk!

Jamboree had four regular sessions on this opening day, so at 5:30, I took my seat to hear yet another new-to-me speaker, Sheila Benedict. Her topic was “Case Studies in Forensic and Family Genealogy.”

First off, Ms. Benedict reviewed several definitions of terms that needed to be understood in order to follow along through her case studies. (This was an intermediate-advanced track.) She also explained the differences between forensic genealogy and family genealogy.

Next, several case studies were presented. Each was interesting and fairly easy to follow, but I found myself wanting to know more. The identities of her clients were not revealed, due to privacy concerns, but I would have enjoyed hearing a more detailed account of each study, perhaps with the use of fake names so the stories would flow more easily.

Nevertheless, being a forensic genealogist would be a fabulous career.

That was it for Day 1. I had a quick dinner with some friends and called it a day. Posts for the next two days won’t be up until early evening.


One thought on “SCGS Genealogy Jamboree – Day 1”

  1. I’ve attended classes with all but Sheila Benedict and they are all excellent and always amaze me with how much they know. Poor Tom Jones in the Pavillion in his suit! I can’t imagine sitting in that kind of heat, much less staying awake in the afternoon in that heat. But it sounds like there were great choices in the air conditioned rooms thank goodness.

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