Category Archives: Genealogy Jamboree

SCGS Jamboree 2017 – My Session Picks

Last week, I proposed several reasons why one might want to attend SCGS Genealogy Jamboree, being held June 8-11, 2017 in Burbank, California. If you are still on the fence about attending, the Early Bird pricing is good for 11 more days, so there is plenty of time to get registered and save money!

If the DNA Day plus all the wonderful speakers haven’t quite convinced you, perhaps some of my choices for session picks will entice you to learn more.


Here is what my experience might look like:

Thursday –

8:30 – Using Autosomal DNA Results from Cousin Clusters in Your Research with Tim Janzen
Using DNA results from clusters of cousins dramatically improves the predictive power of autosomal DNA testing to solve genealogical research questions. Multiple examples of the use of DNA results from clusters of cousins to predict genealogical relationships will be included in this presentation.

Or, another possible choice:
Diving In from the Other Side: European DNA Case Studies with Paul Alan Woodbury
Genetic genealogy research in a European context demands specific considerations. Through these case studies, learn how endogamy, migration, testing prevalence, geographic projects, and record availability contribute to the challenges and the successes of DNA investigations in European research.

10:00 Y-DNA of the British Monarchy with Brad Larkin
Review of nine Y-DNA dynasties of the British Monarchy over the past 1,100 years and how genetic genealogy may connect your family to them.

11:30 DNA and the Aftermath of Uncovered Family Secrets with Blaine Bettinger
Does a truth uncovered by DNA always trump secrecy, or can/should the truth have boundaries? If so, what are those boundaries? Together we’ll dissect the roles of secrecy and openness as we examine real-life examples of both the joy and the fallout from family secrets uncovered by DNA.

The DNA Day luncheon will feature Debbie A. Kennett speaking on The DNA of the British Isles. (Luncheons are extra fees.)

2:00 Was Henderson Dowell’s Father of African or European Descent? with David R. Dowell
At Emancipation Henderson Dowell of Wilkes County, North Carolina, was 20 years old and enslaved by Pricilla Dowell. His living descendants are mixed African-American and European-American. Did his paternal ancestors come to America from Europe or from Africa?

3:30 After You Identify The Common Ancestor: Advancing Your DNA Agenda with Shannon Stewart Christmas
Identifying the most recent common ancestor shared with a DNA match is just the beginning. Learn how to design and execute autosomal DNA projects that extract more genealogical data from your DNA than you ever thought possible.

5:00 Using Mitochondrial DNA Testing for Genealogical Problem Solving with Michael D. Lacopo
Mitochondrial DNA usage in genealogy is often diminished, but when used wisely in combination with the Genealogical Proof Standard, it can break down brick walls!

There’s an extra registration fee for Diving into DNA, but it is well worth it, based on the session descriptions!

Friday morning – The JamboFREE event allows participants to sign up for just one event, so my pick would be the 8:30 to 10:00 a.m. first session of Genealogy World Roundtables.

Here is the description from the Jamboree website: Attendees may change tables at any time during the sessions. A table guide and schedule will be available. Pick a table according to topic and ask questions to assist in your research or assist someone else. Share experiences, suggest search strategies, and answer questions about researching ancestors across the globe. With table hosts keeping the conversation going, participants can look forward to a spirited, valuable exchange of information. Groups will also discuss genealogy methodologies and topics of special interest to genealogical societies. Level: Beg., Int., Adv.

Next, would be a visit to the Expo Hall to check out the vendor displays and then to an early lunch.

In the afternoon, I’d have to make some hard decisions.

1:00 – Finding John Lee: Using DNA, Online and Offline Genealogy with Nicka J. Smith
Discover how DNA, online and offline genealogy converged to break down a more than 100-year-old brick wall revealing the life, times, and relations of a mysterious multi-ethnic man named John Lee.

Or maybe:
Bagging a Live One: Connect With Cousins You Never Knew You Had with Mary Kircher Roddy
Learn to find distant relatives, ones you never knew existed. Come away with skills to target specific people and to find their contact details. Understand the pros and cons of various contact strategies. By the end of the session you will have the tools and confidence to bag some new relatives!

Next session, being a blogger, would be:
2:30 – Generating Genealogy Blog Content with Michael John Neill
Content is key to maintaining a genealogical blog. In this session we will look at a variety of ways to generate fresh regular content for your genealogical blog, length of posts, serializing content, and more.

However, I think this session with Annette Burke Lyttle would be excellent for beginnings:
Genealogical Proof for the Novice Genealogist
How do you know if the genealogical facts you’ve uncovered are correct? How do you avoid attaching somebody else’s ancestors to your family tree? The Genealogical Proof Standard will get your research moving in the right direction from the beginning and help you avoid errors and frustration.

The third Friday afternoon session:
4:00 Treasures in Township Records with Peggy Clemens Lauritzen
A part of the rectangular survey system, the township had its beginnings in Europe. Still in use today, we will focus on the many types of records of our ancestors that may be found there. Some records may be found there, and nowhere else.

Or, then again, maybe:
Shamrocks in Cyberspace: Irish Genealogy Databases with Michael Brophy
Information about our Irish ancestors is exploding on the Internet. The best websites for Irish research are explored and analyzed.

Final Friday session:
5:30 Decoding Secret Societies: Sisterhood in Fraternal Organizations with Michael Strauss
Did you have ancestors who had membership in the Eastern Star, The Daughters of Rebekah, or another women’s fraternal organization? This lecture focuses on the rich genealogical material of family members who may have belonged to one or more of these female auxiliaries and secret societies.

From Famine to Plenty – Finding My Immigrant Ancestors’ Stories with Tessa Keough
They might not be famous, but their experiences shaped our families. Come learn how I combined genealogy research with social history to follow my ancestors from Ireland to Nebraska. With libraries and archives at our disposal, we have a wealth of information to help us tell their stories.

See what I mean about difficult choices? And this is only one day’s worth of sessions.

The Friday evening banquet will feature Lisa Louise Cooke speaking on Texas Ranch House: Unveiling “Keeping House” in the Census. That should be a fun talk.

This post would be way too long, if I outlined my session picks for Saturday and Sunday, but just FYI, there are six time slots on Saturday and four time slots on Sunday.

There are also Saturday and Sunday morning breakfasts, plus a Saturday night banquet featuring Rev. David MacDonald presenting If I’da Known the Future, I’da Got Here Sooner, which sounds like another entertaining talk. (The meals and speakers are extra fees.)

Aside from all of my session picks, if you are researching African-American, Armenian or British Isles & Ireland, then there are entire session tracks planned out for you!

So, I hope by now, I’ve convinced you why you really, really need to attend the 2017 Genealogy Jamboree. Just click and do it! You’ll have a terrific time.

SCGS – Genealogy Jamboree 2017

Are you having genealogy conference withdrawal? RootsTech was two months ago. The NGS conference is later this month in Raleigh, North Carolina and FGS isn’t until August in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. If you can’t make it to those – think about sunny Southern California from June 8-11, 2017.

The Southern California Genealogical Society Genealogy Jamboree 2017 is almost upon us and it is looking good. Jamboree is really a two-parter. On Thursday, June 8, Diving into DNA will find you in the midst of all the DNA sessions one could ever want to attend.

Early Bird Pricing until April 22!

There is a separate registration fee for Thursday – $125 for SCGS members and $145 for non-members IF attending at least one other conference day. For one-day attendance, the fee is $150/$170.

Diving into DNA Schedule

Scheduled speakers are top notch – Blaine Bettinger, Daniel Horowitz, Angie Bush and Diane Southard are only a few of in the distinguished line up that you would want to hear. Check out the full list of speakers.

Topics include everything from the ABCs to XYZs of genetic genealogy – endogamy, haplotrees, mitochondrial DNA, royal DNA, discovering family secrets and much more.

Early Bird Pricing until April 22!

The “regular” part of Jamboree begins on Friday, June 9 and runs through Sunday, June 11. Registration fees for those days are $130 for SCGS members/$150 for non-members for the three days. This year’s theme is Hunting Your Heritage:

Hunting Your Heritage

There is separate pricing for single day attendance and registration fees increase as the event gets closer. Click on Preview Pricing on the right side of page for the various pricing categories.

Right below the two theme images on the Jamboree home page, you will see Schedules with live links to the sessions and speakers presenting on each of the days.

Aside from a DNA day to die for  (and a visit to Southern California), why would you want to attend Jamboree?

  1. It’s a great educational experience. Some of the topics in this year’s Jamboree presentations: Swedish, Irish, Italian, Armenian, Scottish, Eastern European and African-American research, sessions on military records, social media, genealogy education and certification and much, much more!
  2. Be the first to learn about the new RootsMagic syncing feature with Ancestry AND the brand new Legacy 9 software.
  3. Attend the JamboFREE community sessions on Friday. Roundtable sessions will be presented on DNA, Genealogy World questions, Genealogy Basics help and becoming a Professional Genealogist. There’s even a track for those representing a society and who would like tips on Growing Your Society.
  4. If the first three reasons didn’t provide enough BSOs (bright shiny objects) to tempt you, there is a full workshop schedule for both the DNA Day and the regular Jamboree days. There are additional fees to attend those and seating is limited.
  5. About 1500 genealogists descend on Jamboree each year. You have an opportunity to find as many as 1,499 new cousins and/or friends who also love your favorite past time. It’s also likely you will run into old friends, too. Last year, I ran into several friends that I hadn’t seen since we moved away from California.
  6. As with DNA Day, the Jamboree general session speakers are also top notch. I’ve heard a number of them either at a past Jamboree or at RootsTech. To name just a few – Daniel Horowitz of MyHeritage, Michael John Neill, Thomas MacEntee, Gena Philibert-Ortega, Lisa Alzo and The Genealogy Guys, George Morgan and Drew Smith.





Jamboree Vendors 2016


First, I have to admit that I’ve been very spoiled, not only with past Jamboree experiences in Pasadena, but more recently RootsTech, in terms of the vendors and wares in the Exhibit Hall.

The room at Jamboree was much smaller than what I’ve been used to in the past, although I’ve been told that it was typical for the Jamborees since they have been held at the Burbank location. There were also times when it was busier than others, but I never had the feeling of being packed in.

Friday Afternoon

When I look for new products and/or companies to highlight, I always look for those which are new to me. This year’s Jamboree had many local genealogical and historical societies with tables, along with some national ones, notably SAR and DAR.

Immigrant Genealogical Society

There were also the biggest, best known companies and some book vendors. Among the other companies were some that I’ve already highlighted from the RootsTech conference, so that left only three products, plus one neat sounding new genealogical conference to talk about.

As with RootsTech vendor posts, this post is not a recommendation of any of these products because I haven’t used any of them. I am just sharing information.

First, the new conference will be hosted by the Germanic Genealogical Society on 28-29 July 2017 – the International Germanic Genealogy Conference – to be held in Minneapolis, Minnesota.

28-29 July 2017

The paper was folded and it got a big mangled in my bag, but complete details can be found at the Germanic Genealogy Society.

If you are one of the millions of Americans with German ancestry, check out the website for further details.

Now for the three companies and their products. The first is QromaScan.


This product appears to be only for iPhones, although the pictures can be edited on a Mac or a PC. The user can import a GEDCOM file and then tag people in the pictures just by speaking their names.

QromaScan Booth

The product is actually the QromaScan Lightbox, which folds up and can be carried like a book. Their website says it is “the world’s smartest photo scanner”, with voice recognition technology. It will even create searchable metadata if the user speaks the date, location and people in the picture.

The sale price at Jamboree was $40; the regular price is $50.

The second company, ScanDiego,  scans photos, movies and more, archiving the media to a DVD.

Brett Weiss of ScanDiego

If you are one of the people with old videos, home movies and/or photos, it is important to get them converted to a more modern media before they are totally obsolete.



It offers pick up and in-home service, which is good if you live near San Diego. I would imagine that they accept work that is shipped to them, too.

The third company was Vision to Be Organized & Scrapbook Designer with Christie Johnson.

Vision to Be Organized

Christie helps you organize, preserve and share your family history.

Vision to Be Organized Services

Christie is also a professional personal scrapbook designer and, it appears from her handout that she is even a professional home organizer! Pricing will obviously depend on the size of the project.

That’s it for the Jamboree 2016 Vendor Hall!