Category Archives: Genealogy Jamboree

Jamboree 2018 – Day 1

I’m excited to be back at SCGS Genealogy Jamboree 2018. I came in 2016, but missed last year because of a cruise. I felt badly, but not badly enough to give up the European trip!

This is my first time staying at the Marriott Hotel, which is hosting Jamboree. I commuted from another hotel in 2016 and decided that the traffic wasn’t worth the savings in dollars!

Thank goodness the Exhibit Hall opened yesterday at 12:30 and didn’t close until 6:00, so I had a chance to visit with the vendors while I had no sessions to scurry off to.

Today was a very busy day for me:

Session 1 (8:30-9:30) – The Draper Manuscripts: Clues for the Ride West by David McDonald

David McDonald gave a concise overview of the Draper Manuscript collection, containing almost 500 volumes, created by Lyman Copeland Draper, secretary of the Wisconsin State Historical Society. Draper traveled and interviewed Revolutionary War participants and their families living in communities in the Ohio River Valley about their life experiences. Their accounts form the core of the collection known as the Draper Manuscripts.

The organizational format of the collection was outlined, and examples of the many types of records contained in the manuscripts were presented. The speaker concluded with tips on accessing the collections for opportunity to discover unique ancestral records.

10:00 – Noon – I helped man the Sons of the American Revolution booth, as both my husband and son  are members of the host chapter, Sons of Liberty.

LUNCH – 12:30-1:30

Session 4 (2:00-3:00) – “I Am Poor, Obscure, Plain and Little: Researching the Invisible Ancestor with Michael Lacopo.

I have heard Michael Lacopo speak at other conferences and have learned a lot, so I was looking forward to hearing this brand new presentation. I wasn’t disappointed. We were quickly introduced to Jacob Schmidt, an “invisible” ancestor and a poor man who appears in no commonly used genealogical records, like land and vital records. From this introduction, many kinds of less common record sets were explained and described during the presentation. Just because an ancestor was not particularly well-to-do, or even downright poor, it doesn’t necessarily mean that he or she will appear in no public records. It does mean we must seek out the more obscure resources mentioned in this session. I will be on the hunt!

Session 5 (3:30-4:30) – Ohio- The Great Land Experiment by Peggy Clemens Lauritzen

Peggy Lauritzen presented a class on Ohio lands and how the various areas were settled. Beginning with a historical timeline of Ohio history, Peggy explained the pivotal Ohio history that, in turn, affected the history of the United States. Her presentation was extremely detailed in terms of historical events, migration patterns and migration patterns. I have only just touched on Ohio research, as my husband has some family lines that lived there for a while, but I learned a LOT about Ohio history. I don’t know how she did it, but Peggy covered enough Ohio history to fill multiple chapters in a book in the one hour class slot.

Session 6 (5:00-6:00) – Documenting Women in the Civil War By Angela Walton-Raji.

This was the last session of the day. I made this last minute choice not because I have any female ancestors (that I know of) who participated in the war, but because it is a topic which I’ve never heard discussed. I have also only ever heard great things about Angela Walton-Raji and her presentations so this was my opportunity to hear her speak. The first surprise in her talk was learning that thousands of women gave service of one kind or another to the military on the Civil War battlefields and in hospitals. Although the service records of several well known women were reviewed, the main focus was about finding those every day women who served (mostly) in the Union Army and who were pensioned because of that service. It was a fascinating topic and well-covered by the speaker. I made a great late afternoon choice!

It was a long day, but I had a great time meeting up with old friends and making a few new ones. A fellow blogger mentioned that her husband had Slovak ancestors, like me, but I almost fell off my chair when she said they were from the village of Ujak – my grandmother’s village! And it has never had more than 700 or so residents. What are the odds of that happening?

I’m looking forward to tomorrow’s sessions.


California, Here I Come! SCGS Genealogy Jamboree 2018

SCGS Genealogy Jamboree 2018

It’s almost time! Just over a week to go until I get on the road.

And I’m not about to let a measly 500 miles get in my way, either!

I’m beginning to get excited, too! Genealogy conferences are a great way to hone your research skills, visit with old friends and make new ones.

With just a week before it begins, Jamboree is at the forefront of my thoughts and I had to finally narrow down some of my session choices so I have a loosely formulated schedule to follow.

Although I am a member of SCGS, I can’t contribute in many ways, living 500 miles away. However, I can help others and I’ve volunteered for two time slots as a Research Assistance Consultant. I’m looking forward to the half hour stints. It must be the (retired) teacher in me, but it’s a way I can give back to the genealogy community.

I’ve registered for the regular Friday and Saturday Jamboree, but not for either the DNA or writers’ workshops on Thursday.

How do I choose among so many great sounding lectures? In one of two ways. First, and foremost, is the topic relevant to my current research or subject matter about which I want to learn more? Second, is the speaker a person I’ve never heard in person, but would like to?

If a particular time slot doesn’t have offerings that fit my first method, then I look at the speakers presenting. Sometimes, the presentations are geared towards beginners, but that’s okay. I often learn several new tidbits in them.

Here are my tentative first picks:

On Friday, I plan to attend The Draper Manuscripts: Clues for the Ride West by David McDonald, who I know as a blogger (Thinking Genealogically, which is no longer published), but have not heard speak at a conference. That class will be followed by Reconstructing a Life: Chasing Uncle William Through the Wilds of Cyberspace by Annette Burke Little, Advancing Your Genealogy Research with DNA by Ross Curtis, I Am Poor, Obscure, Plain and Little. Researching the Invisible Ancestor with Michael Lacopo, Digging for Ancestors at the Bureau of Land Management with Michelle Roos Goodrum and finishing the day at I Remember Mama (But Not Her Maiden Name): Finding Female Ancestors by Mary Kircher Roddy.

Saturday will be another intense day, beginning at 8:30 with Civil War Medical Records, presented by Craig R. Scott and moving on to How to Get More from Your DNA with by Shannon Christmas, Digging Pennsylvania Roots from Your Desk Top by James Beidler, How Research Plans Can Up Your Genealogical Game with Annette Burke Little, “How Dare You Say That?” When You Discover Bad News About Your Family by Kate Eakman and, last, but not least, Where to Start When You Get Stuck by Janet Hovorka.

I think I will be a very busy bee for two days, but I know from past experience at Jamboree that the exhaustion I’ll be feeling won’t stop my brain from racing on, thinking about all the new strategies and resources I will be using. 🙂






Coming Up: SCGS Jamboree!

The 2018 SCGS Genealogy Jamboree is only a few weeks away now, but it’s not too late to register!

This year, Jamboree has an updated format, as there are three different choices to attend on Thursday, opening day.

First, everyone has the opportunity to attend JamboFree.

Sessions open at 8:30 a.m. and feature a genealogy basics class, followed by three round table discussions, presented by multiple participants experienced in each topic field. There are breaks in between the sessions, the last of which ends at 6:00 p.m.

Thursday has been the traditional day for Jamboree’s Genetic Genealogy Day and this year is no different. Attendance at the Thursday DNA sessions requires a separate registration fee of $170/ members or $190/non-SCGS members with $20 off if you are also registered for the regular Jamboree sessions .

Genetic Genealogy Day is always extremely popular and there are a number of very familiar names in the presenters’ list.

SCGS has listened to previous requests to add a writer’s workshop day, which is brand new this year. However, for some, difficult choices must be made because Jamboree’s Family History Writers Conference also takes place on Thursday and has its own registration fee of $140/members or $160/non-members with $20 off if you are also registered for the regular Jamboree sessions.

Finally, as if there weren’t enough activities to keep you busy on Thursday, the Exhibit Hall will be open from 12:30-6:00 p.m.! Visiting the vendors and checking out all the products and wares is a learning activity by itself.

That is just Day 1!

Friday and Saturday, Days 2 and 3, feature multiple sessions running all day long.

There are tons of topics from which to choose, including DNA sessions if you aren’t able to attend Thursday’s Genetic Genealogy Day.

Here are a few of the class sessions to whet your appetite:

Mapping the Freedmen’s Bureau: Understanding the Website by
Angela Walton-Raji

DNA of the British Isles by David Nicholson

The French and Indian Wars by Craig Scott

5 Steps to Identify a Family Photograph by Maureen Taylor

Y Haplogroups and the Peopling of Europe by Jim Brewster

Bankruptcy to Equity: Using Federal Court Records by Michael Strauss

An Overview of Researching Hispanic Ancestry by Colleen Greene

These are only a tiny sampling of the over 120 class sessions on offer!

Jamboree also has four DNA workshops scheduled on Friday and Saturday, which require individual registration fees.

There is truly something for everyone here. I recognize many of the speakers, having heard them at RootsTech or elsewhere, but there are also many new-to-me names, which I love, because it gives me the chance to learn from them, too.

I am really looking forward to the 2018 Genealogy Jamboree! It gives me a chance to reconnect with friends from far and wide, attend great learning sessions (which fan my avid genealogy addition even more!) and enjoy some great SoCal weather.

Every serious genealogist needs to extend his/her knowledge base and there is no better way than to experience a fun genealogy conference.

If you haven’t quite decided whether or not to attend, I’d highly recommend coming to Jamboree 2018.

Just before Jamboree begins, I’ll share my preliminary session choices with you.