Sunday, June 7
My friend Pamela Weisberger gave a fascinating talk called “Cartography for Genealogists.” The most fascinating aspect of this talk was the discussion of cadastral maps, large-format, town-level maps that show the names of property owners at each address. These types of maps exist for the Austro Hungarian Empire and other locations (I recently saw one for Southern France). When vital records for a town no longer exist (as is the case for many Jewish communities in Eastern Europe, where my roots are), these types of maps can act as a census substitute.
After Pam’s talk I hurried to change into my “Dress as Your Favorite Ancestor” costume, so I could appear as my grand-aunt, Manya Klebanskaya. (A big thank you to Jean Hibben, who made a wonderful lady’s maid when I needed someone to pin a brooch on my shirtwaist). I had spent weeks trying to duplicate a photo of Manya taken in 1910. I doctored some existing wardrobe items, and used my millinery skills (that date back to junior high) to trim a chapeau so that it looked authentic to the period. There were about twelve contestants, and I did not win. My friend Linda Harms Okazaki was a knockout in a gold lamé flapper dress, and her winsome imitation of her flirtatious grandmother made her the audience favorite.
After the contest, I headed for another of Pamela Weisberger’s talks, “Jewish Geography/Jewish Genealogy.” Anyone who is just starting out researching Jewish roots would benefit from buying the DVD of this session, which was a concentrated introduction to the processes and record sets that are important for newbies to the field.
A shout-out to all the organizers and volunteers who make the Genealogy Jamboree possible. I have been attending every year for the better part of 20 years (since it was small enough to fit in half of the Pasadena Civic Auditorium), and it continues to offer opportunities for learning, research, networking, and making friends for the most reasonable price imaginable.