Sunday, June 9, 2013

Saturday at Jamboree

Today was a real full day, up at 6 a.m. and to bed about 10 p.m.  The breakfast program started at 7 a.m. with a presentation by the L.A. Times writer, Joe Mozingo.  Joe had become fascinated by his seemingly unusual name and decided to trace his origins.  Along the way he came upon some evidence that all Mozingos in the U.S. were descendants of Edward and Spencer Mozingo, black slaves.  Since Joe was white, he found the story very intriguing and first published it as a series of articles in the Times.  He then continued the pursuit, which carried him back to Africa to find out where Edward came from.  He then expanded his writing into a book “The Fiddler on Pantico Run”.  I was particularly interested, as I mentioned in an earlier blog, because my great-great grandmother was a Mozingo from the same line as Joe!  I was a little disappointed when I approached Joe prior to his talk and showed him a pedigree chart tracing my family line from Spencer Mozingo, meaning we were related.  Perhaps he was nervous about his upcoming talk; but he did not show much interest in our being related. 

Although he seemed somewhat nervous, his talk was very good, in good part because he read a couple passages from the book.  His writing being of much higher quality than his speaking, this strengthened his presentation considerably. 

Thomas MacEntee, one of the top genealogy bloggers, was the speaker at the first session I attended.  Although he had spoken at Jamboree several times in the past, this was the first time I heard him speak.  He is an excellent speaker and did a great job of managing the audience with Q&A strategically interspaced throughout his presentation.  He also was the moderator for the final session of the morning “Blogger Summit” and, again, did an excellent job.  His panel consisted of Denise Levenick, CeCe Moore, Judy Russell and Paula Stuart-Warren--an all-star group.  I really learned a lot about blogging and hope it is reflected in an improved product in the future.  As you would expect, most of the audience were also bloggers or aspiring bloggers. 

The second session I attended was entitled “Was My Ancestor Naturalized?” by Rhonda McClure.  She did an excellent job of tracing the history of the naturalization process in America. I would like to have gotten a little more information on sources and how to search for the records.

One of the many vendors in the exhibit hall 
In the afternoon I started with a presentation by Leland Metzler.  I had heard Leland several times my first few Jamborees; but hadn’t heard him in several years.  Since he was speaking on German research, I decided to attend.  It was well worth my time as he did a great job and there are a number of internet sites he discussed that I can’t wait to investigate.   

Mike Provard, who works for Family Search, did a very good job with an overview of the new Family Search Family Tree.  I had uploaded my Gedcom and used the web site just a couple weeks back, which helped me better understand the information he was discussing.  

My last session of the day prior to the Banquet was a presentation by Dr. James Ryan, from Ireland, about “Irish Rentals as a Family History Resource”.  Throughout the 18th and 19th centuries there were many very large estates in Ireland.  Many parcels of land within these estates were rented out to tenant farmers.  Tracking the rental payments of all these tenants created lots of records that were kept in ledgers or Rental Books.  Several of these books have survived; but many are still privately held.  However, the National Library of Ireland, The National Archives of Ireland and some local libraries, both in Ireland and England, still hold many of these books and other associated papers.  Thus, this is another source to be considered in doing Irish research.

Following about an hour’s break, during which my roommate, Warrie, and I had a short “Happy Hour” it was off to hear Josh Taylor speak at the Banquet.  We joined in a table with three ladies whom are fellow San Diego Genealogy Members.  One, Pam Journey, moved up to the Orange County area a couple years back; but she is still considered part of the San Diego family of genealogists.  We were joined by a nice group of other conference attendees and the table never lacked for conversation throughout the night.

D. Joshua Taylor is the Business Development Manager—North America—for Brightsolid Online Publishing, a British company and creator of FindMyPast.com.  I think he is one of the young, very bright, rising stars in the worldwide Genealogical Community. 

Josh talked about the future of Family History, with an emphasis on how we need to adjust how we do our research and present our material in order to make it fun and attract the younger generation of genealogists.  We need to focus more on the stories that our history reveals rather than all the facts.  Despite the fact most of the attendees were of the “grey haired” generation, Josh’s theme was well received and enthusiastically endorsed.  I thought he was “spot on” in his analysis and predictions.  It was a very refreshing and brilliantly delivered speech.  A great ending to a long, but fun day!