Friday, June 5
Friday morning found me at one of the giant tents pitched out in the parking lot for a talk given by my friend Thomas MacEntee — “Creating a Community Indexing Project.” I had signed up to be the door monitor, making sure that everybody trying to come in had registered, ensuring that everyone filled out an evaluation form, and shushing attendees who were loitering with the previous speaker taking selfies. While monitoring, I heard Thomas talk about managing an indexing project. I have worked on community-based projects as worker bee, but it was informative to hear about what happens on the organizer’s side of the fence.
That afternoon, I headed for an enticing title: “Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner: The Emotional Side of DNA Testing” by Bernice Bennett. As someone who has been involved in DNA testing since 2004, I had dealt with some of the emotional overtones that Bernice mentioned. But the most meaningful outcome of this talk for me was discovering a fellow genealogy researcher and lecturer with a similar background to mine. Like me, Ms. Bennett has a degree in public health, has been immersed in the impact of emotional and mental health issues, and speaks Russian (she spent 10 years building sister-city relationships between US hospitals and their counterparts in the former Soviet Union; I majored in Russian in college). We spent a good 20 minutes sharing our life stories, and I treasure the opportunity to build a professional relationship with her.
I attended two sessions by Craig Scott on Friday, with time out for volunteering with APG. I had heard Scott before, and the combination of his deep knowledge of record sets at NARA and his wry wit make him riveting. His first talk was “Civil War medical research.” My own family had no one involved in the Civil War, but I recently started working with a client who has deep roots in Virginia, and I am just getting back in time to the Civil War period.
Scott’s second session was “Researching a World War I Ancestor.” My cousin, Bernard Sicoff, was supposedly an aerial photographer in World War I — back when airplanes were seemingly made of balsa wood and chewing gum — but I have been unable to document the family story so far. Scott recommended Gorrell’s History of the American Expeditionary Force Air Service 1917-19, which has been microfilmed and is also available, in its entirety, on Fold3. I get the feeling that one of my brick walls is about to crumble.
Friday ended with dinner at the hotel restaurant with friends old (Linda Harms Okazaki) and new. Conversation flowed easily and the food was delicious. A wonderful way to end a full Jamboree day.