Two weeks before the conference:

Once I (Pat) got back from my quick trip hunting for Denman land and cousins, I started to seriously consider what I need to do to be prepared for the upcoming IAJGS conference in Washington, DC. Thanks to Judy, we are prepared with hotel room and train reservations. Now I need to think about clothing!

Maybe I should also think about planning which talks I want to attend, what I want to learn, what information I need to take with me (or have available). Hm. It has been just about 3 years since I attended a big conference like this one and I am excited but somewhat overwhelmed. Especially since I am really a beginner when it comes to Jewish genealogy research.

Judy and I talked briefly about plans to meet on the train. I emailed with cousin Nancy who is also going to be there and she sent some tips (she’s attended a number of these conferences, including last year in Los Angeles). I shared her tips with Judy. I started printing out information I want to be sure to have available, and the brief description of the offerings.

The week before the conference:

I wrote a set of notes for myself about each family line, and what I know and don’t know. Mostly this is to give me a reminder about what information I need to search for. It turns out that in some cases I know more than I thought. I also have a clearer idea of next steps. But I also am feeling overwhelmed by the amount I don’t know, and the ways to research that I need to learn.

Finally, I sat down and looked at the schedule of events and started marking things that look interesting. This list will change a number of times I am sure, but now I have a preliminary idea of what I want to do. Most of this week has been devoted to organizing the household for my absence and working and chatting via email with a new Denman cousin.

Last day before we leave:

I’m scrambling to get it all done, and hoping to remember everything. I want to take my entire office and home computer with me!

Traveling day:

Got myself together and onto the Amtrak train headed for Washington. The deal was that Judy would join me at New Haven and we’d ride the rest of the way together, talking all the way. And we did. There was some scrambling to get her onto the train and her suitcase up overhead but then we were set. By New York we were sitting together and beginning to catch up.

Judy in the taxi line at Union Station

This is Judy in the taxi line at Union Station in Washington DC. We made it!

We have been here for a full day now, and are already filling our brains and overwhelming ourselves. And having a great time. We have already heard about evidence other than records helping prove a relationship, using Steve Morse’s one-step webpage for doing things than finding passenger lists, Ukrainian resources, using voter registration, and a little about using the Sanborn maps (which are going to be available online for one day in the resource center at the conference). Whew! And this is almost the end of the first day’s activities. This conference offers activities from early morning until late in the evening, including special interest groups and various movies along with the usual talks and vendor room and lots of networking. Including that cousin Nancy is here and there will be time to chat with her and, I hope, to get her to talk about her grandmother Ida.

So now it is time for us to go find some dinner and a drink, and then come back to figure out the schedule for tomorrow. We will likely have other things to say about this conference and what we learn and hear in the future.

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